Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I decided to pick the pumpkins before the pest control guy arrived just incase. Good news - I walked up to the garden and only got hit by a few grasshoppers rather than hundreds. I really want to freeze a little pumpkin this year.  Gluten free cake tastes so much better when it includes more flavorful items such as pumpkin and the spices that make it so delicious. As you can see I have 6 more Spirit Bush Pumpkins than I did the other day and one new Pump-Ke-Mon pumpkin (picked 3 more today).  And yes, I made that banner on the mantle.  I love Adobe Illustrator because it enhances my ability to make all sorts of crafts.  Of course, if you have a handy tool that makes making those rosettes easier I'd love to know.  Wow! That took a while.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Harvest Monday - August 29th

What in the world?  No harvest here. Yeah, I'm being a rebel.  I am having my yard sprayed - tomorrow.  We have grasshoppers.  I don't just mean a few.  I mean so many I don't even want to walk up to my garden.  And the wind makes it worse.  The hoppers loose all control and slam into you as they try to hop back into the alfalfa field.  My grass is literally moving.  They are about 3 inches apart.  And not just little hoppers.  Great big huge hoppers make up about 80% of them.  My grass is covered with 3 inch long brown sticks that are moving - until you walk outside and they start flying.  Now I promise - they won't spray my garden.  But I will make sure they get close to it so I can at least walk to it sometime this week.  I'll post later this week.  For now I am avoiding the hoppers as best I can. One good thing is that they don't like day lilies and so far my new hydrangea is doing well.

In the meantime we drove up in the mountains to get out of the heat.  Think I'm kidding.  The 11 year old boy (who lives next door to his Uncle Scott and just up the street from us) that spoke in church last Sunday about fasting started out his talk saying, "It's been really hot lately.  So hot that when my Uncle Scott  went out to get the eggs from the chicken coop, they were already hard boiled." He got a good laugh.  And he gave an excellent talk.  

Don't you just love our outfits? Anyway, we saw a moose too while we were up in the mountains (under the first letter e).  My husband didn't want to walk any closer because he heard snapping sticks in the wooded area nearby.  This means that there might have been momma and baby in there.  So he kept his distance.  I love going up there.  We see moose often.  Sometimes they are swimming in the lake.  And the wildflowers were fabulous.  It's one of those places where the phrase "take only photos, leave only footprints" truly applies.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Getting the garlic ready

I got out my tray of garlic the other day and starting going through them to pick out the cloves to plant this October.  I probably only pulled apart 1/3 of my bulbs.  I saved the smaller cloves for cooking and kept most of the larger cloves for planting.  Last year I think I had to break apart 90% of my bulbs. Last year I planted 80 and this year I have 100.  I could always do more but I think that will be more sufficient for my little family.  Besides I need enough left over for spicing up my food this winter.

I guess these are called bulbils (below).  If you want your hard neck garlic bulbs to get bigger you can snip these off when they are little.  Or if you want to try growing garlic from bulbils (I guess it takes a few years this way) then you can let them grow. You have to let them get to the point where they are just bursting out.  My bulbs were just fine and now I have both.  We'll see what happens.  

Of course I found out that the deer have rubbed their stupid antlers on my new trees.  I really hope all the bow hunters driving around these parts on their four wheelers get those four big six points very soon.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

More Pico de Gallo

I'm enjoying the tomatoes before the grasshoppers eat them all.  I made 7 more pints of pico de gallo yesterday and I also used my new Roma sauce maker and pureed all the roma tomatoes.  Then I made spaghetti sauce out of it.  I'm not sure if it's my soil but is there a way to get my sauce a little more sweet? (besides brown sugar)  My carrots are the same way.  I can't quite call it sour or bitter but it's a bit of something like that. 

I love that old scale but it's not big enough to weigh my pumpkins.  And my husband purchased it in Germany and so it is in grams - I have to spend a little extra time converting things (but it sure makes using his German cookbooks a breeze). 

And I've picked this many jalapenos twice but haven't bothered to weigh them.  I just wanted to get them into my food!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roma sauce maker

This roma strainer makes life easier.  Who am I kidding?  Growing Roma's from seed and then protecting them from pests, oh and then washing and cutting them is never the easy way.  But this does make that choice easier.  You don't have to parboil them or anything.  Just pick vine ripe tomatoes, quarter them, and smash them into this strainer.  It will send the seeds and skins out one way and the delicious parts of the tomato out the other side.  I know it looks gross but it makes for delicious spaghetti sauce and maybe next time I'll try and make pizza sauce.  

Just so you know my five year old helped me turn this while I smashed the tomatoes. He had a great time! One of these days I will decorate that big empty wall over the stairs.  In the meantime I'm busy gardening.

1st Day of school

I like to take the kids out front and grab a few photos in their new school clothes.  It was a bit windy so I they have on jackets that don't coordinate but that's the way it was so that's how I photographed them.  I'm looking forward to seeing them this afternoon.  

Of course I am busy with this - the largest harvest of cucumbers so far, about 4 lbs. 

And I need to get to work on some more of this - can you see the jar on the far right - half gone already. I can't help but scarf down this salsa.  Love it!

And the very last of the green beans.  I planted more but guess what? The grasshoppers have eaten every last leaf off the new plants.  And they have eaten the carrots to the ground.  And now they are eating my tomato plants.  I'm not sure how to fight grasshoppers this thick.  They are about every 3 inches in our grass.  gross.  Anyway, if you want to preserve green beans in the freezer, blanch them for a minute or two in boiling water.  Then toss them on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer.  After 3 hours or so pull them out and stick them in the freezer container of your choice.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My pumpkins are a little early this year...

