Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Garden Club Peach Winners!

 It's Monday! 


But there is a bright spot!  Today I am announcing the winner of my Monday Garden Club Giveaway.  
Since it was an especially peachy fall season here, I have decided to give away 2 quarts of my home canned peaches instead of just one. 

Once again, I used the random number generator from, and once again, I couldn't figure out how to save the image of the winning numbers, so you will just have to take my word for it, once again. The winning numbers were 6 and 8, so The Heathen Family and Chris have each won a quart of canned peaches. Woohoo!  I will contact both winners and get your peaches in the mail this week!  

Thank you to everyone who entered, and also THANK YOU to anyone who participated in Monday Garden Club this year!  Growing a garden is such a great way to make and eat some of the most delicious food this earth has to offer. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Garden Club: End Of The Season Giveaway

Once again, long time no blog for me. I have been taking photos though, so this is a summary of the last few weeks of garden growth and harvest.

It rained like crazy most of yesterday and all this morning.  So hard that I felt a little bit bad sending the girls out to the bus this morning.  Not bad enough to keep them home, however. That would be NUTS!  The rain has now stopped and the sun is actually trying to make an appearance. 

Now for the garden update.  The garden is about done for the year.  There are still a bunch of green tomatoes on the vine, but almost everything else has about reached its life span.  I still need to pick the winter squash once the vines die off completely and there are a few melons out there yet.  The beans are finally done, netting us 3 gallon sized bags full in our freezer for meals later this winter.  I also made around a dozen containers of roasted veggie pasta sauce which is also in the freezer.

  I pulled the rest of the onions last week and have them stored in a paper bag, to hopefully last the winter.  I planted a 60 foot row of onion sets this year and they turned out better than ever before.  I will definitely be doing onions this way again next year. Forget those tiny little plants you can buy from the garden center (or start in the basement) that take forever to separate and plant and yield only small onions.
Binny was thrilled when I finally gave her the go ahead to pull one of these big watermelons from the garden.  She was less thrilled when she learned it was NOT a seedless watermelon.  It was delicious though and there are 2 more out there ripening.  The same day we picked this melon, the girls and I went out and I told them they were not allowed to go back in the house (to no doubt watch tv) until they picked an ice cream bucket full of tomatoes.  Believe it or not, they didn't fight me too much, but did get a little bored after a while.  It takes quite a few cherry, pear and grape tomatoes to fill a bucket.
Now on with the fruit trees!  Our neighbors had so many apples hanging on their trees that they ended up picking 3 extra paper grocery bags full and gave them to us.  I made juice out of two of the bags and I still have one sitting on the porch that I hope to turn into either juice or apple sauce later this week.
My father-in-law's peach trees ripened as well and he again had way too many to use up on his own, so we went over and picked twice.
The first time was when Grandma Dee was here and she acted as peach tester.
She didn't give up on that pit until every last bit was gone and the juice was running off of her elbows.
We picked this box full the first time around.

The second round of picking was just last weekend and I came home with 3 boxes.  I still have a few left but most have either been eaten raw, made into a delicious peach pie (in lieu of birthday cake for Mae's B-day last week), canned or given away to friends and family.

And we still have about 40 peaches on our own tree that are not quite ripe yet.  Peaches, peaches, peaches!

I only have about 6 empty jars left which probably won't get me very far if I plan to do any applesauce or straight up tomato sauce with the remaining tomatoes.  The final canning count is 21 quarts of peaches, 4 pints of peaches, 6 quarts of apple juice and 6 pints of  peach jam.
I feel sad that the gardening season is coming to an end but also relieved that all of the work washing, chopping, cooking, freezing, canning, and all of the clean-up will soon be over.  Mostly the clean-up.  Juicing apples makes one giant, sticky mess.

With that, I want to continue my tradition of giving away a jar of my home canned peaches as an end of the season Monday Garden Club wrap-up.  So if you live in the US (sorry, Joey) and are interested in tasting some home grown Wisconsin peaches, leave a comment on this post and I will announce the random winner here next Monday. If you participated in my Monday Garden Club this season by posting a Monday Garden entry on your blog, leave a second comment. The giveaway will be open through Sunday night. And once again, I have no license to distribute my canned goods, but I can assure I made them following safe canning practices.  By entering this giveaway you are accepting all risk.  I feed them to my children, so I wouldn't worry too much if I were you.

Good Luck and Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday

 So part of why I've been so absent from blogging is because we've had a house guest fot the last week and a half.  I took Grandma Dee to the airport yesterday (where TSA not only sent both of us through the body scanners {I needed to go through security to walk Grandma to her gate} but they also did a full body pat down on my 82 year old grandmother even after she offered to show them her pacemaker card to prove the device in her chest is to keep her alive and not a bomb she plans to detonate on an airplane.  Hey TSA, stop screwing with old ladies!), but before she left, we took a photo together.

Which is a perfect example of why I belong BEHIND the camera and not in front of it.  I'm not even sure how I made some of these faces.

"That's enough, I'm done!"

