Saturday, September 29, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY Last of the tomatoes

These are the last of our tomatoes. We had a cold snap last weekend, and again today. The weatherman says it will warm up, with highs in the 60's through next week, but I am glad to be done with them. In year's past, I've covered my tomatoes and kept them into October. I am glad we pulled the plants last weekend. I still have pumpkins, beets, parsnips, carrots and summer and winter squash to deal with. Not to mentions that I am really tired of figuring out things to do with tomatoes.
I blogged earlier about which tomatoes I liked and would try again, I have also heard about a yellow cherry tomato called Sun Sugar that is supposed to be wonderful. Has anyone tried this variety? I think I will put it on my list for next year to try out.
Sun Sugar

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shoes! I bought new shoes!

I am an 'old' lady - I switched over to flats over ten years ago. My feet hurt if I'm not wearing tennis shoes with some good support in them. My mother and my sister have both had foot surgery, but not me (yet). Sensible shoes and I are like peanut butter and jelly.

These black, strappy heels are the only pair of heels I own, with an inch heel. They go nicely with a red, two piece outfit I own that has black bows as trim on the jacket (it really is nice, I promise!). I would never have bought them (I don't like to shop for shoes at all, really) except I was on a trip last year or so with my daughter, the Sassy Lime, and she talked me into these very cute (if uncomfortable) shoes. I wear them when I'm trying to look really cute. I have short, narrow heeled, wide at the top feet (one shoe salesman said I had feet like a duck), and there just aren't too many shoes in my size - 6 1/2 wide.

I've been very pleased to see that flats are 'in' now, and determined to stock up before they go out of style. So I went on a rare shoe shopping trip, to get some shoes for the 11yr old, K, and to look for some flats for myself. And I found a pair of dressy black flats (with some glitter on the sides that you can't see) and a pair of Barbie-pink shoes, with heart cutouts. I have to admit that I own a pink suit (it was on clearance!) and these shoes go with it perfectly.
I couldn't bring myself to buy the pink ones, so I bought K's shoes, and the black pair for myself. The next day I was still thinking about those crazy pink shoes, so I went back and bought them. They are a bit over the top, aren't they?
Edge and I are now challenging the true shoe hound of the family, Sassy Lime, to post about her lovely shoe collection and love of shoes - c'mon Sass, let's see it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

There's no place like home

I was visiting one of my favorite places on line, Our Little Acre, and enjoying the visit, as always, when I saw a familiar place, Bear's Mill, in Darke County, Ohio. I was raised in Darke County, and our family visited Bear's Mill often, my grandmother grew up near there, and Zion's Cemetery on St. Rt. 36 has several of our ancestors buried there. I am related to the Cromer family, one of the families that owned and ran the mill.

On one visit, my grandmother noticed an old tool on the wall, and said 'that one is ours! They borrowed it and never brought it back!' (I was afraid she was going to climb up and get it! Ack!) I have not written much about my love of genealogy and family history. I became interested as a teenager, and had some great experiences 'finding' my family. The fact that they had lived in the same county for 3 or 4 generations did make my search relatively easy. (bad pun).

My sister is a lot more computer savvy than I am. She put together a great website with our family tree on it at

Thanks, Kylee, for a great walk down memory lane!

This short clip (I couldn't find any .jpegs) shows my youngest daughter, K, in front of Bear's Mill.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Freezing Rain - no, Snow ! at 5,000 feet

I am glad we got half of the vegetable garden pulled on Saturday - this morning we have freezing rain,
which quickly turned to snow at our house. (We are at 5, 000 feet elevation here in Utah) I wonder if it will stick.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY old reliables finish out the summer

Iceberg roses weren't my favorite for a long time. I wouldn't say they are now, either, but we have two neglected Icebergs just outside our bedroom door, and they have bloomed all summer, despite needed the grass pulled out from under them. Maybe it is because they have been around a few years, but they bloomed and bloomed this summer. I'm becoming more and more fond of them as time goes by. Rain and cooler temps came today, they are predicting a low of 40 degrees, and possibly snow in the mountains. We'll see.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pansies and pumpkins

I saw this idea in a magazine, somewhere. I bought some black violas and orange pansies, and hollowed out the pumpkin from our garden (this little pumpkin was the result of a lumina pumpkin getting cross-pollinated with some of our squash, I think).
It took a few tries to get the flower pot to fit, but it wasn't too hard.
Then I took the pot out and planted some of the Halloween - colored pansies in it, and put it back in the pumpkin. I plan to make some for my daughters and friends for fall decorations.
Maybe I'll show some more when I get them potted up. I think I'll get some regular pumpkins, and try one of the Lumina pumpkins, too.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY Purple Ruffles Basil

This was a volunteer in my veggie garden this year. It is not so tasty to me, but I love the color, and have used it in some flower arrangements for an unusual filler. I hope it self-seeds again next season.I grew lettuce leaf basil for eating, and I have enjoyed that variety ok, but am remembering a smaller leafed basil - oh - spicy globe basil- that I think I will grow next year. Any other recommendations for yummy -or beautiful- basil varieties?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - September 2007

I should take paper and pencil out so I don't forget what is blooming, but the sun was almost down and I was trying to throw some grass seed on some bare spots this evening. Some of the roses are still blooming. We have not had a frost here, yet, and so are still enjoying these beauties. The volunteer sunflowers are still going strong, and the hollyhocks, cosmos, valerian, gaura, a few perennial geraniums, snaps-
This little guy is some kind of wild onion that pops up now and then. It has been fun to watch it grow and bloom this summer.
The pots have petunias, etc, still going along very well. One aster has begun to bloom, but will take off later, I think. I think my disco belle Hibiscus are done for this season. I am looking forward to seeing what they do next year.

