Sunday, November 29, 2009

Smoked Duck with Cranberry Mango Chutney

Smoked Duck

This takes 3 days to make. You will cook and serve on day 3. This can be a finicky dish to prepare, it is really best to make a dry run before you try to impress guests. Read all the instruction thoroughly before starting and do not skip any of the steps.

5-6 Lb Muscovy duck ( each duck serves about 4 ) make as many as you need
¼ cup salt per gallon water used to brine.
1 orange cleaned and cut into quarters
1 onion quartered
one large rosemary sprig per bird
fresh thyme, marjoram, garlic
Adobo seasoning ( a seasoning mixture of salt, garlic and oregano, wing it if you can't locate it)

hickory smoke chips

Thaw bird at least 4 days in advance of serving.

Day 1
remove from package, pull out any pin feathers, trim off the neck flap, and all excess fat from around cavity. Rinse clean. Often ducks found at supermarkets are pre-brined but continue as though it was not. If your duck is still a little frozen that will be ok, it will thaw.

If the bird you have has not had the skin pricked all over then you must do it. You need to prick the skin many times but only prick the skin and fat, do not pierce the flesh if you can manage. Often the pre-brined ducks are also pierced if this is the case skip this step.

Brine the bird. In a large tub or food safe bucket mix together ¼ cup salt per gallon water to cover the bird or birds. Before adding raw bird taste water, you want a pleasant saltiness, not overly saturated, make the brine to your taste. Add bird or birds. Keep cold , and brine for one day.

Day 2
after 24 hour brine, remove birds from brine drain pull the necks, livers, hearts and whatever else is in there out.

Pat dry.

Stuff cavity with the orange and onion quarters as well as a rosemary sprig. Tie the legs together and fold the wings back and over themselves.

Mix your herbs, garlic, pepper and Adobo in a bowl then liberally apply to the surface of the ducks. Place ducks on a roasting rack in the roasting pan you plan to cook them in. Do the back side first then the breast ( so the herbs don't fall off the side you will see.

This is a dry marinade stage, if you have a safe refrigerator that you can leave the ducks uncovered for 24 hours in do that. If not cover ducks keeping them elevated off the floor of the container so the juices do not soak the back let rest over night. You want the duck skin to dry out.

Day 3 -Day of Serving
soak the smoke chips or make 2 foil packs with the dry chips, pierce a few times and set aside.

About 7 hours before you serve your duck remove and let stand on counter. Light your smoker. We use a standard Weber BBQ to do this. I have cut a coffee can down to 2 inches tall and drilled out 1” holes in the bottom. This is the smoke pan. You need to light 8-10 coals Use a bricket chimney and NOT LIGHTER FLUID you do not want the ducks to taste like lighter fluid.

When the coals are ready pour them into the coffee can pan pull to the side in a location that you can access to add smoke chips as needed.

Place the rack right from your roasting pan in the smoker if it fits. If not place the duck directly on the rack. add a few chips cover tightly, open a vent a little to keep the air flow.

At this stage you are not cooking the duck you are adding the smoked flavor. So keep only enough coals in the smoke pan to create smoke not create heat. Add coals as needed. Add wood chips as needed.

Smoke duck for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 225 F remove the ducks from smoker and cover with a lid or with foil as tightly as you can. The duck will now slowly cook for 3.5 hours steaming off some of the fat. The more tightly covered the more fat will drain. Check them after 2 hours and drain the fat if it begins to accumulate in bottom. You don't want the ducks to touch it after it has rendered off. Keep tightly covered and remove from oven at 3.5 hours.

Let the duck rest for 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 F uncover ducks and place in the hot oven for another 40 min. This is the stage when you are crisping up the skin.

Carve the duck tossing out the fatty parts of the skin.

Serve with Mango Cranberry Chutney or a sauce of your choice.

