Saturday, September 23, 2023

Gingersnap Recipe

Katie C. had asked for my Gingersnap recipe in the comments section of my last post but I've been having trouble getting it to her so said I would post it here.  It's a perfect treat for this time of year and I hope you, Katie, along with anyone else who tries it will like it as much as we do.
Here goes:
3/4 C butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 t salt
1/4 C molasses
1 t cloves
1 t ginger
1 t cinnamon
2 C flour
2 t soda
Cream butter and sugar.  
Add egg, salt and molasses
and mix in.  
Then mix in cloves, ginger,
cinnamon, flour and soda. 

Shape into walnut size balls and
roll each ball in granulated sugar.

Place balls on greased cookie
sheet and bake at 375°
for 6-8 minutes.

Cool on cookie sheet a few 
minutes before cooling
completely on racks.

Store in air-tight tin and
immediately hide tin 
or cookies will be gone
by end of day.

My husband prefers them super-soft so I tend to bake them only the 6 minutes but I actually like them to "puff" up a little bit if left in a minute or two longer.  As they cool, they "crack" to give that traditional gingersnap appearance.

Good luck making yours, Katie.  And thanks for your interest.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Best Time Of Year

Crisp days, cool nights, color galore and no bugs.  (Well, except for those nasty ticks that one has to take precautions to avoid.)
I'm always energized this time of year (good thing).  It enables me to (puff, puff) get the last of the garden harvest in and processed.  Even though the garden itself looks terrible now, it's still giving all it can to make the last of the harvest worthwhile. 
I was thinking of making potato pancakes for dinner last night so went out to dig up a couple of potatoes.

One would think I got carried away, but I found these spuds under just two plants.  What a haul.  Six and one-half pounds.  (No, we didn't eat them all last night.)  Methinks our potato harvest this year is going to be a bonanza.

Most of our pumpkins still look like the above.

But a few of them do show signs of coloring up properly.
We've had a too-long period of wet, damp, dewy, drippy weather.  Mowing the grass for the last time this season has been put off and put off which has resulted in thick, matted, green stuff that is impossible to get through with the lawn mower.  Papa Pea has had to "knock down" most of it with the rotary mower on the old Gravely garden tractor which leaves a lawn that would definitely not measure up to Martha's standards, but it was all we could do.

The grass between the raised beds always grows extremely well because of the fertility of the raised bed soil which "leaks" out to the surrounding area.  My dear husband will have to take his heavy-duty weed whip to these areas (the Gravely mower is too big to fit) because when I try to do it with the regular lawn mower, everything clogs up and the motor dies over and over. 

The weather has put the baking bee in my bonnet.  Yesterday I made a pan of brownies and early this morning a batch of Gingersnap cookies magically appeared from the oven.  Gingersnaps are a family favorite, and I personally think they go perfectly with autumnal weather.
Yesterday I made a batch of Stuffed Green Peppers for the freezer.  Ended up with sixteen servings for us which provide a quick and easy meal all winter long for the cook in the house.
This week we're planning our annual hike to a favorite spot which allows a gorgeous overlook of surrounding territory and the fall colors.  I told the troops I want to go as early in the day as we can get it together because it's such a popular hike that as the day goes on, the trail gets close to being downright crowded.  It may make me seem antisocial, but I don't think it's any fun hiking when there is a string of people in front and in back of you.

Isn't my new blog header photo stunning?  Another great photograph by our daughter.  Not taken this year but rather a few years ago as the colors aren't quite as full-blown yet as the photo shows.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

And Didn't It Blow!

 Yesterday turned out to be the last day (for the time being, at least) of our extreme heat.  Even so, as early in the day as we could, Papa Pea and I took our bowls and stools out to the blueberry patch to gather ripe berries.

I've been watching this bush (one of them planted two years ago) because of the intense pink coloring of the berries as they wend their way toward ripeness.  I can't remember ever seeing this particular coloration in any of our berries before.  Of course, the tag we keep on all the plants indicating their variety is missing from this one.  I could pull out my records and look it up, but I'm too tired to do so tonight.

I also knew there were pickling cucumbers to harvest so even though it was already getting hot, I filled a large bowl with a smidge over nine pounds of them.

Then to make sure I heated up the inside of the house, I came in and canned them.

That about took the stuffin's out of me so I tried to stay as cool as possible for the rest of the day.

