Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

This gave me a chuckle, hope your Halloween is fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY ripening tomatoes - indoors?

Has anyone had the experience of ripening green tomatoes indoors and gotten tomatoes that looked like they were getting ready to go as mummies for Halloween? This is what happens to me, whether I use paper to wrap them or not. These tomatoes
ripened outside on the NW facing back porch. When we pulled the tomatoes (six weeks ago!), my DH left this pile of green tomatoes on the back porch. I decided to ignore them for a while,

and was surprised to see a few of them ripen up very nicely. We have had a very mild fall so far, but still, it is a pleasant surprise.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Footwear Friday - the Gangsta Gardener

Footwear Friday was started by Sassylime,
go see her fancy footwork, and feel free to join in and show us your favorites. I am not as much of a shoe-hound as she is, but wanted to show you my gardening shoes, and my usual gardening outfit -
Now, don't be jealous, I know you all wish you could be as stylin' as I am. The hat is for sun protection, of course, but is so horrible looking on me that I try not to look in the mirror on my way out to the garden. The dark blue sweatshirt has stains and rips you can't see, but it fits 'just right' and is soft. The shoes are some old sturdy gym shoes, and you can see my wonderful jeans have taken the hit with mud stains.
One of the great benefits of gardening is weight loss, as many of you know. I lost 15+ pounds this spring and summer, with some moderate exercise, regular gardening, and, yes, that unglamorous 'watching what I eat' strategy. I lost weight last summer, too, and then when fall hit and I decided to 'take a break' from my diet, all the weight came back. Probably because I wasn't out there slinging things around in the yard every day. So- this fall, my goal is to maintain that 15 lb. loss, and work on that last 5 pounds in the spring.
That said, you may have noticed the stylish elastic waistband on my jeans. As I lost weight, I started having problems with keeping my pants up! At one point, I had my cell phone in one pocket, the portable house phone in the other, and ws carrying pots across the yard. My pants were slipping down to teenage boy levels. Not a pretty sight! I did think that maybe I could try and intimidate some of my problem plants with a 'garden rap' to go with the outfit, but I am pretty sure they would laugh, if they could, before they would be afraid of their 'gangsta' gardener.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New banner for me!

Thanks to my daughter, Edge, for my new, fall banner. She put it together from a photo of my Japanese maple, and her technical wizardry. Thanks, dear!

In a related matter, I saw a fun and easy idea in my October issue of Sunset magazine- press fall leaves, then take photos of them on a color copier and frame them. Yesterday I headed off to my local copy center with my pressed leaves.

They were having a color copy sale, 35 cents each. I got ten prints made. Here are a few of the copies. I'll post when I get them matted and framed. I think I'll try this next spring with pressed flowers, too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pickled beets and pickled eggs

My last post reminded me of something I haven't made in a long time, pickled beets with hardboiled eggs. This was something I grew up with, it is simple, just put equal amounts of vinegar and sugar together, and add peeled beets and cook, then add peeled, hardboiled eggs and refrigerate for a day or two. The egg whites turn pink, and take on some of the 'pickled' flavor. I was surprised when my DH, who generally eats just about anything, said, 'what's that?' when I served him some, but he had not had them before. I guesss it is a bit odd, when you think of pink eggs and all. Tasty, though. I've heard of recipes with spices in them, too. Anyone else grow up with pickled eggs and beets? (how about fried mush w/ syrup??! yum!)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday beet harvest

I harvested my mini crop of beets a few weeks ago, I planted golden beets and regular red ones. This pic shows the 'golden' ones, they are definitely lighter in color, and still tasty. Here are both kinds, the regular red beets are on the right. I have to be tougher about thinning my rows next year. Everything was tiny because I was too soft-hearted to thin out the beets or carrots. The carrots and parsnips are still in the garden. It's nice to have something that will 'stay' out there until I get a minute to get them in!

Happy GTS!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, it's hard to believe the month is half over. We have had a few frosts, and even two days of snow, but overall, lovely and moderate temperatures so far this fall.

Blooming in my yard today:
bachelor buttons, petunias, and zinnias in my flowering pots (yep, I really need to pull these, but, they're blooming!),


two stella d'oro day lily blooms,
blue queen sage,
some type of Helichrysum,

volunteer sunflowers, and a scattering of roses.
This yellow one (name? don't know, it was here when we moved in)
is one of my favorites.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


This is my view from my kitchen window. My husband usually rips out the red vine, urgh! I've forgotten it's name, but it does spread around a bit too vigorously. It has climbed up the pine tree and is a spectacular shade of red, don't you think? Here is a closeup-- somebody tell me what it is called, please. I am embarrassed that I've forgotten its name.

This is a closeup of the Japanese maple that you can see in the first pic, on the lower left. It gets more colorful and beautiful every day. I am thinking the sheer beauty of fall almost makes up for the fact that the next season is winter (i.e. too much snow, too cold to garden, etc.etc.).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY The Mother Ship of Squash

I grew several different varieties of squash this year, this one was a fun surprise, it is really called Bennings summer squash. We have made UFO jokes all summer. Summer squash is really good at hiding under those big squash leaves, and so we had a variety of sizes, because I would miss one (or five!) now and then. Bennings has a milder flavor than other summer squashes; I'd have to say it is my favorite this year. Of course I grew zucchini, and Yellow Scallop, Sunburst Hybrid, which are very similar, and a lovely yellow zucchini called 49er.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Grape Juice

I decided a few weeks ago that I was not going to do any more canning without some help. So when a neighbor offered me free Concord grapes, I asked my 11 yr. old if she would like to help make grape juice, something I had never done before. Maybe some grape jelly or jam, but definitely juice. We don't eat as many pbj's as we used to around here, so grape jelly is not a high-use item. They make great gifts, too, but I decided we would start with grape juice (which is delish!) and see if we felt like doing anything else after that. We picked about 6 gallons of grapes, which didn't take long. The hardest part was taking the grapes off of the stems. Some people don't when they make juice, but our extension agent advised me that the juice would have some 'stem' flavor. So, we sat in front of the TV and stemmed those grapes. K, my 11 yr. old, enjoyed mashing the grapes most of all, I think. We cooked them, then let them strain and drain overnight in the frig. This is the finished product, it is tasty, and we didn't stain too many things with juice spills. We ended up with 8 or 9 pints. One didn't seal, and the other one? hmm? maybe some grape juice thief has been around?
I know another neighbor who has green seedless grapes- hmm, white grape juice is sooo yummy! I wonder if K is up for another batch???

Monday, October 01, 2007

Garden Blogger's Muse Day - Veggies Sing !

I hope I am not being too silly for blogger's muse day, but it is the month of Halloween. If you have never seen Charlotte and Vendetta, characters on , then you are missing a good smile for the day. Here is a low-res pic of them.
Charlotte (the sweet one) has taught the vegetable 'fiends' to sing a song, much to Vendetta's horror:
'Eat vegetables with every meal
Or your lips will start to peel
And your eyeballs will fall out,
And your teeth will smell like trout.'
Happy Muse Day! Happy October!