Monday, November 28, 2011

Around The House And Gardens & What's up

This month has been a full speed ahead hectic, emotional, traumatic, crazy month...My Father-In-Law has Alzheimer's and has taken a downward turn.  My Mother-In-Law can no longer take care of him in their home.  So we had to make the very hard decision to place him in a nursing home. 

Eeeeks...I never knew how traumatic that would be.  Especially for my Mom-In-Law and for myself as well to a lesser degree.  It felt as if we were abandoning him, although we knew that it was the best decision for Him and Her.  Many tears later we are getting used to it.  It still doesn't seem right that he isn't sitting in his recliner when we go to visit.

Then many, many other things have happened at the same time.  Trying to me, but trying for you to read, so I'll spare you.  Hopefully I'm on the other side of hard and it'll get easier.

The girls went back to school made them this cute froggie couple with cauliflower clouds, Cheddar flowers, and tomato cherries....
Talia's is a little different with cheese and ham roll ups on a bed of lettuce since she "doesn't like" cauliflower.  I still put a little piece in case she wanted to try it.  The bottom tier was filled with satsumas and pecans.  The cauliflower and satsumas were grown by neighbors.  The pecans, tomatoes, and lettuce I grew myself.  The ham was from a local company.  So the only things I don't know were it came from is the rice and cheddar. 

Supposedly it's best to eat local first, then organic, then otherwise if you choose.
The pecan crop isn't so hot this year.  Usually it's every other year and last year was bumper.  My Mom's trees are doing pretty well though.  So I'm scrounging every single pecan I can to make Praline or Sugared pecans.
Delicious yummy praline coated pecans cooling and waiting....
to be weighed and placed in....
six ounce bags....
to sell at my neighbor's Farmers Market.  I make 30 bags at a time and it seems I'm barely home and she's sold out.  That's how yummy they are.  If you use a candy thermometer they come out perfect every time.  I actually let the coating mixture get a couple of degrees above soft boil to make sure they get hard.  The recipe is HERE.  I posted it a few years ago.
Today's harvest:  carrots, Thai winged beans, habanero peppers, tomatoes, green beans, tennis ball lettuce (seed I got from Thomas Jefferson Heritage Festival at Monticello), and eggplant.
Love this tennis ball lettuce ....  soo sweet....My friend told me that someone told her it was too late to plant in this area...ha!  Here's proof.  This is the best time ever to plant around here!
Everything washed up and ready for the fridge...all except the tomatoes.  They go on the counter top to finish ripening.  Love these food grade storage containers for veggies in the fridge.  The veggies last perfectly in them.  But they are too yummy to last long.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Around The House And Gardens

The citrus is ripening and we've already picked all the fruit from the early ripening satsuma tree.  Seleste single handedly ate most of them!  She would run out to the tree before or after school, pick a satsuma and drop peelings all the way back to the house.  I began to call her Gretel.  She could just follow her trail back to the tree and home again!  The satsumas are first and now the Paige Mandarins and Meyers Lemons.  The navel oranges are huge!  They should be ripe in December.  I also have Louisiana sweets, pink grapefruit, and blood oranges.  The blood orange trees are new this year so no fruit. 

Everyone should be a little Johnny Appleseed and plant a fruit bearing tree where ever they live no matter how long they plan to stay.  Think of all the joy you'll give yourself and someone else.  Plant a fruit tree this year!
The carrots are doing well.  They seem to have been tiny then all of sudden large!  Maybe I've just been distracted and not in the garden as much.  I usually go out to the garden 4 or 5 times a day.  Not possible lately.
The tennis ball lettuce seed I bought at the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Festival is getting large too!  See the onions poking up?  The onion seed I planted didn't do very well.  Only one variety had a good germination rate.  The fact that one variety did come up so well makes me wonder about the quality of the other seed.  Hmmmmm
I planted some early maturing pie pumpkins late in the season.  They are large and starting to mature.  I pushed the envelope this year and planted a lot of varieties I might not have this late in the season.  Unless we have a very early frost I think they'll do well.  If one is predicted I plan to construct a poly tunnel over them in hopes to preserve them. 

I believe with a little effort in our zone we could grow tender vegetables almost all year long.  The hardest months would be December, January and maybe February.  I plant my corn at the end of February.  If I wait any later it doesn't do as well.  Whew, it takes years of experience to work out the micro climate nuances of your land and the weather loves to throw a lot of unpredictability in there to keep you scrambling.  Lots of fun!
Cauliflower and more lettuce!
And here is something I've been working on for a while!  Thai winged beans!  I planted this variety in the spring and it did nothing.  The plants grew and grew over our hot summer without a blossom to be seen.  I allowed it to take up my precious bed.  Now in the beginning of November....Winged Beans!  I wonder if this is something to do with the Asian varieties.  If you look back the same thing happened with my Chinese Asparagus long beans.  They must need an extremely long growing season or perfect 70's and 80's weather with cooler nights!?  If this bean doesn't taste wonderfully awsome...I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up a precious bed for that long again.  Maybe it'll be banished to the fence line.
Here's the beginning of one of it's beautiful blue green blossoms!
The green bean patch is giving me basketfuls of sweet yummy green beans.  Yesterday I put this batch in the crock pot (you can use your sun oven too...I didn't because I had too big a batch for my sun oven pot....I need a larger one).  I cooked down an onion and some sausage in a little sunflower oil and threw that in the crock pot with a little salt and pepper and crocked it all day....yummmmm......Oh I Love My Garden!