Thursday, September 12, 2013

Come on Fall

Anyone else around here ready for Fall?  I think I need a couple of days off to tell you the truth.  I've been so focused on the garden and trying to get as much as possible put up before it all up and quits.  This weekend I'm going to make a big canning push.  I've got probably two 5 gallon buckets of tomatilloes that need to be turned into something yummy.  They are taking up precious room in the fridge and the freezer and there are more ripening even as we speak.  I swear this time of year another fridge would come in handy. I've never raised tomatilloes before.  They are kind of cool.  They are putting out a ton of fruit.  It's a good thing we love Salsa Verde.  I'm still trying to find some other recipes for them so if you have any suggestions please leave a comment.

The tomatoes have finally stopped producing a bucket a day. Some of the plants still look pretty good.  They'll probably start blooming again soon.  The heirloom tomatoes are finaaly making a showing.  They are sure late to the Tomato Party this year.  I've had one heck of a banner year for tomatoes for sure.  I've put up whole tomatoes, quartered, and chopped.  There's the Salsa, Rotel tomatoes, Italian tomatoes,  tomato juice and the spaghetti sauce.  I dried every single one of the skins from all those for tomato powder.  I'll be using it to make tomato paste and sauce this winter.

It's too  bad I found out so late I could have sold a bunch of tomatoes.  I'm actually thinking that next year I might be able to sell a little produce. It's not much but the money could be used for some other projects we are wanting to get done.  We need to run water down to the second garden and get it hooked up semi-permanently to the drip irrigation lines.  We need a faucet down there anyway.  It sure will be handy for watering critters.  Anyway... It's something to think about.

Can you see the squash at the bottom of the picture??  SQUASH!!!!  So far they are doing well and I've not seen ANY stinkin *&% squash bugs yet.  We finally resorted to trying a new product on the market.  It's called Eight. It's got 0.02% Permethrin   You have to be careful with it and not get it on any of the blooms.  It's not "bee friendly". We try not to use anything harmful but being careful to use as directed care this one can be used.  So we use it right around the base of the plants.  I've got a bunch ready to hit the canner tomorrow.  I'm so excited!  WE HAVE SQUASH!!!!!   Can you believe it?   lol  maybe I've finally beaten those stinking bugs.  Time will tell.

 Those little grape tomatoes there in the box are something else new I tried growing this year.  They are super sweet and delicious.  I can eat an entire container of them in one sitting if I'm not careful!  Those are another thing that will definitely go on next years list of plants. 

All the melons are about to quit on us.  I've picked three cantaloupes, the one lonely watermelon, and a small Juan Canary melon this week.  Mars doesn't really eat a lot of melons so I best get busy!  lol  There are a few more out there but the vines are starting to die off and things are starting to look a little sad.  

Another lesson I learned this gardening season is that there is NO way I'm going to plant more than one or two of the hot peppers.  They are still going crazy. They sure do love the high temperatures. I've been drying the cayenne peppers and have Serrano, hot banana and the jalapenos dried as well.  I want to plant more bell peppers next year and back down on the hot stuff.  The thing is though that they are so fun to grow.  I've got three pepper plants I started from some seed my mom sent Mars.  They are starting to produce and I have NO idea what I'm going to do with them. They are supposed to be some super duper hot peppers.   There's one called a Red Savanna Pepper.  Some sort of super habenero and another one I can't remember the name of.  They have taken so long to grow that the markers on them are all but faded to white. (Note to self- You MUST start keeping a garden journal)

I never was able to get my broccoli and cabbage started.  My fault really, I should have tried to baby it more but at the time I was covered in tomatoes.  Another lesson learned.  I have to make the time to take care of them because we just love broccoli!

I know I've not been around much here lately.  Many of you are in the same place right now. It's a busy time of year.  It's hot and there is lots to be done and to tell ya the truth I'm getting flat wore out.  I've been making a half-hearted attempt at a fall garden.  There are peas, spinach and lettuce sown. The garlic needs to go in this month and I still need to get their new home ready for them!!  Maybe I can find a spot to plant leeks too.  That would be cool.  Anyway.... That's what I've been up to for what seems like eons. Come on Fall.  I'm hot, sweaty and tired of Summer.


  1. All this summers work will pay off during the winter when you will be glad you put up a little extra food.

    1. You are SO right Dizzy. And really?? What I want is just a little bit of cooler weather. It's starting to wear me down. Hmmmm.... maybe I need a snack. Melon sure sounds good. LOL Thanks for stopping by AND taking the time to comment. I take it you don't have any recipes for tomatillos?

  2. SCI,

    Oh my, you've been very busy with tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers this season. Please let me know how #8 bug repellent works for you. I've planted squash and the plants are about 3 inches in height and so far no squash bugs. I want to be prepared, I hate those darn bugs.

    I've saved my Juan Canary melon seeds for next spring. Twice now I've planted broccoli and cabbage neither one did good in my gardens.
    The peas and beans have really taken off. I'm hoping for a beans to start developing soon. No signs of grasshoppers yet. I'm hoping it stays that way.

    With the real hot peppers can you make like a marinade sauce for canning or maybe even a dry rub for meats later on?

