Friday, October 31, 2014

Our Long, Mild Fall May Be Over

It was snowing like crazy when we went to bed last night, and we wondered if we would wake up to a foot or more of the white stuff.

That didn't happen, but this just may have put an end to the gardening season.

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Have an enjoyable, safe one no matter how you celebrate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What To Do . . .

. . . when you've just been given a box of delicious apples and you have a couple of geriatric bananas on your kitchen counter?

Why, try a new recipe for Apple Banana Muffins!  I'm here to report that this recipe is a winner and perfect for this time of year.

I adapted the recipe from one I found in an old Taste of Home magazine and will make one more slight change when I make the muffins again.

Apple Banana Muffins

1-1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup peeled and grated tart apple
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

Combine the first seven ingredients in a mixing bowl.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk and butter.
Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fold in the apple and banana.
Fill 12 paper-lined muffin cups with batter.
Sprinkle top of muffins with a cinnamon/sugar mix.
 Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or
'til a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins
from pan to a wire rack.
 Yield:  One Dozen Muffins

Using quick oats instead of old-fashioned rolled oats is the change I will make next time.  The texture of the muffins was good, but I think using the quick oats will make the ingredients even more moist and able to "hang together" better.

These moist, flavorful muffins made a yummy addition to our breakfast plate.  If you give them a try, I'm pretty sure you'll like them.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good Weekend . . . But Busy

Yesterday we did one of my most un-favoritest things.  We culled chickens.  There's something about the smell surrounding the butchering, cleaning and preparing the birds for the freezer that bothers me.  But having said that, I sure do appreciate having the packages of organically raised, free-range chickens at my disposal and the resulting yummy chicken meat and healthy bone broth I get from our old hens.  I don't know when was the last time I bought a chicken or used purchased chicken broth.

Today my Under Gardener (that would be Papa Pea . . . and a darn good Under Gardener he is!) and I spent the whole day working in the garden.

I had noticed two green peppers that were rotting on the plants so I decided it was time to harvest all of them.  Having done that, the plants were pulled and went into a compost pile.  Takes care of another raised bed for the year.

I brought in the above pictured cabbage to use in making another batch of fermented veggies.  Isn't it perfect?  Eight pounds, two ounces.  Whadda whopper!  (The green peppers are no peewees either.)

Still have beets, carrots, potatoes and more cabbage in the garden (along with the two beds of salad greens, kale and Swiss chard).  Our weather has remained insanely mild for this time of the year hovering between the high 40s and 50s each day (yes, it really is relative, Carolyn, my friend!) with not much lower temps than the 40s at night so we've not been able to cool our root cellar down enough to be good storage yet for all this produce.  Still no hard frost here.

We worked on getting some lovely compost (looks like black dirt) spread on raised beds and parts of the field garden.  We cut all the pumpkins (still partially green, darn) and Red Kuri squash from the vines and put the vines in the compost.  Removed the downed corn stalks and put them in a pile next to the strawberries and will use them to cover the berry plants for the winter as soon as we have a couple of hard frosts.  Tied up all the new growth raspberry canes that had escaped the trellises so they wouldn't get smashed down by snowfall and broken.

Now I'm 'bout done in and have no idea what to put on the table for dinner.  How about toast?  No.  A couple of pears?  Uh-uh.  Green pepper slices and dip?  Nope.  (Finished the dip at lunch.)  A fried egg?  Nada.  (Had that for breakfast.)  Oh, well.  Wish me luck.

Friday, October 24, 2014

We Are Wood Wealthy

We've had both of our wood sheds full of wood for some time now, but there were still some 8' lengths back in the wood working area that Papa Pea wanted to get cut and under cover.

But where to put the wood when both sheds were full?  Thinker that he is, he came up with the idea of using the metal stakes and high sides we mounted on our flat bed trailer when we had a contract to deliver bundles of firewood to one of the state parks in our area.

Truly-duly, they worked out pretty darn slick as a makeshift wood shed to hold the very last of the wood.  Now we'll cover the top with a tarp, and the wood will be fine there until whenever we need it.

It's been a long time since our back wood working area has not had some wood stacked on it.  We've cleaned it up except for the couple of inches of sawdust still on the ground which we'll rake up and save for use in the garden.