In the late afternoon, the sky turned dark and started to look as though we might get some of the rain that had been in the forecast.

And rain it did along with winds so wild we weren't sure much would be standing when it quit.  It was a bit scary.

This trellis with colored gourds growing up it was staked on the four corners, but when I took a tour of the garden this morning I could see it was definitely listing to the south at an odd angle.

Cosmos stems are always a bit delicate and brittle.  These took a beating in the storm.

The two rows of sunflowers didn't fare well either.

Some fell on the pickling cucumbers next to the cattle panel on their left.  Some are left standing, some are upright but leaning at a precarious angle.

The wind damage could have been a lot worse.  But I did spend a bit of time this morning doing some earlier than usual garden clean-up.  We appreciated the rain which measured a good two inches, but could have done without the accompanying heavy winds.  But the storm did bring in a "cold" front and pushed out the heat.  Our high temp today reached only into the 60s and the same is forecast for tomorrow.  It will good sleeping tonight!

Monday, September 4, 2023

We Are Melting!

Hot, hot, hot.  Too hot for us northern people.  
Week before last, we were sure fall had arrived.  The colors started to turn, the temperature began dropping long about 5 p.m. each day bringing that feeling of autumn to the air, and our lawn was starting to collect leaves drifting down from the trees.
Then last week temperatures nearly caused whiplash to those of us ready for sweatshirt weather.  They soared right up to the hottest of this summer season.  Well, perhaps the apples, sunflowers and pumpkins will have a chance to reach their full potential yet.
As for humans, we've had a couple of sleepless nights.  Our body thermostats just don't adjust easily to 80-some percent humidity with sweat dripping off our noses.  
The lack of rain, for yet another period, coupled with the high temperatures has caused forest fire danger in the surrounding area to be listed as way too high for comfort.  Not much to do but put on our coolest (while remaining decent) clothing and keep our fingers crossed for mid-week when promised rain arrives along with lower temperatures.

Here's a lovely, wild bouquet a sweet nine-year old girl gave me when she came in yesterday from a walk on our property.  I was touched.  And impressed.  The rugged beauty of nature.  And the thoughtfulness of a child. 

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Just Call Me . . .

Yep, call me done in.  Pooped.  T-i-r-e-d.  It's that wonderful time of year when the garden is giving forth its bounty just about faster than I can get it harvested and processed.  But that's a good thing (puff-puff), and what we gardeners hope for all season long.  So I'm thankfully pushing along.
Actually, I'm doing a fair job of keeping up with everything (garden related at least).  Except for the weeds that have obviously seen this as their last chance to band together while I'm not looking (or have time to look) and are happily bursting forth.
Right now I have a second batch of Blueberry Jam on the stove after having done my first batch yesterday. 

I have to confess I cooked it too long yesterday and the consistency is thicker than we like.  Geez, after having made Blueberry Jam for umpteen years, you'd think I'd know what I was doing by now.
Also harvested and processed the last of the beets yesterday.  Last year, I kept all of our beets (unprocessed) in the root cellar which didn't turn out really well as it takes sooo long to cook beets that I always found something else to serve as a veggie with our meals that was quicker and easier.  (Emphasis on quicker.)  This year I'll be able to pull a packaged serving out of the freezer, pop the beets into boiling water for a couple of minutes and on the table they will go.

I've dehydrated some herbs already but methinks enough has grown back on the plants that another cutting can now be taken.  That's a shot of oregano above.
Blooms on the sunflowers are prolific and I have vases of them showing off their cheerful faces all over the house.  
I planted a packet of "mixed" this year and they are, indeed, mixed in size and color.

This is the tallest one so far.  I just measured and it's 8' tall and growing.

I'm particularly fond of this lemon colored one.  Not as tall as it's neighbor, but one of the bigger ones.  The plants range in size from about 3' to that big guy in the first picture.

Even the cosmos have decided to bloom, late though it seems to be.  I'm getting a good mixture of colors this year after having hardly anything other than pink, pink, and pink last year.  Same seeds planted this spring so I wonder what causes the wider selection of colors this year?  Is Mother Nature fooling with me?
The blueberry mixture is getting close to thickening so I'd better get it into the jars and water bath before it thickens too much again.  Fingers crossed I don't end up with blueberry syrup with this new batch.  "So what's wrong with blueberry syrup?" my husband would say.  If it happens, I'll just call it a win-win.
Now, as soon as the jam is done, I'm rewarding myself by spending the rest of the day in my quilting room.  Yahoo! 

