Monday, June 30, 2014

Pickled Hot Peppers

Tom's square foot garden experiment is going well.
He had a great mix of super hot peppers, some
ready to pick, and much more still to mature.

He used latex gloves to seed and clean them,
chopped and mixed with pickling ingredients
 from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
We canned them outside to keep the heat out of the house
and now he's got the first of many jarred mixes.

Link below.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Garden Dinner

Tonight was a garden dinner.  The squash is growing
better than ever.  You can see how tall and strong the plants
are in front of Tom.  To the right, next to Tom,
are the tomatillos.  They are well over six feet tall.  
I'll write more on them later. 

All of a sudden the zucchini and yellow squash has been coming in
along with our first Cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes.
I have another very large one in the fridge, reserved for bread.
I am going to collect a few smaller ones to make zucchini
sausage and cheese boats.

I had the last of our lettuce in the side garden so I made 
a quick salad with tomatoes and peppers.

Tom sliced the zucchini and dipped them in his beer batter.
He uses 1/2 flour and 1/2 Italian bread crumbs,
baking powder and beer and then fried them in Crisco.
They were light and tender, the beer batter puffing up 
nice and crispy. 

I sprinkled them with parmesean and added a red sauce.
Delicious, you hardly realized there was not an ounce of meat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What Do Ants and Duct Tape Have in Common?

What do ants and duct tape have in common?
Squash bugs!

I had a suspicion and confirmed it this morning.
Typically, I am in the garden every day, duct tape 
wrapped sticky side out around my hand, turning over
leaves to remove eggs and nymphs- 
sometimes an adult or two.

This year has been much easier.
Was it the cooler early Spring?
The extra rainstorms?

What I did notice was an overabundance of ants
climbing the stalks of my zucchini and yellow squash.
All over the leaves they marched about accompanied
by an odd number of very light spiders.

Then I found it- Ants eat squash bug eggs and nymphs!
Perfect- thanks ants.
But please stay IN the garden and not in the house!

 For folks concerned about ants, here is where ants are beneficial, they actually eat the squash bug eggs if they find them. We can stay ahead of a major infestation of squash bugs if we all kill every squash bug we see.

This is a photo of the zucchini I pulled out of the garden yesterday,
a complete surprise.  It wasn't nearly this large the last time I saw it.
Yellow squash is quickly following so we'll be grilling in no time.
This one is large so it may be turned into some delicious bread!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Birthday Week

The Big 55!  I'm officially eligible for senior discounts
You can bet I already made a list and plan to take advantage of it.

I had an "All About Me" week, a gift from my husband.
Wherever I wanted to go, whatever I wanted to do.
What more could an official Senior ask for?
Well, may be a Nexus7.
I've stolen his enough that he thought I should have one too.
It will be great for watching tutorials as I am sewing
or listening to pod casts of my favorite NPR game shows!

As we were leaving for the great Birthday Breakfast,
the small parcel carrier was driving up our road.
Seeing that there are only a few houses on the road,
and I was expecting a package, we turned around and 
met him in our driveway.

Mom sent a quilting book, garden gloves, napkins,
 watermelon shaped citronella candles, a chicken spoon rest 
and a check so I could pick out something special.

She added some extras between the quilting book pages.
This is one of my articles (Kathy Felsted) from when I 
worked for the Kingdom Daily News in Fulton, MO!

I always make a trip to Dennys for the Grand Slam breakfast.
If you go on your birthday, it's free.
Not the day before or the day after- it must be on that day 
but any time during that day.

   It was good but not without some issues.
 How many Denny's employees does it take to make a fried egg?
Apparently three.
They asked- "how would you like your eggs"?
I replied- fried- over hard so there is NO runny yolk.

Egg #1- runny yoke-  OK,  an error, the waitress sent it back.
Egg #2- Waitress, wait.  I poke the egg- a volcano of  yoke.
The waitress is mad (not at me).
She gets the manager.
She yells at the cook.
She is overly apologetic.

