Saturday, August 11, 2018

No Till Garden

Since last spring, I have used a modified no till garden which has worked out surprisingly well.  The start of the no till garden was to remove the tallest weeds after a long dormant period.  I did not use a shovel to dig down into the soil and turn it.  Instead, I loosened the dirt enough to make designated rows for my vegetables.

In the rows, I made a shallow farrow for, say, potatoes and covered them.  Eventually I hilled up the soil and weeds around the potatoes to give them room to grow.  I also used a lot of pine chips for mulch to keep weeds out and keep the soil moist.  Once the greens of the potatoes started to grow, the weeds didn't.

Often I prefer to buy plants e.g. kale and mustard greens and I loosened the dirt where the transplant would go, set them in the soil, covered, and mulched.  There was no need to dig up a whole row but a spot for each of the plants.

I basically did the same for seeds for green snap beans and other vegetables that grew from seeds.

The no till garden didn't eliminate the weeds completely but it was easy to pull the weeds and let them fall down onto the soil from where they had been pulled.  The weeds served as green manure.

Also, I leave the mustard greens to come to a full bloom for the pollinators.  The bees seem to like the yellow blooms.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

What to Do with Figs

Sometimes I believe in planting at least two or three fruit trees for cross pollination.  Besides, I don't want a tree to be lonely on the Back Forty.  A few years ago, we planted a fig tree in the front yard and the other one way back.  Both trees grew and produced.

The figs matured and needed to be picked recently and every morning while having coffee in the Summer Kitchen, I could see squirrels "playing" in the fig tree in the back.  The squirrels climbed up and down and to the tips of every branch, high and low.  They were collecting the figs, every single one of the figs.

The fig tree in the front were left alone but birds nibbled on them from time to time but there were plenty left for us.  What to do with figs when your cabinet is full of jams?

One of my favorite ways is to Preserve the Figs in Syrup which is to combine 1 and 1/2 cups water, 6 (!) cups sugar, and 2 Cinnamon sticks in a pot and bring to a boil until sugar is melted.

While the syrup is heating, cut a lemon into very thin slices and add to the pot.

Add 6 cups of whole figs to the pot, cover, and gently simmer for 45 minutes.

I added a sprig of Rosemary and 1/3 of sweet brandy. Sweet basil is also nice.  Add what is available.
Transfer to Mason jars, seal, and give them a water bath in a large pot for 15 minutes.  The water should cover the jars about one inch over the tops.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

BBQed Chicken Legs

During the football season, it was popular to have chicken wings and whatever else goes with it; however, I found the wings to be expensive and not much meat to eat.  Hence my own BBQ sauce, rub, and chicken legs.

The BBQ sauce:  

2 cups of ketchup 
1/4 cup vinegar (your choice)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbs yellow mustard (more, if you prefer)
       Heat to blend.

Make Your favorite Rub:

My rub consisted of dashes of whatever was in front of the spice shelf such as


The Chicken Legs

Some chefs prefer to dip the chicken legs in a blend of milk and egg mixture and then roll the chicken legs in bread crumbs.  I skipped this.  I gently fried the chicken to give them some color, added the rub, and finally poured over the BBQ.  I rinsed out the BBQ sauce pot with water and added to the frying pan.

I had room in the frying pan for a small handful each of pepper, okra, and tomatoes from the garden.  Some onions would be nice too and so would a sprig a basil.  And the list goes on.

I turned the chicken once in a while and I am also  keeping my eye on the sauce so that won't dry out.
I let the chicken simmer for about 40 minutes.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The POW/MIA Table

I was touched when I first saw the "place setting for one, a table for all" but it is never occupied.  It is waiting for a Prisoner of War or a Missing in Action member of the Armed Services to come home.

A small round table with a white and crisp table cloth is visible at any military organization and any veterans association in your community.

The items on the table are special and symbolize different things such as the following:

The bread plate contains a slice of lemon to remind us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land.

The salt sprinkled on the plate is to remind us of the countless tears of their families and friends whose grief know no end.

The single red rose, displayed in the vase, signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.

The red ribbon, tightly tied on the vase, represents the red ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us today.

The candle is the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation..

The wine glass is inverted for they can not toast with us today.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The American flag reminds us that many never return--and have paid for supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom.

The chair is empty!  They are not here.

"We all called them our comrades, brothers, sisters, and friends.  Do not let them be forgotten for surely they have not forgotten us,"

The above information was gleaned from "Navy Live," the official blog of the US Navy on October 6, 2014.

Thank you for your service.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Frozen Sweet Corn

The corn kernels were flying in my kitchen this afternoon and the floor got its share of husks.  Food fight?  If so, I had one all by myself.

The local market advertised its sweet corn for a ridiculous price.  There was no way I could grow corn for that rate.  I bought a dozen ears and they were sweet.

I put four of them into the fridge to be eaten rather soon.  I shucked the rest and I could not decide if I should blanch all of them and put them into the freezer.  Ah, they were so good looking! 

I compromised--half and half.  I cut the kernels off of four of the ears.

To sweeten the pot for blanching, I added the following:
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tbs of margarine
1/8 cup of salt (go easy on the salt)

I let the water come to a boil and then inserted the four full ears of beautiful corn and let them blanch for a couple of minutes, dipped them out of the pot, cooled them under running cold tap water, and  let them drain.

I added the kernels to the sweet smelling water and let them blanch for a few minutes.  I drained the corn through a colander that I had placed on a bowl to catch the left over water for use in soups later on.  I also let the kernels cool under running tap water.

I bagged the whole corn as well as the kernels and put them into the freezer.  I will bottle the water and also put that into the freezer.  I may have to use several small plastic bottles.

Thank you for visiting my blog.
It is harvest time at the Back Forty.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Freezing Zucchini

This is the season for zucchini.  The dry weather has been perfect for growing zucchini.  The dryness has prevented blossom rot but has allowed the plants to blossom and produce huge zucchinis.

This spring, I bought one plant that actually contained two plants that I was able to separate and put in a nice sunny place in the garden.  I fertilized them a few times and watered them sparingly.

The plants took off, grew tall and green, and produced giant zucchinis.

I gave two big ones to my neighbor and she told me that I could make Patty cakes like I would crab cakes.  Just add a beaten egg, flour, and grated zucchini, mix and make cakes, and fry in Canola oil until golden brown, she said.

I also grated the zucchini and measured out into two cups to put into the freezer to use later on to make bread.

This morning, I cut up a huge zucchini into bite size pieces.  I left the skin on but I cut away some of the seeds.

I blanched the zucchini for a minute or so, drained, and cooled under running tap water while the zucchini were in the colander.

I had covered a baking sheet with parchment paper and now spread out the zucchini on the baking sheet and put the sheet into the freezer where I will leave it overnight. 

Tomorrow I will divvy the zucchini up into bags, label them, and put them into the freezer for using later.

It is recommended that parchment paper be used or the zucchini will stick to the baking sheet.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mother's Day 2018

Once again, a special day is upon us and it brings back memories of the wonderful Mother that we once had--a Mother that always cared for us and always loved us.  We treasure that memory.  Always

Once upon a memory
Someone wiped away a tear
Held me close and loved me,
Thank you, Mother dear.

On this special day, we want to honor all the Mothers today and every day. 
They take care of their children, our grand children, a future generation. 
Thank you for all that you do.

Happy Mother's Day!