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Day Of School. Nevermind That I'm A Week Late.

The girls really were excited to go back to school, I'm not just making it up to cover up my own excitement for another school year. They were both happy with this year's teachers and couldn't wait to try out their new backpacks and new flashy headbands.  

Oh, and it was crazy foggy on the first day of school which made watching for the school bus a little difficult.

Mae: 3rd grade

Binny: 2nd grade

Friday, September 2, 2011

Roasted Veggie Pasta Sauce

So what do you do when it seems like you have unending amount of this stuff?
You cut it all up, drizzle it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and give it a good sprinkling of salt and pepper.
2 pans worth, because when you're washing and chopping lots of veggies anyway, you might as well make as much as you can in one shot.

    Put the pans on a hot grill, cover and and cook until it looks like this:
It usually takes about 45 minutes for me.  The goal is for the veggies to be soft and juicy.
Puree with a stick blender, or regular blender or food processor, then freeze into single meal portions.

I would love to claim this recipe as my own creation, but I can't.  I found it HERE last year and fell in love. I tweaked it slightly to fit my cooking style, but it's pretty much the same delicious recipe.

Roast Veggie Pasta Sauce
Tomatoes, summer squash (any kind, I used patty pan, zucchini and summer squash) and onions, cut into chunks.
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and large cloves cut in half
Fresh basil, torn
A good drizzling each of Olive oil and Balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Roast in the oven at 400 deg. or on the grill for 40 min. to an hour.
Puree, freeze and eat on pasta all winter.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday

The girls go back to school tomorrow, and while I wasn't planning on buying them any new clothes until the weather started to change, I did cave yesterday when we were out buying a few last minute items and let them each pick out one new outfit to wear on the first day.  As soon as they cut off the tags, they insisted on modeling their new outfits for me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Garden Club

Another big harvest this week.  Actually this was all picked just yesterday!  I have a lot of work ahead of me to preserve all of this but I know how good garden veggies taste in the middle of winter, so it's worth it.  I plan to make some soup today, blanch and freeze the rest of the broccoli and beans and make more roasted veggie pasta sauce this week.  I made some pasta sauce last week and took photos that will be up here complete with instructions in the next few days.  The girls start school on Thursday, so I'm hoping I will be able to blog a little more and visit blogs a little more as well.  I feel so out of the loop lately, not reading and commenting on all my favorite blogs, but I will be back soon!


I have decided to discontinue using the Linky for connecting other bloggers and their gardens, so if anyone else is gardening this week and blogging about it, drop your link in the comments below and I'll you to this post.  Happy Gardening!

Participating Bloggers:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Garden Club

Well, hello there, long time no blog! Before I get to the garden, I'll give a quick update on what the heck we've been up to since I last checked in.  I've been busy taking pictures.

The Gardener has been mowing lawns 2 nights a week (ours and one other), and just yesterday started a new garage project.  He found a 2 car garage on craigslist for cheap, so he bought it.  The only catch is, the garage is currently standing in someone's front yard, completely assembled.  The Gardener and his dad removed all of the shingles and a bunch of other parts yesterday, and hopefully by next weekend, he'll have the wall sections ready to be moved.  We need another giant project like we need a hole in the head, but doing it this way is much cheaper than starting from scratch, and our little one car garage, besides being too small for much of anything, is falling apart. Yeehaw!

The Gardener and I also celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last Thursday.  We went out for dinner Friday night and displayed exactly how old we are by deciding not to go out for an after dinner drink and instead go home and SLEEP.  No, really, it was awesome and much needed.

The girls were gone for the weekend with Grandma N and Uncle T, boating and swimming (Apparently in their underwear and T shirts because somebody forgot to pack swim suits. Oops!)  and when they returned, look what they found inside a jar in the house!

A few weeks ago while on a walk through the garden, I noticed my parsley plant had been completely eaten.  All that was left of it was stems, and on those stems were lots and lots of bright green and yellow caterpillars.  I ran to find the girls and minutes later there were about 10 caterpillars in a re-purposed pickle jar.  2 formed a chrysalis and the rest apparently didn't appreciate their new environment because they didn't do much of anything and are still laying lifeless at the bottom of their makeshift cage, as removing them would disturb the remaining chrysalis which is attached to the side.  Anyway, look how pretty!

After admiring the beauty of the new butterfly, Mae released it onto a flower...
And while I no longer have any parsley growing on the garden, I have patty pan squash,
LOTS of sunflowers,
tomato trees plants,

and we're still getting some broccoli!
I made 3 big jars of pickles last week, blanched and froze some broccoli and beans, and cooked and ate damn near my weight in summer squash.  I still have lots of produce to preserve and use up but I'm hoping I can get some roasted veggie pasta sauce made in the next few days, and when I do, I plan to post the recipe here, if I don't get distracted by Facebook, or editing wedding photos, or a dog eating yet another pair of shoes.

Anybody else gardening this week? If so, grab the Monday Garden Club button on my sidebar, paste it to your blog entry and link up below with Mr. Linky.