Friday, September 22, 2017

Great Day of Sunshine

We did have a lovely, warm(ish), sun-filled day all day yesterday but I didn't get as much done in the garden as I wanted.

About 1:30 p.m. Papa Pea banished me from outside as he was tearing apart the whole apiary dividing and combining the various hives to get them in the shape he wanted for the winter.  We had one heckuva lot of angry bees flying around, and he was afraid one (or more) of them would take out their upsetness on me.  I haven't gotten stung once this whole season, I'm happy to say, and didn't want to ruin the record so I abandoned my garden work for the day.

Good thing I got a lot done before then.

All the onions are harvested and laid out to begin the curing process.  Although the picture doesn't look like it, I planted an equal number of yellow and red onions.  I know the word is red onions usually don't keep as well as yellow ones, but I've always had good luck with them.

The slicing cukes in the cold frame are still producing like mad.  Even the trellis of pickling cucumbers (Papa Pea was going to make some fermented pickles, but changed his mind) which have no protection from the less than good pickle growing temps are doing well.  I've found that we like them chunked up in our kimchi mix and that's what I'm using them for.

What a haul of green peppers I found.  If you want to find me later today, I'll be in the kitchen making another double batch of stuffed green peppers for the freezer.

Lastly . . . Kowabunga, Chief!!  I found an eggplant!

Have you ever seen a more grotesquely formed eggplant?  Maybe it looks better from the other side.

No, I guess not.  The slugs apparently liked it though as there are all kinds of ugly-bugly slug nibbles all over it.  This was the only fruit that formed on any of my four plants.  Sigh.

Methinks the forecast for today's rain was accurate.  We've had rolling thunder all morning and now this.  The above picture, looking out our living room windows, was taken a couple of minutes ago at 8:58 a.m.  Is that spooky, or what?  It was actually that dark outside.  Aaaannd . . . the torrential rains just started along with really blowsy winds.  Batten down the hatches, men!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Waiting for Paint to Dry

That's just an expression.  In reality, I'm waiting for the dew to dry.

We've had wet, rainy days for the past several and more are forecast to begin tomorrow.  But today (promises, promises) is going to be full sunshine.  At least that's what they're telling us.

I have a bit of harvesting and LOTS of clean-up to do in the garden so while I wait for the paint the heavy dew to dry, I'm trying to accomplish some things inside here.

The geese are all fat and happy.  (Good thing for the healthiness of the gaggle because several of them are destined for the freezer this fall.)  They are nearly always together in a bunch, roaming the poultry pasture, gobbling green grass, swimming in the pond, making noise and sometimes looking for trouble.

This is Little Annie who arrived from the hatchery last year with her right foot folded completely under.

We splinted it and although it will always be a bit deformed, she walks without a limp and gets along just fine.

The white and gray duck in the center of the picture is Miss Friendly.  She's always eager to come "talk" with you.  And when you enter the pen with a feed bucket in your hand, she keeps pulling on your pant legs until a pan of feed is on the ground.  (Maybe she's not so much friendly as a little piggy.)

Despite the wet, cool weather some of our tomatoes are actually ripening.  (I can hardly believe it.)  This is an old heirloom, Oregon Spring, sometimes misshapen tomato, but delicious . . . if it can manage to ripen up here near the tundra.

I've got thirteen large pumpkins that are starting to turn color.  Yippee!

Just look at these apples on one of our dwarf trees! This shot is straight out of the camera with no color enhancing.

Can't say enough about these "Ring of Fire" sunflowers.  They're only about 4' tall, but are very prolific and last a long, long time as cut flowers.  Love 'em.

Here's my mint bed I've been coaxing along for a couple of years.  (Yeah, I know, most people find mint spreads like wildfire and can take over the acreage, but [sigh] not mine.)  It's finally (almost) filled the bed.  I've been cutting and drying it all summer to squirrel away for Papa Pea's daily cup o' mint tea.  Matter of fact, I have some in the dehydrator as we speak . . . and I'd better sign off and go check it!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quilting Book Winner and Some Quilting of My Own

The winner of the three quilting books I offered as a giveaway in my last post is:

Susan of Susan's Blog

Thanks to all of you who entered the drawing.  Susan, if you will send me your mailing address, I'll get the books off to you pronto.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I've been able to spend a little time in my quilt room these last couple of weeks since gardening/harvesting season is winding down.

