Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Winner, Winner!

It's time to pick a winner for my Blog's Birthday present. I wrote 3 names on 3 different pieces of paper, and drew one out of a hat. Well, actually, it was a mixing bowl. Annie's Granny! Congrats! With the small number of comments, I'd like to send all my "commenters" another birthday present. Please send me an email ( lkauffma at jps dot net ) with your snail mail address, and I will get them out to you. Thanks for playing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Harvest Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Harvest Monday again! Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. Thanks, Daphne, for putting this on.

Oh, what a week! The big producer this week has been the apples. I've made applesauce, and then more applesauce. I turned my back for a few minutes, and burned applesauce while it was reheating on the outside stove! That was when I decided to make tomato juice. I also picked enough zucchini to either make some more relish, or try out another few recipes. It will need to wait for a few days until I can do it after work, since school is starting, and duty calls. I still have basil that needs to be picked and made into pesto. It was on my list of things to do Sunday, but the day wasn't long enough! I got my first "real" cantaloupe. It was good with Sunday morning breakfast, and the chickens enjoyed the seeds and the rind. My cucumbers are still producing at a steady rate, and we enjoy them with almost every dinner. My beans, planted way too late, have finally flowered. The aphids discovered them, and I found myself waging war on them one morning with the soapy water in the, "No-Clog Feeder!" I checked on the status this morning, and it has done the trick, so far! Hopefully they'll stay away.

This week's pictures... just one of the many loads of apples I brought in!

Sunday's canning - 7 quarts each of applesauce and tomato juice, cooling outside by the canner.

This week's total: 127.025 lbs.

Tomatoes: 33.4 lbs.
Squash: 8 lbs.
Peppers 1.125 lbs.
Herbs: .125 lbs.
Cucumbers: 6.375 lbs.
Apples: 73.625 lbs.
Melon: 2.375 lbs.
Gourds: 2 lbs.

My Blog's Birthday!

My blog had a birthday! No, I didn't have a party, or bake a cake, and we didn't sing, "Happy Birthday," but I have a present, of sorts. I decided I would give away a really cool book. A book about.......are you ready? A book about ...... gardening! Are you surprised? No? Ok. Anyway, it's a Country Living book called Country Gardens, Old-Fashioned Flowers, Modern Techniques, Timeless Beauty. Here's a picture of the cover:

And here's a sneak peak at the contents!

A garden around a miniature working train. How cool is that??

I'd love a garden shed like this one.

A beautiful country kitchen, covered in roses!

So, here's the scoop. All you have to do is leave a comment. You don't have to be a follower, although I really like followers! You don't have to blog about it, or send any emails, or anything like that. All you have to do is comment. Then, on Tuesday evening, I'll pick the winner. Oh, and just so we're all on the same page (hah!!) this is NOT like winning something on Ebay. The winner is..... well..... winning it! Have fun, and Happy Birthday to my blog!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Death and Destruction

I'm feeling very brutal right now, sitting here in front of the computer, eating my bowl of Life cereal for lunch. This morning, I spent about 3-4 hours in the garden. I pulled weeds. Ripped them right up by their roots. Poor things. They were just trying to survive. Hopefully, I put an end to that. Then I sprayed the beans with soapy water. I noticed last night that they have aphids. And, they were being helped along by the ants. Hah! Hopefully, I put an end to most of them. Then I checked on my squash blossoms. ACK! Cucumber beetles! Right inside my squash blossoms, looking very innocent-like. I squished them. That for sure put an end to them! Then I went looking for more. Death and destruction, garden style. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Zucchini Brownies!

Anybody that knows my cooking style, knows that I very seldom follow a recipe precisely as written. Given that fact, along with:

1. I want to give goodies away tomorrow
2. I wanted them to somehow come from my garden
3. My zucchini isn't producing worth squat
4. My apples are ripe, if I pick selectively
5. I wanted something fairly easy

I came up with ....Ta Da...... Brownies! Made from a Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe. With no zucchini. And, it's not a cake. But, just the same, they turned out really good. And, they have chocolate! So, it's pretty hard to mess them up. Here they are. Beautiful, aren't they? The only thng that could make them better would be some vanilla ice cream. I'll get right on that.

Grandma K's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. With mixer, mix butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in with spoon, vanilla and zucchini alternately with dry ingredients and milk. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done. Can use a bundt pan, but also 2 8" bread pans. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.

My changes for today:

*substituted peeled, grated apples for zucchini
*left out the milk. I didn't have any, and the apples were juicy, and I was hoping nobody would notice
*baked it in a half sheet pan (my main cookie sheet) for 28-30 minutes
*substituted the following fudge frosting for the powdered sugar glaze

Melt 1 cube butter, 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup cocoa and boil - add 1 lb powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. *This will look pretty bad before all the powdered sugar is mixed in, but it will turn out fine. Mix and spread over hot cake.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Harvest Monday, August 16 2010

It's Harvest Monday! Hop on over to Daphne's place and see what everybody has harvested for the past week.