Pasta salad with fresh basil and tomatoes

I found this recipe in my files, it is pretty tasty, and I am also looking for other good recipes that use basil, so let me know if you've got a good one. This one has tasted good enough that I've made it two days in a row.

Pasta Salad

Cook pasta and drain – cheese tortellini or bowties
While hot pour (Paul Newman’s) Italian Salad dressing over the pasta and let cool
Prepare fresh snipped basil (a lot) , and a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut into chunks.
Add to : pasta mixture and chill for 3 hours.
Just before serving drain salad dressing from the pasta.
Add to mixture quartered red tomatoes, and large black pitted olives.
Mix together and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese, and coarse black pepper.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Salsa time

I have been processing tomatoes, I made some tomato sauce last week, as well as salsa last week and this week. It is a lot of work, chopping all those veggies. This last session went better, though, because my 11 yr. old helped. She was a great assistant! I even tried to make some 'hot' salsa - mine is typically very mild - even when I try to make it hot. We'll see if I finally succeeded. Next time (if I make any more) I'll use my LaPresse- I think it is called.
Here is my recipe for salsa, I got a great recipe from a friend, and made a few changes:

½ bushel tomatoes (about 28 lbs)
2 sliced garlic cloves
2-5 green peppers (or red, orange, yellow)
2-5 other types of peppers (banana, Anaheim, poblano, etc)
3 large onions
2 T salt (non-iodized for canning)
2-3 jalapeno peppers
lemon juice

Scald and peel tomatoes. Dice them and put them in a colander to strain out some of the juice. (I press the tomatoes against the colander, then put the drained tomatoes in a saucepan to cook briefly, and drain and press them again- this results in a thicker salsa)

Clean and chop all other vegetables, put all veggies in the large saucepan to cook until onions are soft, and salsa reaches a low boil, stirring occasionally.

Add salt, and 1 – 3 T. of hot crushed bottled peppers, if hotter salsa is desired. Stir.

Add 1 T. lemon juice to each pint of salsa, process in pressure cooker at 15 lbs pressure for 15 minutes.
Some of my friends use a water bath canner to process this, but I am a bit cautious, and use the pressure cooker. The best thing to do is to check with your local extension office for their advice.

Friday, September 07, 2007

End of season evaluation - peppers

My plan, way back in the spring, was to have peppers to make salsa with, and to try out some ‘cool weather’ varieties, because the nights here in high desert Utah can be cool in May, June, and September, which slows down pepper production. So I bought seeds for Gypsy Hybrid and Giant Marconi, which are both supposed to be good varieties for cooler weather. Of course we had one of the hottest summers on record! I ended up with eleven pepper plants, and expected many more peppers than I got from these plants.
I planted a variety of types, hoping for sweet peppers in a variety of colors, and a few hot ones, as well: In addition to the two cool weather types, I planted Jalapeno, Poblano, Super Shepherd, Sweet Red, and Sweet banana. (This last one usually produces tons of peppers for me. I haven’t seen a poblano, yet either. The Pimento pepper plant that I bought has probably done the best, producing 5 spicy peppers for me.
It is my own fault, however that I didn’t get more peppers from my plants. I am having trouble remembering details, but I do know the pepper plants I started from seed were not wonderful starts. I don’t remember what I did wrong. No help there!
Then I was a little too carried away with the beauty of the volunteer flowers in the veggie garden. I have some volunteer sunflowers that I had to prune heavily, because they were blocking the peppers from the sun. I let some cosmos grow too close to my pepper plants, too, and so my puny pepper plants had to compete for sun and root space. I like having flowers in the veggie garden, but I have to be a lot more selective about that. The plants never got very big, and thus never produced much fruit.
I know there is a jalapeno plant somewhere, but I never got any jalapenos, and all I endeup up with was only 2 or 3 peppers from each plant, all very undersized (as you can see from the photo). The lovely big pepper on the left is from the store. :(
So, next year I'll try to be more diligent with my seed starting. I won't let the garden volunteers take away from what I really am trying to grow. More evaluations to come!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY - and they say disco is dead!

Yahoo! my 2nd Disco Belle bloomed, it is a red one!!! The seed packet just said mixed colors.
So far I have 2 whites (w red centers) and this lovely red. They really are remarkable plants. I wonder if they will get more colors, I think all that is available is white, pink and red?