Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer Garden Notes -- August 31, 2016

Not much to report except that we've started the vegetable garden clean-up to get ready for a fall garden.  Yesterday all of the okra plants were pulled up (thanks, John!) and fed to the deer.  They stripped those things clean in no time.

Then John pulled up all of the stakes, etc. and mowed, I raked, and then he tilled the garden for me.  

Meanwhile, I cleaned up all of the pepper plants, cutting them down some, weeding and fertilizing, then covering the ground with a thick layer of hay.  I'm keeping these going until the first frost, which should be several months away for us. We've already harvest over 22 pounds of peppers so far this year!  I'm also leaving several of the tomato plants just to eek out a few more until frost. I'll be working around those plants tomorrow, fertilizing and mulching with hay.

Turk on the left, Gray on the right

The turkeys joined us for the morning, following both of us around and snatching bugs whenever we uncovered them.  These two are totally entertaining, especially Turk.  She's such a pet.

I'm having a very frustrating time trying to start plants for the fall garden - of all the seeds I planted a few weeks ago, I have ONE cabbage plant to show for it.  Very frustrating.  I'm going to try again, but this wasn't a good start.  Sigh..... None of my tomato seeds came up - they may have been too old. I think I'll just toss all of these and buy a couple of plants for the greenhouse. We go with the flow...right?!

A little crafting for the fall season....

I don't know what it is about fall, but I always get the craft bug when September rolls around.  I've spent the last couple of days working on a few projects - one is this sign for the front entryway.  It's two sided (I got the inspiration for it from Pinterest, of course) so I can use if for early fall, and again when November rolls around.  It was lots of fun to work on.
 I just used a board that I found out in John's barn (hope he didn't need this one!), sprayed one side with orange paint, and the other side with brown.  Then I printed up the letters using Word.  I rub pencil on the back side, then trace the letters out on the board - the pencil leaves a border for me to work with.
 Then fill in the letters with acrylic paint.  Then I did some leaf rubbings on the bottom of the board (fall colors of acrylic paint on the front of a few leaves from our big oak tree), then just rubbed and pulled off.  I let this all dry overnight, then filled in the veining of the leaves a little, just to make them look complete.
 Next I did a little fly speckling using black paint to give the sign an aged look.
 After the speckles dried, I rubbed the entire side with a "scratch and cover" oil to age and finish it.  One side done!
 I'm not quite sure where I'll put it yet, but here's how it will look on the porch.
 Then I did the same on the brown side, following all the same steps.  I didn't speckle this side, and I used a picture of a turkey that I cut out at the bottom. I just put paint on a sponge and pressed around the turkey to leave the impression.

Should look good come November! 
Now I'm off to make a couple of fall wreaths!

Pickled Red Onions

John requested these, so of course I had to make them.  I wish I could say that I raised these onions myself, but I'm really not good with onions.  I keep trying, but really can't seem to grow a nice big bulb.

Anyway, I followed this recipe, although I didn't have any star anise, so left that out.  They should still be tasty in a week or so!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Wine Season -- Elderberry Wine - Step Four

This morning I siphoned the elderberry wine out of the carboy and into a bucket, cleaned out the carboy and siphoned it back in.  This got rid of a heavy layer of sediment in the bottom.  

I also added more sugar, this wine is not tasting like the batch I made last year. Not sure what the difference is, maybe the bigger batch? 

Anyway, it is
"wine-y" but not the heavy, sweet wine of last year's batch.  We'll see how this goes.  I'm going to leave it another two weeks before racking it.  I hope I'm not making a big batch of vinegar.... ha!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Garden Notes -- August 20, 2016

It's still mostly all okra and peppers now.  John and I cut back the tomatoes, severely, and they are slowly sending out new shoots, but it might be a few weeks to see any tomatoes again.  I spent one afternoon making more fried okra for the freezer.
 I'm also pulling up all of the onions that I planted in the spring - they didn't do very well, but I'm drying those that I have.  This tray of mixed white, yellow and red onions dried in the oven overnight. I like the toasty taste that gives them.
 It's so hard to catch the okra before it's overgrown, but I've kept a few of the bigger pods to dry for next years okra.  I'm only keeping the Silver Queen - its the best okra plant we've ever grown.  Prolific and tasty.  The Gold Coast is nice, but not as prolific and gets "woody" too quickly. I won't get that one again.
Getting ready for the fall garden now, too.  I started this tray of Brussels sprouts and cabbage this past week. It's out on the porch on a heating pad, since we've had such mild weather lately.  Lots of rain and no sunshine.  
These are:
  • Long Island Catskill Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage, Golden Acre
  • Cabbage, Red Express
  • Cabbage, Danish Ballhead
  • Cabbage, Gonzalez F1
  • Cabbage, Savoy Perfection
  • Cabbage, Early Flat Dutch

 I'm hoping to try my hand at sauerkraut this year if any of these survive.

