Sunday, September 25, 2011

Musings from the Junque Pile

Interesting things afoot here at the micro-mini-ranch.  My mother moved in with us yesterday. It's been in the works for while, but yesterday was the big move out of her place and into mine. She brings 2 cats into the herd, and it's going to be a hoot watching everyone interact with each other. There's been some minor hissing and a little growling, but no fur flying...yet.

I'm also going to be a little scarcer than normal (and I've been pretty scarce lately anyway). I'm going to having surgery on my hand in about a week and a half. I'll be having a joint replacement on my thumb, and expect to be outta commission for a bit. I doubt, though, that I will be off the interwebz for long, though.

It does mean that my end of summer season, with all my normal harvesting and canning stuff won't be done, or if it is, I won't be recording it. This makes me sad, but there is always next year.

I do plan on working to better plan out gardens during the winter months. And winter is also the time I experiment with new mixings of soaps and cleaning agents for the house. I suspect that once my hand heals, I'll be able to get back into jewelry making and general around the house crafting. When I do, I'll be posting about it!

In the meantime, I'll be integrating Mom's stuff with ours, cleaning and unpacking like the dickens, and gearing up for a few weeks of leisure time while I recoup.

I was thinking that during my recovery period, that I will probably use this place to list some interesting recipes and other things that I see on other places online.

I won't be totally gone.  :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Musings from the Junque Pile

it's been forever and a day since I've posted. I'm sorry. There hasn't been a lot of exciting things happening in the garden, even though it's technically harvest time.

daHubster pulled about 10 lbs of potatoes out of the garden about 2 weeks ago. They were wrapped in burlap and boxed, and are currently hardening their skins in a cool, dark place. They were all different sizes, from the size of a grape to the size of a lemon. Not bad for $1.50 bag of seed potatoes planted a month late!

The Loofa plant just flowered about a week ago. I think that there might be 2 loofas that set, but the weather turned cold quickly afterward the flowers started, and I don't think much will come. I was happy to see that it tried! Next year, I will plant them way earlier. I I think I need to put them in a sunnier spot. Definitely need to water them more.

My pumpkins are still growing. We have one good sized, one medium sized, and one dinky one. All are still green, though. I'm hoping all grow more before first frost.

We had quite a tomato haul this year. We picked them and froze them for processing this winter. I feel smuggly smart about this - instead of sweating over the stove in the summer putting tomatoes up, I can do it in the winter when I *want* the house heated up.

I was unhappy with the variety of cucumbers I planted this year. They were a bush variety, but they didn't get very bushy. There were still runners that leaked over the side of the raised bed, and most of the cukes were bitter. They also produced very round, bulbous cukes...that ripened uber fast, and weren't much good for anything other than grinding up into relish. Another "live and learn" lesson.

Unfortunately, care of the garden has taken a back seat lately, as I run from doctor's appt to doctor's appt. I finally have the answers for my hand problems, and will probably be having surgery soon. Add that to dislocating my knee a month ago, I haven't been able to give my plants the love they've needed during the end of summer and beginning of fall. I hope they can forgive me.

These last few weekends, thru the end of this month, I've been working with my mother to close up her apartment. She will be moving in with daHubster and I for awhile. As with everyone else, she's been hit with difficult times due to the economy tanking. I'm happy she is willing to come here and get back on her feet again.

But it re-enforces my hate of packing and moving. It's just not a fun job anyway you look at it.

So, if I'm scarce for awhile, it's because of all of this. It's my hope that as Autumn ramps up, with the expectation of Winter, I'll be able to experiment more with cooking, dehydrating, and canning, and be able to share it all with you.  :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

More Musings from the Junque-pile

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday was rainy and muggy as all get out. This morning dawned chilly and sunny. I'm not even sure it's supposed to make it higher than 70 today. I'm happy for not sweating, yet sad that autumn is coming. Me no likey da cold weather.

