These days I don't know which end I'm sitting on. Not that I'm spending much time sitting. So maybe it's a good thing. (Happy Birthday, Martha. Eighty years old. Wow.)
We're still very much working toward our goal of reorganizing and purging all storage areas. You'd think we would learn, but we continue to look at a specific area and think that with the two of us working on it, it should be done in two days. Two weeks later . . .
Our solar energy guy came by yesterday to determine what could be done to get our system up and running again after we suspected it might have been damaged by an electrical zap (possibly an indirect strike of lightning) during the storm the last week in July. Blast and dang, suspicions confirmed. The controls that enable the panels to follow the sun were damaged, but the more serious issue is that our converter was fried. It's done, gone, kaputz. We're very fortunate we still have the ability to run off the grid until we can get back on solar.
The fire danger in our area continues to be very high because of our severe lack of moisture. Although the temperature climbs into the 80s every day, the sky remains hazy with smoke drifting down from Canada. Most days the smell of the smoke permeates the air, and I think we're all suffering a bit from the continued unhealthy atmosphere.
I harvested my garlic a couple of weeks ago (eighty-eight bulbs), and it's hanging in an empty corner of a wood shed to cure.
The sunflowers are blooming like crazy but many of them have several small heads at the top of the plant rather than one larger one you would normally see. Messy, huh? Quite a few of my flowers seem to be doing weird things this year.
The geraniums planted around the bird bath look good, but are orange in color (I hate orange geraniums) rather than the dark red ones indicated on the tag when I purchased the starts.
The portion of our little plot of corn that got blown over in the previously mentioned storm has almost righted itself. Amazing. Small ears are starting to form on the stalks.
The horseradish root I planted this year is growing beautifully. I can start harvesting it next year. Must learn how to make homemade horseradish. My grandpa always made his own but no recipe (he probably didn't have one) was handed down through the family.
About an hour ago, I put a second batch of stuffed green peppers in the freezer. The peppers seem to be early this year, and we're glad to have them.
Busy, busy days and in the blink of an eye, this new month of August will be over. Here's hoping you're all staying healthy and positive while learning to navigate these crazy times we've all found ourselves in.
Good luck with that horseradish - make sure you have some good fitting goggles when you start processing it. Of course your grandfather had a 'recipe' - he just never wrote it down. Don't you have things you make like thst - from your memory?
My husband is from Austria and they use a lot of horseradish. I have also my owm in the garden. They use it fresh (straight on a smoked sausage or mixed with an apfel, bit of lemonjuice, some sugar and vinegar (apfelkren) with beef. I have never made horsereadish sauce like my english grandmother (think she used sour cream). You can easily freeze them by the way. Just peel them and freeze them whole. You can then, when needed, take it from the freezer, rasp some from it and put it back in the freezer.
Preparing horseradish is super easy. But it takes some practice. I should do a blog on it. You will learn through trial and error which roots process easiest. At the base the root is big and gnarly and tends towards woody texture. Then it branches out to roots that look like long carrots. The long rubbery carrot stage is much easier to shred into a nice consistency. Just scrub it up and peel it like a carrot. Cube it as small as you have patience for and throw some in the food processor. Add a little water to make it more fluent. Chop chop and chop some more. Add a little more water if necessary. Keep chopping until you get a good consistency. You want it very fine. Scoop it out into a jar leaving the water behind. Add some white vinegar to the jar to preserve it and store in the fridge. The vinegar stops the chemical process released by the shredding so the sooner you add the vinegar, the more mild the taste will be. After a month or so it will lose its potency all together.
Hello. Those green peppers look wonderful-do you have a recipe that you would share?
You are busy. Stay safe as you battle the fire danger. Your pepper look great I never get enough too freeze.
Tigger - Yep, I'm sure Grandpa did always make his horseradish the same year after year. And I remember it as being very good, even as a small child I liked it.
Wendy - Thanks so much for the tip about freezing the root. That would be a good way to insure having "fresh" horseradish all winter long!
SmartAlex - I am taking careful note of all your horseradish knowledge! To my mind, there's nothing like getting advice from a person who has actually done something. Thank you, thank you! Great tips for sure.
Deb Hillyer - I've fiddled with my Stuffed Green Pepper recipe over the years but have finally settled on one and it's in a blog post if you want to try it. Go over on my right hand side bar, scroll all the way down to the Search box and enter Stuffed Green Peppers. Then scroll down through all my blabbering about stuffing my peppers to the post titled Stuffin' Them Peppers dated August 28, 2016. That's the one I use. The only thing I've changed is that I no longer blanch the green peppers before stuffing them. They don't turn out "watery" that way and I prefer them to retain just a tad bit of crunch when cooked and served. Hope the recipe works for you if you try it.
Lisa K Thomasson Jung - I grow enough green peppers to share with our nearest neighbors. Even though they are great gardeners, they have trouble growing them so I'm glad to plant enough so we all have our fill! I do believe what I once read about them. They like to be close enough together so that their leaves touch so I plant mine quite close together.
Your garden sounds as it always does...producing abundantly in its neat orderly fashion. Your flowers are lovely and I hope your corn reaches maturity (coons got our entire first crop)! Hubby, DOUBLE FENCED the second crop so we're hoping to get a few ears.
I did wonder about your stuffed green peppers. Do you stuff them with raw meat and then freeze them??? In the past, I have always cooked my meat, onion, tomato (and sometimes rice and corn) mixture and have frozen that separate from the peppers. Then when I thaw the peppers (partially blanched), I then stuff them with the already cooked meat mixture. Would like to know how the raw meat works out. What temp do you bake them at and don't you get a lot of drippings (grease). Very interested.
