Monday, August 25, 2014

Late Summer Days

The late summer bounty is upon us.  Several of the winter squash vines were dying, so we harvested the squash from them yesterday.  We're going to have plenty of winter squash and pumpkin to eat, that's for sure.  It also reminded me that it's time to make a batch of Pumpkin Chai soap.  The house always smells so good when it's curing.  I think it's the perfect warm and cozy Autumn soap.

While canning tomatoes today, I noticed this heart-shaped one.  I didn't notice until I had already blanched it, or I would have set it aside, and surprised J with it for dinner tonight.  After canning, several meals of okra were frozen, and a couple of bags of pawpaw pulp.  For lunch, I had a smoothie using a couple of our peaches, the last of our blueberries, pawpaw, and homemade yogurt.  Only two peaches are left.  J grilled some last night, but he talked me into doing a sweet version, rather than the savory version I really wanted to try using Gorgonzola, honey and balsamic vinegar.  I hope to try that recipe before the summer is over.  Neither of us was impressed with the version I did make, using butter and brown sugar.

The weather has been beautiful.  J & I went to the zoo yesterday, which we hadn't done in several years.   We wandered all over the Africa side, which he had never seen.

ring-tailed lemurs

 I hung a couple loads of laundry on the line today, and have enjoyed having the windows open since last night.  I am loving these days!

autumn clematis

Monday, August 18, 2014

Just Peachy

Little by little, the peaches are being eaten.  I haven't done anything major with them.  We've had a few fruit salads, which have included our peaches, the first pawpaws of the year, and whatever else was available... blueberries, pear, etc.  This afternoon, I have some peaches soaking in Fair Game Beverage Co.'s Ferris, and look forward to having them for dessert tonight.  I'm also looking forward to trying some grilled peaches, something I've never tried.  I've seen and saved several recipes that sound promising.

The dear souls at Hospice gifted me with this lovely stained glass piece, by Amy Keith Barney, when I returned after my Mom's passing.  Isn't it lovely?  The little metal chickadee above it is one I bought at Brightside Gallery for my Mom this past spring. She often called me her "little chickadee".  It makes me happy to see these together.  

Joseph spied a male Eastern box turtle on the path to the tractor shed, so of course I had to grab my camera.  I'm happy to see him here, as their numbers are dwindling.  I love his coloration.

The sunflower patch is looking good.  I love to see their cheery faces when I pass by.  Our hopes are that the birds and other critters will leave enough seed for us to save for winter bird feeding, and some for us too. I've been doing a bit of canning. Yesterday, I dry canned 50 lbs of grits, and 45 lbs of oats.  Today I canned quarts and pints of tomatoes.   I hope you're enjoying these late summer days.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Summer's Harvest

Peaches and pears have been showing up in odd places around the homestead, often half eaten.  Though the squirrels have been giving us a run for the money, we've managed to save some of the peaches.  We had to pick them before good and ripe, or none would have been left.  But, they're ripening nicely on the counter.  Now, what to do with them, that's the question.

Recent rains have sprouted all sorts of mushrooms.

I was recently cleaning up the brown leaves in the houseplants on their long outdoor bench, and realized there was a little nest with eggs in it.  There are bird feeders nearby, so I had not noticed the little bird that flew off.  A few minutes later, I slowly snuck up on the nest to snap a picture, and mama bird had not returned.  I've looked from a distance since, and she is sitting on the nest.  The eggs look like they may be chickadees.

I've canned up Blueberry-Lime jam from Ball's Blue Book.  I got a great deal on a bag of limes, so this seemed a good recipe to try.  The limes were not organic, so I did not use the zest, but the jam is good!

There are Black Swallowtail caterpillars on the dill in the garden.

When my hands are purple, you know it's likely elderberry harvesting season.  I've got a quart of the lovely tincture brewing.  Our oldest variety of apple has been harvested, though it's name escapes me at the moment.  It seems it originated around the 1200's from the Romans, but that might be incorrect.  Approximately 15 of the homely but tasty apples were picked.  Lamb's quarter continues to be harvested for freezing.  Shiso is next on the list, for drying.  It's a great herb to give to the pups when they've eaten something that's a bit rough on their digestive tract.  With all the woods here, and hunting season not too far off, it comes in handy.  Tomatoes, squash, okra and cucumbers are producing nicely.  That's recent life on the homestead.  Be well, friends.