Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sweet Hot

Who knew? Jalapenos pickled in a sweet vinegar pickle are so yummy!
Sweet then with a kick!
We will definitely make these again... maybe even again this year. Those crazy pepper plants are loaded again. Good thing we only planted two!

"I'm glad I'm not a better gardener"

"Or I'd be drowning in veggies!" That is my daughter's assessment of the success of our little raised bed garden in her side yard. It's beds are bursting with tomatoes, basil, beans, onions, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, watermelons, canteloupe, peppers, pumpkins, and beets. "Can you imagine what would have happened if I'd been better at remembering to water it?"

We've put up jars of pickled beets, green beans, zuchini relish and sweet hot jalepenos. We've  frozen plump bags of  green beans and watermelon juice. And now the tomatoes are finally starting to turn yellow, orange and red. Look out salsa here we come!!

Thinning a necessary evil

In the spring, I sprinkle little  packets of hope in my garden and cover them with a cozy blanket of soil. Then with time, water and warmth they sprout. Hundreds of tiny plant babies reaching up with their little leafy arms begging for my attention and love.

Crowded together in the rows each one cries out for my attention. I know I need to thin them out. Some must be sacrificed so that the ones who remain can grow big and tasty.
I hate thinning if you haven't guessed.
Every spring I vow to do a better job. Keeping the spacing right when I plant instead of just flinging seeds into the row and waiting to see what happens would help. However, each spring I am ceased by doubt. Will all the seeds grow, will any of the seeds grow? Doubt leads to more seed throwing.

The result: I have hundreds of needy little seedlings vying for my attention.

This year I did better in the thinning department. I managed to thin the carrots and beets. We ate some of the beet greens and sent all the rest of the thinnings out to the Red Wattles for a snack. Knowing we were "up- cycling" the thinnings into yummy Red Wattle pork made it easier.

There was no denying that thinning resulted in bigger beets this year and we actually got a few gourmet baby carrots for the dinner table. A feat never managed by me in the past.

So next spring look out! I am going to fearlessly thin, selecting only the strongest and healthiest seedlings. Unless it looks like the seed might not all grow...

Oh what to do, what to do?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kitchen Krashers

This was Emily and Anders kitchen. With their permission - somewhat reluctantly given I think- Lydia and I crashed their kitchen. Let's face it there is nothing so intimidating as living in a house while you are fixing it up. Especially if the kitchen isn't right and it gets out of control.
So after days of scrubbing, an immeasurable about of elbow grease and cleaners and a good bit of cussing, and some help from Emily's Uncle Glen and his tools, Emily's dad and his paint roller and Joel's comedy relief we got it all put back together. 


I love the happy yellow paint that Emily picked out!!
Em's mom is working on the cutest curtains for the windows.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Home sweet future home

This is a green home recently built in Kentucky. It is 75% less energry use than a standard new home. It features solar panels for electical production, energy star appliances and super insulation and sealing. All this coupled with proper orientation in order maximize solar gain in the winter and minimize it in the summer.
I found it online by doing a search for "Green" builders in Kentucky. We really liked the look of the house so we contacted the builder: Peoples Self Help Housing Inc., a group that works to create efficient housing for low income households.
Greg Miller sent us the floor plan and drawings of  how the house was constructed. We love it. It's just the right size for the two of us, super energy efficient and cute as a bug to boot.
I've already got the rockers picked out to go on the porch!!

Now all we need is the property. Sigh.... can't come soon enough.