Cranberry Mango Chutney

1 bag fresh cranberries picked through and cleaned
2 large mangoes peeled and chopped
1 medium apple peeled cored and chopped
1 whole sweet red pepper
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup white vinegar
2 TB finely chopped ginger root
1 TB lemon juice
2 tsp curry powder
½ tsp each nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Combine everything in a large stainless or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 40 min or until fruits are tender and mixture is thickened. Stir occasionally.

To can, ladle the hot mixture into sterilized jars fill to within ½” of rim to allow for head space. Process 10 min for ½ pint jars and 15min for pint jars.

Excellent as an accompaniment with poultry.

Recipe for Grilled Lamb

Grilled Lamb Rack with a Wild Mushroom Cabernet reduction sauce

This is dry marinated 1 day in advance of serving
though if you had to you could do it a few hours in advance.

Frenched lamb racks- (purchase enough for the amount you wish to serve. ) Frenched lamb racks have the rib bones protruding from the meat. You want to look for lamb racks that are somewhat trimmed down. You do not want or need the fat so don't pay for something you have to throw out.

Trim the lamb up. Turn them curved side down, carefully slice off the layer of fat along the bones and the silver from the meat. Careful trimming off the silver, you do not want to mangle the meat nor loos much of the meat in the trimming.
Wrap bone end in foil to protect it on the BBQ.

Herb Marinade
This herb marinade is caked onto the lamb you will be using very generous and equal amounts of seasonings. Just mix this into a paste and cake onto the lamb, it should be a thick layer

dry marjoram
fresh crushed garlic

Cake this herb mixture onto lamb, place in a refrigerator over night.

BBQ over direct heat

BBQ your lamb in the center of the grill over the coals. Throw smoke chips in to add a wonderful smoky flavor. About 8-9 minutes per side until they are medium rare.
Serve with the mushroom Cabernet sauce

Wild Mushroom Cabernet Sauce

you can double this recipe it is excellent over mashed potatoes.
Can be made in advance and reheated.

1 ounce dried wild mushrooms or about 1 cup fresh. We used a mixture of morel, porcini, oyster and crimini
½ cup beef broth
½ cup Cabernet wine ( not to cheap, you want a decent flavor)
corsage of fresh thyme, bay, and marjoram tied into a bundle
3 peppercorns (I place these in a metal tea ball so they don't end up in the final dish.)
1 TB olive oil
2 TB flour, use gluten free if you need to. This is to thicken the sauce
salt to taste at the end

If you are using dried mushrooms rehydrate them 20 min prior and then rinse them 3-4 times to remove any unwanted bits of sand or dirt. Drain and squeeze dry.

In a small saucepan heat oil and sauté mushrooms until mostly browned and crispy add flour stir until the flour is a bit browned. Add the herb bundle, the peppercorns, wine and broth. Bring to a low simmer and simmer for 20 min or longer to reduce and thicken sauce. Adjust seasonings and add salt if you wish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We threw tradition into the wind and did not miss it at all.
We had a five course meal with plate service so most of our family was able to just sit, sip wine and chat. My husband and I designed the menu and all the recipes are our own. Our
daughter and our niece served the plates and pulled the plates. Just like a real restaurant. It was divine. All though we went to so much trouble we all were able to sit down at every course and enjoy it with the family.
Here is the menu:
Oyster Rockefeller
broiled oysters served with a creamy spinach sauce topped with hollandaise and smokey paprika
Harvest Salad
baby greens served with apples, pears, blue cheese, dried cranberries candied pecans and a pomegranate vinaigrette
Grilled Rack of Lamb
served medium rare with a Cabernet wild mushroom sauce, on a bed of horseradish mashed potatoes and honey glazed baby carrots
A Smoked and Grilled Duet
Smoked duck with cranberry mango chutney and a skewer of marinated beef tenderloin served on a bed of mashed sweet potato
Creme Brulee
with a chocolate wafer and fresh berries

I am certain almost everybody loved it. I know that as a hostess I was very happy with the results, it was just as I had planned. And there was a lot of planning.
Here is my daughter and Emily my niece looking very intent as they serve the lamb course.
If you are interested in recipes stay tuned... They will follow in future posts.

