Friday, November 13, 2009


.........WHO SEES ALL!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

You mean there's still stuff to do in the garden?!?

Yep, there is. Just when you think it's safe to hole up indoors with a nice hot cup of tea, you realize you still have work to do! So, you end up gardening in the rain.

Well, first I had to muck out the chicken coop, which was no fun task, given the mix of straw, mud, scraps, and...whatever else...that had built up since Spring. I used muscles that had lain dormant for many weeks and I'm feeling it now, boy. But was all worth it when I saw how happy the chickens were to have a clean yard and coop and fresh straw to root around in. And, to top it all off, I got two eggs that day, even though it's the first week in November. Very happy, indeed.

Anyway, after the chicken coop, I ripped out all the tomato and tomatillo remnants and gathered two baskets full of green tomatoes that hadn't had time to ripen. This year, with the help of my DIY Greenhouse, I'm going to try and plant the tomatoes earlier next Spring and get a head start.

Behold the remnants of Summer!

Jan McMahon gave me two bags of super manure, which was just enough to cover my two fallow beds. The rain and weather will slowly break down the nutrients and seep them into the soil...

Next on the outdoor agenda was to make a shelter for the chickens in their yard. With all the rain and wind we've had lately, their yard gets really muddy and unpleasant, plus it ruins their food before they can eat it all. They stay in their coop and soil the nest boxes and I end up with dirty eggs! No good, so I went and bought a heavy-duty tarp and covered half the yard with it. Fastened down with zip-ties (my new favorite "tool"), it looks kind of Redneck, but does the job wonderfully.

No sooner did I have the last tie in place when it began to rain. The chickens took cover immediately and waited the storm out while pecking at their still-dry layer feed.

I also harvested the Brussels Sprouts since we'd had our first frost. The chickens also got the brassica leaves to munch on before I took the stalks in the house.

I had trouble with my Brussels Sprouts this year. I was plagued with caterpillars and aphids, which sucked the life out of them. I sprayed a couple of times, but those pests are persistent and I thought the sprouts were a loss until I started to cut them off the stalk.

No, they weren't big like the ones in the grocery store, but they were edible and sweet. It was too early to save them for Thanksgiving, so I decided to pickle them! They were the perfect size for pickling. I'll use them on antipasto plates, as gifts, even in martini's instead of onions or olives!
Here is the sum total of my sprout harvest after trimming and sorting: 2 pounds, 11 ounces!

And here is the finished product! Six half-pint jars, and one quart jar full of vinegar-ed goodness!

Halloween 2009

Since Halloween is my favorite holiday, I decided to throw a party and went all out on the decorations. Here's what I took pictures of, but it still doesn't include the dozens of mice and skeleton in the bedroom, nor the ghost in the bathroom mirror...BWAHAHAH!!!

The outside of the house slowly turned into a gruesome graveyard, and the porch a gateway to a witch's lair...

The family gallery suddenly morphed into terrible scenes of horror!

The dining room, now a cave festooned with bats....jars and bottles containing mysterious ingredients.....

....and a few ghosts ready to moan out their secrets...

Ah, the ghoulish feast ready to be devoured. Salad with pears and walnuts, mulled apple cider with clove-studded apples, ghost, cat, and pumpkin puff pastries filled with ham and cheese, and gingerbread cookies! Let the party begin!