Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Frost Advisory from Mon, 1am until Mon, 9am Low of 38. CRAP!!!!
After that early frost, the temperatures are supposed to be back up in the 80's this week!! i am really hoping to get another couple week in before finally saying goodbye to my late summer garden.
My Autumn garden is hanging in there despite a battle with cabbage worms. i have broccoli, cauliflowers, Swiss chard, kale, spinach and lettuce doing well. i had also planted turnips, carrots and beets, but they had a hard time germinating and i'm not sure if i'll get any thing from them. My spinach has hard a slow start this year as well, but i just keep planting it.
This week i'm volunteering at the school three days, so it doesn't leave much time for anything else. i have three bags of beans to freeze/can and i'm hoping to finish digging potatoes this weekend, and then start cleaning up my main garden. i just hope Mother nature cooperates, she tends to have her own agenda. :)
Monday, September 24, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
My summer garden is beginning to die back now, and my fall garden is just getting started. Yesterday i spend some time outside cleaning up a lot of the garden. i pulled all the rest of the bush beans, as the bean beetles had really devastated them.
i picked around 4lbs of purple pole beans and am working to freeze the today. i also picked a handful of the green bush beans and i pulled all of my October beans. The October beans were not all fully mature, but i shelled them to eat green. Sometimes i leave these on the plants until the pods are brown and dry, then i collect the dry beans. The bean beetles were so bad this year i just pulled them all green. i still have a huge jar of dried October beans from last year, so i won't be lacking any over the winter.
While cleaning up my front garden, i was surprised to find a couple tomatoes hanging out. The Black krim still appear to be semi-resistant to the late blight and are covered in green tomatoes. i found another plant in a different bed, that also had a few tomatoes still on it. i'm still getting lots bell peppers and am wishing i'd planted some other colors like yellow, orange or purple.
i'm still getting tons of leafy greens. Mainly Swiss Chard and Redbor kale. i ended up with cabbage worms on a lot of my spring kale and pulled it early, but i have new fall plantings in the ground and am hoping i'll have better luck with it this fall.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Both the Royalty purple and the Blue lake were attacked by Mexican bean beetles early on. No matter how often i hand picked the bugs off, there were always more!! The plants matured and produced beans, but then quickly began dying back. i really only got one big harvest from each variety before i pulled and burned the plants.
The Purple pole beans however, have continued to produce all season!! The mexican bean beetles seem to prefer the bush type plants. After they devastated my purple bush and blue lake bush beans, they moved on to the October beans. They are just finally making their way to my Purple pole beans. The plants are still strong and producing like crazy!
Purple pole beans produce a delicate purple flower and grow to over 6 feet! They are a beautiful plant to grow both as an ornamental and as a food crop!
The beans are flat, stringless and incredibly productive. They are a beautiful purple color, but blanch/cook green. They are delicious and i love being able to walk outside all summer long and pick fresh beans for dinner. i really can not say enough wonderful things about these beans!
This is my wall of beans. i planted them on twine between bamboo tee-pees. i really like this trellis set up. i plant cucumbers around the tee-pees, scarlet runner beans at the base of the poles, and purple pole beans on the twine in between the tee pees.
The beans are so productive i've been filling my colander about every other day with more than enough beans for dinner. i have already canned a ton, we've been eating them almost every night and i've been sharing them with the neighbors as well. i'm still getting plenty of beans from my first planting, and i have a second planting that is just beginning to produce!! So i'll be canning beans again in a week or so, and will be harvesting beans up until it frosts.
Because these are climbers, they are great for small space gardening. Mine have easily climbed bamboo poles, the twine between them, chicken wire and goat fencing.
i think some folks do prefer the beans that produce all at once, making it easy for canning or freezing. i would much rather enjoy fresh cooked beans all summer long! So if you have already started planning next years garden, i highly recommend these!!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
With Halloween right around the corner, i figured i'd get a head start on some Halloween themed dolls. i've been listing these for sale over on my Facebook page. The blond is available, but the other two are sold. i'll me making more this week though, so if your interested in one let me know color preferences and i'll see what i can do. The witches are $14 with the brooms, or $12 without the broom.
This lovely lady is of course Ruby Gloom inspired. :) She is also Sold, but if you're interested in one similar i can recreate her.
King and Queen set is available for $24 shipped first class (US). They can also be sold individually for $12 each. i'll be making more of these sets in the future in different colors.
Arrrr...matey!! i have pirates!! i have two available, although i'm only posting a picture of this one. The other is posted on my fb page. He is lacking the goatee and eye patch but is just as cute. They are both for sale on my FB page for $12 each.