Our dog and Emily... Look how worn out he is after all the begging he had to do.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My wool paintings are finially framed!

I still would like a bigger shadowbox, I have other beautiful arrowheads including a large spear head I wanted to display.
On the bottom of the frame and the bottom left, you are seeing awls and needle implements used to sew and manipulate leather and whatever else needed to be sewn.
12"x13" Wetfelt background,
needlefelt portrait
Jan 9 2009
While this may look like Chief Joseph it is not. The chiefs of these tribes wore very similar ornaments.
This is my rendition of Chief Plenty Coups of the Absaroka or Crow tribe. I know you have all seen him before, but it looks even better in a frame.
I actually framed all my wool paintings now, wohoo! It was a little pricey, but they will be here for my grandchildren not destroyed by my cats....
Now that they are complete I feel I can start another painting. A couple of ideas come from the Art Nueveau style, and because I recently learned that I am a distant cousin of Kay Nielson something related to his work.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shoe Makin Time.

I have always secretly habored the notion of being a cobbler... I want to make shoes.

So yesterday I woke up and I was shot through with inspiration. I would use my nice brown sweater that tragically was washed in hot water and make a pair of moccasins to use as slippers.

So I gathered my moccasins to examine, scoured the net for ideas or patterns. I still had not found a shoe that was what I wanted to make. So I gathered my slippers, my uggs and any other shoe around the house that I thought I could make. I set about to make a shoe. I drafted a pattern, it looked like it was going to work, and I sewed one up. I made slip on boots.

Yikes! I should have taken a photo... in my husbands words "thats hidious"

The boot I created was somehow twisted, so when it was on there was a large ill fitting area and the fabric twisted over the foot.It was also HUGE! I guess I added plenty of seam allowance. Definatly not what I wanted. But I could see the potential and I could see the mistakes. So I used a razorblade to dissassemble my creation, made some changes. Added a front zipper, took in the back...

And here are my new boot/ slippers
They are washed wool outer, the lining is Faux fur the sloes are three layers, leather, jute and velveteen.
They fit better than I dreamed they would, they are very very warm.
I am thrilled.
While there are still a few tweakes and I would like a more finished bottom edge I have decided
I will definiatly be making more. I have some fur pelts that were given left to me from my grandparents. My grandfather was a trapper in the 1920's and somehow there are still a few pelts of the little critters left. one pelt is a little dry on the leather but I think it will work. I also have a ton of leather to work with, but I'm leaning tword a brown or a black.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Velvet handmade felt and the food dyes.

Top of the morning to everyone who reads this little blog.
In my previous post you saw I was experimenting with kool-aid to dye stuff, well I moved quickly on to Wilton's cake icing dye. Success!
I browse the Internet regularly for inspiration generally I love texture, color, fiber, sewing, and vibrant items. I came across an English Artist I find intriguing, check out her blog here.
She combines wool and velvet, huge color and embroidery in delightful and fabulous ways. So I found my muse.
Here is a tray of the velvet and wool felt scraps I dyed this weekend, sort of pretty don't you think?
It is really to bad I do not have 100% silk velvet to dye I think it would be much brighter, but since I don't, I'll make do.
The wool really took the cake dyes well, the colors are rich and deep, yeah! Possibilities seem endless right now.
Anyhow, now I am playing with ideas and testing out my applique skills. I am not certain what I am creating.
You can see in the first photo where my musing has taken me. I am thinking of cutting the design out and sewing it to another piece.. maybe a tote bag or a journal cover. my mind is still wandering and I don't know where it will end up. Yet just having the possibility of creating something new and fresh gets me out of bed each morning. I just wish I had a studio so I could spread out all my projects.... basically I want to make a big mess and revel in it.
On another note, my angels are selling quickly, got an order for 12 of them yesterday! yeah *clap, clap, clap*

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kool-Aid Dye for Fabric, Experiments in Color.

