Tag Archives: garden

Pickles

It’s been years since I made pickles. And I’m not really sure why… They’re so easy! This long weekend I made up for that oversight in a big way.

First the cucumber pickles. These are classic dill with a twist. There’s ginger in the spears, and the coins have a zesty orange chili blend in them (along side the usual dill, garlic, and mustard.)

These are refrigerator pickles. I’ve tried canning cucumber pickles a number of times and they always end up mushy. I figure I have space in the back of my fridge for a couple tasty jars. I use the old farmer’s almanac recipe except the vinegar is half white and half apple cider (because I ran out of white.)

Next up: dilly beans! Are you sending variations on a theme? I had purchased a large bunch of fresh dill, and wanted to use up as much as possible.

Beans, garlic, shallot, dill, and mustard seed. I followed this simply canning recipe.

I didn’t have 4 pints of green beans, so I used the same brine to make:

Pickled cauliflower:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and corriander.

Pickled romanesco:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and green peppercorns.

And pickled carrots:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and clove.

I checked that the processing times for all these veggies was still just 10 minutes (it is) and switched up the spices as labeled. I think they’ll all be delicious. I’ll have to resist opening all 4 at once to compare flavors…

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New hair!

Let’s see, this weekend was a busy one:

Planted fall lettuce, raddishes, and beans with Windsor.

Went to a couple awesome yardsales (and now Windsor wants to sell stuff in our front yard too)

Made 2 lasagnas, one for dinner and one for the freezer. Put tomatoes and zucchini from the garden in them.

Started drying tomatoes on my dashboard, but it wasn’t hot enough. So I’ll be the weirdo in the parking lot at work with tomatoes in my car.

And, of course, got my sassy new haircut!

I’ve been working on the stripy cardi, too!

Still wip

Knitting goes slowly, and finishing even more so.

Especially when there are so many ends. I don’t mind weaving in ends. It feels slow, but it’s faster than knitting. I still struggle to make the time.

It doesn’t help that naps when I could be knitting are spent picking black currants instead.

But they will be worth the effort. You can knit all winter. You cannot pick berries in January.

Blueberries

I took the girls blueberry picking the last weekend in July. This is becoming a tradition, I remember taking them last year when Willow was just 3 weeks old.

This year the berries were so plentiful there were clean, ripe ones literally falling off the bushes. So that occupied Willow. With Windsor’s help I picked seven quarts.

Next came one of my favorite times of year. The week when we all just eat as many blueberries as we can stand. It’s amazing.

But this weekend,,, whole week out from the harvest some were starting to go soft. So I sorted them, put the best quart back in the fridge for snacks, and put the rest into jam:

Five pints of blueberry cinnamon jam. It’s been a long time since I dug out the canner. It felt good!

More plants!

This space is still nominally a knitting blog. And I actually have some to show you. But I keep forgetting to take pictures. Why? Because it is spring! And spring is much more exciting than an olive green sweater that still isn’t finished.

I may be unreasonably excited about that big black cube. But it is going to turn my compost heap into a compost factory. And that’s exciting, in my world.

The peas, beets, radishes, and lettuce seedlings are up.

No parsnips though. Actually, that’s not true. There are 3 parsnips in the bed where I planted them last year.

I know the seeds need to be planted early, maybe I’m missing that window? Maybe I should plant parsnips in the fall and let them overwinter as seeds?

While weeding the bed that will hold broccoli and brussel sprouts (it’s next to the fence, the neighbors’ grass always tries to move in) I found strawberry seedlings! So now I have a strawberry basket. We’ll see if I can remember to water it all summer…

And I highly suggest artisanal ice cubes for your next project.

Violets and mint are both edible. I will have the prettiest lemonade this summer!

Signs of Spring

It’s been a very cold April. Fourth coldest on record in some parts of Vermont. But in the last two weekends we’ve finally had some sunshine. There’s been family time in the garden:

I’ve planted radishes (rainbow radishes, Windsor will always add), peas, parsnips, beets, and lettuce. Plus volunteer garlic, as you can see from the photo. I’m also doing a garden bed of annual flowers from seed, and some of those go in before the last frost too.

I also have a resident in the rhodedendron this year. Can you spot her?

According to the Internet it takes 11 to 13 days for cardinal eggs to hatch.

Succulent love

My collection of succulents just keeps growing. I love them so much.

The newest teacup resident is named Rosetta. The first one I got, Willow, is starting to grow some offshoots, which is super exciting for me. I’ve never had a succulent happy enough to propagate that way before. The next one back (Gwen) had her offshoot when I bought her.

I call these little babies the Pleiades, even though there aren’t 7 of them. But there could be, I mean, there’s more space in that bowl! And another very happy succulent lives here:

But again, he was beginning to bloom before I brought him home.

Then there’s my home-grown succulent kinder-garden (thanks to Karin for that name!)

I got 5 out of 5 leaves to root! I’ve added another 6 to the plate recently. We’ll see how my success rate holds up.

This sweet one is too big for a teacup. So for now he’s still in a plastic pot, and nameless. (and apparently you can see my dirty sink in that photo too. Hooray?)

It’s coming

Did you notice the calendar? It’s MARCH! Also known as – still winter in Vermont. Every year I joke that the groundhog is wrong – from February 2nd “six more weeks of winter” is an early spring.

But every year in March I start to get excited about GARDENING again. I tend to bite off more than I can chew, and that’s ok by me. If things go to weeds at least I tried. Right now my garden still looks like this:

But I’m already buying seeds from High Mowing

matts wild cherry tomato

And trying to figure out how much soaker hose I need. Note: it’s hard to measure my garden when I can’t open the fence door because of the snow.

But that doesn’t slow me down. I’m planning to plant flowers in the garden bed that went to weeds last year. Flowers are lower maintenance. I think. Or at least will probably bloom even if I ignore them. Sunflowers will be happening too. Assuming I can figure out how to protect the seedlings from those pesky squirrels. And I’m dreaming of Bean Tents. That way the girls will have some place to play when they get bored of digging in the dirt with me.

(c) gardentherapy

Yup. I’m ready. Bring on spring.

Moving on

Big changes, my pretty and loyal rooster has gone home. He’s back at the farm where he hatched. I’m so glad he recovered, he was even back to crowing before we sent him home. I’m sure he was lonely here by himself. I miss eating our own eggs. And I miss watching the silly birds run around. But given the uncertainty in our future housing it just makes sense, not having chickens right now. Windsor clearly misses them too, she keeps talking about our sick rooster going to another farm to get better.

Not having to worry about the free ranging flock will make our next project easier.

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The landscaper is putting in our lawn, over the leach field we installed last winter. He’ll also scrape up all those brambles and saplings. We’re finally putting in the wildflowers we intended to plant over five years ago (apparently I could have a tag for blog posts of large earthmoving equipment in my front yard.)

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And my pretty sunflower kitchen has been normalized.

We’ve had our house on the market since November, and if we don’t sell in the next month we’ve decided to rent it out and find a place to rent ourselves. We need to move before next winter. Wish us luck.

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Oh. And I knit a whole sock! More on that later.

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black eye susan