Monday, September 27, 2010


I keep trying to find the time to do a full entry here but it isn't happening. lol

This isn't a dead blog and i have not lost interest-  its a time and health thing.

I have taken pictures of a few harvests with the idea in mind of recording it itno the blog, so its not like i haven't had anything to write about.
I have been spending my time listening to audio books while i struggle to keep up with general housework. When i start feeling pain too much to do any more work i try to keep occupied by crocheting- still while listening to audio books, sermons or current events radio programs.
I have been getting so tired that chewing food can be exhausting-  i am looking into finding out why.

I haven't even kept up very well with the blogs i love to follow. Much to my own annoyance, lol.

So that is what is up.  I plan to be back soon with an update-  it was a great Summer, i learned a lot and was greatly blessed with some beautiful produce. Oh i can't wait to use what i learned this year on next year's garden.

God Bless!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And now for something completely different

The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king. (Monty Python's Holy Grail)

you know i had to do that.... 

Ok, so it finally arrived a short while ago.  Where it had been delayed in shipping, i was a little concerned that maybe it had gotten damaged and FedEx was doing whatever it is that they do when they realize they've destroyed something.  But it turns out that nothing of the sort was going on.

The box was perfect

Oh, it is nice!  I had read a few reviews at Amazon before i bought it. Some people were whining that it was basically a plastic box with a fan in the back.  Duh.  An oven is just a metal box with a heat element in it.

I was expecting plastic that might feel a tad flimsy but i wouldn't mind.  What arrived is far sturdier than i expected.  It is a very solid piece of equipment.

The other thing i wasn't sure about was the noise.  Its really not that bad!  I mentioned before that i have two older dehydrators to compare this with. One is a Durabrand and the other is a NESCO FD-39.  The Excalibur isn't quite as silent as the Durabrand, but it is much quieter than the NESCO.  The Durabrand is only that bit quieter because it is much smaller really.... the NESCO is just plain annoying.  But, yes...  definitely i can see running the Excalibur throughout the day and night and it not be a disturbance.
My model has an on/off switch on the temperature control- and i love that. I don't like appliances that only turn on by being plugged in.

All i need to do now is wait for someone small and cute to get ready for her nap so i can empty the clean dishes from the dish washer. Then i can run the dehydrator trays and mesh through some hot vinegar water to clean them for use.
Hmmm,  what to dry first?

If i want to make jerky it will have to take time to be prepared- marinated.
So i think i'll try some of those extra bags of frozen veggies i have taking up space in the freezer. They shouldn't take too long to dry and the machine will be free to use for jerky tomorrow.

Sounds like a plan.


I don't like those mornings when i wake up too early and can't get back to sleep.  Today it was about 4am. I tried to catch up on some stuff but i am not with it enough. I thought i had more comments to try and catch up on replying to, but i can't seem to find them.  Maybe they were on the other person's blog.  That is something i wish i was better at keeping up with. I like having blog conversations, but i'm terrible at remembering where i  replied and remembering where i wanted to but didn't.  I wish there was a feature that would show me where i have been. :o)
I did check the tracking on my dehydrator and it has arrived at the FedEx facility in my town, expected to be delivered today. Yay!

I picked another big bowl of tomatoes yesterday. I wonder what i'll dehydrate first? Jerky or tomatoes, lol.

I bought a bunch of oxygen absorbers from Honeyville and they arrived yesterday. I have plenty of new quart jars for storing dried items.  I still have the dehydrator book from the library.

So i guess this is as exciting as its going to get for a while. lol

Monday, September 6, 2010

I was hoping to catch up with a big post, but i'm not sure how this will go.  Usually if i wake up before the little one does, i have a good 20-45 minutes to myself. This did not happen this morning....  so i am going to try and pick at this post throughout the day.

I have had a few weeks of simply not feeling well and i have had a few doctor visits, so my time in the garden has been limited.  The weeds got away from me and things like the green beans and summer squash have been left to run amock. Good thing about the green beans is that they make good dried beans if left to themselves, so that is what i plan to do with those.  Let the pods mature and dry on the plants then gather the seeds and use them as baked beans.