I tell her- forget the egg. They hate me now.
She says, "NO, the manager will make the egg."

The manager makes the egg.
She brings it out all frowney faced, no apology,
Maybe she's mad at her cooks that can't make a hard egg,
 maybe she's mad that a customer complained.
I can't tell but it's not good customer service.
Did we tip?   Of course, the waitress was wonderful.
The cook wasn't.  

We went into town so I can do some shopping.
Besides getting a pair of shoes, we were looking for some
construction material to make a deck on the coop
since I am too short to step into the raised coop.

I tried to stop at an art gallery to see 
a friend of a friend's paintings but street parking
was full and my husband has his ham radio antenna on the car
which made us too tall for the garage.  I'll go another time.
I did have him stop by the health food store that has been
there for years. They have bulk teas so I got some 
elderberry flowers, elderberries and another variety.

Throughout the week we made several other stops.
I'm going to try my hand a sewing clothes and 
Joanne's had a super sale on patterns.
One was marked down to just over a dollar- from $17!

We went to the Kirkwood Farmer's Market and some nurseries.

I adore shopping at thrift stores and found some items
in great shape, comfortable and fit!!

More thrift store items.

I couldn't leave the little statues!

We stopped at Pauline bookstore (Catholic)

More on this later but Tom built a porch on
the chicken coop for me. It's a raised coop,
with the first step above my knees so I had to 
stand on an old tool box that we pushed in and out
from under the coop.  It broke so I haven't been able
to get in!  Now it's easy, although I need the ground
raised to easily take that first step.

We had to go up to St Charles, MO and stopped by
the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center.
St Charles is where the Voyage of Discovery began.
More on this later also.

We drove through Creve Coeur park, our old stomping grounds,
so Taylor could see where the Indian princess plunged to her death.
Creve Coeur means Broken Heart.

Pops decided to take a walk on the rocks, 
next to the sign that said to stay off the rocks.
He didn't think they meant THESE rocks 
(since the sign was off to the side).
He got Taylor up there too so it's a good thing
I didn't have to bail them out of jail!

We stopped for pizza and salad at Massa's in Ellisville, MO 
and got home just before the storm hit Saturday night.

 My neighbor, Simone, had walked over on Friday night
carrying two glasses, one glass had an umbrella pick filled
with cherries and  also sporting a flamingo straw.
It was Turtle Juice- yummy, and not for kids.

Later that night some friends dropped by and we sat
around the fire pit lit with one of the citronella watermelon
candle slices.  It kept bugs away and gave off just enough light
on a hot summer eve.
We watched the Space Station fly by at 9:32 pm.

Here is where you can check the times for viewing.

We spent Sunday puttering around the garden after church. 
Taylor is staying the night so Tom will take her home tomorrow
while I am at work.

That was the majority of my week.
Here's a little look back over the past  55 years.

Mom sent this article in my birthday package too.

 I have a few photos scanned into the computer.
Relaxing, reading a magazine.
(Aurora, MO)

High School - Old Farm Estates subdivision
Tom, Me and my grandparents 
Virginia and Robert Templeman from Bethany, MO.

College- William Woods in Fulton, MO

Wedding - Creve Coeur, MO 1982

A little older
A little slower

I had a good birthday week.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Finding a Thief on my Back Deck

He is "Wanted" in almost every state. 
Regardless of our efforts, the crimes continue
as the masked bandit sneaks around the house,
silently shimmying up deck posts with burglary in his heart.

As if by chance, I discovered the scoundrel and  confronted him.
He stopped dead in his tracks, but for only a moment. 
I could sense the smirk on his face,
His eyes say it all . . .  "  I'll be back." 

With a leap and twist he scurries down the deck rail.

Faster than a speeding Kathy, he races to the edge

and ducks beneath the bottom rail.
Over the edge he runs and perches on the beam
with only a striped tail exposed.

