Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Garden Notes, July 27, 2015

I've been exploring what to do with these Luffa gourds.  I let a couple of them dry completely, and peeled one of them on Saturday.
 After reading up on them, it seems I should have actually peeled these when they were still yellowish green, I read that they peel much easier, then set them out to dry.  Too late!
 The seeds started to fall out right away.  I then used a pair of scissors and cut up through one of the chambers and started opening the sponge up. There are three distinct chambers.  As I cut through the seeds just fell right out.
 I'll have PLENTY of seeds saved for next year!
 These are two of the gourds all opened up and flattened.
This morning I soaked them both in a solution of water and bleach, on one side for one hour, then turned them over and soaked them for another hour. I had to put a full cup on top to weigh them down.
 Then I rinsed them off and they are drying.  They came out a very nice light color.   I'm planning to make a few scrubbers with them in a couple of days.  We'll see how that goes!
Here's one that I peeled much earlier, and I have to say it did peel much easier.  I have it sitting out to dry with a second one I did the same way.
 I read that the luffa is edible, but you have to use it when its very small, gherkin size.  I can't imagine eating one, though.
Today I finally finished with the cow peas.  The Blue Goose turned out to be the most prolific with 1#9.1 oz.  The Palapye came in second with 14.7 oz., Shanty at 9.4 oz, and Holstein was 9.2 oz.
Now we're down to tomatoes, okra and peppers, but they are all still chugging away!  I ordered garlic this week, and I'm going to plant leek seeds in flats on Wednesday for the fall garden. Moving on!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Garden Notes, July 24, 2015

Still pulling up everything in the garden and putting them up.  Today I froze some of the carrots -- these are those Cosmic Purple.  They have such pretty color!
 These were blanched and frozen in one cup portions.  I'll use these to add color to pasta dishes and stir fry this winter.
 Next up, all this okra.  These are the Beck's Big Buck okra that I got from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  They are so pretty when they are sliced up.  I'm freezing these for fried okra, my husbands favorite way to eat okra.  Later I'll put up a few bags plain for using in gumbo, another dish he really likes.
I'll detail how I freeze these for my girls (Colleen and Ashley, this is for you!) in case they ever want to raise okra in the future. Ha! Well, you never know!

I don't blanch these, just cut them in slices then dredge with an egg/milk wash.  I use a pasta utensil to stir these around and then drain a bit, then transfer to the cornmeal.  Works like a charm!  This was 3 eggs, about 1/2 cup milk, some salt, pepper and garlic powder.
 Meanwhile, put about 2 cups of corn meal in a bowl, salt, pepper and about a tablespoon of Tony Chachere's seasoning.  Gives the fried okra a little kick! Spoon the wet okra on top of the cornmeal mix and stir around until they are all coated.  Then into a bag to freeze.
I'll just pull these out when we're ready to eat and fry them up.  These are a favorite in our house!
I did finish pulling up all of the cow peas today, finally.  They are all in the house and waiting for me to shell them.  Almost done with this project.
 Blue Goose Cow peas

I'm still finding sunflowers breaking through -- I just love these cheerful flowers.
 And here is another of the basket gourds -- different shape then the others.  This one looks more like a vase, doesn't it?
There are a couple of things I'm leaving in the ground to continue through the fall garden -- a couple of tomato plants and all of the peppers.  I'll be cutting them back in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm in the planning stages for the fall garden.  Fun, fun, fun!

I’m having a problem with commenting on Blogger…so please excuse me for not replying to your comments.  I am reading them!!  Hopefully I can get this solved as soon as I can get some professional help (family members who are more tech-savy then I.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

They're back!!!

JR and Ashley arrived back on Sunday!! They are busy moving into their new home in South Town and getting ready for new jobs.  They stopped in for a family celebration on their way!

Colleen put together this nifty welcome back bucket -- Texas theme cookies, Shiner beer and some coffee and tea.  
Yesterday we drove by to see how they were settling in, there are boxes EVERYWHERE! They are having lots of (fun?) settling in to the house.

We're all so happy to have them back.  All is right with my world now.