I am annoyed with FedEx once again. They were supposed to deliver my Excalibur on September 4 and i had intended to be drying tomatoes and veggies and beef jerky all this long weekend. But instead, my dehydrator is hanging out somewhere in Reno, Nevada according to the tracking info.  So that has gotten me bummed out.
I have no room left in the freezer, my fridge is crowded with things i don't want to can (or the time ). I can't freeze anything more because there is no room.  I have had to throw some garden produce in the compost because we can't eat it all and by the time i gave up on it, it was too far gone to share out. My older neighbors seem to have been away from their home in the last few days so i  haven't been able to put together a basket for them anyway.

So, the problem is not the production level of the garden, its the challenge of putting all of it up. So i'm not really complaining, i'm just noting the reality of  it all. lol

I got some nice corn the other day.  I went through and started picking whatever looked ready. There were a few borers in a couple ears- which has to be one of the grossest things ever.
Most of the ears were on the small side, i don't know if this is a dry weather thing or its because i tried planting them so close this year to keep them from falling over- that did work by the way.


There are 3 types of corn in there, the ones with the smallest kernels are "Incredible" a SSE, it got the best reviews from the family.

It did look like we were going to have to deal with hurricane Earl earlier last week, so i was watching it closely.  By Thursday it looked pretty promising that we were going to miss the worst of it and then i simply hoped we'd get the rain we needed so badly. We did get 3 inches over Friday night and Saturday i think it was. It came down steady and not too fast so there wasn't a lot of wild runoff.

My apple tree....  boy do i wish i had managed to keep up with the spray applications! Turns out that it would have been a great year for apples. Some of the orchard owners were really worried about Earl, if we got the winds it would have knocked away their bumper crop and may have even torn their trees apart. We are all thankful that it didn't turn out that way.
We still haven't put up the buried support post for the tree. We have to raise the back fence a bit and the post will be installed after that.

I have gotten some great tomatoes. This huge one is a Pruden's Purple. Its a Brandywine type and is very sweet and juicy, not to mention huge.

I picked all this in one day- i was pretty impressed to get this much from a garden that is under 750 square feet.

 I enjoyed the colors.
The yellow pear tomatoes are delicious, but next year i plan to give them much more room. I forgot that cherry types are even more vigorous than other indeterminate types. I also have to seriously learn to prune tomatoes properly. I simply can't reach some of the fruit all the way in the middle and the limbs are intercrossed...  its quite a mess!

My onion tops are beginning to fall over and dry off, so it won't be long before i can pull them and cure them to store.  They are looking good. Ailsa Craig Exhibition onions will definitely be on the list for next year.

I'm not sure if its too early to tell or not, but the red onions didn't fare as well as the white...
I'm not sure where the shallots went....

The Brussels sprouts had it pretty rough. They have had to replace their leaves a few times over the course of the summer so i don't really expect them to get too far unless we have a long, mild Autumn.

I did actually get one nice looking head out of the Point One cabbage and a few more are heading up. One feels quite solid.  The problem is that i was unable to eat the first one because i kept finding frass and slugs in each layer of leaves. I don't gross out too easily, but it was so yucky that i couldn't bring myself to use the cabbage.
I'll have to keep up with the applications of BT and DE (diatomaceous earth) next year.

The cabbage butterflies are just loving my garden,  they lay their eggs on absolutely everything. I think the BT and manual egg squishing has helped keep most of my leaves free of the buckshot look.

My Swiss chard seems to be more than willing to produce, so i really need to try eating it again. I'm hoping that muddy smell goes away when its cooked and isn't as prominent as it seems to be when it is raw.

I have not gotten around to installing the edging around the grapes and the berries yet.  The front and side flower beds have also not been touched.
Its not for lack of enthusiasm....

I have managed to get a few trips to the thrift stores in.  I found a great stack of old crochet magazines with some great patterns in them. Lots of doilies and afghans. I also found some yarns. In one large bag was a bunch of unfinished work by the former owner. There were also some hand written patterns and a few copies of patterns that were put down with a typewriter. Now i'm one of those people who would consider these things a Treasure.  I have some of my Great Grandmother's patterns, booklets and yarn supplies, to me they are keepsakes.  I find it hard to see someone giving their grandma's stuff to a thrift store, at the same time i am glad to have them as i consider such things to be of value.

