Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Keeping Watermelon Fresh


Happy Birthday Big K!
We are SO glad you were born.
(Barack, you too!)



It's the heart of melon time and we've been doing our part
to support watermelon farmers.
We all love it and it's one of the best ways to cool down.
We usually buy the larger melons and have enough to share with neighbors.
Once the melon gets cut up,
it doesn't last that long in the fridge.
How does one keep it from getting soggy and water-logged?


 There's probably a gizmo that can be bought,
but I came up with my own solution.
I simply cut up some small containers that were going to be recycled.


They were placed in the bottom of a quart-sized jar.
I like to cube up and store our melon in jars,
so that we can see how much we have left.
(I prefer glass jars for most things, in fact,
and if I can figure out how to substitute using even this bit of plastic, I will.
Like many folks, we are working on decreasing our dependence on plastic.)


 The cut plastic pieces were placed in the bottom of the jar,
snug enough to cause the middle part to be raised just a bit.
(This idea is similar to the little plastic disk
that keeps the pizza from sticking to the top of the box.)


 With the melon on top of the "bridge",
the liquid can drain to the bottom of the jar,
keeping the watermelon on top crisp and juicy.
This has made our melon last longer,
so that we can actually finish the whole thing!
This can be used with other melons too.


The chooks get the rinds,
but they don't need any gizmos.
They eat it up so fast, it doesn't have a chance to get soggy!

In case you do have more watermelon than you can eat,
try this delicious and refreshing drink:

Watermelon Lemonade

8 C watermelon
1/2 C lemon juice
1/2 C sugar (or honey)
2 C water

Add the watermelon to a blender
or food processor and whiz until liquified.
Strain with a sieve.
Add all ingredients to jar or juice container.
Mix well.


What's your favorite type of summer melon?

Here's a past post about cutting up watermelon:






Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Easy Cole Slaw




One of the best things for your gut is sauerkraut.
I tried a couple of different homemade versions in the past few months,
and loved them!
Alas, they didn't love me.
I'm not positive that kraut is what was causing a bit of
digestive disruption, but since I've stopped eating it,
I've been feeling a lot better.
How can something that's so good for you,
not be good for me?
I've learned to go with the flow,
so I had to let it go.
I still wanted an excuse to grow cabbage in the garden,
so I had to find another way to get it into my life.

Enter Cole Slaw.
Not just any cole slaw.
This is the easiest, quickest cole slaw recipe 
and what's even better, it's addicting!
Now I can have my cabbage and digest it too!
This doesn't have the health benefits of fermented foods,
but cabbage is one of the best sources of
fiber, can aid in lowering cholesterol and
blood pressure, as well as being packed with
Vitamins C and K.
It's even been studied as a cancer preventer.
It's the perfect side for burgers (veggie and otherwise),
bar-b-q, and picnic suppers.
Lisa at Downshiftology shared this version
(I've altered it just a bit),
as well as a mayo-free variation.
You can click on the link below 
with her vlog's name for the original recipe.

I don't know about you,
but I'll pretty much make anything this summer
that doesn't require heating up the kitchen.
Give it a go!


Easy Cole Slaw

3/4 of a green cabbage
1/2 of a red cabbage
3 or 4 carrots
1 zucchini
1 C mayo (homemade recipe here)
2 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper

Shred veggies using a box grater or food processor.
Add to bowl.
Whip up dressing ingredients, add to veg.
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2020

Garden Friday




 This week's Garden Friday brings some difficult news.
This garden, that I've spent so much time, effort and love on,
will have to be dismantled.
We found out this week that we were misinformed when we bought the house
about the location of the drain field for our septic system.
It seems that the garden has been planted over the field,
and therefore must be relocated.
Although I use containers, straw bales and raised beds for my growing,
no one I contacted could give me a definitive answer about this dilemma.
Aside from the strong concerns about contamination,
building a garden the way I have could cause future problems for the system.
My garden consists of layers of cardboard, feed sacks, soil, straw and mulch.
The accumulation of these materials can make it difficult for the system
to work properly.
We still have more information to gather,
but the decision was made to relocate the garden.

I'm choosing to look on the bright side.
I can reuse most of my materials for the raised beds,
the containers can be reused and the straw bales need replacing anyway.
I will also be working with a friend on the design of the garden,
incorporating the things I've been wanting to implement.
The hope is to make more of a permaculture system 
while making it chicken-friendly.



We've been chicken keepers for almost a week now,
and I have to say, I'm really enjoying it.
Knowing that I want to continue this aspect of our homesteading lifestyle,
I will be keeping the chooks in mind while the new garden goes in.

