Sunday, October 28, 2012

a wet weekend

It seems like we've missed fall around here. It was a nice summer, then suddenly now it's winter. Some of the trees are still green leaved, some are changing and others have lost all of their leaves. It seems nature is a bit confused as well. 
Saturday was pretty wet, but it was a good test of the gutters and the sump pump under our house. One gutter was draining over the edge instead of the downspout, so I had to correct this idea. As one thing leads to another, this is how it went....
I went to the shed to get the ladder. While in the shed, I noticed that the bikes and mower were just thrown in there, not in order (now who did that?). So I organized the shed. Then I got the ladder out and cleaned the gutter. In order to do that, though I had to move the dogs pool. So I put both our dogs pool and our kids pool in the shed. On the way I noticed mole traps and summer lawn chairs that needed put away. So all of that got done and the gutter cleaned. While putting the ladder back, I noticed that the tomato plants were done and some were rotting, so I pulled them out and put them in the compost bin. This reminded me that some of the summer squash plants still needed harvested and pulled out. So while doing that, I noticed more bell peppers that were ready and some hot peppers were probably going to rot if I left them. After all of these were harvested, I remembered...... So, from sitting inside not getting wet, I ended up very wet, but with lots of projects done. Good times ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

wine country

This last weekend Mary, Paul, and I went to Oregon. We went to visit some of the vineyards around McMinneville. I made a list of the ones I wanted to visit. This came mostly from the Pinot Nior that I have tried (Shea, St. Innocent, Domaine Serene, and Eyrie). However, as you get there, there are many  many more just around the corner. We passed far more than we went to, but ended up adding stoller and Witness Tree. 
If you ever happen to get the chance to visit, I think it is well worth the time. Not just for the tasting, but also you may be fortunate enough to talk to some of the owners and wine makers. We were able to talk to Steve, the wine maker for Witness Tree and see him crushing the white grapes for Chardonnay. He also showed us the storage bins where the red wine grapes are fermenting. I'll post the pics later, but this will be all for now. Like most things, the process of wine making gets very interesting the more you get into it. Weather, soil, care, birds, and disease all play a huge factor in how each vintage or year tastes. Some years are far more acidic while others are very mild. I don't know very much, but its enough to make you want to learn more...well maybe next year anyway.

St. Innocent

White Wine Grapes

Witness Tree

Domaine Serene

Sunday, October 14, 2012

plum preserves

Yet another week of learning the canning and preserving life. Our summer squash aren't quite ready for another bout of pickling, but by next weekend they should be. The last of the plums (except for the ones that are too high) are in the storehouses. They were beginning to mold though, so instead of letting that happen we decided to make plum preserves. I was all for plum puffs, but preserves last longer (hence the name probably). 
Below is a blow by blow picture collage of the event, but suffice it to say it worked out as well as can be expected when we have no idea what we are doing. If you like plum preserves, I think you'll like what we made. If, on the other hand, you prefer strawberry preserves, you'll probably think ours tastes a bit too plummy and not very much like strawberries.
We also made some hash browns out of our potatoes, but that will wait until next post. I thought those were a success (and much easier). 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Potatoes, potatoes and more ... experiments...

Potatoes...On Sunday we dug up all of our potatoes. There are Idaho reds and another kind that I forgot to mark, but they are whiter. They won't be enough to feed us through the long winter, but there are enough to enjoy. I wanted to get them out of the ground as rain is forecast to join us on Friday and its much more fun to dig up potatoes in dirt than in mud. 

Potatoes... One small note if you are planning on storing potatoes and haven't before, do a bit of research. I thought if I stuck them under our house, they would be fine, however, this is not entirely true. Rather they were a little damp and started growing. So like the other golden rule "try and if it doesn't work, go back and read the directions" I got on Google and searched hither and thither for tips on storing potatoes. As I wasn't the first one to ask this, there was a lot of info. 1) let them dry on a newspaper for a week so the skins harden 2) store them in a dark ventilated container such as brown paper bag etc 3) if they rot or start growing, you are doing it wrong. So there are a few starters for you. I'll keep you posted as to how this is going.

and more experiments... with the dry weather, I was a little late on my winter plantings. Then the frost has been coming the last few days - not a hard killing frost, but enough to get me thinking that the winter garden may not be the smashing success that I'd like it to be. So what to do. I decided -since I don't have a green house - to try growing my lettuce and spinach under my garage grow lamp. Below are the pots with potting soil (i thought that might be appropriate) and head lettuce, leaf lettuce, and spinach. I will see if they can be fruitful and multiply in the warmer and sunnier conditions of my garage during the winter months.

In closing, rain is on the way and I for one am glad. I am not one of those whom the sun depresses (I read an article where the author - a PHD of some sort - claimed too many sunny days in a row depresses people... I'm not sure where he got his facts from), but I'm glad for some rain. It will help the water bill and the brown areas in our yard that have most likely forgotten what rain feels like.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

For whom the bell tolls...

Winter has started to blow it's chilly breath through the keyhole of Fall. We are experiencing the crisp mornings and pleasant afternoons of fall, but a light frost has covered the grass the last couple days. I am afraid that the frost forgot to read its farmers almanac this year because it is supposed to be frost free until October 25th. Some one aught to do something about this. 
So as I wander through my beautiful garden that is showing the wear and tear of a few frost mornings, it seems to whisper, "For whom doth this bell toll?" and I answer "It tolls for thee."

the bloggettes