I also managed to get some time to escape the house and go to Jo-Ann's  and buy some new yarn. They were having a pretty good yarn sale and i got the extra 10% off everything coupon in my email.  I bought  about a dozen skeins of Caron Simply Soft yarn in the bold colors.  I love that yarn.
I know a lot of people are into the boutique yarns and i really admire those too, but i'm still a beginner with this craft, so even when i can get my hands on some yummy yarn i don't dare to use it.  I also can't handle wool of any type.  Just handling the skeins in the store makes me itch.  I can't afford the good stuff anyway.  I'm a cotton girl really.  But the Caron SS is so nice for an acrylic, it holds up well, has a drape i like and the colors are great.
I bought a bunch because i want to try and see if i can crochet a bunch of preemie hats and coats (the coats will be the next challenge) to donate to the hospitals.  Both my girls were premature and we were given a few donated pieces of tiny clothing when they were in NICU. I was so touched by that i have often wanted to return the gesture.  I also have a large stash of polar-type fleece fabric that i'm sure could be used for making little preemie hats and coats. Fleece is light and warm and it won't ravel if it needs to be cut to make way for the wires and tubes that the little babies often need to have.
Hopefully i will be able to do this.  I have great ambitions but the ability often falls flat. lol
Well here's my first shot at a "Hunnie Pot" preemie hat.  It came out ok i guess. I had some issues,  the first one is that i failed to notice the part of the instructions that said to crochet in the back loops only, so the hat isn't as tall...  i also decided to just finish it off so i could start over on a second try, so i skipped the rest of the instructions for that one. I think it will fit my oldest daughter's American Girl dolls, so i'm giving it to her.

Oh, what else is going on....?  Not a whole lot i guess.  I made salsa yesterday with my Pruden's tomatoes and some fresh cilantro.  I am making some lacto-fermented, whole, ripe yellow pear tomato pickles. 

My hubby picked me up a large  George Foreman (Precision GRP99) counter top contact grill from the free pile at the Recycling  Center.  We looked it up and its a $70 machine.  Its a nice one, looks like its been used maybe a handful of times. The grill plates pop off and are dishwasher safe.  I found the instruction book online in PDF for free.  It cooks fish perfectly!  It has a digital readout, temperature control, digital timer. Its really quite nice.  I have an old GE contact grill that has to be 10 years old, its very worn out from use, all the Teflon is worn off the plates. I didn't want to get rid of it but didn't want to spend the money on a new one either.  But the issue has taken care of itself as it often does.

The double-flowering Rose Of Sharon is in full bloom right now. It looks nice, i'm more a fan of the single flowered types but this isn't bad. Its a plant that we inherited when we bought this new land.

When picking Japanese beetles and hornworms off my grape vines, i discovered that Marechal Foch decided to sneak in a secret bunch of grapes.  It must have rebloomed and set this bunch after i had removed the first three earlier this summer. The vines are so vigorous looking i think i'll see how far this bunch can get before the cold hits.  I think the heat wave we just had helped them get some size, but i don't expect much more since it has cooled off dramatically.

The jerusalem Artichokes have passed 10' tall at the good end and it looks like some flower buds are at the top there.

The Globe Artichoke is maturing, its kinda pretty.

The grass did great, it got watered about every other day, we had high humidity in the heat wave so things didn't dry out as quickly as it could have so the grass really filled in.

Still waiting on the watermelon...

I have a couple large bird house gourds, and a number of small ones

The Topsy Turvy has done ok... they are very hard to keep watered they dry out so quickly. This took daily watering during the heat wave and it still looked peckish at times.

The Autumn Olive is doing great!
The Hardy Kiwi is doing quite well also

I got Alpha (the beta fish) another new bowl. Its a standard gallon size glass fish bowl.  I loved having him in the giant brandy glass, but the glass was so thin if it got hid just wrong, i'd have a mess and a poor fish on the floor.  So when i saw the bowl at the thrift store for $3 i grabbed it.  A good cleaning with vinegar and hot water did the trick.
I'll get a picture of Alpha in his new digs later. Camera battery is low.
So i think that is it for the catch-up post today.