Sunday, November 29, 2015

Remembering Mom today....

It's been a full year.  I think of her all the time and miss her so much.  
Love you, Mom!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Week begins.....

Today we were honored to have lunch with KT at her Kindergarten Thanksgiving luncheon.  They are off of school all next week, how nice for them!
 Mimi, KT and Grumpy

The cafeteria was all decked out in fall finery - KT had made her own place-mat and headdress.  Her parents were also there!
 Jeff, KT and Colleen
 Someone was happy to see her family!
 KT's headdress -- pretty feathers in her favorite colors

After lunch, KT went back to class and we went off to see a movie.  When I was back home I got a start on my Thanksgiving meal by making the cranberry sauce (two ways).  I made regular whole berry sauce, and Cranberry orange sauce.  I love the smell and colors of cranberries!

 And finally, I tried to recreate a cookie I found on Pinterest the other day.  Sigh.  Let me just say, they make it look so easy, but nothing is really that easy.  Ha!  They probably taste good, though.

How's your Thanksgiving planning going?

Lost Maples State Park

We took a little walk on Thursday -- the Maple trail at Lost Maples State Park.  I was hoping that the maple trees had changed colors, but they were just starting to.  The Ranger said that they've had too much hot weather and too much rain lately.

“Come said the wind to the leaves one day,
Come o’re the meadows and we will play.
Put on your dresses scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone and the days grow cold.”
-        A children’s song of the 1880s

This is about what all of the maples look like - just touched with red.

It was still very pretty, and I just love the colors of autumn.  We had company with us, the Hoyt's and two of the cutest little munchkins you could ever see - Ella and Addie!
 Grandma Hoyt, Ella and Addie
 Beeps and Addie
 The girls in the jaws of the shark rock!
 John enjoying the peace and tranquility of the stream
John and Ella in front of the Monkey Rocks

We took a picnic lunch along with us and had it at one of the picnic tables after our short walk.  It was so nice not to have to fight off bugs and mosquitoes, another bonus of going in the fall.  A wonderful day.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fall Garden Notes, November 13, 2015

Yesterday I harvested our one sweet potato plant from the experiment I started last spring.  This was one grocery store sweet potato that sat in the kitchen too long and started to sprout in the potato bin.  I decided to cut it up and plant it in a "bag" like I had read about on the internet, although I did not use a fancy grow-bag, just a contractors trash bag.  I punched a few holes in the bottom and held it up with a wire mesh ring, and collared it tight with some baling wire.  This plant grew beautifully all summer in front of the potting shed.
Today I put some plastic tarp on the ground and pushed it over on top.  I could see a promising sign when I looked at the bottom -- the roots had started to push through the bag and into the ground beneath it, and I spied an orange nugget of potato there.  Eureka!!
I pulled out as much of the leaves and vines from the top, and a few little small potato nuggets came out with them. Then I began rolling the container back and forth to spill out as much of the dirt as I could, digging up potatoes as it went.  Wow, I was completely surprised to see how many beautiful potatoes came spilling out.
I haven't weighed them, but there were about 6 nice sized potatoes, and another 4 or 5 smaller ones, along with a handful of little nuggets.  I'm letting these season some in the greenhouse right now for about a week, then I'll wash them and bring them in.
Aren't they beautiful?  All from one grocery store potato.  I'll definitely do this again next spring.  So much easier then digging them out of the ground.
I spent some time trying to clean up the huge Brazos blackberry plant area, too.  What a mess -- and scratchy too!  We haven't harvested even one blackberry from this 3 year old plant yet, so I'm cursing this plant as I work on it.  It bloomed beautifully this summer, covered in little white flowers, but no fruit.  I only got about 1/2 way done yesterday, and I think I need to put on a heavy long sleeve shirt before I go back at it, I have plenty of little scratches on my arms.  
 One nice thing, I got to use my new little garden gadget that the kids gave me for my birthday (thank you all so much! I love it!) It's a seat that swivels on a wheeled cart.  It has a nice little tray to put my tools on (scissors, gloves, cutters) and a place for the garden trudge.  I'm dumping the dead stems into the burn pile as I go.  Goodbye and good riddance, blackberry thorns!  This plant better start producing next summer, or I'm digging the entire thing out.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fall Garden Notes, November 9, 2015