My tomatoes slowed down a little this week, although I still gave lots away. I didn’t can any tomatoes this week, although I tried the Zucchini Relish that The Frugal Gardener makes. What a great use for those zucchini that I somehow miss on the vines! I ended up with 6 pints of relish, plus a little smidgeon I put in a small container in the frig. I tried it with a pepper jack cheese sandwich, and it was very good. I’m sure the next time I make this recipe, it won’t take me near as long as this first one did!

I’m enjoying the first of my cucumbers this week. It’s so nice to walk outside and grab a few to go with the tomatoes I slice for dinner. I even took some in a salad I made for a potluck on Friday. This week was also the very beginning of our apples. I can see the applesauce coming already! And I’m running out of pint jars! Geoff bought more while he was in town, so I wouldn’t have to make a special trip when I start making the stuff. Michael (our oldest) really likes applesauce, so I think I’ll can a bunch in quarts to send home with him. The quarts are much faster, and I have tons of them in the garage just waiting to be filled. I selectively picked a basketful of Fuji’s to make a cranberry apple pie, and have a few on the counter for some tart eating. Of course, we have to be a little careful, checking for a few bugs, but it’s not really a big problem.

The total for this week is: 44.125 pounds

Tomatoes; 22.625 lbs

Squash; 5.5 lbs

Peppers; .5 lbs

Herbs; .625 lbs

Chard; 4.375 lbs

Cucumbers; 4.5 lbs

Apples! 6.75 lbs

Monday, August 9, 2010

Harvest Monday, August 9

Well, I'm here at my dad's, using his computer and internet connection. (Thanks, Dad!) Ours is down. Won't upload pics, and I can't access my email. Ugh! We have an appointment to get it fixed the end of next week. Wahoo! But, you didn't really want to know all that, right? Right. So, on with the harvest for the past week. Want to see more harvests? Check out Daphne's Harvest Monday. Thanks, Daphne, for hosting this. I really enjoy looking at what other folks are up to.

I got my first cucumber! Only one, but more are coming. It was really good with cut up tomatoes with dinner that night. I didn't even think to get a picture of it before I hauled it inside for dinner. Aside from my first cucumber of the year, this week was all about the tomatoes. Boy, did we have tomatoes. Good thing I'm off work for a few more weeks, because I was able to can a boatload of tomato things. I canned 6 quarts of tomato juice yesterday. Here's the before:

And here's the after! I just love looking at my filled jars!

10 quarts of chunky pasta sauce (new recipe.) This brings my total pasta sauce up to 19 quarts. That ought to be enough for the year!

And enchilada sauce! Ok, it started out as salsa, but then I was multi-tasking, and trying out two new recipes, and not really following either one, and talking on the phone, and it didn't really want to be salsa anyway, but enchilada sauce instead. So I canned the second batch in quarts instead of pints. Here it is in my pantry, just waiting for the middle of winter for me to come home from work and have some for dinner. I can just hear them saying, "Pick me! Pick me!" Aren't they pretty? I think I might look for some new, more modern shelf paper for my pantry, though! What do you think?

Oh, and the sunflowers are all starting to flower! I was able to pick 2 bouquets to bring inside this week. I have a volunteer in with the tomatoes in one of my beds, and I picked a few from that plant, along with some in a new area not planted before.

I'm happy to report that my chard is coming back from the dead. I messed up on the watering, and I thought it was being watered automatically, only to find that it was, in fact, trying it's darnedest to live on nothing! I revamped my drip system in that bed (long story, even longer bed!) and my chard can now live happily ever after. The End!

Total this week: 67.25 lbs
tomatoes 54 lbs
squash 9.25 lbs
chard 3.25 lbs
cucumber .75 lbs

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Harvest Monday, August 2

It's Harvest Monday at Daphne's place! Another week has gone by, and I've picked the veggies, and watered, and pulled weeds, and enjoyed my garden every day. I love this time of year. This week the tomatoes have been the stars of the garden. They've produced enough for me to have tomatoes with every dinner, sometimes just cut up and eaten as is, and sometimes mixed with cucumbers and rice vinegar with a little salt and pepper. There were also enough tomatoes to try out a new chunky garden pasta sauce and can 9 quarts of that. I had just a little extra, and turned it into a quickie dinner with biscuits, pasta sauce, and cheese.

Pics for the week: Saturday morning, I was talking to my aunt on the phone picking grape tomatoes ... multi tasking! Here they are with just a few of the full sized Tye Dye tomatoes and a Steak Sandwich, along with the ever present zucchini.

Here's a few of the quart jars of pasta sauce I made. Pretty, aren't they??

I made a quick batch of salsa to have with dinner tonight. It was yummy!

And here's Dozer's Harvest. He's pretending he doesn't see it, because, even though he was snagged red handed, he was still trying to act all innocent-like. Can you tell he's looking at it out of the corner of his eye? Once I figured out it was a walnut and not a tomato, I told him, "Bon appetit!" That's his cue to eat whatever is in front of him. The tomatoes he picked were earlier in the week, and I was not able to get pictures of them.

Totals for the week:

Tomatoes............... 46 lbs
Squash ................. 7 lbs
Basil...................... 1 lbs
Peppers ................. 5 lbs
Chard ................... 2 lbs
Kale ..................... 1 lbs