Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finally frost....

Sadly woke up to this on Wednesday morning....
Here in the main garden and in the pumpkin/watermelon patch....
Oh well, it had to happen sooner or later.  I cut off all of the squash and pumpkins that were on the vines and we'll just see if they ripen enough to use, and John and I pulled up all the vines - the deer love them, so we threw them over the fence.  Everything else in the garden is supposedly frost resistant and should be okay for most of the winter.  Time to take a rest....

More pumpkin and squash....

Still processing the pumpkins and squashes!
This is the Amish Pie Pumpkin that I raised.  Not sure if its a good example of how big they can get, as this one is obviously fairly small.  Just keeping the pumpkin to use, no seeds on this one.
I believe this is either a Canada Crookneck or a  Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck.  I  bought it at HEB, so it wasn't labeled with any name other than "winter squash".  In any case, its a crookneck winter squash.
This is a real old Dumpling squash.  Too old to eat, so it's going to the deer, but I'm saving the seeds first!
Inside the crookneck
Now for the Porcelain Doll pumpkin!  This is a hybrid, so I'm not sure how the seeds will do, but I'm willing to try!  John had to help me open this one up, it has walls about 1-1/2 to 2" thick, with a real small seed cavity. FULL of pumpkin!

Mom on Wednesday, November 28

What a great day!  She was awake when I got there and, although she was having her usual dialogue, she was laughing occasionally and seemed happy.  She opened her eyes and looked at me several times.  Good, good day.
Look at those gorgeous blue eyes!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saving Pumpkin...

Today I processed the blue pumpkin that I bought at the pumpkin patch last October.  This little guy has slowly changed colors as it has graced the front was a decided blueish-sage green color when I bought it, but it has slowly changed to totally green, then to a dark orange-green.
When I cut it open it was a brilliant, beautiful orange gold.  
  • Cut the top off, scoop out the seeds and stringy guts - save the seeds!
  • Place the top back on, then spray the pumpkin with a little olive oil.
  • Pop it in the oven, covered with tin foil.  
  • Baked at 350 for about 1-1/2 hours.  
  • Cool.
  • Cut into slices and scoop away any left over strings, and then the pumpkin from the skin.  
  • The chickens will get the skin and any bits of cooked pumpkin that are left on them in the morning!
  • Mash the cooked pumpkin, then place it in the blender and make puree (isn't that a brilliant orange!?)
Scoop the puree into a piece of cheesecloth and hang to remove some of the liquid.  I'll leave it overnight and  pack this away into the freezer tomorrow. Most recipes call for about 2 cups of pumpkin, so I'll freeze in that amount. 
Now, I only have 3 more white pumpkins that I raised this year to process the same way....whew! 

Seed Saving

Since it's time to clear away the fall decorations to make room for Christmas, I'm busy saving seeds from some of these interesting fall squash and gourds so that I can grow my own next year!  I purposely tried to find some different and unusual squash this year in the grocery store and at the pumpkin patch for that reason.  BY THE WAY, if you had any that you're considering throwing in the trash can, please just send them my way instead.  I'm keeping the seeds and giving our deer some pumpkiny treats!  I'd love to have them.

Yesterday I dug into this warty, dark orange little squash.  I'm not sure what it is, but I'm on the hunt through my various seed catalogs.  I found this little guy at HEB.

This one is a Turban Squash, also sometimes called a Turks Cap, also found at HEB.  Gorgeous thing.  These are edible, for sure, so he's going to the deer.

I washed the seeds, straining them several times to remove the threads of squash guts, then they'll dry here for a few weeks.  Then I'll pick thru and find the biggest and most perfect seeds out of the pile to keep for 2013.
Today I'll do a couple of others, including that blue pumpkin that I got at the pumpkin patch back in October.  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tularosa Vineyards

Saturday we started the day with breakfast at The Log Cabin. Santa was standing right behind me while I ate! Good meal and a popular stop that got crowded!
We took off to pick up some wine at our favorite winery, Tularosa Vineyards. Love their sweet wines, especially their Muscats. Seriously good wine! We got out of there with some good wines for the holidays. Then we took a drive up to the Sierra Blanca mountain. Sad to see all of the devastation done by the recent fires they had up here. It breaks your heart.
Ski Apache was supposed to open on Friday but has delayed until December 1st. There's snow up there, though! The ski lodge up there was having some water line issues, I think.

