Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Big Habanero

Here is what happens when it rains a lot in Texas in June - giant habanero.

I noticed that Jenn was looking for a garlic tea recipe to repel mosquitoes. Simply put a whole garlic clove in a food processor or blender with some water and chop it up. Let it sit for a while, strain off the garlic bits, dilute with more water and apply to the mosquito infested area. I put it in a watering can and spin around like a crazy woman splashing it all over the place. This gives the neighbors something to talk about.

Linda wanted the pickled peach recipe. I didn't really follow a recipe, but here is how I threw them together. The brine is 2 parts white vinegar to one part water with enough sugar to make it slightly sweet (to taste) . Peel the peaches and cut into quarters. Add two cloves and one cinnamon stick to each jar and pack in the peaches. I packed the peaches gently because I didn't want them all mushy. Boil the brine and pour over the prepared peaches. Secure the lids on the jars and process in a boiling water bath for seven minutes. Make sure the lids pop down, if not refrigerate and eat sooner rather than later.

For safety's sake, please read some home canning instructions. I wouldn't want to accidentally poison anyone.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pickled Peaches

Peaches pickled with vinegar, cinnamon, cloves and sugar.
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Peach Liqueur

Here is the first of my peach preserving attempts - Peach liqueur. Just halve the peaches, pore Everclear over the top of them and seal. Once the peach flavor is infused into the alcohol, I am supposed to dilute it to 80% alcohol content and maybe add a little simple syrup if it needs to be sweetened. This is supposed to take about a month. Since I don't like sweet stuff or hard liquor, I have no idea what I am going to do with this stuff once it is ready.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Peaches Everywhere

While I may not be getting any squash, we have a bumper crop of peaches this year. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but that tree is loaded. There are also two more completely covered up with frut. I am researching recipes. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I also intend to share some fruit with friends and either a local food pantry or soup kitchen for the homeless in Dallas.

I am continuing to work in the garden every evening for at least 30 minutes. It is coming along fine and should be in great shape for the fall planting. The Monkeys started actually coming out and helping me over the last couple of days. This is a mixed blessing because they bicker the whole time they are "helping."

Last night we installed something called and Ooze Bag. It is just a large plastic bag onto which drip emitters are inserted. I have had one up for about two weeks on some tomatoes, and they are thriving. The bag installed last night is for the squash. Maybe I will finally get some zucchini.

Hope your gardens are doing fine.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cave Clean Up

Yesterday I spent about two hours cleaning up the extra room that used to be my office/cave. Because I spent all the time in there, I just did a little bit of gardening. The Walk to the Moon website has a conversion for housework into steps, so I still get to count it...Yeah.

This evening I will get back out there and straighten out the squash bed. For some reason the plants are beautiful, but I'm not getting any zucchini or yellow squash. Maybe they are not getting pollinated. If I weed, maybe the bugs will be able to find the blooms.

If received a couple of inquiries about Manly's health. He had knee surgery last spring. Over the following weeks he developed blood clots in the leg. He is on blood thinners and the road to recovery will be a long one. This is a very dangerous situation and he has to be very very careful.

That said, he is pretty hilarious when he takes his pain medication.

Thank you for your concern and well wishes.

Monday, July 19, 2010

30 Minutes

This blog is going to get pretty boring. I have not been posting as much because my husbands health has been my main concern. Somehow, socks just are not as funny right. I might come up with a one liner for Facebook or Twitter, but I have not had it in me to create anything bigger than that.

Anyway, several weeks ago ten of us over on Facebook (mostly garden bloggers) decided to commit to getting in better shape. I found a website that tracks steps and measures the distance towards the moon (figuratively of course). We started using that to track our progress. The nice thing about it is that it allows you to count many activities as steps. There is a nice little conversion chart.

I went all gangbusters on this program and managed to hurt my neck the first week. This caused me to rethink my situation. I am a middle aged, out of shape, overwhelmed wife and mother of three. I am not going to become super fit in a short period of time. I don't have the time during each day to dedicate to that kind of routine.

I decided to take a step back and try to create some new habits one habit at a time. First, I said I would work in the garden every evening possible for thirty minutes. That was two weeks ago. As of last night, all the walkways in my garden were weeded. I can clearly see the accomplishment.

At the beginning of last week, I added in thirty minutes of housework daily. While, I was not as constant with this goal, I did managed to clean up a large part of my office, which has been turned into a sort of junk room since I received a laptop for Mother's Day and don't sit in here much anymore. Now that I can see the floor, I am now more motivated to get things cleaned up, tossed out and organized. I feel pretty optimistic that I will keep doing this.

This week, I plan on adding in just a little sewing everyday. I am not going to commit to thirty minutes, because I don't think that is reasonable. I will just sit at the sewing machine or hand quilt a little everyday. I commit to picking it up.

At some point I may come back in here and edit this mumbo jumbo, but for right now, I just want to start keeping a record of what I am up to. Maybe I'll find my sense of humor along the way.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mini Melons

See that. That is a mini watermelon. Special seeds? Nope, it is just a plain old watermelon vine grown in a container. In this case the container is an old plastic watering can that cracked at the bottom. I couldn't make myself throw it out, so it was given a second life as a container. The watermelon variety is not a small variety at all. It is Crimson Sweet. The seed package says the fruit can weigh up to 24 pounds. It is quite easy to stunt its growth, obviously.

This is the vine and the watering can. The little melons on the vine are ready, but they only have a couple of tablespoons of edible flesh. So what, it's fun. I will clean up the vines and give them a shot of fertilizer and compost. That should get them going again producing more little fruits. The vines are already blooming again.

This is a fun way to grow little melons if you don't have the space for sprawling vines.

Please forgive the messy deck in the background. I promise to go clean it up right now.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Relax and Enjoy the Garden...For a Minute

We have a beautiful overcast morning here in North Texas. If you have ever been here during the summer, you will know exactly why I consider "overcast" beautiful in July. It is comfortable enough to sit out on my deck and enjoy a cup of coffee. I am also typing this as I enjoy that cup of coffee. I received a lap top for Mother's Day. This is the first time I have taken my baby outside into the garden.

I love these mornings where I actually wake up before everyone else and can relax before the choas begins. I am able to get a few little house chores started and then just kick back and observe my plants.

Maybe I should have done a little more gardening before sitting down on this fine morning. It looks like the hackberry suckers are trying to take over the garden yet again.

Back to battle against the invaders using my trusty Felcos.

Have a nice day y'all.