Last night I began some new experiments. I have a number of creative ideas involving fabrics, but I need color combos that are unavailable.

So I thought I'd try Kool-aid, I have heard of this method it can be used with any protein based cloth such as cotton wool, linen etc. I choose silk/rayon velvet because I want the lush texture for my plans. I also wanted cheap and easy in case I hate the results. So Kool-aid is the answer, all you need is vinegar, water and the color of your choice. Plus it smells very good.

Here is where I got my instructions

Here is a color chart for those of you who want to try this yourselves.

I think this is a very affordable alternative to expensive dyes for when the kids want to Tie Dye.

You can see in the above photo some of the colors I chose, I bought them before I saw the color chart.. so I have a small selection of color. Also please note the right hand side the "INVISIBLE" Kool-Aid.. yeah that's for making magic cloaks, it is of course it is invisible just as it states. I guess I did not see those large capital letters while I was buying. I also found the "Lemonade" to be to faint of a yellow so I dumped it and choose a brighter blue for that bottle.

Anyhow the process is very simple, soak your fabric in hot water, lay it on a large saran wrap in a pyrex. Paint, pour, drip your dye over the fabric and then secure the saran wrap. Microwave in two minute increments until the liquid in your item is clear.
Bam! You have dyed fabric.
In this last photo you can see the results of the dye over the white silk/rayon blend velvet. The pink piece farthest to the left is so pretty, I am
very pleased. I dyed it twice with the reds, once
would have been enough if I had followed instructions and microwaved until the liquid was clear. In the end I nuked that piece 6 minutes and the color is lush.
All in all I like the dyes I will be doing this again, I want richer colors in the blue and greens... It may have been my choice of fabric, silk dyes easy but rayon must not. My next experiment will be dying wool felt with the same colors. All these fabrics are for the same project, So I would like similar colorways.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Holiday Items are being listed on my Etsy Shop

These little handcrafted Angels were a huge hit at the Los Gatos Historic Homes Boutique sale last weekend. I am listing them in my shop until Christmas. They are very ethereal and delicate looking. Each is unique and crafted from lambs wool.
Support the modern Arts and Crafts movement, buy local, buy handmade!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, today is my 16Th anniversary... its been a crazy, sometimes rocky often smooth ride. Somehow we have managed to raise a really sweet and wonderful daughter. We found a way to work together at the same business for 13.5 years. There were times when it was difficult but I love him and he loves me and we have found a path that works for the both of us. A toast to another 16 years...
On to my garden news.
The weather here is slowly changing from the hellish hot summer to a wonderful crisp autumn, but the nights are dipping to near freezing temps and I still want to grow a garden. Being blessed to live in California our temps are very mild in comparison to, say, my families place in Montana.
I found a great idea in Mother Earth News on these row hoops. I now have a mini greenhouse at a fraction of the cost. When it is summer I can remove the plastic and put a shade fabric over instead. Basically it is just a 10' PVC pipe stuck on a piece of re-bar in the ground and then covered in heavy plastic sheeting.
So I made one yesterday, about 8' long, it was very easy and cost me $20. Better yet I have 2/3 of the roll of plastic left and for $14 more I will have another one of these at least 2 times as long.
We are going to try to eek a few more peppers off the pablano plant, you can see them in there still blooming and setting fruit. That bed is also full of carrots, radishes and a mixture of either broccoli, cauliflowers or cabbage.. I am uncertain. The cat dug up all my starts a while back and mixed them all up. I just did my best to save the little shoots and now it will be a surprise to see what I saved. Nice kitty.
I plan to plant lettuce in there or in another one as well as bok choy. I think my winter garden is going to do well. Right now I have a ton of kale and swiss chard but they are infested with aphids and although I try I am having a hell of a time getting rid of them. I hope the cool weather means they will go away soon.
I wanted to show this mini hooped greenhouse set up to all my gardening friends, maybe you can get a head start next spring by erecting one of these.
Last but not least we got a new cat recently.. his name is Gus, he is a sweet and loving cat that actually likes to snuggle and be pet, unlike Ms Kitty and Jude. Jude actually howls and growls at you when you pet him... kinda scary.
Here you can see Jude and Gus playing through the bathroom door. They spend hours laying there attacking each others toes. Gus is the grey one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old Tee Shirts Recycled into a Rag Rug.

