Tag Archives: gardening

Garden Update

I haven’t given a garden update in a while, so here’s the status of the plants:

The tomatoes are growing happily….

de-suckered them & decided to try rooting the stems in water.  It’s all an adventure in this gardening thing, so we’ll see how it goes…

Here’s the potato plant from the seeds I obtained locally & planted after Good Friday (& thus after the last frost).  This should turn out successful!

Here’s the potato plant from the certified organic seeds I purchased online & planted on Good Friday.  Not sure what happened, but at first I thought they were a lost cause, now it seems they just had a slow start….

Here are J’s cayenne peppers.  We dry these & crush them.  He says they’re the best on our homemade pizzas.  I also like to add a pinch in our meatloaf ala Jamie Oliver. (recipe from his Food Revolution book.  Best.  Meatloaf.  Ever.)

Lastly, here are the basil & string bean plants.  We like to make pesto & freeze it in snack bags.  It’s makes the perfect portions for those frozen raviolis.  The string beans are an experiment.

The gardening hobby around here is truly an experiment.  I always loved doing the little gardening I did as a kid & wanted to grow my own veggies to use in cooking.  I don’t know much & am really learning as I go.  Thankfully J likes to dabble in this with me.  If we succeed & get to eat some homegrown goodness, yay!  If something happens & we get nothing, that’s ok too.

Weekend Wrap-Up & Other Stuff

Whew!  That was a busy couple of weeks!

We had a friend to visit, so between prepping for that & Holy Week at church, there went some time.  I did manage to plant some potatoes on Good Friday (per an Old Wive’s Tale).  Here’s my first planting:

Our friend (who’s always up for trying something new), didn’t mind helping me figure out how to setup this “urban gardening method” of potato planting.  (She’s such a sport!)

Then I’ve been finishing some knitting projects.  My knitting bag is overflowing, so I took some time to finish projects:
A bunny made from leftover bamboo yarn:

A dish scrubbie from leftover cotton yarn:

A swiffer cloth from more leftover cotton yarn:

And I’m *almost* done with a cardigan I started when I got my wisdom teeth out last year- just need to block the collar- then I’ll post some pics.

But where’s the quilting?  After all, this is a quilting blog!  I know, I know.  Those pics with be uploaded shortly, stayed tuned for those posts!

Thoughts on Thursday

Some randomness for your Thursday!  Here we go!
– How the heck did it get to be Thursday so quickly?
– I loaded a UFO on the frame this week:

-Seedlings for the 2012 garden have started sprouting!  As of this morning, we have 6!  These are either romaine lettuce, or spinach. (Didn’t have enough milk jugs, so I just planted the two together.)

– I’ve been expanding my presence on Etsy, check out my first treasury!  Sewing for the Modern Baby.
– On the reading front I’ve been living in an Ann Rinaldi world.  Yes they are young adult books, but they are also written well.  And there’s the historical aspect.  I’ve always enjoyed her books.
– Darla (the Scientific Quilter), is hosting a March-a-long– sew 15 minutes a day.  I think I shall be participating!!
– Last week J & I went to a celebrity chef event where we saw Rick Bayless demonstrate 3 dishes!  It was awesome & we’ve been cooking Mexican food all week.
– It’s amazingly beautiful here today.  50s & sunny & just jaw droppingly wonderful.  I wish I could just move the longarm outside for a day!

Ok, must get back to the longarm!  UFOs don’t finish themselves!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Winter Sowing on Homekeeping Monday!

Hey everyone!!

I can’t believe it’s the middle of February!!  What happened?  Oh yeah, the migraine, the quilt retreat & that pesky migraine again.

Good news is I have new meds & glasses, so the migraines *should* be going away!  Those & daily ginger tea to stave off the daily nausea that tells me a headache is coming…..

Back to my “real” life….

It’s the middle of February and I have that gardener’s spring itch.  I want to get started on my seeds, tilling my plot & well, just get moving.  But for those of you that live in zone 5, you’re chuckling too because well, it’s too early. (Did the snow forecast give it away?)

Or so I thought!

I came across Winter Sowing on Pinterest. (evil, evil Pinterest!!!  Worst time sucker than Solitaire!)  Did a little research & decided, what the heck- why not try it here in our snow covered state of Nebraska.  What’s there to lose?

So I gathered my recyclables, soil, seeds & duct tape & made one container.  Since I’m taking the recyclable road, my garden is going to grow slowly (you know, as we drink a gallon of milk a week), but that’s ok.  (Only, I wonder what our next door neighbors who are trying to sell their house are thinking!)

So here’s the start of it.  In the meantime I’m researching ways to grow potatoes & shallots (we eat an insane amount of shallots) & lettuce.

And if you’re on Pinterest, you can follow my homekeeping & gardening boards!  Just search for ormondbeach@yahoo.com!

Canning!