Lastly i have two dragons available. One is black with purple accents, the other is black with red. They are approx. 9" long and 7 1/2" tall. $25 each plus shipping.
There are several other bendys available, you can check my 'for sale' folder to see what is in stock All my bendy dolls are approx. 3" tall without hats and are not recommended for children under 3 years. They are made with with eco-fi felt, wooden beads, cotton embroidery floss and pipe cleaners.
If you see something you like or have a question, feel free to contact me at enchantedtree (at) hotmail dot com.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We are starting to harvest peppers!! Lots of big beautiful red sweet bell peppers.
i wanted to preserve some, and wasn't sure the best way to do it. i ended up roasting a few and freezing them. i wanted to can some as well, with the recent power outages we had this sping i don't want to get too depend on the freezer.
My pressuring canning guide didn't have any recipes for canning peppers. So i started asking around. A friend passed along this recipe for pickled peppers. It originally came from a canning book, but i don't have the name of it to give credit.
Pickled Bell Peppers
7 lbs firm bell peppers
3-1/2 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar (5 percent)
3 cups water
9 cloves garlic
4-1/2 tsp canning or pickling salt
Yield: About 9 pints
Prepare jars and lids according to manufacturers instructions.
Procedure: Wash peppers, cut into quarters, remove cores and seeds, and cut away any blemishes. Slice peppers in strips. Boil sugar, vinegar, and water for 1 minute. Add peppers and bring to a boil. Place 1/2 clove of garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt in each sterile half-pint jar; double the amounts for pint jars. Add pepper strips and cover with hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process , packed hot, half pints or pints 5 min.in a water bath canner.
easy peasy and delicious!!
Friday, September 7, 2012
They emerged very early in the morning, and were already drying their wings when i noticed them. i was pretty disappointed that we didn't get to see if they emerged at the exact same time.
They both were stretching and drying their wings, so i know they must have emerged very close to the same time.
i removed them from the container and gave them a bit more room to dry their wings and have a little snack on some fresh flowers before taking flight.
When they were ready we took them outside. Even though it was a bit overcast they immediately took flight. i was lucky to get this picture as they flew off the minute i opened the door.
Later that day while i was in the garden a monarch butterfly soared past. The way that it glided in circles, and seemed to dance in the air made me think perhaps it was one of the butterflies we had released. Monarchs fly as if they are love with life, they seem so carefree and graceful. They fly quite differently than other butterflies, and it truly looks like a dance. This one circled me a few times and lighted upon my arm for just a moment as if to say 'i remember you'.
Then it was off again, flying high above the trees and eventually disappearing. <3
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. ~Rabindranath Tagore
So, my original broody hen the Black Australorp, never did hatch out any eggs. i'm not sure where all her eggs went, but they slowly kept disappearing. i suspect she either accidentally crushed them, or rolled them out of the nesting box when she would get up for food and water. When she was down to two eggs my Speckled Sussex stole the nest from her. She finally gave up after almost two months of trying to hatch out some babies.
The Speckled Sussex took over the nest, but the date that the eggs should have hatched came and went and still no new babies. :(
So of my 4 broody hens who were sitting on over 25 eggs between them, we only ended up with 4 new peeps.
My mama hens have been very protective and made it very difficult to get any pictures of the new babies. Can you see the little guy peeking out? This mama hides out in the raspberry patch with her peep.
It's such a pretty little thing. It has almost all of it's feathers in now. Mama hen won't let me get close, and they are always on the move so it's tough to get a good picture of it.
My sweet black hen still has her three peeps. She keeps them under close watch, and is usually hiding around the morning glories that came up along the fence of my compost bin. They spend a lot of time scratching through it, and can easy hide among the foliage if necessary.
These little ones have their wing, shoulder and tail feathers....but still have a lot of fluff. i love seeing all the feather come in, and watching them change. Still trying to guess the breed of the little brown peep, and curious which are hens and which are roosters. Of course, i'm hoping for all hens. :)
We were really hoping to hatch out some new birds this summer. Several of our girls are getting too old to lay, and we lost a few of our good layers this spring. So when i saw an ad on craigslist for 4 sweet little Easter eggers i fw'd the ad to Kenan who was at work. He replied back that he'd already emailed about them. :)
So this past weekend, we picked up 4 new baby chicks to add to our flock. :)
They are Easter Egger chickens. So should grow up to lay blue-green eggs. i have two Americana already, but one is 'retired' from egg laying. The other is a pretty good layer. We love collecting the blue green eggs though, and would love to have more. i'm really hoping i have one rooster in the bunch so that i can eventually breed out a few more with the blue-green egg trait. i've hatched out a few Americana-cross birds in the past, the rooster being an Old World Game bird, but they just lay plain light brown eggs. It would really be nice to have a hen and rooster pair that were of the same breed.