I just finished a set of four holiday place mats to replace the old, old, worn ones I made years ago.  (These old ones are so sad I didn't even use them last year.) 

These new ones are nothing complicated and didn't take long to do as they were a panel from Keepsake Quilting.  I cut them out, sandwiched and quilted them adding a binding of left over backing fabric . . . 

. . . rather than constructing them in pillowcase fashion as suggested.  

Each of the four is a little different, and I really liked the backing fabric, too.  I like these place mats so much I'm considering placing another order so I have more than four of them.

Can you believe it?  It's still September and I have holiday place mats made already.  Maybe I have more pep and energy (I've been complaining of the lack thereof) than I think.  At least for some things!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Time for a New Post (and a Giveaway!)

Ugh, I think I may be getting moldy.  (In both mind and body.  Now there's an ishy thought.)  We've been in another stretch of very damp, humid weather and nothing of what's left in the garden seems to ever dry out.  The slugs are happy as . . . well, as happy as slugs can be, and it's a race to see if I can harvest what's left to harvest before everything shows signs of slug nibbling.

Besides the downside of the clingy, wet weather, I think I'm probably suffering from end-of-a-busy season tiredness.  Not sleeping well at night which doesn't help at all.  Grump, grump, grump.  

Autumn is my favorite season and usually invigorates me in the same way spring does for many people.  I might have to buy a bottle of Geritol (do they even make that stuff any more?) to get me revved up again.

The wet weather has given me some time inside, and I've actually been doing a little quilting (more on that next post) and sorting in my quilt room.  Which brings me to the giveaway part of this post.  

I have three soft-covered (8-1/2" x 11") quilting books I'm offering to anyone who may be interested.

They are 9 Patch Reunion, Quilts from Squier Lane and Miss Rosie's Autumn Quilts.  All are listed on Amazon if you would like more information on them.

They go as a trio, all three books to the one name drawn.  Anyone interested?  (Because of economic reasons, entries are limited to the contiguous United States.)  If you'd like your name thrown in the hat, let me know in the comments section of this post.  Entries will be closed at 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, September 19th, and I'll draw a name and post the winner on Wednesday, the 20th.  It's time to start thinking of new projects to do this winter when the snow is falling, the wind is blowing and we've all got more time for some new projects.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Escaping From The Kitchen For A Short Rest Period

At this moment, I have two big stock pots full of stewed chickens cooling on the kitchen table and waiting to be boned.  In the last week or so I've been working on using up the last of the birds in the freezer to make room for a new bunch which we'll be butchering shortly.

I have two different batches of cookies mixed up and wanting to be baked.  We've been cookie-less around here for a while now and the Cookie Monster (aka Papa Pea) has been dropping strong hints that he sure would like some to be made.

I went out first thing this morning to gather the first big harvest of green peppers.  I've already made a big pot of brown rice and defrosted enough ground beef to cook up with the other ingredients to make a whopping big double batch of Stuffed Green Peppers.  The peppers are late this year.  On August 27th last year, I put the last of our yearly quota in the freezer.

Another two quarts of kimchi are patiently sitting on the kitchen counter while the fermentation process revs up before refrigeration.  I have all the ingredients for two more quarts as soon as a couple more cucumbers size up enough to use.

Papa Pea is outside cutting the lawn for the last time this season.  It hasn't rained in nearly 24 hours now so he had to jump on the chance to cut down the (nearly) dry grass.  This continually wet weather has been a challenge lately for several outside projects.

Okay, rest period over.  Someone needs to make me go back into the kitchen and face that lovely mess which, hopefully, I can finish working through before dinner time tonight.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Planning Ahead

I'm thinking Thanksgiving.  (Too early?  Nah, never too early to be prepared for a holiday.)

