Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
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By Penny Stine
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I was on vacation last week, but the night before we left, before I could actually pack for vacation, I had pick the last of anything that was still standing in the garden, since the weatherman predicted a freeze while we were gone. I got three baskets full of green tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, rosemary, broccoli, green peppers, red peppers, swiss chard, habaneros and butternut squash.
We had leftover chili that we could have eaten, but when my husband, the chef, saw all the fresh produce, he whipped up a batch of risotto from everything I brought in from the garden and whatever was still in the fridge. The result was beyond yummy. His ristotto had a little bacon, some ham, onions, garlic, rosemary, basil, tomatoes, dried tomatoes, Swiss chard and who knows what else. (I certainly don't, 'cuz I was picking tomatillos while he was making risotto)
I took my brother in Wyoming a gigantic bag full of tomatillos, put the green tomatoes in a brown grocery sack to ripen while we were gone and put everything else that didn't go in the risotto in the refrigerator to eat after we got back. Although my practice was usually to eat whatever I picked the day I picked it, I realize that most produce that I buy in the middle of winter was probably picked several days (or even a week) before it goes into my shopping cart and eventually onto my table.
I thought that would be the end of my garden. It wasn't, but more on that for another blog.
By Carol Clark
Thursday, October 28, 2010
One of those great mysteries in life:
What is the difference between apple juice and apple cidar?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Years ago I had this question answered on a field trip to Talbott farms. Which, by the way, is a GREAT field trip to take your kids on this time of year.
While the huge billows squeezed every bit of juice out of bushels of apples, the farmer explained - there is really NO difference. It's mostly marketing, at least in Colorado, where it's technically illegal to sell apple cider.
Apple cider is just apple juice that hasn't been pasturized. Unpasturized cider ferments and becomes Applejack over time which can give you a little kick when you drink too much. Which might be the perfect way to get those kids to sleep earlier in the evening.
It's the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all.
-Laura Ingalls Wilder
By Carol Clark
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
There is no better time than autumn to bring the outside in.
Decorating your home with the nature that surrounds your home is both beautiful and economical.
Bring in the gourds, pumpkins and sunflowers. Collect brightly colored leaves to adorn your shelves and tables. Create a garden display at your front door to welcome those scary guests on Halloween night.
Fill baskets with shiny apples and let the last tomatoes turn red in a sunny window sill.
Thanks, Penny, for sharing from your garden.
"Listen! The wind is rising,
And the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!"
By Penny Stine
Monday, October 25, 2010
I don’t consider myself a rodent, yet I have this compulsive desire to can, freeze, dry and store food up for the winter every fall. It’s almost like I’m a squirrel, hiding nuts for the coming winter. Or maybe I just feel slightly nuts when I spend half my spare time in September and October freezing, canning, pickling and drying.
I have to admit, I didn’t grow half of what I stored. The apricots for jam came from a co-worker’s tree, the green chiles came from Okagawa, the corn came from an Olathe grower who set up shop in the back end of a pickup near Cottonwood Liquors and I got most of my tomatoes for canning from Rettig Farms. The green beans for my jars of dilly beans came from a farm stand in Palisade, since my own green beans were too hard to find, hidden away in the corn and morning glory.
At least I used home-grown tomatillos for green salsa, garden-produced basil for pesto, froze excess spinach, Swiss chard and kale and managed to put pattypan squash in everything we ate all summer long.
Now it’s done, so I can smile, sit back and enjoy roasted green chiles, chocolate zucchini bread, home-canned peaches or frozen veggies all winter long. Nothing like seeing a shelf full of home-canned produce to make you feel like all that weeding, watering and nurturing was worth it.
And just in case a freak snowstorm shuts down traffic across I-70 for weeks and reduces the offerings on the grocery shelves, I’ll be ready! Especially if we have a strange craving for green salsa over peaches.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I am not sure of exactly where this picture was taken as it was forwarded to me. I only know its Western New York State. The setting is so typical of upstate New York, and of course, the clouds (normal weather) makes me miss home a lot. Usually its snowing on Halloween or even before. Talk about odorous aromas.....the concord grapes are now being harvested for Welches Company and for sale at the fruit stands. You all know what grape juice smells like, right? Just imagine driving past the vineyards in a aromatic cloud of grape....
Just looking at the pumpkin picture I can smell the cool, damp earth and leaves of orange, yellow and purple that have fallen. I used to say when it rained there it sometimes "smelled like worms." Gross but true. If you grew up in a similar geographic area - you'd agree because after a hard rain all the slimey huge earthworms would be coming out of their holes and crawling across the roads, driveways and sidewalks. I have to stop blogging cuz I am getting all "va-klemptd" about it.
This blog was written by Sentinel staffer Sue Buskist.
Thanks, Sue. I'm not sure what it means to be va-klemptd, but it doesn't sound like a pleasant state of being...