So, of the four new peeps these three look almost identical. They have blue/black feet and almost identical feather patterning. Their wings feathers are in, but not much else.
The last little guy is the only one with yellow feet. It also has shoulder feather and tail feathers. It's a black grey color, and the feather patterning is completely different from the other three. i'm hoping this indicates that this one is a rooster, and the other three are hens. Although with my luck, this will be the only hen and the other three roosters. i have no idea if the way the feathers come in indicts the sex, but i'm curious to see if there is any correlation.
The kids named this one Happy feet, because of the yellow feet. :)
We've been letting them roam around the yard a bit during the day. Our dog Sookie is an excellent baby sitter. She follows them everywhere and keeps a very close eye on them.
Miss Sage is their other baby sitter/ adoptive mama. She has been so thrilled to get to love on these peeps, since the mama hens won't let her get anywhere near the others .
They seem to love her too. They hop right up on her shoulders and try to snuggle under her hair. Reminding me of how the babies will get under mama hen's wings.
They were completely content to ride around on her back. That's Happy feet on her head. That's his favorite place to sit. :)
These guys are still inside under a heat lamp most of the day, but we've been bring them down to the coop for a few hours in the afternoon. We've been trying to get the used to the other birds, and the other birds used to them. They've done really well so far, and really seem to enjoy their time outside. The other birds have been very curious, but there has been no fighting/ pecking yet. Over the next week i'll increase there time down in the pen and will hopefully be able to move them outside permanently in another week or so once their feather are completely in. As sweet as they are i'm ready to get them out of my house. :)
Saturday, September 1, 2012
The garden is still producing well, i'm just starting to get peppers but several of my plants are loaded with big red peppers! The purple pole beans are still producing!!! i have a second planting of them that is just starting to bloom, so i'm going to be harvesting beans up until it snows! i'm a bit disappointed with the second and third plantings of squash and cucumbers that i put in. The humidity and cool wet weather just made the conditions too perfect for downy mildew and it has wiped out all my new plants before they really started producing. i should be getting tons of squash and cucumbers again, but instead i'm getting one or two every couple of days that are small and a bit deformed. i'm still getting a tomato here and there from the few plants i didn't pull. The Black Krim and the Amish paste both appear to be somewhat blight resistant. Although they both have a few obvious blight spots on their leaves, the fruit itself isn't showing signs of blight. So it's nice to still get a random tomato to enjoy fresh or on a sandwich.
Some of the wild apple trees around us are ready and my husband went out the other night and picked around 60lbs! These are totally organic and free! This area is blessed with wild apples, blackberries, raspberries etc. i love to be able to forage for foods that we do not grow.
These are the tomatoes that were gifted by some incredibly generous neighbors that live down the road from us. Over 30lbs of really beautiful tomatoes to can!!
So this is what i have been doing this week and why i am behind on posting and crafting! Apple sauce, and pasta sauce!! i told my husband he really needs to build me some food storage shelves in the basement. i'm running out room to store all of my canned goods. i don't have a pantry, and have limited cupboard space. i cleaned out the kids craft supply closet and took over two of the shelves. i have boxes of canned goods just sitting in the basement, and right now they have taken over my all my counter space and kitchen table. :)
i'm hoping to get more apples this week to do a batch of apple butter, and i still have enough tomatoes for one more batch of sauce! It's really exciting to put up so much food that you've grown or gathered yourself. Although we are not yet growing enough food to support ourselves entirely, we are still preserving a lot of food. i haven't purchased store bought tomatoes, pasta sauce or pizza sauce in almost two year. i will not have to buy any blueberries, apple sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes or white potatoes this year either. i have enough onions and garlic to last a few months, although my onions are pretty small so i'm not sure they'll last the entire winter. We are just starting to harvest corn. i didn't plant very much though, so i'm not sure if i'll have enough for freezing or canning. We've been enjoying it every night for dinner though. i have my fall garden in now, so we'll be harvesting lettuces, spinach, leafy greens and broccoli again soon. Hopefully my husband will get some shelves built and i'll be able to get a picture of all my canned/stored food very soon.