Don't throw away your old ratty tees, cut them into inch wide strips and crochet a rag rug. Shabby, chic, and a great way to recycle what could just be thrown out. Our great grandmothers would be proud of our thrift, there was a time when people used everything until you just could not eek another moment of life from it.
So here is my salute to the old ways. A brand new rug to stand on after a shower. Whenever I look down on it I will see old shirts that we wore while making our life memories.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall has arrived and I'm feeling creative.

Why is it I need rain and dreary skies to get me in my crafty state of mind. It would not be so bad if I did not live in a place that is warm and sunny all but 3 months a year. Okay so maybe its not warm , but the sun always shines in California. October is kind to my creative self, the weather is cooling off and it even has rained!

Sneak preview of Lexi's Alice in Wonderland dress, It is made from sheer blue fabric with a good drape. It hangs and spins beautifully. I cut the apron from a play dress we have had around here since she was just a little girl. I just need to finish the neck and the apron and this costume is ready!

She found some darling black shoes to go with this. Wait till you see it on her.

We went to San Fransisco again this weekend. I love it there. I bought a couple of new Cd's, the soundtrack from Whip It and Pink Martini's Sympathique.
Now I have music to keep me company while I decide just how I will use all the fabric I got at a fabulous little store in the Sunset district called Peapod Fabric.
The store is tiny but the space is used so well. Every fabric in this place was one I loved and felt I needed. Well when I win a lottery or just come into lots of cash I'll buy it all!

Here is most of what I bought, aren't the owls cute? I also found cotton rickrack that is in good natural colors not the horrid primary colors you find at Jo-Ann's. I wish you could really see the patterns on these. I need a new camera, mine has had a little humidity damage and every picture is poopy and I cannot focus up close. What a drag.
What will I do with all that fabric you ask? Well, I plan to make aprons, I've been on a little apron kick and I have a place to try to sell them in November. If they don't sell then they will go on Etsy and go out as gifts for Christmas.
In keeping with my self sustaining lifestyle, I started packaging all the seeds I harvest and save every year. I have a long way to go with this project... there is still 3 or more kinds of lettuce seeds I saved as well as flower seeds and pepper seeds. Somehow I also need to save seeds from this one tomato that volunteered from last year. It is so yummy and such a fast grower I feel I should try to capture it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Mania Continues.

Here is the photos of my latest and greatest!
Who could resist this adorable blue apron... hopefully not many because it is for sale :)
I don't know if I'm putting it on etsy or just waiting for the Los Gatos boutique. I'll probably wait.. I will decide by the weekend.

Below is the heavy utility Apron #3 this one is recycled jeans embellished with leather, lace, and linen/silk fabric samples.
I learned a new skill with my apron making. I learned to make my own bias tape! What a boon, now I will never be stuck with icky color match ups you get with ready to use commercial binding.
So this means the binding on this apron is made from a shimmery linen/silk blend.
The belt tie is not quite done. I think I'll put a bow in front or at least a knot, I think it adds something that is missing right now.
If you have any suggestions or comments about anything let me know! Or even any good ideas you think I would be able to incorporate... just leave me a note.
Ta Ta for now,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Apron Crazy

I am apron crazy right now, I just finished two new ones. One is sweet Cherry's with red, white and blue plaid as well as an adorable ruffle. The other is a utility apron for heavy work like painting upholstery, gardening. It is made of old denim, leather, old lace, some silk samples my cousin gave me.. (Thank you!) and could not be anymore cute.