My fall garden will be smaller than I had planned,
but if I can at least get the garlic up and running,
I'll call it a success.
The seeds I received a few weeks ago will just have to keep,
and I'll try not to look at them with sadness
because some won't be used this year.
And just think of how much fun planting in spring will be
with a new garden built the way I want it.

I'm not sure I'll have anything to post on Garden Fridays for a while,
I may even take a blogging break for a bit
to process all of this and come up with a plan.
It's been a blow, for sure,
but I'm hoping to make lemonade out of lemons.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Garden Friday




 Well, hello there!
It's Garden Friday and we've got the blooms to prove it!
Here's what's growin' on in our mid-July garden.


 This Swiss chard has really surprised me.
It is known as a crop that loves cooler temperatures,
but even through our 80 and 90 degree days,
it's still tasting mighty fine.
I'm wondering if being planted in the shadier part of this bed
has made the difference.


A volunteer cantaloupe started to sprawl this week.
As soon as the yellow flowers were spotted,
it got fertilized with worm castings.
I think it liked it!


 In a nearby container,
this cantaloupe is putting on some size
and looking more melon-like with its newly textured skin.


More space was made for the watermelon to ramble.
The first of the melons was spotted just yesterday!
A little late to the party,
I hope there are enough hot days in summer to get this to harvest.

lily



 Cucumbers have been regularly picked for fresh eating.
I may venture into doing a quick pickle recipe with them.


 Is it me or does this look like the strangest butternut squash?
I planted three varieties, but this type is the only one that's producing fruit.
Is it possible that the seeds could have gotten mixed up underground?
Hmmmm...


 The remaining onions are lying down on the job.
I think that means that they're ready for picking.
We've been adding them to all types of veggie dishes.


 It seems the turmeric was just waiting on the heat to arrive.
It's now springing up out of the containers
and growing noticeably each day.


 Most of the lettuce has bolted.
I'm planning on starting some Jericho lettuce,
which is supposed to endure the heat a lot better than most.


The nasturtiums are exploding out of the raised beds.
I'm not sure if they help with bugs, as has been proposed,
but they are mighty pretty to look at.
Edible too!


The battle with the squirrel goes on.
So far, many of these sunflowers have not been touched,
although several others have been eaten right on the stem.
I'll enjoy them while they last.

I hope your summer garden is blessing you
with good food and beautiful blooms.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Garden Friday


Welcome back to Garden Friday,
where the summer heat is going strong.
Not much rain this past week,
so our drip irrigation has been worth its weight in gold.


 The squash leaves are something out of the rain forest,
spanning over a foot across.
Wowzers!


Nothing harvested here yet,
but we're getting close.
These are the butternut variety.


The long finger cucumbers have been picked
several times at anywhere from six to nine inches long.
The skin is thin, so no peeling is required.


 The October beans are defying all logic
and growing in the straw bales,
even though they had a rocky start.
These are drying beans
which will be used for soups over the fall and winter.


 The green Oakleaf lettuce still remains tasty
without a hint of bitterness.
It's become one of my favorite greens.


The Swiss chard is doing well,
considering that our temps have been in the mid to high 80's
nearly every day with no rain in sight.
This makes a great addition to salads,
but can also be sauteed like spinach or kale.


 Japanese beetles have decimated most of one of the strawberry plants.
The netting I placed on it was to dissuade birds from eating the berries,
but the beetles were a surprise attacker.
Once we have chickens (did I tell you we're getting chickens?),
they will make quick work of the beetles.
Can you say a-p-p-e-t-i-z-e-r?


 The sweet potatoes are responding to the heat
and the vines are growing each and every day.
I've been adding some of the leaves to my daily salad.
This year, I dedicated half of a large 3X8 bed to these gems.
They share space and trellising with the squash.




This week my Sow True Seed order came!
It's always like my birthday to open the package
and see all of that hope spill out.



 Check out this character.
Big K and I spied him yesterday on the sunflower
in the front porch bed.
Mind you, we always put out sunflower seeds
for the birds and squirrels when we fill the feeders.


This joker decided to work for his breakfast.
He hung upside-down underneath the head
and ate every single seed out of that sunflower.
 I'd like to see him try that with the 12 foot monsters
we have out in the garden.
On second thought, maybe not.
I was planning on keeping some seeds for eating myself.
Who knows if I'll get any, now that we have
this acrobatic fella stalking our flowers.



 These sweet things were found in a watering can at a friend's house.
This is the second batch of bluebird babies found in this spot.
A face only a mother could love.


With all of those seeds arriving,
I may have to get to work on planning the fall garden.
We will be hoping for some rain this weekend,
seeing as how there are no fireworks in the offing.

Happy Independence Day y'all,
and 
God 
Bless 
America!