Sunday, August 6, 2023

More Garden Progress and Pictures

I think the garden looks the best right about now.  It's lush and full and lovely, but won't stay this way for long.  It will be all too soon when it starts to look raggedy and blowsy (if that is a word).  All in all though, it's a natural progression as I harvest all the goodness the garden provides for us by giving it's all.

Even though we're once again very short on rain and considered in another drought period, things are looking good.

I finally have one single blossom from my two patches of cosmos flowers.  I've been questioning why these favorites of mine have not given me as many bouquets in the past few years as I'd like.  Did a little research and found cosmos don't like a very fertile soil.  I guess this falls under the "can't win" category in that the garden soil has apparently gotten just "too good" for them!  I still have hope, though, that I'll get more flowers if I'm just a little patient.  Hope so, anyway.

This trellis of sugar snap peas (or edible podded peas as they're sometimes labeled) is so lush and heavy that the whole shootin' match started to go south.  We propped it back up to a (almost) vertical position so now it's started to go west on me.  Next year I'll definitely thin the seed sprouts out so there aren't so many vines to grow on the eight foot trellis.

I placed pots of herbs in the bed under the hoop trellis where the Scarlet Runner Beans have done such a great job of completely covering the whole hoop.  So much so that for much of the day, the herbs were in too much shade.  The parsley is the one exception that can tolerate less sunshine.  So yesterday I repotted three of the herbs into bigger pots and then set them all in the bed where I harvested the beets a week or so ago.  The herbs should be happier in this new-to-them full sunshine spot.

I grow colored gourds to use in my fall decorating and the seeds I've been using produce not a lot of variety to my mind.  They've been mostly those green and yellow goose-shaped gourds and not much else.  So I planted a different variety this year which I now realize would have been happier on the ground rather thinking they would climb on a trellis as did the old variety.  I'm very curious to see the new gourds produced because the leaves on the ones this year are huge, and I'm having to tie the vines up to the trellis.  (Not my favorite task.)  Unfortunately, the vines are covering the lovely blue salvia plants I planted along the side of their raised bed.

Surprise, surprise!  I actually have enough dill growing that I'll have ample for making my dill pickles this year.  Maybe my threatening coaxing the plants did some good! 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The Garden Is Taking On That Bushy Look

And that's not a bad thing since it means the plants are actually growing and producing.

The peach colored Asiatic Lilies are starting to bloom.  This is the one with twelve flower buds.  They may not be edible, but they do feed the soul.

I replanted this bed one week ago with radishes, lettuces, spinach, Scarlet Frill and arugula.  Most everything sprouted within two days.

Usually the red cabbage heads up before the green ones in my garden.  Not so this year.  The green ones are ready to harvest while the reds are just starting to form heads.  We've eaten one of the green heads.  The outer leaves had some holes but after peeling those off, I found a lovely, solid, insect-free head.

I'm so happy with the Scarlet Runner Beans on the hoop trellis.  The vines are blossoming prolifically and are close to meeting over the top.

Both the green and yellow bush beans are finally shaping up.  I've never seen such large leaves on the plants.  Some are 8" long and measure 6" across.  And, worry thee not that all the strength of the plants has gone into the leaves.  There are blossoms on them, too.

The shell peas are full of blossoms and finally growing up their trellises.  Yay!

Not to be outdone, the potatoes are starting to show their flowers.

This sweet rose bush is upwards of twenty years old and until last year spent about fifteen years in the woods near the L.P. gas tank.  (Long story.)  We resurrected it last fall and planted it in one of the berm boxes up against the house.  We were pleased as punch it actually survived the winter and now is producing lovely little roses.  The blooms almost seem to glow.  The picture is straight out of the camera with no added coloration.
Additional parts of the garden are not shown in this post.  More to come later.  (I don't want to jinx it, but . . . I have dill that is growing!  Shhhh.  Barring something unforeseen should happen to it, I may actually have fresh dill to use in making my dill pickles this year!) 

Sunday, July 23, 2023

A Fine Pie Day

I just finished making two pies.  A Cherry Pie and a Strawberry Creme Pie.
This past week I made a Chocolate Velvet Pie, and it was gone before I got even one single piece.  "That's okay," I whined said.  "I've had a craving for Cherry Pie anyway."