We're swimming in peppers this year -- I can't explain it.  Most years we get a handful or a bit more, usually enough to put up a couple of jars of jalapeno rings and have green peppers for the summer, but this year has been truly amazing.
Today I froze green pepper rings on cookie sheets lined with wax paper, and in the morning I'll transfer those to bags for the freezer.  I have three cookie sheets of these in the freezer right now.  I'm predicting these will be used for fajitas in the next few months. (Yum!)

The jalapenos we also processed today, John helped me cut them into rings. Another 6 jars today, for a total of 22 jars of jalapeno rings this year.  I may not need to grow but one plant next spring -- it's going to take a while to use this many. Whew!
It's funny, when I first start canning in the spring, I'm always looking for cute labels and stickers to make my jars pretty, but by the end of the crop, it's all I can do to write the date on the top of the jar.  Serviceable, but not pretty. Ha!
I still have a few smallish poblano peppers that I think we will be using for Stuffed Poblanos this week.  This recipe looks pretty good!
Not a freeze in sight yet, but the nights have been dipping into the high 40s here within the last few weeks.  The peppers don't look like they're gonna stop any time soon.... Sigh....

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A lovely weekend....

We were supposed to go to the Octoberfest in New Braunsfels on Saturday, but the rain (and rain, and more rain....) kept us from going.  Instead, we got to smoke some sausage at home and had everyone (except Ashley -- she was MISSED!) out for lunch here.

I wish I had taken some pictures, but I didn't even get the camera out until later in the day after JR left for home, and Jeff & Colleen were over at their place burning some cedar.  Thankfully all the rain let them get rid of some of it.
I got to keep Joss at home while they worked, but we finally went over there in the last hour to take a look.  Here's a few pics from the day.....
 The girls pitched right in!

 Joss communicating with the stuffed turkey
 We had a tiny tea party!
Feeding the deer.

Remember when I was worried that the Morning Glories wouldn't bloom.....

Well, I worry no more.  They are putting on a Heavenly Blue, magnificent show this week! Just beautiful!

Friday, November 6, 2015

How many chances to be like this man have I missed....

This touched me today.  It makes me question my life.

Happy (?) Birthday to me

Turned 65 today.  First email I got this morning was from Medicare.  God help me.

Fall Garden Notes, November 6, 2015

Everything is growing out in the greenhouse, the Sleeping Lady tomatoes have put on fruit and are doing great.  This is a dwarf tomato plant, so it doesn't get real tall, which is great for the greenhouse.  I have a regular red cherry plant, too, and it's growing, but no fruit on it yet.
Out in the garden, some of the plants have been struggling with all of the water -- we've had some really great rain, and I'll never complain about rain, but I think I've lost some of the little Swiss Chard and beet plants.  The lettuce seedlings, however, seems to love the water.
 Burgandy Boston lettuce
 Lollo Rosa lettuce
Rapini Broccoli
 Rossa Di Treviso radicchio
 The celery is enjoying the water, too!
The pepper plants are all so loaded, they have to be braced up.  So many jalapenos, awk! I guess I'll have to do some more jalapeno rings.

Inside the greenhouse, all the little seedlings are growing well.  
Dwarf Pak Choy
Two little volunteer tomato plants that came up in the garden.  Not sure which these are, but I thought I'd give them a chance.
 More little seedlings.  Those are the two mini-banana trees that I got from Baker Creek in the spring. They've been on the pool deck ever since, but will be in the greenhouse for the winter.  I've been real impressed, these started at about 2" tall.
I have a few herbs going in the greenhouse -- Italian basil, red velvet basil, and cilantro so far.

As I sit here, it's raining again.  As we drove by Medina lake yesterday, we couldn't help but be impressed with how beautiful it looks now since the abundant spring rain that helped fill it.  Thank you, God, for all the rain this fall.  Keep it coming!