Gardening in the Blind


Zucchini harvesting
August 22, 2010, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Cooking/Canning/Drying, local eating

Zucchini plant - look hard there is one growing in this picture!

It is that time of year.  Zucchini running amuck.  Well not exactly for me, but I have been able to make a few things.  So maybe to help prevent stocking your neighbor until she/he leaves in order to leave a bag of zucchini on the porch for them, I am going to provide you with a couple of recipes.

In the 70’s my mother got this 18 page packet of recipes for using zucchini from the Colorado State Extension Office in Littleton, Co.  She held onto it for many years and I am very happy to report that she FINALLY decided to pass it down to me.  This has my beloved zucchini bread and my mother’s beloved zucchini recipe.  Both I will type here for your use.  Trust me, you won’t be sorry about using them.  Everyone loves my bread.  It is quick and easy and nothing will bet the winter blues then to pull out grated zucchini from the freezer and make a loaf or two.  I do it every year!

Zucchini Bread: compliments of Colorado Sate Extension

3 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups oil

3 cups zucchini, grated

4 eggs

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Cream sugar and oil; mix in zucchini and eggs.  Stir dry ingredients together and mix into egg mixture; add nuts if using.  Spread in buttered/greased bread pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1-1/4 hours.  Cool.  Dust with powdered sugar on top if desired.  I love to wait until it is just cool enough to slice and add butter on top.  You really can’t go wrong!

Zucchini Relish: compliments of Colorado State Extension Office

Makes 6-7 pints

The is a two stage recipe.  You do the first phase and let it sit overnight then add a  brine and can.  It is a simple water bath for canning but please adjust for your altitude.

10 cups zucchini, chopped

4 cups onions, chopped

4 green bell peppers, chopped

1 large red pepper

Place ingredients in bowl or crock and sprinkle with 5 Tablespoons canning salt.  Let stand overnight.  Rinse with cold water and drain well.

Brine:

4-1/2 cups sugar

2-1/2 cups white vinegar

2 Tablespoons celery seed

1 Tablespoon dry mustard

2 Tablespoons corn starch

1 Tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

Mix all ingredients and pour over relish; cook slowly for 30 minutes.  Pack into clean hot jars leaving 1/2″ head space.  Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

My mother made this recipe every year growing up.  She still loves it today!  I hope that one of these recipes will help you make something with the zucchini instead of giving it all away!

Do you have some fun recipe using zucchini?  Let me know.



Mallow facial anyone?
August 19, 2010, 8:41 am
Filed under: Green, Herbs

Mallow flowers from my tall mallow

Continuing with my herb usage, my new herb this year is mallow.  Again one of the reasons I picked mallow was the name.  I love saying it.  It just rolls off the tongue.  I didn’t know what it was to look like, but I did read that this fun herb also was good for the skin.  So I set out to see just how to use this herb.  And what I found surprised me – in a pleasant way of course. 

Mallow is a good moisturizer as well as an excellent mask for black heads and acne.  I put some large leaves in my blender with mineral water and created a green goop.  Then I placed it on my face and let it dry.  When I rinsed it off, my skin felt so soft I wanted to do the entire body in this mask.  Maybe next year I might be able to as I have been told a lot that it will spread.  I only hope so as I have it planted in the worse soil I have and it is thriving!

Scratch another item off my grocery list!



Ready, Set….Use
August 18, 2010, 9:00 am
Filed under: Green, Herbs, outdoor gardening

My soapwort is spreading out!!!

I think I am a little too excited over this little thing.  I grew a new herb every year because I read something about it that makes me want to have it.  Last year was soapwort.  Three things enticed me with this…1. The name-it sounds so cool yet maybe a little exotic.  2. The looks-I am a sucker for different shades of green and white and lastly 3. It is useful.  I am finally able to utilize the useful part since it is growing up so fast.

I went outside and picked about a cup of leaves and placed them promptly in the pan on the stove.  I then added about 3 cups of water to the leaves and brought the whole thing to a boil.  Then turned off the gas and left it to cool for the night.  In the morning I lifted the leaves out of the mixture and poured the water into a couple of containers.  It seems that I had hair rinse.  One more thing that I could scratch off the grocery store list.  Wow is my list shrinking…(well not really but it there is one less item on it)



My favorite
August 17, 2010, 9:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My walnut tree

I was taking a few moments to look back at all the photos I take while outside.  So many that I had to get rid of a few.  But then I started to notice something that I hadn’t realized was a trend.  My favorite thing to take pictures of in my yard is the walnut tree dead center of my beds.  Not the walnut trees on the side yard, just the walnut tree in the back yard.  And the more I thought about it, the more I realized why. 

I like to wake up early in the morning and go out to the deck with a cup of tea and just sit on the rocking lounge chair with my feet up on the ottoman and just listen.  Listen to the birds chirping, the squirrels starting to run around and the chickens still not quite up to venturing outside.  When I look up from this chair I see the walnut tree dead center with the bamboo surrounding  its trunk and the blue sky peeping through the leaves.  Then the chickens wake up, the neighbors start the motions of the day and Deron has wised up and let at least one of the dogs out to lick me.  But for the moments before that I realize why I live so far from my work.



Picture to make you hungry
August 16, 2010, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Tomatoes

Radiator Charlie on the smaller size..picked tonight



Garden Pictures
August 16, 2010, 9:49 am
Filed under: Garden Planning, outdoor gardening, Tomatoes

Left side of garden

I have been busy canning and drying and saving like a little squirrel for winter.  Ok, maybe not like a little squirrel, but still a squirrel.  I thought I would show you pictures of the garden.  Deron reminded me that it was the time of year to crawl out on the roof and document what it looks like this year.  I really have out of control tomatoes.  My cucumbers really didn’t produce as much as I wanted.  The beans are still coming, arugula still plentiful and zucchini is really kicking in.  I also have tons of tomatillos growing.  Deron surprised me with a pressure canner that is supposed to arrive tomorrow.  I can’t wait as it just lets me can even more!

Right side of garden

So, the first picture you see is the onion bed with tomatoes on the corners, tomato bed and bean bed.  Down in the ground is cucumbers, tomato plant, cucumbers, zucchini, winter savory and yes again with the cucumbers.  Everything is green and lush and overflowing down into the rest of my herbs.  But that is ok.  The next picture you will find my arugula bed with horehound in the center and another tomato bed.  Beyond the beds you see a composter.  Right in front of the composter is a lovely watermelon that is growing.  I can’t wait for it!  It has been a really dry summer so the grass isn’t looking that great right now.  Hopefully soon it will improve!



Chickens week 12
August 14, 2010, 10:33 am
Filed under: animals, chickens

What was once my little runt is now almost the biggest - Allie is still holding that title.

Boy, I can’t believe that it is week 12.  Kind of scary.  Time flies so fast when you watch them grow.  This week I did something new.  I threw a head of lettuce in the coop for them to pick at.  Looking down at the head I had to laugh.  Although it was not grown in my garden, I am still sticking with feeding them organic.  I’m kind of proud of that.  Anyways, I think that they loved it as they had almost finished it when I put them to bed.  I threw what was left in with them and in the morning there was not a single trace of it.  I’d say they had a lot of fun!

My girls Amelia and Goldie

So the chickens are continuing to develop the waddles and crowns.  Amelia is by far the furthest a long with this.  She is also the smallest of the bunch now.  Goldie is just a little bigger.  But both are still keeping the somewhat friendly personality which is nice.  Goldie still likes to pick a bit at me, but it doesn’t hurt one bit.  They are such characters.  I love to see them run around and play.  It just makes me smile and remember that life isn’t bad.  It is full of fun and games as well.