Mountain at Ski Apache
Santa arrived at the restaurant

Ruidoso Get-Away, II

Catching up, yesterday we woke up late and took our time getting ready to spend the day in downtown Ruidoso. We walked the entire strip up and back, exploring all of the little shops we remembered and some new ones that have appeared. Of course, I was looking for little things for KT Bug, so that was fun! I also got some seeds for my garden, and we hit the fudge shop. We had lunch at an Irish Pub called Grace O. Malley's. I had a coffee called Almond Joy which had some very strong liquor in it...whew!
Then we took a drive to Ft Stanton and Capitan. In the evening we dressed up and went to the Inn of the Mountain Gods. John and I gambled (donated money to the tribe.) ha ha!! We had supper at their buffet, which was just meh...I'm spoiled by Vegas, baby!

KT is gonna get a little 3 bears hoodie!
So he's going for the spades flush, huh?
We heard that the ghost pepper was the hottest ever, so we decided we had to try this.
Lunch at Grace O'Malley's

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving in Ruidoso

Well, my posts are going to be short because my laptop won't boot. Arghhh! Why me?!!
We had breakfast here this morning and then took a drive around 10 am to tour the downtown area (most everything was close, as they should be!) We drove up thru the mountains a bit and then returned to make our Thanksgiving lunch around 1pm. Delicious, even though I bought the whole thing already cooked! I hope everyone had a fabulous day!

Front porch of the cabin
Our Thanksgiving Feast!
View of the mountain from Ruidoso, New Mexico

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ruidoso Get Away!

Off today for a five day mountain get away since both the kids and family are elsewhere this holiday. We have a soft spot in our hearts for this little town-some great memories made here!
The trip was different this time. First, the oil business seemed to be bustling in west Texas again. Lots of oil wells and tankers going full blast! Busy, busy road!
We arrived in town around 3 pm. What a cute little cabin. Perfect for two.
Tonight we had a little cheese and meat platter here, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I'll update tomorrow after we see what we can get into!
New oil wells and tanks all the way in West Texas
Back porch of our little cabin, John was feeding the deer some apple
Mule deer
Rain on our way into Ruidoso
Front porch of our little cabin #5

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Movie Review --- Skyfall

WOW!!! This movie was so good...they really did a full on nod to the old style James Bond movies, from the opening (song by Adele) all the way to the end of the movie!
The main theme of the movie is all about "M" as it is the (major spoiler alert here) end of the road for her. (I'm wondering why Judi Dench would want to quit this series?! Crazy!)  And the bad guy is a master at playing a crazy man, Javier Bardeen, who was the crazy killer in the No Country for Old Men movie several years ago. You'll recognize Eve Moneypenny as the swamp witch in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Great pace, lots of action!  We loved it!
4 Stars!!

Fun with KT!

We had lots of fun this weekend - KT came to spend the night!
Trip to the library, baking cookies, playing on the pavilion....
Riding behind the tractor on the flat bed....
Playing with the Thanksgiving turkey... (we think this poor turkey is about 23 years's held up pretty good!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fig tree maintenance!

Time to prune the fig tree back.  I cut it back by 1/4, which is the advice that I'm reading across the internet, and also trimmed off a shoot from the bottom of the plant, leaving three main branches.

Then we circled the tree with a plastic netting, and filled it in with oak leaves to protect it from the winter weather.  As you can see from the photo, I still need to haul a few more buckets of leaves, but it's almost done. That's it!