So first thing this morning I made myself my cherry pie.
Then Papa Pea and I decided we'd better croggle on out to the new strawberry patch to see if there were enough berries to warrant picking.  (Our strawberry season is just about done.  Kaputz.  All over.) 
Lo and behold, we came in with two bowlfuls which contained a combined weight of 4-1/2 pounds of luscious berries well worth the picking.
My dear husband didn't miss the opportunity to make a not-so-subtle suggestion that there would be enough for one more fresh Strawberry Creme Pie, plus plenty to eat in a bowl with cream milk for breakfast a couple of mornings.  (I've lost track of how many of this particular pie I've made already this season.)

Of course, I whipped up one per his polite request.  (Having a baked pie shell in the freezer made it a snap.)
This pie-baker lady is no dummy.  I know good and well anyone who sees the pies will opt for the Strawberry Creme, and I may just get the whole cherry pie to myself.  (She says with a Cheshire cat grin.) 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Better Than Beating Your Clothes On A Rock In The Stream

I am bursting with thankfulness each and every day I do our laundry.

There were many years when, through ice and snow or hot humid heat, I filled baskets with our dirty laundry, grabbed my jug of soap, made sure I had enough quarters and lugged it all to (((shudder))) the laundromat.

I really felt I'd moved up in the world when we purchased a James Washer.  What luxury to be able to do the laundry at home.  And most of the time, had the bonus of ending up getting the kitchen floor washed at the same time.

Imagine my elation when we bought and remodeled our current abode and managed to fit these stackable units into our tiny bathroom.
The washer conked out for good after a mere twenty years.  (Guess I can't complain about that.)  And the handle on the dryer is threatening to fall off now some five years later, but after a few minor repairs during that time (thanks, Papa Pea), it still does a bang-up job of drying clothes and can even deal with my heavy (oof, really heavy when wet) hand-made rag rugs when necessary.

No need to feel sorry for me as when the washer gave up, we purchased a lovely, big washer that we made room for in a corner of the garage workshop.

Plus, I've always had the ability to string clothes lines right outside the door on our deck.  On laundry mornings, my feet never need touch dewy grass or new fallen snow (well, I do have to shovel that) for me to hang the wash out in the breeze and sunshine.
Shake your head and laugh if you must, but I don't think I will ever fail to appreciate the utter convenience of my home automatic washer and dryer.  And my clothes lines, too. 

Monday, July 10, 2023

What's Growing Good . . . and What's Not

Doesn't look as though our blueberry bushes will give us a great crop this year, but we'll be appreciative of what we do get.  The bushes did get a severe (and much needed) pruning this spring so that may account for the smaller crop.

The haskap berries should be picked any day now.  We've been taste-testing them, and they've definitely gotten sweeter (okay, less sour) than when we first tried them a week or so ago.  Good thing they make a wonderful jam.

The pretty green crinkly stuff on the right is Wasabina Mustard Greens and the reddish row on the left is Scarlet Frill.  They're both salad "greens" and really add zing to our salads plus a whole bunch of minerals and vitamins.

And then there are my two pathetic rows (under the strings) of dill which have both been planted (replanted) a couple of times.  Oh, if I could just get enough fresh dill for making my dill pickles.  Is that too much to ask?

My little patch of Swiss chard is looking good.

Beets came up very spotty.  You probably can't tell that because of the leaves covering the bare spots now.  I planted more in another bed but they're currently only about 2" tall.

The storage onions are looking hale and hardy.

What the heck happened to my carrots?  They took so long to sprout that I almost replanted them.  Probably should have by the looks of what's growing.  Last year I had such a good crop that I'm just now using the very last of them.  This year I'm pretty sure I'll be purchasing carrots for most of the year. 

I like to grow colored gourds to use for decorating in the fall.  Our weather has been so cool that these guys haven't done much yet.  (The Blue Salvia in the lower left hand corner of the picture have yet to bloom.)

Same with the pie pumpkins.  They'll have to put on a growth spurt soon or they won't have a chance of maturing.

I think the lack of warm weather has hindered the growth of my bush beans.  These are the green ones and don't have much of a "bushy" look thus far.  The yellow ones are a bit farther along.

This is my first lily to bloom.  I should really say "our" first lily because my daughter loves lilies.  I've never been crazy about them, but she's trying to convert me.

I do have to admit that I'm eager to see what this particular lily will look like when it blooms.  It has twelve buds on it!