I scold him.
I explain the suet is for the birds.
He pays no attention.

He'll be back.
I just have to remember to bring in the suet earlier.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Making Kraut

 I planted a few cabbages this season because my 
husband had wanted to make sauerkraut.
They were a bit wormy as we were trying to avoid chemicals,
so we picked up some additional heads at 
the Kirkwood Farmer's market.

We have enough for kraut plus coleslaw.

We washed and shredded about 5-6 lbs of cabbage
and layered it with salt in a stone crock.

He attached his carboy carrier to make it easier to move.
We will mash it down as it sits, covered, for the next 
couple of weeks.  

He added some to the crock pot with a  bone in pork loin 
as well as a variety of herbs.   We'll see how that turned out tonight!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saving the Tads

I am balancing precariously, trying to avoid the mudslide
  which will land me bottom first in the mucky culvert.
Not that it would be tragic, but a neighbor might drive by
at that very time and I'd end up on YouTube, going viral
on my birthday week!

Heavy rains always fill up the culvert, almost to my knees,
and the frogs come as if by magic.  Last year  pairs were bobbing
together, darn near drowning the lady frog,
and you know what that leads to . . . 

I didn't see the couples this year but figured once the rains let 
up I'd go and check it out.  Now it's shallow and gooey, 
trapping the babies, so into action I went!!

I got my Harpos's (Mizzou type) cups in hand and tried to find 
the most concentrated areas.  I know I can't save them all.
It would help if they were more cooperative but I imaging
all they have heard are stories of crazy college kids swallowing goldfish,
or country fried frog legs, like the gas station sells.

No, not for my froggies!
I scooped and drained, accompanied by Rumbles the cat
who was keeping an eye out for passing cars just in case
I did take the dive.  Good girl, Rumbles!

Some were deposited in the courtyard fountain
to join their cousins who are already swimming around.
Some are now in the garden wall pond.

 Poor hubby.  He complains about the frog racket, 
which can  be ear splitting at times,
but that I find to be a gentle lullaby.
I love my frogs!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rain in the Gardens

April Showers Bring May Flowers, it's said
but what happens when April flows into May and June?
Wow- flowers galore! 
As the iris fade, Stella D'oro takes over,
bees, hummingbirds, wasps and little critters of all sorts
are buzzing, humming, croaking and chirping all day and night.

The hostas are thriving along with the coleus that lines 
the front of their bed.  Mints grow in pots next to rosemary
and various garden flowers.  While the chives are on their last
blooms it seems that someone has been enjoying a nap or two in the tub.

While I struggle with alternating episodes of frizzing or limp hair,
the butterflies seem quite content to sip on nectar once the rain stops.

I'm wondering if the flower gives them their color or 
is it just nature's way of butterfly cammo.

I don't remember what this bush is called but it is 
amazing this year, spreading out over the courtyard in full bloom.

Our walkway is lined with containers of garden flowers
and an herb or two to keep them company.

Surprisingly the critters haven't started digging in the pots yet,
but give them time!  I'll enjoy them while I can.

I still have not thinned out the pumpkin explosion!
Once the rains stop I need to get in there quickly.
I'm hoping someone wants to dig up a patch or two
otherwise we'll be eating pumpkin for decades!

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs.
That's another thing that has been loving the rain forest 
weather we've been having.  I've purposely left some weeds standing,
believing the ones showing the most damage are the most tasty.
I notice that they tend to eat here than munch on the plants I want.
So weeds I keep, especially this one, whatever it is.
If you enlarge the photo you might be able to see the 
potato beetles on it.

I was afraid the storm had damaged the squash but 
it seems to be doing just fine!  

I can't say the same for my husband's cabbages but they will
survive long enough to get into the crock for sauerkraut.

I haven't been around that much lately.  I think it's the rain.
I swim drive home from work and hibernate in the living room.
   I think we're supposed to have a nice weekend so it will be
back to the garden we go!