Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm embarrassed to say, I found these twin giants hidden under the zucchini leaves yesterday. Just what am I going to make? If they taste all right, some will go in the freezer for soups this winter ... some in bread ... some into fried zucchini appetizers ... some given to my daughter. Please send me your recipes ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taking Stock: The basement's storage pantry is filling up with my home canning goods. While I must admit, canning foods seemed a mystery to me, it's really not that hard to do ... just a bit time consuming. but come winter and early spring, we will have a feast from this summer's treats.

My kitchen 'laboratory' has produced:

  • green beans
  • pickled dilly beans
  • sweet zucchini relish
  • bread and butter zucchini pickles
  • spicy red salsa

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The compost heaps are 'cooking' right along. Because I have the room, there are three different piles in various stages of decomposition in the back forty. They are just above the garden area, that way if there should be any water run off from rain, the nutrients will go directly into the garden. For a smaller yard, a person could find a small unused area out of sight, or invest in a compost bin. Because we have quite a bit of material that goes into the mix and we have the room, I've opted to take the cheap road and just have piles. If you have a dog that likes 'free treats' of watermelon rind, I'd opt for the bins. For a while, we had a barrel shaped ring of chicken wire that we'd pile all the fresh clippings and veggie scraps into ... but alas the dog learned how to get into it ... so now I've just laid the wire out flat on top of the fresh pile and placed a few bricks on top to keep her from raiding it. Last week I added the seeds and ends of oodles of hot chili peppers ... with the hope of teaching Miss Holly to stay out ... Let's hope the heavy bricks do the trick. One day last week I noticed two beautiful tomato plants growing around my apple trees ... this is an area I had put some home made compost around the trunks ... the seeds are from some trimmings. Stuff like this does not bother me ... it's an added bonus ... but the plants will not have time to fully develop with autumn approaching. Had I found them earlier this year, I would have transplanted them to a better location.


Top ... newest pile of compost
Middle ... 'half baked' compost
Bottom ... finished compost pile