Monthly Archives: September 2013

36. Same Garden, Different Day

The end-of-summer garden sights had been getting a little monotonous. But in the past few days there is a bunch of new growth on some plants and a few brand new sights too.

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Rainbow Swiss Chard

The rainbow swiss chard had really slowed down during the hot summer months and each little plant was tiny and colorful but basically dormant, not setting any new leaves at all. The cooler weather has jump-started the plants. Soon we will again be enjoying bunches of chard to eat!

Woo HOOOo!

Woo HOOOo!

I threw down a bunch of Russian Red/Ragged Jack kale seeds a few weeks ago. They were seeds I saved from the plants that were growing in the garden in the spring. I am so excited to see them popping up! Kale is a very hardy plant and if they get growing and large enough before the first frost they should be able to survive the winter.

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

I’ve found that nasturtiums do much better for me when they are well-shaded. The one pictured above gets shade almost all day. This one gets a lot more sun:

Nasturtium

Nasturtium (in the sun)

Nasturtium in the shade

Nasturtium in the shade

Last summer I made tempura-fried nasturtium blossoms. Such a special treat! I suppose I still have time left in the season to make them again!

The last Tigger melon

The last Tigger melon

Even though the tigger melons are awesome looking, the taste is not that exciting so I am not going to grow them again.

Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop Squash

Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop Squash

I just love these squash. They are setting tons of new fruit but they are growing in a different shape than earlier in the season. The stem-end is more bulbous and rounded. There is a bit of powdery mildew on some of the leaves. The last time I noticed powdery mildew I took a jar 1/4 full of milk and 3/4 full of water and splashed it on the leaves and that knocked it out. I plan to do that again tomorrow.

Thai Red Roselle

Thai Red Roselle

Thai Red Roselle Plant

Thai Red Roselle Plant

The pictures don’t do the Thai Red Roselle justice. It is difficult to photograph because the stems and calyxes are such a deep crimson. I will keep trying to get the perfect shot! Hoping to see the buds bloom soon too!

The largest Serpente di Sicila squash

The largest Serpente di Sicila squash

I am tempted to cut this gourd every time I go in the garden but I’m hanging on a bit longer (to see if it will get a bit longer!). You can see in the picture a ton of new growth (the darker green leaves) on these plants and they are setting tons of new fruits. In order to eat these edible gourds, they need to be harvested when immature (small zucchini size) or else the skin gets too tough. They are prepared like summer squash.

Serpente di Sicilia edible gourd forming

Serpente di Sicilia edible gourd forming

And another little fuzzy one!

And another little fuzzy one!

Loads of lime basil

Loads of lime basil

In the past I’ve had much better luck leaving the basil alone and letting it re-seed itself (as opposed to planting new seeds).

New growth on an artichoke plant (foreground) and nasturtiums in the background

New growth on an artichoke plant (foreground) and nasturtiums in the background

I’ve been debating whether or not to relocate the artichoke plants to another area. They are planted with yellow strawberries in this row:

Violet de Provence artichokes and Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry

Violet de Provence artichokes and Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry

I probably will move them…It is just a matter of where. Transplanting perennials in the garden (and rotating the annuals) is a good way to deter pests. And also makes the same garden look different another day!

35. A Walk in the Woods

The “Spy” and his friend walking in the woods today:

Little Explorers

Little Explorers

Can I come too?

Can I come too?

Woods

Woods

They found a big feather and a good-sized bone:

Finder's keepers

Finder’s keepers

Pretending to cross a raging river

Pretending to cross a raging river

Clearing under the power lines

Clearing under the power lines

A clear, crisp day with fall colors appearing:

Leaves

Leaves

Changing colors

Changing colors

A type of aster?

A type of aster?

Another type of aster?

Another type of aster?

Eliza Waters recently did a post on asters, and I was surprised to learn there are at least 50 varieties! I don’t know too much about wild flowers, so basically any flower I see in the woods blooming late in summer/early fall I’ll refer to as “Another Type of Aster?” hahaha

Some type of nightshade?