    I love the idea of selling vegetables next year. This maybe something to consider down here for me too. The extra cash comes in handy for doing projects like you said.

    Have a great evening, and don't work to hard with canning.
    Tell Mars we said hello, sending hugs to the both of you.

    1. Sandy, Girl if there were a bug I could totally eliminate those freaking bugs would be high on my hit list for sure. So far I've seen no sign of them. But then again it seems by the time I do its already too late to do much but pick n smush! I'll sure let you know how it goes. Mars put in that squash a little over a month ago and its already over three foot tall! We've been plagued with grasshoppers all summer here. I fight them for produce all the time. LOL They are winning.

      Is broccoli and cabbage really all that delicate? I wonder what it is we aren't doing right. Sounds like you are going to have a nice bunch of peas. Ours are sporadic in coming up so far.

      You know I might have to look into making a dry rub. I like the idea of a marinade. Now I just have to find a recipe. You know I've not made any pepper jelly this year. I figured I still had time since they are so prolific this year. Best put that on my list.
      You n Bulldog Man have a wonderful weekend. Next time you are T Town bound give us a holler. I'd be more than happy to hook up Bull with some of those a** cringing peppers from hell. (I know you would save those seeds just for fun! LOL

  3. I'm glad you had such success with the goodies! Nothing like enjoying the fruits of you very own labor!

    1. Thanks Jim! Hey... you want some peppers? bahahahahaaa I'd sure be happy to hook a brother up.

  4. I wouldn't say I am hoping Fall comes any quicker because that means Winter is that much quicker but I am ready for some cooler temps and some rain once again.

    1. Pioneer Preppy really that's all I want too. Just a break from the heat. A bit of rain wouldn't hurt either. I just heard that we are heading back into drought stages here again. All that rain earlier this year had got us back to normal. Now we've not had rain in 31 days (I think that's right0

      BTW That trout was MINE dang it!

  5. Whew! I feel like I need to put *my* feet up! I'm starting to realize from reading posts like this that I am never going to be able to really garden...I may plant a few seeds, but all the harvesting and processing seems like just too much. I'm really happy to hear you got so much accomplished. That's something you can be really proud of.

    1. Sue I think we should go sit on the porch and drink Iced Tea! To be really honest, there were times this year I didn't think I'd be able to do it all. I had to just focus on one day at a time. (And keep a big list)

    2. Sounds divine. You could really teach me a lot; probably about much more than preserving too. I guess it's back to that, 'how to eat an elephant' thing. :-)

  6. I cannot wait to have a garden next year. I don't know if you have seen our new yard but whoooboy it has garden written all over it. YAY!

    I thought about you yesterday. I still have yet to buy a dehydrator, but I was wondering since you dry so much - could I possible dry yams in my oven? Sliced into fry size of course. Here's the thing. Someone gifted Spottie with natural dog treats - you got it, dried yams, and she loves, loves, loves them. But I can't find them here [and I am pretty sure if I could I wouldn't want to pay the price.] Do you suppose that is possible, in a low temp oven over a day?

    Shoot me an email if your busy self gets a chance. No rush, of course. But I knew if anyone knew YOU would.

    Enjoy your bounty. You certainly earned it. xo J

    1. Skippy, the very fist picture I saw of your yard I thought "There it is! Watch her grow a garden now!" LOL!!!!!!

      As for the yam's.... Why yes! Yes you can dehydrate in the oven. Most oven temps don't get low enough to dry though. So just set your oven on the lowest it will go and prop it open with a wooden spoon. You'll need to cut them up and then you want to cook them semi-soft and lay them on a baking sheet. Dry till crisp. OR you can go the easy way and cook your yams till soft, mash them up and spread the yams out thin on a baking sheet with parchment paper. It just seems to be less work to me and you can give Spottie chips!

  7. Chicken Southwest (from

    5 chicken breasts
    salt to taste
    5 thick slices provolone cheese
    1/2 of a VERY large vidalia onion
    1 1/4 tablespoon olive oil
    8 small tomatillas, half of them chopped roughly, half sliced thinly
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons key lime juice
    10 slices of jarred jalapeno
    1/2 heaping teaspoon fresh mined garlic
    1 small handful cilantro roughly chopped
    1 1/3 teaspoon Cumin
    1/4 teaspoon Penzey's Southwest Seasoning (or if you don't have it, ancho chili powder)

    Salt the chicken breast and place in pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

    While the chicken cooks, saute sliced onion in olive oil until translucent. Chop tomatillas and put in a bowl with lime juice, garlic and jalapeno slices.

    In another small bowl mix seasoning and cilantro.

    When chicken is about 10 minutes from being done, add in lime juice, tomatillas, and garlic to onions on the stove and saute over medium heat to cook, stirring constantly.

    When chicken "pings" top with slices of cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes. Add in cumin, Penzey's and Cilantro to the tomatilla mixture and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally, until Cilantro wilts (just a few more minutes)

    Serve chicken on top of rice, (I use a mix of basmatti and brown rice) and top with tomatilla mixture removed from the pan with a slotted spoon , drizzling the rice with a bit of the extra juice if you like.

    Serve with sour cream and more cilantro.

    1. Dang, I'm drooling just READING this one. I'm going to have to try this.