Did I mention we just heard from the logger from whom we ordered more wood?  Yep, he's due to deliver another load sometime within the week.  Guess we'd better get busy gathering that sawdust.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Busy Week, To Say the Least

The beginning of this week started off with having three delightful little munchkins come to visit.

The nearly five year old and her nearly year old twin brother and sister who Chicken Mama cares for spent the day with us on Monday.

I now know for sure that I'm not smart enough to stay ahead of Little Big Sister.  She's sweet and funny besides being very bright, and loves to help Papa Pea do chores.  When she found out he was going to feed the bees, she asked if she could go with.

Getting into her "bee suit."  Note the new "work" gloves very recently purchased for her by her mom and dad.

Off they go to the bee yard.

Getting her first up close and personal look at honey bees.  This was a very brave thing to do for a little gal who used to be afraid of house flies on the window sill.

Back in the house and doing a little artistic creating with colored pencils.  This child has the most beautiful, naturally streaked hair I've ever seen . . . hair coloring that most of us gals would pay big bucks to obtain!

Lunch time for the twins.  Little Man being his usual eager eater.

Little Lady is no slouch in the eating department either.  They both have healthy appetites.

Baby girl demonstrating it's important to stay hydrated!

Little Man loves to play with our French door between the kitchen and living room.  He also thinks it's fun to smoosh his little face up against the glass panes.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when you put your little foot under the same French door and then pull it toward you.

But in less than 60 seconds and some lovin' from Chicken Mama, it's all better! 

I think I've recovered from the activities on Monday, but Tuesday and Wednesday remained jam-packed also.  Busy, busy, busy but not nearly as much fun as Monday!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Still Enough Growing for a Garden Tour

Believe it or not (I can't), we've yet to have a hard frost.  Here's what's still growing in my raised beds.  (Tour of the field garden in the upcoming week.)

I have a cold frame over three of the raised beds.  Two of them are salad greens that I started in late summer hoping to stretch out our salad meals as far into the fall as I could.

This is the first one and has four kinds of lettuce and Swiss chard in it.

The next has some salad greens in it starting with baby kale closest in the picture, then arugula, Scarlett Frill and more Swiss chard.

My green pepper plants have lived under a cold frame all this cool, cool summer and are still there going strong.  I've harvested most of the peppers and made Stuffed Green Peppers that are in the freezer, but there are still many huge peppers on the plants.  This time of year they are sooo sweet that we've been crunching up a whole one raw every day.  They're almost addictive.

Isn't this kale beautiful?  I have another half bed of it in another raised bed, too.  The cool fall weather really does improve its flavor.  Past the kale in this bed are beets I'll harvest and store "fresh" in the root cellar.

Last but not least (or maybe it is least depending on how you look at it) is my one cherry tomato plant that survived this year.  Standing out in the open with no protection even now.  Sure!  Here it is past the middle of October and I'm FINALLY getting tomatoes that really do want to ripen . . . but don't stand much of a chance this time of year.  I've been picking the ones that have started to turn color, setting them on the counter inside where they do become a lovely red and . . . surprise, surprise, even have a nice flavor.

That's the raised bed garden report, folks.  Green tomatoes or not, I'm very, very grateful to still have the luscious salad greens we do.

Scarecrow Winner - Take Two!

I misinterpreted Mollie's comment on the scarecrow giveaway, and then didn't get (!) an e-mail she sent me (before the drawing) saying she didn't mean to be included in the drawing.  (Dang computer glitches.)

So, despite the fact that I announced Mollie as the winner last night, I needed to draw a new name this morning.  (Still with me?)

The name I drew as the really, truly, bona fide winner of the scarecrow giveaway is:

ANGELA (a8383)

So, Ms. Angela, if you would send me your mailing address, I will get a package off in the mail to you first of this coming week.

My, my.  Hope I have this all straight and goin' down the right road now.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Scarecrow Giveaway Winner!

I just now came in here to my desk and drew the winning name of the person who has volunteered to invite the smiley scarecrow doll into her home.

Here he is sitting on my messy desk and ready to go on to new adventures.

Mollie, your name was drawn so if you will send me your mailing address, I'll bundle Mr. Scarecrow up into a box and ship him off to you.

Thanks, everyone, for entering this giveaway . . . and helping me purge (!) our household of one more item.