Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winter squash update...

I picked the first winter squash from the garden yesterday, one of the Orange Cushaws.  It had turned orange, mostly, so I decided to go ahead.  There must be about 6 to 8 of these on each of the 4 plants out there, and they are EVERYWHERE!  Very prolific vines.  If we can salvage just a few of these before our first heavy frost, I'll be happy.
2 pounds, 1 ounce!
Next is the biggest Pink Banana Squash, about 13" long right now.  I've read up on it and think I have to wait until it turns pink to pick it.  It's still a definite pale yellow right now.  I hope it makes it.  This plant is also just HUGE!  There are about 4 to 5 on each of these vines too, and the vines are the longest out there, reaching out of the garden and into the ground around it.  There's just no stopping it. I hope we make it with these too.

I have a couple of squash out in the Watermelon/Pumpkin patch, too.  The Thelma Saunders has set a few fruit, but the others are lots of vine and no fruit yet. The biggest one looks about the right size, but it's supposed to turn a pale orange when its ready.  Probably won't be getting anything much more from them before frost, but we'll see.  The Farmer's Almanac has the first heavy freeze for our area for November 6th...interesting to see how close it will be to that date.
Thelma Saunders Sweet Potato Squash
John and I are making plans to increase the size of the garden this winter.  He's going to move the fence around and build me 4 more raised beds and the hoop house from the Bean Haus that he put up for me last spring.  I'm sooo-o-o looking forward to having more room to move around.

I'm going to update on how the garlic is going soon.  I'm supposed to cover the entire bed in hay for the winter, so I'll do that and then let you know how it goes!

Monday, October 29, 2012

SeaWorld Sunday!

We had so much fun spending several hours at SeaWorld San Antonio yesterday with KT and her mom and dad.  We had free tickets thanks to our niece, Adrienne, who works there.  We got to see her at Shamu Stadium after the show.
KT was one of many little ghosts, goblins, witches, princesses and spidermen wandering the grounds!
Can you spot Grumpy on the beige steed?
KT fed the dolphins

KT loves SeaWorld and especially Shamu!  

Our little eggs...

We're getting from 1 to 3 little Bantam eggs daily now, from 6 hens.  Not bad, especially with the cooler weather coming in. KT loves to go pick the eggs when she comes to visit!

They are about 1/2 the size of a regular large egg from the store.  Here's a photo of three store-bought eggs, and three of the Bantam eggs.  I'm using 2 for each 1 egg called for in recipes.

Yugoslavian Finger Fruit

This is our first pick from the fall garden squash, the Yugoslavian Finger Fruit.  It looks a lot like what we call Patti Pan squash, except taller, thinner, and with a different configuration of little "fingers."  It tasted exactly the same as the Patti Pan, too.  Cute little squash, looking forward to seeing some more of these.

We dodged a bullet last night with the weather, our temperature gauge on the porch read 32, but no frost on the garden, so it must have not stayed at 32 very long.  Whew!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Iron Man 3 Preview!

Ooohhh....can't wait!

Looking scary for Tony and Pepper, eh?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Wisdom of Ben

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." --- Benjamin Franklin, 1766.

I used to have a quote of Ben's on my old political blog.  I still think I agree with most everything he's ever said.  If we all followed the wisdom of our forefathers more, this country might be a very different place.

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

"The Constitution only give people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself."

"All mankind is divided into three classes: Those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our KT in the Fall!

Colleen took some amazing photos of KT the other day.  I'm loving these...look at those eyes!  Amazing.

Whole Jalapenos

Today I had to pick another pound of jalapenos from the garden, and added to the other pound and a half that I had in the house, it was time to do some canning.  I pickled these whole this time (yes, I think they've worn me down! ha!)
The peppers are so much bigger from the fall garden, with thicker walls.  I really have to say, I'm loving the quality of the fall garden.
 I just trimmed the stems a bit, then packed into the sterile jars.
Cover with a boiled mix of 2 c. vinegar, 2 c. water, 1 tsp. canning salt, and minced garlic.  Tuck in a bay leaf.
 Process in hot water bath for 30 minutes.  You're done!
Ready for some BBQ!

The Garden Jungle

Note to self:  next year, let's plant the fall squash out in the field or somewhere out of the way so that it doesn't crawl and meander into every corner of the garden, making it impossible to walk anywhere without tripping over vines and HUGE leaves, tendrils and squash flowers, large squashes and who knows what's growing and crawling under them.  Whew!
The Orange Cushaw squash is especially agressive!  But it's also the most prolific, there are cushaws in every size out there! Please, please, please don't freeze!

I took these pics at the edges of the garden....

This one is ripening!

Little Ms. Addie

Her momma sent me a picture this week!
She's so cute!  Can't wait to meet her in person.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Catching Up on My Photo-a-Days

I've gotten off track on my photo-a-day project, but I knew that would happen! I think when it came to "Good Night, Moon", and it was cloudy all day and evening, I knew it was hopeless.  But, I'm persevering ....
The Letter A
Our very old ax on a stump.  We have this up on the pavilion edge, John uses it to chop wood for his grill.  It's been used for many other things thru the years.
Black & White
I did a photo of our black & white Bantam rooster, Harley. By the way, he's black and white! Harly, please ignore the ax hanging there above your head, you will never have to worry about that!
Happiness for me is working in my veggie garden.  The fall garden is still growing gang-busters.  The first frost will be devestating, but can't be stopped, so I hope I can take it without a lot of crying! Whaaa!
A blue pumpkin that I bought at the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago.  It's really kind of a sagey green, but it still is unique.
Guilty Pleasure
No explanation necessary, right?  I only give in once in a while.....I promise!
In my spare time (ha! I'm still looking for's here somewhere, I know it) I'm crocheting a nice warm new scarf.  "Winter is Coming!"
Something Old
This is a yoke for a horse team that I have from my Grandpa Vahalik from his farm in Yoakum, Texas.  It's one of the very few things that I have of theirs.  