And I'm not sure why but my children are excited about it.  I've only picked one.  I am going to leave the rest until September 15th - unless the deer arrive first.  Last year they knocked one of the bush and took a few big nibbles out of another.  This is a Spirit Bush pumpkin and yes it grows on a bush instead of a vine and does much better in my soil than the vine type.  (And that's a Napoleon fireplace - the glass keeps the wasps from entering the house)

My friend Barbara was over the other day right after I picked this and it was dripping wet from a little wash.  She saw my pumpkin bushes out back and was so excited to hear about a bush type pumpkin plant.  I told her this one was a Spirit Bush pumpkin and she said she thought it was one of those pumpkins you can get at the craft store it was so perfect.  Looking at this photo I can see the imperfections in the pumpkin but I love it.

And my youngest is heading off to school.  It's the end of an era.  For 9 years I've been a happy stay at home mom 24/7.  I guess we'll see how this goes.  I made a cute scrapbook page for his teacher to display in the hall (all the kids bring one).  I changed all of the wording because you really don't need all the info about him.  I'm sure you're thinking it's an okay page but here's the kicker:  I made everything.  I made the background paper and drew the monkey plus the little frames and textured the circles.  I love Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.  I'm a digital scrapbooker for good. 

Now I better get back to cleaning the kids closets and choosing outfits. And finding something to replace chocolate. I have been breaking out in hives again and think that's what caused it.  I'm sad because I'm already allergic to wheat, soy, melons, nuts, and berries.  Of course maybe it's soy in the chocolate.  Either way most chocolate contains soy as an additive. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Harvest Monday - August 22nd

Well, you win some, you loose some.  This past week was an interesting one.  On Tuesday I spent the day fighting off the Army Worms.  I thought at first they were tomato fruit worms and a neighbor called them cutworms.  Apparently they are all related. But I sent an email to the USU extension services with my bowl full of those nasty things (see below) and Taun said that they came from the alfalfa field and I was lucky that the ground was not moving.  Uhm, seriously?  If I had that many I don't think I'd ever garden again. I have faith things will be better - see, I'm starting more lettuce.

 I did have a crazy run in with the tomato hornworm.  I found a one inch tiny one first - not bad.  Then as I was shaking the only roma tomato in a cage this big fat hornworm flopped on the ground. It was at least 3/4 inch wide and 5 inches long.  Gag!  I screamed and then jumped back a few feet.  I lost half my roma tomatoes which is sad because I really wanted to try making my own tomato sauce because I purchased one of these this year.  I don't know if the plants will recover enough to give me some more.  I ripped off all the larger roma tomatoes - green or otherwise and checked for holes and if they were good, they got washed in soapy water and placed in the window as you can see here.  I have 8 roma plants and I don't think I'm going to get much after all.  

See - as my friend Keiko said, "I think I just threw up in my mouth." No, I did not touch the hornworm - I scooped it into the bowl with the lid.  Yes, I did pick off all those army worms by hand.  Thank you Atlas garden gloves. And having said that, I will never buy leather gardening gloves again.  The nitrile touch garden gloves have spoiled me.  They wash well and wick the moisture away.  I LOVE them.  They fit well.  And I don't get dirt down into the tips of the glove fingers like I did with the leather gloves. I blame the seams for that.  Atlas nitrile touch garden gloves rock!

I did have some luck on Thursday and harvested this nice bunch of tomatoes, 1 more squash, and 4 lemon cucumbers. Loving the lemon cucs.  

And go check out Daphne's Dandelions to see fun a beautiful harvests from all over the world. It's also interesting to see how far behind I am living here in the tops of the mountains.  And I have to share this photo again.  Can you blame me?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

View from the tops of the mountains

The Salt Lake and sunflowers at sunset.

Stars, tree silhouettes, and I-15 - my husband took this photo while I got the kids tucked into their sleeping bags.

Overall I think it was a wonderful camping trip. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wild flowers seen while camping.

We're at the bottom of this post but in the meantime enjoy some pretty scenery.
Columbine is so pretty.  Especially surrounding our campsite.

There is so much beauty in the trees as well as the flowers.

My daughter took this photo.  

Mountain Columbine 

I think the flowers look even more tiny with a bit of the tree trunk showing.

Sunflowers overlooking the Tremonton area

I love the mixture of colors here.

 Wild Geranium

I love how this foliage looks 
 Again, it's amazing what a little fill flash can do.  Inspiration Point looking south.

The four of us at Inspiration Peak looking north

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hats in the summer

Hats are wonderful in the summer for keeping the sun out of your eyes but they can create problems when photographing.  Here is the camera set on Auto.

Here it is on Aperture Priority Mode. Better.

 Here it is with some Fill Flash

Notice how even the background changes. That's better!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cucumber Salad

It's pretty simple.  You can peel them first or not.  Then slice.  Toss in a bowl with some Rice Vinegar. I use it because I'm allergic to wheat. But I prefer it because it's a bit sweeter.  You can add all sorts of things to this salad.  It keeps well overnight with just cucs and onions.  Only add tomatoes if you are going to eat it right away.

The lemon cucumber is sitting in the middle here.  You know how some cucs have a strange after taste.  Not so much with this one. And it's kinda pretty.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pico de Gallo from home grown produce

I used 3 of these.

about a dozen of these

1 onion
some salt
a splash of lime juice
and some freshly pressed Korean Garlic
I didn't have any cilantro on hand

Tip: I use the food processor for the jalapenos.  I don't know why but it seems like less is more in the food processor.  I still chop them up with a knife a bit before I through them in.  Keeps the pieces more even.  But they seem to be quite hot when I run them through this thing rather than chopping them with a knife.  And of course small bits of jalapeno are always better than biting down on a big piece.