Each year as I plan my Thanksgiving menu, a feeling of boredom and weariness settles over me when I contemplate preparing and serving the same old dishes, year after year.  This creates no enthusiasm for the dinner at all.  Each year I imagine creating some new offerings that will add a bit of interest and inspiration to the meal.

This year, I'm going to do it!  Of course, I realize (and have to take into account) there are those people who will be present who would balk at not having their particular "favorites" on the table.  So even if I do manage to add new dishes, I'll have to do what needs to be done to satisfy certain cranky expectations.  (Hrumpf.)

Aaaanyway, I've gone through some of my cook books that have specific Thanksgiving recipes, and made a list of those I'd like to try out before Turkey Day arrives.

I seriously doubt I'll be able to work my way through all these possibilities, but I do want to try as many of them as I can without spending six hours a day in the kitchen.  (I do have a couple [oh, ya] of end-of-the-season tasks to accomplish before late fall/winter time arrives.)

To this end, I got busy yesterday and chose a recipe for cornmeal muffins which I made and served with our large tossed salad at noon time.

Papa Pea and I have never been overly fond of cornbread or cornmeal muffins.  Myself, I think it has to do with the "dry" texture usually found when using cornmeal.  This recipe is different and we both liked it a lot.

I thought I'd share it with you as the muffins would be excellent with any meal including simple soups, stews or salads.  I found the recipe in a Taste of Home cook book and adapted it to our tastes.

Cornmeal Muffins with Corn

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

In a large bowl, combine the first six dry ingredients.

Combine the egg, pumpkin, buttermilk and 
butter in a small bowl.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry
ingredients just until blended.
Fold in corn.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups about
two-thirds full and bake in a 400 degree
oven for 12-15 minutes or until a
toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to 
a wire rack.  Makes 1 dozen.

These are all that were left at the end of the day yesterday.  Chicken Mama and Gilligan gave their seal of approval also.

The addition of the pumpkin makes for a moist texture although the flavor of same doesn't come through.  (I used some home-canned pumpkin of my own, so I don't know if there would be a difference if using commercially canned pumpkin.)  Next time around, I'll add even more corn kernels as the unexpected pop and burst of flavor they added was great.

I guess planning ahead does work out sometimes.  One new possible Thanksgiving recipe tried, and one success!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Archery Fun

We took out the bows, arrows and set up a target on hay bales yesterday.  Papa Pea and I, Chicken Mama and Gilligan had a grand ol' time using muscles (and hand/eye coordination!) we hadn't used in a while.

Our skill levels are all pretty evenly matched and we had lots of fun taking turns shooting six arrows apiece.

Chicken Mama says this is a shot of my arrows, but as I say, we all had fairly tight groupings, and there were a couple of shots that we joked nearly split arrows!

Papa Pea taking aim, getting ready . . . 

A friend of Gilligan's recently was thinning out his bow collection and gave Gilligan one of his hunting bows.  More gizmos on that bow than I could ever figure out.

I'm a little surprised I don't feel any complaining from slightly stressed muscles this morning.  (However, I wouldn't be surprised if Gilligan might as a result of trying out his new bow.  A hefty thing, that is.)

I think Chicken Mama had the best form of us all.

Here's a lesson to learn.  Don't always listen to what your mother tells you to do.

I made the suggestion that she place her right foot a little farther back to improve her (already good) stance.  She did so which threw off her whole body which in turn caused her to thwack her bare arm above the protective arm guard with the bow string.

Oh, ouch!  That really hurt.  I felt so bad I had interfered with her already good form.

This was her owie a couple of hours later.  (Oh, bad mother!)  Hoping she won't hold it against me forever!

And then another shot taken this morning.  She's been using arnica gel on it and says it's not painful, although she should be able to garner much sympathy just from the way it looks.

Even though it's officially the Monday Labor Day Holiday today, Chicken Mama and Gilligan are working, and Papa Pea and I will find something to do to occupy our time.  (Haha.)

Maybe we'll sneak back to the archery area and practice so we're better than the "youngsters" next time we pull out the bows and arrows.