I missed a few days that I'm planning to do when I see the perfect photo op:  
Up Close
Good Night Moon

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lost Maples Trip, October 2012

Today we had such a great time going along with KT and her Mom & Dad to Lost Maples State Park!  We started the morning with a nice breakfast here at Mimi & Grumpy's house, then took off to see the park.
We were about a month too early for the really red maple leaves, but it was so much fun to see KT do some of the fun hiking that we took our kids to back when they were small.
We're here!
We had so many pictures of our kids on this rock formation!
We just went on the short hike today, it turned out a little warm after all, although it was beautiful!  KT was a great trooper - she walked the entire time!
A wonderful fall tradition that we need to build on!
Apple break!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Zombify me!

I wasted  spent an hour I'll never get back today Zombifying a photo of me.  Oh well, that's what retirement is all about, right!?  Ha! Go to to do the same with a photo of you!

Happy Halloween!  

Mom on Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mom was in a good state yesterday when I went to see her.  She was quiet, listening to the television show for a while and repeating some of the dialogue.  She was sleepy, though, so went to sleep quite soon.  According to her aide, she ate lunch in the dining room and did real well.  

KT's Halloween Skirt

I don't think I ever posted a picture of KT in her cute little Halloween skirt!  She seems to love it!

Kale Chips!

I'm getting some really big leaves from the Red Russian Kale, so I needed to find out how to use this plant. I've read that it can get bitter, so I tried part of a leaf and it was very mild, I think this would be good just raw in a salad, along with other lettuces.  It doesn't have that "greens" taste that I don't like.

Many of the gardening blogs recommend Kale chips, so I decided to give these a chance.  Easy, peasy to make.
 Trim off the stems.
 Aren't these leaves beautiful?!
 Cut or tear leaves into chip size pieces, then toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Add seasonings as you desire.  I put seasoning salt (that included garlic salt and parsley) and tossed it in a bag with the olive oil.
 You can oven dry or dehydrate (which I did) 125 degrees for 10 hours.  I saw some recipes that call for frying in oil, too, which are probably delicious, but we stay away from fried when we can.
These are pretty, and really seem to just melt in your mouth.  Really good, although I think I over-did the salt (I'll shake on less salt next time).  Kale has lots of benefits vitamin-wise, so I give this idea a B+ (only because they're not Cheetos, you know?!) ha ha ha!

I have a small bed of Dinosaur kale coming along, too, although much slower then the Red Russian. It's supposed to get really big, so it'll probably be in the garden all winter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The garlic has arrived!

Well, finally!  The garlic is here and I'm ready to put it in the ground on Saturday morning.  The other garlic that I planted earlier has all come up, even the elephant garlic, so I'm hoping these will do well too.  I ordered 1/2 pound of each one, which turned out to be about 3 to 4 heads of garlic of each variety.

This one is called Transylvania.  From the catalog: This great garlic originated in a small village in the heart of the Transylvanian Mountains and was discovered in a Romanian Farmers’ Market in the mid-1990’s. Stores well. Smells divine when cooked and holds its flavor well in all kinds of dishes either fresh or cooked. 

 Garlic Ajo Rojo. From the catalog: Ajo Rojo is a beautiful and distinctive garlic with red/burgundy clove wrappers and good storage. It sizes up nicely in warmer growing areas with many bulbs reaching 2" diameter. Silky bulb wrappers. Vigorous root system and late harvest for incredibly rich flavor.

 Chinese Pink.  From the catalog: Very early variety that produces a nice very compact bulb with many small cloves layered inside the bulb. Chinese Pink is the earliest to harvest in spring when planted the previous fall. You can have garlic at least a month earlier than any other variety. Has a delicious mild flavor for many culinary uses.
Garlic Maiskij.  From the catalog: Maiskij is another beautiful Turban garlic with a rich garlicky flavor that has a robust pungency. Grows well in most of the USA. Turbans are the very earliest harvesting garlics that store until mid-November and need to be planted early in the fall.

The last one I didn't get a photo of is a California Garlic (called Extra Select.)  The catalog says: These California produced mother bulbs are made up of several cloves.
These widely adapted garlics are easy to grow and will keep 10 months. Proven tops for performance, flavor and wide adaptability. Great choice for home gardeners.

These will fill up my last fall bed and will be there all winter and spring.  I sure hope all goes well!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy Halloween Season!

Well, I had some fun this week making KT a cute little frilly Halloween-season skirt!  This thing had three layers of ruffles (I wonder what I was thinking!? I hate making ruffles!!)  But, thankfully this particular little girl is worth it, so I persevered.
I followed these directions that call for each ruffle to be attached to its own layer, very easy to follow, and really highlighted the ruffles.  I hope KT likes it!

Pumpkin Spice Instant Creamer

I followed this recipe yesterday and made some Pumpkin Spice Creamer!  It wasn't without some effort, I have to say.  Despite her telling us that adding the vanilla to it would be fine, it gummed up my blender something awful!  I had to let it dry out some and then put it in my food processor to get it right.  If you make it, you might want to just start with a food processor and add the vanilla in little drops until its all incorporated.  I'm usually a black coffee only person, but occasionally I like to give myself a treat ... I tried it in my coffee this morning and it was delicious!! Now it feels like fall...