Unfortunately I have no camera batteries so no pictures.

We are also so close to haveing a down payment for a house... YES!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A gift for a friend.

I recently visited my dear friend and while I was there we visited a fabulous quilt shop. In this den of beautiful fabric Amanda found a cute panel of fabric with a vintage style apron printed on it. The pattern was called Antique Treasure Patt# 9861 for those of you who want to try to find it.

Anyhow I decided to make it reversible and I recycled my old skirt for the printed details on the neck and the pockets. I also used a bit of the lace I have been hoarding.

The pocket details.

I really like it, I think I might be giving these out for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quilting, Cleaning, Canning and Exploring.. Labor Day Weekend in a Nutshell.

Three days off, whew I was a busy woman!

My mother recently showed off some of her amazing quilts she has been working on and it kindled a spark of creativity in me. ( A new spark... anyone who knows me I have no lack of creative inspiration )

Here is the center of my future quilt, my plan is that it will fade to maroons on the top and greens on the bottom. I was thinking of appliqueing a flower motif in the center, but am still undecided.

Here are my color selections, pretty safe spectrum to work from .

It is Harvest time here in the Central Valley... never ending harvest it feels like. So I canned and cooked up a feast this weekend. Strung my chili peppers up and hung them to dry, planted much of the fall garden. I also discovered I have a nasty cutworm infestation . I'll have to go get something to stop the little critters.

After a very busy Saturday we were up at the crack of dawn for a fabulous breakfast made by Steve. We were served California style Eggs Benedict, with avocado, fresh tomato and bacon. It was sooo delicious! We were off to the city of San Fransisco by 8:00 am, where we explored and shopped the Haight Ashbury area. Lexi hit many a thrift store and scored a sweet striped shirt and a couple of pins for her backpack. Steve found a patch for his backpack that says " FUCK WAR" . I agree ... F it.

Lex making out with a resident of the Haight district.

We met up with our cousins and explored the very beautiful and very humid Conservatory of Flowers. This purple one was called a bat flower... very exotic.

Hey look we found the offices of one of our favorite websites... cool Eh?

Monday we just cleaned up our very cluttered garage and used Craigslist to get rid of all the useful stuff we no longer need.
Peace my friends....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Prime Growing Season is Upon Us.

Today I want to address composting and getting ready for a winter/fall garden.

As any gardener knows rich organic soil is the perfect place to grow tasty veggies. In this new more aware green era I think even more folks are trying to grow their own "Victory Gardens". To make it sustainable and prolific for years to come you should most defiantly have a nice compost heap. The added nutrients you will be putting in the soil will replenish what your garden took and save you money next season from having to buy additives.

It is not hard to find materials to start a heap, we use all our kitchen wast, dog hair clippings, some grass clippings, coffee grounds.. just about anything except meat products, NO BONES!

I use two metal garbage cans both are drilled on the bottom with holes to allow for drainage and ventilation.

I began my first compost can in the beginning of the summer. The first thing I added was a bowl of kitchen scraps, some newspaper, some grass clipping, a bit of doggie poo ( activates your compost very well) a container of night crawlers leftover from a fishing adventure and a scoop of garden dirt.

Let the rotting begin! It is now three months later, I have a lovely black and rotted matter that I can now add into the soil around my plants.

My first can turned to compost so quickly I wanted a second can to add new fresh scraps too. You can see the sort of stuff that goes in. In this second can I used a large shovel of the compost I had already made. Instantly it became active with the creepy crawly bug life that a healthy compost will have.

See the grubs below? They are in paradise.

I love the garbage cans as a composter, first off they are affordable I think I paid $17 each. They have lids that aid in heating up the cans, they also keep the smells contained. Trust me compost has a very prolific odor... kind of gross and kind of good in a deep earthy way. They are also clean and you don't have some giant rotting pile of food waste bugging your neighbors or cluttering the scenery.

