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Showing posts from September, 2009

Changing Season

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. ~Stanley Horowitz

As I look out the window I am quickly reminded of the changing season. The foliage on the maple tree is beginning its transformation to blazing red and assorted soft tones of gold. My focus begins to change and I start prepping the garden area no longer in use for our next growing season. I have a raised bed I built with my daughter that I am filling with new soil here and there when time allows. Soon it will be time to protect the fruit trees and bushes during the winter months from the hungry rabbits that are no longer scared off by the baying of our hounds.

Each season holds it own distinctive triumph but I really enjoy fall. I love walking the dogs in the crisp, cool morning air and the distinctive smell that drifts upon the wind. The sight and sound of migrating birds forewarn of winters impending arrival. So many little things come to mind, being able to wear old…

Cayenne Pepper

According to Jack Staub in his book 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden hot peppers are not even peppers, they are actually a member of the capsicum family which makes their fruit technically a berry. The hot pepper is a native of the Americas and like many other items in his fiasco of a career Columbus is credited with incorrectly naming these spicy treats.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has long recognized the medicinal benefits of the cayenne pepper. Dried cayenne is a perfect remedy for a sore throat. Next time your throat is irritated try a pinch of cayenne with some honey in a hot tea. The hot pepper has long been used for its pain relieving properties and the rumor is that a teaspoon of dried pepper in hot water will stop a heart attack. I have no desire to find out how true this is but it is certainly good to know.

These tasty peppers are also high in Vitamins A, B complex and C. They are also a source of calcium and potassium and are extremely helpful in assisting in…

That Pickling Time of Year...

That Pickling Time of Year…

Toby and I have debated using my inherited hot water bath and canning jars for some time. The whole thing seemed foreign, dangerous, and a little time consuming to be honest. It furthered our apprehension when we read that the hot water bath could only be used to can acidic fruit or vegetables (i.e. pickling). One day on our ritual trip to the local farm stand/ petting zoo- Frog Pond, we saw a peck of cucumbers for sale, right next to them was a package of pickling spices- we looked at each other and both lit up. “Okay let’s do this thing,” we thought.
We decided the try bread and butter pickles for our first attempt. Although we used a mix, I will publish the recipe I found for the spices below if you want to try your own.
You will also need vinegar, and sugar- plenty of them. We only used about half of the cucumbers and yielded 4 pints and 3 quarts of pickles. Canning directions also included below:

Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe
Start with the freshes…

Red Cabbage

This is the first time I have ever grown cabbage and I have to say that our cabbages look beautiful this year though we did have a funny thing happen this growing season. Every single one of our green heads was devoured by insects while the red (knock on wood) were virtually untouched. In years past I would grow extra lettuce because I don’t put a fence around my garden and it was sort of a trade off with the local wild life, they would eat the lettuce put out for them and for the most part leave the rest of the garden alone. I guess this year they decided to feast on cabbage…oh well!

As you may know the cabbage is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, this group includes broccoli and Brussels sprouts to name a few others. These bad boys are loaded with essential nutrients for fighting cancer. They also happen to be a rich source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E which is very good for the health of your skin, Vitamin A also happens to be good for the eyes. Cabbage also contains Vitamin …

Sweet Corn

Last year our corn was really nothing to write home about this year though now that is another story. The stalks are easily over 6 feet tall with some really nice ears. Our neighbors were nice enough to contribute some manure to our cause and we switched growing sites all of which I am sure helped tremendously. I make a concerted effort to grow organic and I feel like the plants rewarded us this year. We got our seeds from “The Seed Savers Exchange” in Iowa and they are heirloom so we are leaving a few ears on the stalk to prepare for next season.

Corn it turns out is high in Vitamin B1 and B5 as well as folate. Folate helps prevent birth defects in the fetus stage and also helps the cardiovascular system. Corn happens to be a good source of Vitamin C and dietary fiber also so boil a couple cobs and hit it with the butter!