Sunday, October 16, 2016

Around The Garden

While the garden growing season is winding down for me, I still have all of my biggest projects ahead of me.  I do the bulk of my work in the fall so that my garden is ready to go the first warm week of May.  So all of the digging and tilling and rearranging and prepping happens for me in October and November.  This is a busy few weeks out in the cold.  But it sets up my garden so perfectly for the next growing season.

When it's all said and done, I'll post photos of the changes I'm making.  But until then, let's talk about a few crazy garden finds recently.

Last year's sweet potato harvest {my first attempt at growing them}, was unexpectedly awesome.  But this year got off to a rough start.  The slips didn't grow as easily, despite starting them earlier.  Then those that did grow, didn't grow very big.  Then those that did get planted {at only a few inches tall}, were eaten.  So I was prepared not to find any spuds when I began digging them up.  And many plants did only offer up a pittance.  But then there were other plants that just lucked out and didn't awesome. And convinced me more than ever that growing sweet potatoes are the best idea in any vegetable garden!  Just look how pretty they are when being dug out of the soil...

A Puffball Mushroom.  I got scared and didn't eat it, despite having determined that it was in fact a Puffball.  I hope next year I get brave enough to eat it because it's quite the treat according to many.

Slugs and snails have been the death of so many of my plants this year.  I know that the way I heavily mulch contributes to this so I need to come up with a new game plan next year.  I will not be changing the way I mulch- it practically eliminates weeds and adds to the soil as it composts down.  So this winter I will be researching ways to keep these beasts at bay.  {And thank you to all who have suggested beer.  That does work, however there are caveats.  You have to constantly change out the beer and cannot get water in the shallow dishes.  You also need a lot of it to service all the areas in the garden.  I just don't think it's practical for what I need.  But I so greatly appreciate all of the suggestions- truly- I love them!  Thank you!}

Giant squash.  I've filled up your Instagram feed with these squash pics because it's just been a fascinating journey.  Zucchino Rampicante is the name of the heirloom Italian variety.  It can be eaten young as a summer squash or mature like a butternut squash.  And it tastes similar to butternut.  These are on my MUST GROW list for next year as they are hardy, fun, and delicious!  The U shaped squash was the heaviest at 16lbs.  The S shaped squash, that met it's end when I walked in on a damn woodchuck noshing it, weighed in at 14lbs.  Don't worry- it can still be eaten.  I will just generously cut out the bites and use the rest for soup.  Another still green one weighed in at 12 lbs, also death by damn woodchuck, became two batches of zucchini bread as well as enough shredded squash in the freezer to make bread and muffins all winter.  

I'm so sad to see the season come to an end.  After losing Sadie, this garden season saved me.  Very literally.  It gave me something to do, gave me solace, gave me a way to sweat it out, and gave me a belly full of fruits and veggies for months on end.

What was your favorite thing to grow this year?  Or what's your favorite thing you wish you could grow?  I'm always looking for something to new to add into my garden mix.  I never shy away from a little garden gamble! 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Gift Of Carbs

I randomly decided to try a new French bread recipe the other day and it made three loaves.  So I wrapped one up in fabric, tied the ends with ribbon, and gifted one to District for her birthday.  Because nothing says I love you like carbs.

{Recipe is good but I am still searching for the perfect loaf.  It's a work in progress.}

Don't worry, I gave her a normal gift purchased from Nordstrom .  But I'm partial to the randomness of the homemade component.  Hopefully my friends know baked goods are my love language.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

5 Months Ago Today I Said Goodbye

I'm having a surprisingly hard day today.  I just did not see all these tears coming after having such a great weekend.  But here they are, just quietly falling down my cheeks over and over today.

Five months ago I said my last goodbye to my furbaby.  

I don't know what it means to handle grief well but I've kept it together for the most part so I suppose I get to fall under the handling it well umbrella.  For all the reasons I understand and all the reasons I will never understand though, I am privately falling apart at the seams today.

I believe about a month before Sadie died, I made a video for YouTube.  In the middle of filming, she started to cry and came looking for me.  She hadn't done that in ages.  The last few years she wasn't able to hear and slept all the time.  But this day, she needed to see her momma.  I am beyond grateful I let the camera keep rolling while I picked her up and held her like a baby, something she loved always.  This is the only video I have of us together.  I just never thought to take video.  

While I uploaded this as a little self-indulgence, it's here if you want to see the most precious 50 seconds of my life.  

Oh Sadie...

Five months out and I still look for you when I walk into the den.  Five months out and I still double over crying out to you.  Five months out and I still talk to you in Heaven every single day.  Five months out and it still hurts exactly as bad as it did on day one.  Five months out and I am still telling you that I love you.

All my love, my baby bunny!

XO Momma

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Salsa Verde: Part 2. When Salsa Becomes Soup

Yesterday's riveting post was all sorts of braggy pants about how I used up garden veggies and turned them into canned up salsa verde to last the coming year.

As is often the case when canning, I had a bit extra that I stored in a jar in the fridge to just use up during the coming week.  And I tried it the following day, 24 hours after cooking/canning.

It was okay.  I mean, it's tasty.  But also kind of bland.  I didn't add a jalapeño and I regret it.  It's just blah.  

I had choices.  I could say forgetaboutit and just put all the jars away and use it as is.  I could uncan it all, put it back in the pot, wash/sterilize the jars, throw away the lids, buy new lids, and a jalapeño, make it taste better, and can it all up again.  I could not do either and find a way to use it as something other than salsa.

I went with choice three and am so please with myself!  I used several larger jars of the salsa, plus a sautéed onion, homemade turkey stock, home cooked turkey from the freezer, three cans of white beans, and a ton of cumin and turned it into the most delicious soup.  Perfect for a chilly, dark fall night!

Lemonade, my friends, lemonade!  With a side of fresh bakery bread!


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