So in the midst of starting a quilting business & putting together the house, I decided to do some pickling. One of the nice things about the house we bought was that it had a raised garden bed ready to go in the backyard. Because I can become obsessed with things, I decided we had to have a garden this year. This brought 2 interesting challenges:
1. We bought the house the end of May. Already kind of late to be growing veggies.
2. The garden plot hadn’t had ANYTHING done it in at least 3 years.
But since I was on an obsession, I hoed & raked & got every single last darn weed outta there! It was painful & I probably should have been working on the house.
Then since the plot was ready for planting near the end of June, I purchased the already started plants from Lowe’s.
Then I discovered how perfect Nebraska is for growing. There’s a reason why this is the corn capital of the world. All you have to do is toss some seeds out there, water & before you know it, you have LOTS of vegetables.
We have lots of veggies. Mostly cucumbers right now. A LOT of cucumbers. I’ve already given away 3 to every neighbor near us that I’ve spoken to since we’ve moved here & I still have lots. So that’s when I decided to make pickles. Sounds like fun, right? I’ve canned before. Then J mentioned that maybe relish might be more practical. Very good point my dear husband- relish we will make. Thus started the relish making drama of last weekend.
Now the house is still a disaster, there are still tons of errands to run, a book to read for book club, quilts to finish for my quilting interview, & who knows what else I’ve already forgotten- but I was determined to make relish.
I first started researching recipes. I swore I had my mom’s Ball Book of Canning & Preserving. Went through the cookbook box, darn it, not there. Looked through my other cookbooks. Not happy with those explanations. They assume you know a lot of the steps. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve made relish (I think I was 10?) so I’m not assuming anything. Come to find out, that was a good thing as the National Center for Home Preserving or something like that came out with some new guidelines about healthy preserving- i.e. how NOT to give your friends & family botulism!
Ok, I think I have a recipe that will work. Oh, this is when J has the great idea of relish. Back to searching for another recipe. I’m not liking any of these recipes. Darn it! Ok, make a run out to Sur la Table, I remember them having the Ball Book of Canning & Preserving (this really is the end all of canning books, I NEED this cookbook!) Well, they have it, as a part of the $50 kit! Darn! I really don’t want to spend that for items I’m pretty sure Wal-Mart has. Ok, J & I decide to hit the Wal-Mart (note, I have a really great husband, he willingly listens to me agonize over things like relish recipes & willingly goes all over town for a stupid cookbook.) Wal-Mart has the supplies & jars! Yes! Finally something has worked out. But alas, no Ball Book of Canning & Preserving. J suggests running out to Books a Million, as that is the closest bookstore. Ok, off we go. They at least have the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Ok, that will work.
Now some of you who do not can, or have never canned before might be wondering why I’m going nuts driving all over the city of Omaha for a stupid book. Well I need technique. I need times to let things boil so bacteria won’t grow. The Ball company is the best company for this. As far as I’m aware, they are the only company that actually specializes in canning. They’ve been doing it for over 100 years & they the ones that make the special jars & sealing lids so that everything comes out ok. They probably have a full time staff of scientists that actually research bacteria growth & botulism. (I have 2 friends who are probably qualified to work there & after hearing their basic work stories about bacteria, oh yes, I’m buying the guide from the best company.)
Ok, so I have my cookbook. I decide upon the ever creative “Cucumber Relish.” 8 cups cucumbers, not a problem, sadly, barely used half. Left out red peppers b/c that didn’t seem good in relish. So I made up by adding some more cucumbers. I peeled, seeded & chopped in my food processor (I LOVE that thing!). Then I set everything up to brine. And was told to wait 4 hours.
4 hours go by & I’ve got the quilt to finish, pesto to make w/ J (very yummy & thank goodness I was able to use 4 cups of basil- now at least 1 plant in the house is at a manageable level.) Ate dinner, worked on the quilt- ok, actual canning wasn’t going to work on Sunday afternoon.
Monday comes & there’s lots going on, so in the evening, I decide to finish. Wait- I can’t, my jars aren’t sterilized & I read that putting them in the dishwasher is better than boiling over the stove. Ok, start dishwasher & go swimming. 18 laps later & I’m pretty tired, I’m home & I pull out the cuke mixture from the fridge which has managed to make the whole fridge smell like salt. I start the rinsing process. Yes, I must rinse all the salt off. Meanwhile start sterilizing the lids. J also walks in at this exact time & starts dinner. I’m really hungry & I know he’s hungry, so he starts the hamburgers. I start pouring vinegar, spices & boiling & finally! it’s ready to actually can. Pull jars out of dishwasher, start canning. Remembered how difficult it is to can alone. No wonder my mom always made me help. I’m also remembering a long evening in college when a neighbor & I decided to make pear butter at 10pm (this is not recommended- makes for good stories, but not recommended.)
Pour the relish into 8- 1/2 pints (wait a second! The recipe said it should fill 12- 1/2 pints, oh whatever) & start the water bath procedure.
Finally around 8pm, they are all out on the counter, cooling completely.
Now all I have to do is taste test!

Gardening & not much Knitting

The house we purchased already had a raised garden plot in the back. This was very exciting for me, as I have always wanted a vegetable garden. So as soon as we got the house partway manageable, I started in on the garden. It’s been an incredible amount of work, but I almost have all the grass out (it went unused for several years) & then can add more topsoil. Hopefully I will get some plants in there by the weekend.

So as a result, I haven’t been doing much knitting. I did start a simple granny square afghan last week with some yarn my father-in-law gave me. It’s been the easy no-brainer project that’s kept me sane in the evenings. It’s fairly boring, but I’ll post a pic soon. I really need to finished up some socks though. The Obscuriosity KAL I participate in on Ravelry is having Round 4 shortly & it looks like some great sock patterns will make the final cut. Definately want to participate in that!