I also took the trimmed pieces and stuck them in potting soil.  I'm hearing that fig is one of the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings....we'll see! I have some milk carton cloches to put over them should it get terribly cold.  So far we still haven't had a killing frost....still waiting.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Garden Cleanup Begins....

We're supposed to get our first freeze tonight, so today I spent several hours beginning the fall garden clean up.
First went the tomatoes.  I cannot believe how well we did with the tomatoes this year.
Sad, empty buckets...
The Juliette was our best performer, even after I cut the plant back at the end of the summer, we continued to get these little beauties.  The fall Juliette's were thicker, with much thicker walls then the spring ones, almost what I would call a paste tomato.
The Super Sweet 100's mini cherry tomato was also a consistent performer - we had these little tomatoes all year long.
My disappointment was the heirloom plant, the Brandywine.  The plant itself was gorgeous, deep green, leafy, and about 10 to 12 foot tall.  Beautiful plant, but very few tomatoes. I don't think I'll try this one again.
There was a late addition of a Black Prince, a Cherokee and a German Johnson heirloom tomato, and each of them were raised in pots. I got a few tomatoes from each of them, but I think they would have both done much better in one of the tomato towers that my others were in.  Oh well, next year!
Before I turned around, the deer were eating the garden waste...
So, the total for the fall garden (Late August to today) was 7# 11.9 ounces.  The total of the spring and fall was a grand total of 43# 10.7 ounces for the year.  And we haven't had to buy a tomato in the store since May!
I pulled all of the green tomatoes off of the plants before tossing them to the deer.  I have a total of 2#4.4 ounces of green tomatoes - I think I'll make this crushed green tomato spread that I found online and saved to one of my Pinterest boards.
Mostly all green tomatoes!
Next I pulled some of the winter squash that were close to harvest time, since I don't want to lose those to the weather.  Beautiful squash!  Some of the plants have already been frost blasted, so they aren't looking too good anyway.
Cushaws, Thelma Saunders Sweet Potato Squash, Pink Banana Squash, and a little Honey Boat Delicata! That dark green thing in the lower left is a gourd, my last one!
Last (I'm exhausted!) I covered the pumpkin patch with a plastic tarp to try to save them.  Most of them have just set squash, and they aren't anywhere near ready to harvest.  We'll see if that helps. Fingers crossed!

All Hail Caesar

“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the ‘new, wonderful, good society’ which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean: more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.” 

— Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sunday, November 11, 2012

KT learns to fly an airplane....

Well, not really! But she did try to fly a balsa wood airplane today.  Stupid thing kept falling apart.

Fall Garden update...

I had some help watering the pumpkin/squash patch today!  KT loves to water the plants.

We've been worrying about a freeze that was supposed to take place this week, but it looks like the forecast is changing some, so we may get lucky and it might miss us.  I went ahead and pulled up the last of the six jalapeno plants, and a few of the green pepper plants.  I plan to go ahead and pull up the rest early this week. These won't survive a freeze, and I wanted to salvage as many of them as I could.

I did finally cover the garlic with a couple of inches of hay to start, so it should be okay for a freeze.  I'll add another layer of hay after this one settles a bit. There is FINALLY a head on one of the purple cauliflower plants!! Yeah! It's the only one so far, but I feel hopeful now that the others will follow the lead!

Supper Club, November 2012

We had our German Fest supper on Saturday night! It was lots of fun, good friends and lots of good food.  We ate Pollack's sausage, Red Cabbage with Apples, Fresh Sauerkraut, Hot German Potato Salad, and a delicious dessert called Autumn Nut Torte. was so good!
It was so great to just sit and enjoy the company, which included a couple of extras this time, Ella and Addie Wren!  Addie is a duplicate copy of her older sister!
I did a horrible job of taking pictures (I don't seem to be in my usual swing with my cameras lately.  I'm going to focus on getting back to taking some better photos.)
Oh, yeah, it was as good as it looks....
Oh, and did I mention the beer tasting?
Yes, we had the requisite damn games....
Laden table
Autumn Nut Torte
Poor Addie, she was tired of that German music too...