So sorry to hear about your solar getting fried! Also, sorry you are having smoke in your area. It can't be good for your health. I didn't know Canada was having fires...I thought the smoke was from out west. My daughter in Iowa said they've had some too. I love the orange geraniums...that is what I would like as my house is orange brick but all I can get are the red ones....ironic huh?
I have lots of peppers this year and tomatoes. Not enough to can but too many to eat so I'm making some salsa today. Stay well and I hope your smoke issue clears up and you get your solar fixed.
Anonymous - I know raccoons can be a terrible problem when trying to grow corn. Sorry you've had such problems with them. We have a few raccoons in our area, but not many. (Thankfully.) Our whole garden area is surrounded by 7' high deer fencing with electric wire outside of that.
I DO cook the ground beef mixture before adding it to the pepper shells. I also add tomato sauce to the mixture so I assume that's why the mixture looks so "red." I defrost the frozen stuffed peppers for a couple of hours, sprinkle grated cheese of choice (either mozzarella or cheddar) on top and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Sam - Yes, there are many fires in Canada that are sending smoke our way. They also say we have some smoke from as far away as the west coast, too, though. It's been quite a few days since we've seen the sun because of the continual smoke haze blanketing the sky.
I'll send you my orange geraniums if you'll send me your red ones. ;o)
Just don’t do what I did the first time I chopped horseradish…I peeled it, and put water in the blender, and chopped it a lot, and then took the container off the blender, and for what ever reason, I took the top off and smelled it…immediately passed out and on my way down to the ground, managed to throw the entire container of horseradish all over the kitchen cupboards… smart, no?… No ! Have a great week!
wyomingheart - Please forgive me for laughing but I can relate a bit. One time when I was very small but had developed a real taste for my grandpa's homemade horseradish (I must have been a weird kid, right?), he had just made a batch and I asked him if I could smell it. I did much as you did, stuck my nose right in the jar and although I didn't pass out (good grief,you really did??), I thought the top of my head was going to come off and the tears ran down my face like a waterfall. Everyone else in the family that was present never let me live that little incident down! Yours is a great story to tell . . . now when you can laugh about it! P.S. I stand forewarned!!!!
Everything is looking very good, and that sure is one healthy looking horseradish plant. I agree on the geraniums, not that I hate the orange ones, but I love the real red ones so much more. (They seem to be so hard to find, and twice I've started them from seed, and they WERE NOT RED as the packet said they were. A lot of time was involved, and such a disappointment.) Glad you got your solar problems diagnosed, and hope you can get back up and running without too big of an expense.
I'm late to the game, but I'll add my 2 cents worth on the horseradish issue: Smartalex is on target. We like to let the horseradish stand in the water a little while to develop it's 'taste.' Then add the vinegar to stop the music from getting any louder. I've had the same experience wyomingheart reports. I did my first big batch one Sunday morning when everybody else was off praying for forgiveness. When I took the top off the food processer bowl, my face felt like it was on fire, and I nearly passed out. Reminded me of the time I got caught in the pool filter pit when it was filled with a chlorine gas leak! I was a swimming pool manager in my college days. Now, I do all the horseradish prep work OUTDOORS and bring in the harvest in jars. It's really good! I'm thinking I might try putting some up in vacuum bags so I can freeze them instead of putting the jars in the back of the fridge next time. Cheers!
Rosalea - I've never tried to start geraniums from seed but have heard it's not an easy process. What a disappointment for you to go to the trouble only to still not get those lovely RED blooms!
The cost for repairing our solar energy system is still unknown, but fortunately we have a friend who "built" our converter for us and hubby has been in contact with him. Unfortunately, he's really, really busy (and is trying to retire) so the time line will have to be whatever it is. :o(
Tim - Any and all info regarding making one's own horseradish from someone who has actually done it is always appreciated. You and my dear, old, long gone grandpa . . . relegated to grinding up the horseradish root outside. What have I gotten myself into? At least I've been warned!
So sorry about your solar situation! It's finally cool down a little bit here but now it's going to get back into the 100s! It has been 51 the last two mornings though so I think we're almost bordering on fall weather Maybe. Are crops that really suffered a bit from the really hot weather this year and we're heading into a multi-year drought so I think we're looking at Re-Landscaping some areas into more drought resistant plants. I love horseradish! Never really thought about growing any though. Does it take a lot of high water or? We're getting smoke here still from the Oregon and mostly the California fires. I wish California we get some rain soon. I grew up in Southern California remember how Lush and green it was nothing like it is now so sad
Nancy - I'm truly climbing the learning curve on how to grow horseradish! And I'm betting it has different requirements in different locations of the country. I'll bet you've been enjoying the 51° mornings you've had lately, but oh those temps you're having in the 100s! I couldn't take it. I know drought conditions are nothing new to Californians. I guess they learn to live with it, but it's so unusual for us here in Minnesota. :o(
Oh, no! on the solar system. What a pain in the patootie. I am thankful that we only had a few days of smoke in our air. It must make it difficult to spend much time outside - now that you HAVE to spend so much time outside. Thank you for reminding me about freezing stuffed peppers! I tried your recipe and they froze wonderfully! Nothing like being able to pull a delicious dinner out of the freezer and have it on the table in less than an hour. I'll be following along on your horseradish adventure - I have had a horseradish plant for years and I've never processed any - I'm building up my nerve.
Susan - Papa Pea has had trouble with burning eyes and I've got a tickle in the back of my throat that we're attributing to the nearly constant smoke haze lingering in the air. Lots of folks have it worse, but what an irritant. I've got two single batches of my Stuffed Green Peppers in the freezer but now my pepper plants seem to have gone on vacation. (Come on, you little peppers, let's have more fruits so I can get on with it!) I've had so many warnings about making horseradish (along with very good and welcomed suggestions/recipes) that I may well order a gas mask before attempting to make our own next season!
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