Monday, November 21, 2011

They Just Keep Grinding Away...

It seems every time we have a family dinner, the family wants more rule exemptions. First they wanted to use the spices in their cabinets out of their money. Then they wanted more money,, then they wanted more cheat items, then they wanted to 'dumpster dive' for pumpkins. It is very hard to be a dictator when the people are so demanding!

For Sharon's birthday, she has decided to have a party. Everyone rallied around the idea of getting an extra party exemption for her birthday celebration. Finally I agreed, then declared, 'NO MORE!' with a flourish of my arm. A passing waitress fired a comment in, 'God has spoken.' We all had a good chuckle.

Never Leave the Forest Empty-Handed

On my last expedition to Spencer Lake the place was over-run with hunters. I decided to go to another favorite hunting location. No animals were to be found. There were other treasures to be collected though! I now have of meal corn, leftovers not picked up by the cultivator on the public land. I've already taken them off the kernels, 12lbs. Plus 2 more lbs that were dirty, I am going to keep as my planting seed for next year.
I also collected rose hips, 2 sandwich bags stuffed full. I'm trying to sort out what to do with them exactly, hopefully I can get them cooked down into something (a jelly, syrup, something.) They definitely have more flavor than those early ones I picked, I can see why they are typically used for tea. More to come on that subject in the next few days.

More Preparations

Last night, I baked 20 of the potatoes from my 10 pound bag. They are small potatoes so I still have about a dozen left for vegetable soup. After they were almost thoroughly baked, I split them in half, scooped out the insides, blended in some water, a little of my butter allowance and in some I mixed finely chopped parsley and in another batch I mixed the chopped chives (both chives and parsley from my garden). I refilled the skins and wrapped them in foil and then a large plastic freezer bag. In about mid December, I plan on harvesting some of my carrots and turnips and I'll make a vegetable soup to freeze.

I plan on baking my turkey and freezing the meat in 4 oz packages (later in December). I figure with almost a 9 pound turkey, I should have at least 5-6 pounds of meat. That would work out to, at the minimum about 20 packages of turkey. If I eat turkey two times a week, that should last through the challenge. I'll also probably use the bones as a base for soup.

My herbs are pretty well dry. I'll let them dry a few more days before I bag them up. I still have mint growing and have some parsley to freeze as well as the bag of kale.

It looks like the next freeze is going to be the upcoming Sunday night. I haven't decided whether I want to go through covering the garden with the sheets or just mulching with leaves that I haven't raked and harvest the root vegetables at a later time. I'll watch the forecast and keep you up to date.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Harvest

Yesterday, I froze two more containers of pea pods, I harvested the kale, and more parsley. I also picked the cabbage plants by the roots and put them in water to see if I could get any more growth. I keep picking mint and have been enjoying mint tea nearly every day. I picked some tomatillos but I'm not certain what to do with them.

I've also decided to change up my $10 allowance. I found a great frozen turkey for $5.02, 10 pounds of potatoes for $1.99 (I heard that Kmart has them cheaper so I might give the $1.99 ones to my Mom and buy the $1.00 for 10 pound bag). My remaining $2.99 are 1 stick of butter (.50), 1/4 of the 5 pound bag of sugar (.50), one third of a small bottle of oil (.43), 1/4 of the veggie soup base ($1.10), and 1/4 bottle of vinegar (.50). If I buy the $1.00 10# bag of potatoes, I can add in the .78 bag of rice or one dozen eggs for $1.00 (which I previously froze). I would be about $.03 over budget. Maybe I'll look for $4.99 turkey. (tee hee)

The turtle is tooling along . . .

The Clean Sheets are on the Beds . . .

I am trying to eeek out every last millimeter of growth from the garden. Last night, I covered the plants that are still growing with bed sheets to keep them from freezing. The garden peas must have hot feet because they keep kicking the covers off. Silly garden peas!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lessons from the Fall Garden

Well - I still have some garden production. I pick snow pea pods daily. I planted them around August 15. As far as the later plantings: The first picture below is the beginnings of the regular garden peas. I think August 30 was a little late to plant them as they have had flowers for a few weeks and are just starting to form into pods. There are possibly 6 pea pods thus far. August 30 is too late for to plant peas!!! The second picture is of one of the turnips that I planted around the end of August. It looks like I will have a few smaller turnips - but good news - still some production from them. The last picture shows the snow peas, carrots and beets, with the garden peas in the back and a few lettuce leaves in the front. The beets and peas were planted around the middle of August and although the roots are on the small size, I should be able to harvest some nice vegetables from the August 15 plantings early in the winter. The summer squash, green beans, beets and cabbage planted at the end of August will not be producing any large quantities of vegetables. (We might have a few meager harvests from these).

Overwhelming Gratitude

Today, I pulled out the remnants of the tomato plants, the cages, the squash, and various other items from the early summer garden. As I looked back at the area where all of these wonderful plants grew, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this garden and the bountiful harvest it provided. . . . I'm just sayin'