Some type of nightshade?

I’ve seen these fruiting plants along our street this summer. The foliage looks like an eggplant (you can’t tell this as the foliage in the one pictured is quite withered).

Natural Halloween decor!

Natural Halloween decor!

A large tree

A large tree

Another view

Another view

Great day for a walk in the woods!

Great day for a walk in the woods!

A few Sundays ago I wrote a little devotional and said it would be a new Sunday tradition. I only did it the one time so I’ll try again today! One of the verses we read today at church was…

Matthew 18:1-4

At the time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Reading this made me wonder for what childish qualities should we strive? Do children follow with a “blind” faith, accepting truth without any doubts? I don’t think so. My kids are curious and rarely accept something as “truth” without questions, discussions and considerations.

Do they test limits and feel tempted by sin in the same way as adults? Are they more eager to please? More willing to help?

How are children humble? Aren’t they egocentric little beasts? “IT’S MINE!” (and so forth) (especially here thinking of a two year old) hahaaaha. Maybe they aren’t humble in regards to their human relationships, but in how they view the world or truth?

Is it just that they always seem to be seeking truth?

I will have to continue to think about the ideal traits we should strive for to “become like children” to more fully answer that question. I do know that kids don’t have to remind themselves to stay “in the moment”. They notice the details of each step and sight and approach their surroundings with wide-eyed wonder. So how can that approach be applied to an adult’s spirituality? I’m not entirely sure, but tagging along for a walk in the woods with the boys is a glimpse of the world through littler eyes (and a good place to start)!

34. Apple Butter

Apple butter is a thing around here. It is not just cooked apples and spices in a jar. Apple butter is an event. A day when people sit around a cooking kettle all day and then line up to fill sterilized jars. There is food and drinks and firewood. I know of three “apple butter cooks” within a five-mile radius of each other within a three-week time-span. And we’ve only lived in the area five years! So I would venture a guess there are many more apple butter cooks going down that we don’t even know about between September and October. Today we attended one at a friend’s house. Next week, our next door neighbor is having one.

Apple Butter du jour

Apple Butter du jour

Today, when I snapped some shots of the kettle cooking one of the old timers said to me, “Hey! Don’t be sharing this secret recipe.” I laughed and said “I’m taking notes!” Well, I sort of am. I think one big secret is that everyone takes a turn stirring the kettle.

Everyone taking a turn!

Everyone taking a turn!

Well maybe not everyone took a turn. The “Spy” was happy to check out the sights beyond the kettle:

Checking out some serious firewood

Checking out some serious firewood

Boys

Boys

Good puppy

Good puppy

When I stirred the kettle, someone remarked that I needed a beer in my left hand, while I stirred with my right hand. To get the balance right. Hahahaaha. The recipe? The one from today involved four bushels of apples (peeled, cored and sliced), spices, spices in a spice bag and about 7 hours in a cast iron pot over a wood fire. Finally, sterilizing jars and lids and then a flurry of filling:

Quickly filling the jars

Quickly filling the jars

Pipin' hot!

Pipin’ hot!

A coordinated frenzy of filling!

A coordinated frenzy of filling!

Dexie (our golden retriever puppy) had fun meeting a big chocolate lab, a boxer-mix and my neighbor’s three Jack Russell terriers.

Lilly, one of the Jack Russell’s

Lilly, one of the Jack Russell’s

Lilly and Dexie discuss apple butter

Lilly and Dexie discuss apple butter

Baby’s favorite are the chickens:

Cluck cluck!

Cluck cluck!

When the cops showed up I thought it might be time to call it a night.

Then I realized he was just there for the fun. (Trying to start the go-cart)

Then I realized he was just there for the fun. (Trying to start the go-cart) HAhaha

So I enjoyed a few more sights:

Colorful treeline

Colorful treeline

BIG sunflowers

BIG sunflowers

Six Pack in Progress AHAHHAHAhahhaha

Six Pack in Progress AHAHHAHAhahhaha