Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ready For Trick-Or-Treaters

I usually carve my jack-o-lanterns free style.  In other words, I just start cutting.
I've been impressed with the creative jack-o-lanterns other people make using templates.  This year, I gave templates a try.  It was so easy and I'm very happy with the results. 

These will be placed by the front door to greet trick-or-treaters and let them know there is candy at Garden on Sherlock Street. 

We hand out Reese's Peanut Butter cups, Almond Joy bars, Kit Kat bars and Snicker bars.  If they don't get claimed by trick-or-treaters, we'll be responsible for eating them.  We got candy we like!

We'll also have Melanie's Halloween Party Mix and the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds I made last night to snack on.

Happy Halloween!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Snack

The pumpkin seeds I planted at Garden on Sherlock Street this year sprouted and grew but didn't get very big.  Eventually they were overtaken by other plants in the wild area.  I don't think they got enough sun where I planted them.  I'll need a better location next year. 

To satisfy my need to carve jack-o-lanterns, I purchased three pumpkins locally at the beginning of October.  One rotted so it was cut up and thrown in the pile.  The other two are perfect.  It is best to do this outside because of the mess.  Saturday was so beautiful that I just sat the pumpkins on the picnic table.

I cut open the tops of the pumpkins and reached in to retrieve all the seeds.  They had beautiful seeds.  I washed the seeds well and left them sit in a colander to drain while I did some other gardening. 


When evening came, I gathered everything I needed to roast pumpkin seeds:  1 quart water, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 cups pumpkin seeds and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or melted, unsalted butter.

I have the complete recipe in the previous post and listed under "Recipes" in the pages in the right hand column.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the seeds and boil for 10 minutes.

Drain, spread on kitchen towel or paper towel and pat dry.

Place the seeds in a bowl and toss with oil or melted butter.

Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet or roasting pan.

Place pan in a preheated oven and roast the seeds for 60 to 90 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.

Cool the seeds, then shell and eat or pack in air-tight containers or zip closure bags and refrigerate until ready to eat.  We don't bother to shell them.  We just eat the whole seed.


I'll post the finished jack-o-lantern photos when they are done.

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 quart water
2 tablespoons salt
2 cups pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or melted, unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Pick through seeds and remove any cut seeds.  Remove as much of the stringy fibers as possible.
Bring the water and salt to a boil.  Add the seeds and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain, spread on kitchen towel or paper towel and pat dry.
Place the seeds in a bowl and toss with oil or melted butter.
Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet or roasting pan.
Place pan in a preheated oven and roast the seeds for 60 to 90 minutes.  Stir about every 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
Cool the seeds, then shell and eat or pack in air-tight containers or zip closure bags and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Yield:  2 cups

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Missed Again

The sun rose Thursday morning and again, no frost.  Some plants are clear indicators that there was no frost.

The basil is still fine...

and this volunteer four o'clock by the trash area is still good.

However, the wind was brutal for the past three days.  The pepper plants don't look very happy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not Yet

Frost advisory was issued for early this morning, but it is 40 degrees and all still looks good in the garden.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The North Wind Blows

Here's what could possibly be the last harvest of 2010.  There are several cherry tomatoes at the bottom of the sink.  I picked every tomato that had any blush on it.  What surprised me are the three cucumbers.  I also found a handful of pea pods, a few small green peppers, two tiny zucchini, a couple of jalapenos and some Roma tomatoes.  I picked some green Roma tomatoes on purpose to see if they'll ripen.  Now, I wait to see if the frost and freeze predicted this week happen.  I'm not going to try and cover the plants this late in October.

Just For Fun V

I couldn't help myself.  I scanned more leaves.

burning bush

various ornamental sweet potato vine

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just For Fun IV

Fell in our garden from our back neighbor's cottonwood tree.

I laid it by the computer to scan when I had a chance and my wonderful husband came into the kitchen and said, "leaves are falling everywhere.  There's one in the basement on the desk." 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Done

I posted recently about the pending cable replacment for our phone and internet service.  A temporary line laid across the back yard for almost two months.  After some miscommunication and then our local phone company getting the run around by the national phone company who actually owns the cable and rents it to our local phone company, the contractor got the ok to dig for the new cable.  He was great to work with.  My husband was home when the crew got there and was able to talk with them about the garden and our concerns.  A trenchless process was used and the contractor was very respectful of our garden.  There was some digging next to the house in my bouncing betties (they'll fill back in)...

some digging in the alley where I'm growing wildflowers (they'll reseed)...

and a trench across the alley to the phone box.

This photo shows orange marks where the old cable was (it's still there.  No one pulled it out.)  The new cable was put in to the left about four feet so it would clear our locust tree as it makes its way to the house. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just For Fun III

I have two angel wing begonia plants in the living room.  As the one adjusts to being moved indoors for the winter, it is dropping some leaves.  This leaf was just too pretty to toss outside without scanning it first.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday Afternoon

When I got home from work Wednesday, it was just beautiful outside.  I grabbed the camera and took a photo of the very lush vincas growing in the trash containers on the patio.  There is a healthy sweet potato vine in there too.

I also looked up and took photos of the locust tree leaves that are turning gold.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Planting Garlic

When I mentioned that I planted bulbs this past weekend at Garden on Sherlock Street, I was including garlic bulbs in that list.
Garlic is one of the easiest edibles to grow.  I plant some type of hard neck garlic.  It makes flowers early in the summer that I cut off so more production goes into the bulbs.  It also makes deeper roots which keep it in the ground during freezing and thawing over the winter.
I saved five of the largest bulbs from my garlic harvest this past summer to be the seed for next year's crop.

I broke all the bulbs apart and planted the individual cloves.  I got about 40 cloves from the five bulbs.

I dug some trenches in the ground, spaced out the cloves evenly (point up) and covered them with soil and straw.  They are planted behind a cold frame that I have on our newest raised vegetable bed.

I spaded the whole raised vegetable bed except way at the end where the cucumber plant is still producing.  I buried most of the straw I had used as mulch leaving just a little bit on the surface to help retain moisture in the bed over the winter.  The buried straw will break down and feed the earthworms giving me rich soil for next year's vegetables.  You'll also see some tomato cages laying on top of the straw.  I use square tomato cages that are hinged to fold for storage.  I lay them on the vegetable beds over the winter to discourage the neighborhood cats from using the beds as litter boxes.  The cold frame does have lettuce and radishes seeded in hopes of a late fall crop.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fixing A Trashy Place

There is a small fence in the alley at Garden on Sherlock Street where we store our trash bin on "non-trash days" and store items that need to be taken somewhere else.  While it looks intact in this photo, the posts are rotten and the boards need renailed on constantly.

We made quick work of removing the pickets.

The lush green you see beyond the trash fence is mint.  I mow it down occassionally during the summer and it always looks beautiful again in the fall.

The fence rails came off.

The posts were so loose, my wonderful husband just pulled them out of the ground.
After this, he started putting together the posts and stringers.  That was the end of one Saturday working on this project.  We might have gotten farther but it took forever at the lumber yard in the morning--long story.

The next Saturday, he dug new (bigger) holes.

Then, the new (taller) posts were installed with new stringers.  Concrete was poured around each post and we waited overnight.

On Sunday, boards were attached.

All done. A nice new trash fence.