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Thirteen - Italy Week

We're having a very short trip to Italy this week -- only one day.  KT and her family are off on a family vacation for the rest of the week.  We started with the Italian flag....
... and then were off to see a totally unrelated movie, Minions (although I do think they threw in a few Italian words in that movie!)
 After the movie we went to an Italian restaurant in Boerne, Fredo's.  We had some great Italian food!

 Back home, we made a replica of Mount Vesuvius and KT mixed up some kitchen chemicals to create a volcano!

And here's a little video of what happened next!

We finished the day by adding her travel stickers and stamping her passport.

Next week we're going to Africa!  Should be fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Summer Garden Notes, July 18, 2015

The lettuce is all gone, but I'm in the middle of bringing in the last of the kale.  The heat is just too much for it, although for now it still tastes great.  I especially love this Scarlet Kale.  It's very tasty and is beautiful to look at too!  This made a fantastic salad last week!
The tomatoes have started to stack up again, so these made four bags of stewed tomatoes in the freezer this week, too.  After the trimming I gave the tomatoes a while back, they've all roared back to life and have started pumping out the fruit.  And tomorrow we're making a batch of fresh pico de gallo tomorrow with a few of these beauties that I set aside.
Ditto with the jalapenos.  Four more pints of pickled jalapeno rings...we use these on everything, including eggs!
And, the same with the okra! I'm picking every other day just to keep up.  This past week we cut up everything we had in the fridge, dredged in egg/milk wash, and dusted with seasoned cornmeal, then froze in bags for future fried okra.  It's our favorite way to eat this southern vegetable. I think okra gets a bad rap, since most people I talk to about it wrinkle up their nose and made an "ewww" face -- it just needs to be fixed properly.
Stewart's Zeebest, Silver Queen, Beck's Big Buck Okra

Speaking of a great way to fix it, tonight I made gumbo.  We buy a bottled gumbo base since I have no idea how to make an actual rue properly (there's an art to it and I've never mastered it) and I add onion, green and red peppers, okra and shrimp.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Twelve - Scotland Week

Today started with breakfast out with Grumpy and I, KT and her dad!
 Then we drove to the golf course in Comfort, Texas.  KT is ready to go!

 Grumpy started by giving KT a little putting practice.
 KT has her own golf set, too.
 After two holes, KT started taking the flag out and putting it back for Grumpy and her dad as they played.
She found a bug crawling across the green.
 ...and we also found some thistle on the fence-line near the back of the course.  The thistle is the flower of Scotland!
KT and her dad in the golf cart!
 When we got home, it was time for one final art project after lunch.  We made up some home-made clay and colored it.  Then KT started designing her own Loch Ness monster!
She wanted her's to be purple.
We both made one, then put them in the oven to bake.  While they were baking, we had a nice swim! This is KT practicing her swim strokes.
Well, Scotland was lots of fun.  Next week we're going to Italy -- but only for one day.  That's going to be a whirlwind trip!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Garden Notes, July 15, 2015

It's gettin' hot up in here! Time to start closing down as much of the garden as we can, in order to get ready for the fall garden in late August, early September.  I've started pulling the carrots -- we're loving these Cosmic Purple carrots! They're regular orange on the inside, though. I'm hoping to have all of the carrots up and in the freezer by this weekend.
I'm still working away on the cow peas.  Making a note now -- don't plant four different types in the same area -- it's hard keeping them separated as I'm shelling, so that's slowing me down - a lot. Also, I'm only doing a hand-full at a time.  Who can sit still that long?!

Top: Holstein,   Right: Blue Goose,   Bottom: Shanty,   Left: Palapye

The elderberries (we have two Adams, and two York) are ripening, and I've brought in about 2-1/2 pounds so far.  I ordered a gallon jug and aerator, along with the necessary tablets and yeast to make my very first batch of elderberry wine as soon as I get about 3-1/2 pounds in.  There should be plenty.  I'm kind of excited to try this!
Here are the first two luffa gourds, but I now have five drying in the kitchen.  Here's another little project I'm looking forward to this fall.  I'm determined to do something crafty with them.
On a non-garden note, we got our first tiny egg this past week from one of the new hens.  Just what I needed....more eggs. :-(