I use a pitch fork to turn the pile about once a week, or I roll the can around on its side. Rolling is not to easy if the can is full and heavy though. My first can filled up really fast before the rotting began, but after the rotting began it is reduced to 1/3 of the original volume. There is plenty of books to buy in regards to composting, but really you don't need one. Just throw all your organic materials in if your pile is to wet and soupy, remove the lid add some dry leaves or dry materials.. even paper waste will work. If it is dry add more wet materials or even a bit of water.

Nature knows what to do, so let nature take it's course.. be happy if you see grubs and bug life they aid in the decomposition.

I wanted to share this photo of my winter squash, I grow mine in the ground but I string it up in the air. I love this little trick, my plant id huge and is not taking up almost any space. The fruits are very strong and they don't need any sort of support as they grow heavy and ripe. This method also helps shade my house, and I can see the plant from my office window.

Summer is quickly passing and It is nearing the fall growing season.

The average date of my first yearly frost is November 14th. Luckily I was able to plan ahead and I have began my winter veggies in little homemade pots.

The pots are newspaper that I cut into about
4 1/2" x 7" strips. I glue them into tubes, then pinch the bottoms as I fill with dirt. Wa-La a growing pot for nothing more that a few min of cutting gluing and recycling.

I have my starts in a wagon so I can move then to and from the sun. It gets so blasted hot here I cannot start the seedling in the garden directly they would just burn up.

So far following the planting guide listed below I have begun growing artichokes, swiss chard, cauliflower, turnips, cabbage, and broccoli .
While the page below is for my growing season, and zone those of you in other cooler zones should adjust the plant dates.

I found lots of good garden info online, but so far my favorite page is :

Happy gardening, my your plants grow large and your compost rot fast!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

After the great escape...

After our outdoor adventure I came home to find about 20 cucumbers ready to be used. I ate two while I was watering then showed my husband the rest.

He decided that we should make a crock of pickles, so we are giving it a go. It smells like pickles... I put my finger in and tasted it.. tastes like a pickle brine.

It has to ferment now for 3 weeks, then to the jars.

The garden was prolific in the three days we were gone, I made a Mexican dinner with the Passilla peppers, squash blossoms and cilantro.
I broil the peppers to remove the skins, place a small bit of colby jack inside, place in an oiled pan. Place the squash flowers on top, salt and pepper. Add a mixture of two eggs and a bit of sour cream that has been whipped up, pour over the top and bake until it is puffy and golden, 20 minuets or so.
We love it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We Escaped!

We escaped our pampered city life and found our way to the Sierra Nevada National Forest. Lucky us, we found a perfect spot right by a stream and set up our pop-up.

We so needed this, we used to go camping every weekend of the summer, we just don't have time to camp like that anymore. It is so refreshing to just enjoy the fresh air, get up when its cold and damp, make coffee outside, you understand.

We took the our daughter, kayaks, the dog, a map and some crafts.. No, I can't leave home without them.

We drove all around the area, and found this old cabin. This is near Loney Meadow, where a family has had cattle grazing since the 1860's. The meadow was named for a family named Loney, so I'm guessing this may have been theirs.
wild speculation really.

The plant life was
amazing, many wonderful flowers. The one on the left here was 4-5 feet tall and everywhere in the swampy meadow. I believe it is called Miniature Gila lily
Lexi took the kayak across Lindsey Lake, shot the lake photo as she climbed up the hill to a waterfall.

We where walking the pathway at the far end, getting our dog Titan worn out so we could also take the Kayaks out.
He is a very large dog, but we wish he could ride in the tiny cargo area in the rear of the kayak... we tried to get him to ride there. He looked hilarious sitting there, and he was good for a little while. A very little while, about 2 minuets, but about 20 feet from shore he freaked out and jumped out.
So then we decided to walk him.

I'm so glad we bought these kayak's , they are so much fun and you can just zip across a lake to some secluded place. And claim it for your own for a while.
I can't wait to go back.