On Friday I pulled all of the tomatoes out of the freezer and processed those that I had in the fridge for a last batch of salsa.  This made 5 pints and 6 half pints.  Sadly, we're eating this stuff as fast as I'm making it! ha! Oh well, that's what its for, right?

 On Friday morning I found my pot of kale had exploded with growth again - I'm sure the rain we've been having has helped it along.  I still love kale...I'm hoping to have quite a bit of it in the fall garden, too.
Look at these beautiful Candy Apple Red Peppers that I picked on Friday!! Also a big bunch of jalapenos again. I think we're going to try our hand at making some jalapeno poppers for the freezer with some of these.  Should be fun to try.
None of the tomato seeds that I planted a few weeks ago germinated, so I'm going to start those again.  This time I'm pre-germinating the seeds to see if any of them are viable.  We'll see how that goes in a few days.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Movie Review --- Suicide Squad

I had never even heard of the Suicide Squad, but I guess they are part of the DC comic super hero universe, along with Superman and Batman. They are also known as Task Force X.  A collection of meta-humans that are the worst of the worst, put together by the government to go after other bad guys. Of course, they've been injected by an explosive capsule to insure they don't stray from the mission. (I'm talking to you, Slipknot!)

I really liked this movie -- I've had read some not very good reviews before we went, but they had it wrong, at least for me as a fan. Very, very entertaining movie. 

 They spent quite a while at the beginning introducing each of the characters, which was good since I really had no idea. 
Will Smith did a great job of playing Deadshot.  He needed a hit movie, since he's not been doing a great job of picking audience favorites lately. I've been wondering what happened to him -- he used to make the best movies. Glad he's finally back.

The star of the movie was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. She was the Joker's psychologist in the insane asylum that he was put in, and fell in love with him. He in turn made her as insane as he is.  She MADE this movie -- what a great acting job.  Really really good!

I'll just say, ignore the critics and go see this movie if you're a fan of super hero movies.  I hope they make another film about this group -- I'll be there!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day NINETEEN --- Water Play All Day Week

Our final day of Mimi's Summer Day Camp of 2016.  I can't believe how fast this summer has flown by. We started the day with "Working at the Toy Wash!" The girls got to fill up tubs with soapy water and wash down all of their dusty toys from the pavilion - bikes, trikes, push carts, etc.  They look new and shiny now! Good job, girls! 

 Then they just started playing with the water, the hose and tubs, jumping in and out.  Lots of fun!
Grumpy was putting a new coat of stain on the little house, so KT went out to help him.  She got to paint one side herself. 

 Then we had a really long morning swim -- the water was perfect! 


 After lunch and rest time, we did some ice painting! This was fun and the girls got to keep cool by picking up their ice blocks and turning them over and over.  

 Joss's masterpiece!
 After they were done we rinsed the blocks off and put them in Sydney's water bowl.  She loved it! Then we all got ready and headed to town for a final day of camp treat.  We went to Bahama Buck's for a super delicious snow cone!

 Yes, Joss, we loved it!
 Joss had a blue raspberry - her whole mouth, lips and tip of her nose ended up a bright blue color!

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day EIGHTEEN --- Water Play All Day Week

Originally we had planned this week to be Camping Week, but with the temps hovering around 100 degrees, we decided it would be just too hot in a tent, so a quick change of plans was in order.  We're having lots and lots of water play this last week of summer camp.  

First up, a water pouring station - which was a couple of big tubs filled with containers of every sort.  The girls used food coloring to make various colors and then combined them to see what new colors they could make.  They had lots of fun!

 KT enjoys mixing things -- wonder if she's a budding scientist?
 Joss may have gotten a little carried away with the blue food coloring....
 Then we made some little floating boats using an old pool noodle....
After that water play, the girls took turns whacking at some balloon pinatas!  A little harder then we imagined, actually....Grumpy had to put a nail in the end of the plastic baseball bat to puncture these balloons because they were pretty tough.  But when they broke it was FABULOUS!!! Everyone got their share of being in the splash zone.

We had a wonderful morning swim before lunch - the girls loved being in their swim suits all day today.

The girls played with their water stations some more after rest time, an afternoon swim and then home so that KT could make her dance class today.  We had so much fun today just enjoying the water!
Ending with Popsicles, of course!