Things were busy yesterday despite the rain. daHubster pulled out the potato cage and spent a good chunk of time *carefully* digging up our potato crop. Those little guys have very delicate skins. Since this was our first year trying to grow potatoes, we weren't sure what to expect when we dug them up. Would there be a lot? What size would they be.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with the amount of taters he pulled out of the ground. And they were all shapes and sizes, from the size of a pea to the size of an orange!  There was quite a lot, too...probably about 10 lbs worth. Not bad for a $1.50 investment of seed potatoes, planted about a month too late. They are currently wrapped in burlap in the basement. Everything I've read about potatoes says they need to dry for about 2 weeks.

Yesterday I hit the farmer's market hard for more peppers. since my little guys didn't produce the luscious amounts of bell peppers I wanted, I wanted to supplement them with the gorgeous, ripe reds, yellows, and orange bell peppers that the market is offering right now.  I found one vendor that must have had a bumper crop, and was selling orange peppers 3 for $2.00. Reds and yellows were 75 cents each. BARGAIN!  Peppers are still around $3.00 in the grocery store. EACH! That just gets my goat. I spent a few hours chopping my load of peppers for the freezer yesterday afternoon, plugged into my iPod.

I also pruned my basil plants, the leaves were starting to fade, and I didn't want to lose the whole thing. I love the dried basil. I used it all winter in soups and sauces. This year I planted Purple and lemon basil in addition to Large Leaf. I think next year I will stick to just the large leaf. The lemon basil smells great, and the purple is pretty, but I think I prefer just plain old basil. I wonder if I threw some more seeds into the basil pot if I'd get another small crop before it gets too cold for them outside. Hmm...

I also bought some more bunches of green onions that I also chopped and dehydrated (outside) overnight. Green onions are so pretty in their little air tight glass containers when they are dried. And tasty too. I threw a handful into some scrambled eggs for yesterday's breakfast. Delicious.

End of summer is my favorite time. I've fallen in love with putting food away for the cold months. Figuring out bargains, then chopping, drying, canning,'s all good!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Musings from the Junque Yard

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

I plan on laboring away. I am behind in processing my pickled nana peppers. I seriously need to put up a few quarts of those before I lose them.

Our potatoes have finally died back, and we need to pull up the wire cage surrounding them and see what they did. I'm not holding our breath it was our first time doing them, I have no idea what they will bring. But I'm excited to see!

Our carrots are also ready to pick. Had I been on the ball, I would have already planted more for another harvest before (or shortly after) frost. I've read that carrots can take a little frost, it makes them sweeter. I plan on canning a few pints into sliced hot carrots - the kind you find mixed in with commercially canned jalapenos. I bet they will be tasty. I've set aside some recipes to try.

The tomatoes are coming along splendidly! We are past the halfway mark for picking. Since neither daHubster nor I like raw tomatoes, only cooked, we always process them. Not sure if I mentioned this, but instead of canning them in the dead heat of summer, we've been freezing them whole and will can them in the dead of winter. It's a stroke of brilliance....can when I *WANT* to heat the house up, right???  *grin*

I have 5 (count them 5!) pumpkins growing in their little mini patch. They are cooking 'kins, so they won't get huge, and they set so late in the season that I fear they won't get big enough before frost. Oh well, we shall see. I was hoping to be able to make pumpkin pie with my very own 'kins. Whatta hoot that'd be!

My loofa planting is ginormous. But it never flowered. I'm a tad bummed, but will try again next year.

I waited to long to pick my basil, and the plants are fading. I wonder if there's enough oils in the leaves to dry anyway. I may try it. I might also sneak in a quick planting to see if I get some viable newbie plants before the weather turns too cold.

I've let my weeding go in the past month. My poor strawberry patch looks like a jungle. I need to thin it out before frost, other wise next years crop will be pitiful.

So much to do, and I wont get to it all. But that's OK. This season was a great learning experience.