Saturday, August 18, 2012

Jalapeno Peppers and Rick's Popper Recipe

Jalapeno Peppers
We are growing a lot of hot peppers this year.  Last year we didn't have enough to put up as much as we wanted.  Last year we grew jalapeno, serano and habenero peppers. Rick makes pickled veggies with his hot peppers and jalapeno rings and pickled habeneros and jalapeno jelly.

Rick started his peppers from seed this year and you know you have to plant every seed that grows into a plant don't you?

We have 2 jalapeno, 1 serrano, 4 habenero, 4 long thin cayene, 2 anjo and 5 mystery peppers.

Habenero Peppers

The harvest is underway and it appears we will have more than plenty. The Jalapenos are the first ready. 

Jalapeno Peppers

Check out Rick's new recipe for Poppers. They are so delicious.  We have been eating these all week long.  So good.  We cook them on the Traeger grill with the temperature at 375 degrees so I am assuming they would work in the oven at the same temp.

Jalapeno Poppers

Jalapeno Poppers
Soften 4 oz cream cheese.  Add 1 T. minced shallot, 2 T minced crisp bacon, 1/4 cup grated cheddar and 1/4 cup grated pecarino ramano cheese.

Slice lengthwise and seed 6-8 Jalapeno peppers. Fill with cheese mixture.

At this point we cook them on a Traeger grill at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  This is a very forgiving recipe so experiment and add what you think sounds good.

So Yummy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

First and Second Generation Garlic

I love growing my own garlic! This is year 4 or 5 for me. And each year I get better at it. And each year I seem to encounter a new challenge.

One year I planted two varieties, Oregon Blue and Susanville, and forgot to label them. I was so sure I would remember! See A Garlic Flavored Lesson.

Another year I let the Susanville garlic sit in the sun thinking it would hasten the drying process.  OOPS! Fried garlic. Because I use a portion of my harvest for next years crop, I no longer have Susanville.  Only Oregon Blue.

The 2011 harvest ended up small.  But I kept some 2010 braids (they looked too pretty to throw out). I checked them and they looked like they were ready to go. So five rows of the garlic I planted last fall were 18 months old.  The other seven rows were 2011 harvest and only six months old.

Two generations of garlic
"This will be interesting to see what happens", I thought. Amazingly the older bulbs came up first.  They were 3 inches high by December.  The newer bulbs came up slower but were more consistent growers.  Until March when everybody took off.

In the end, no difference in size or taste.  Good to know don't you think?

Great bulbs but smaller braids

However I did have a bigger challenge with the garlic this year.  Last year my garlic had a touch of garlic rust.  I didn't think much of it and because I follow a 4-5 year rotation, I thought all would be fine.

But no, the rust was back. The wet and cool spring played a large role.  The garlic bulbs are unaffected, but I had to make smaller braids and they are not as pretty as I'd like.

 And now I am reading all about this rust and figuring out how an organic gardener deals with this pesky problem. Any solution or experiences regarding garlic rust are welcome.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guess Who Else Came for Sunday Dinner?

Boys at Sunday Dinne
Sunday's at our house are family dinner days.  A chance for all to catch up on happenings, visiting about what happened during the past week and talk about what is coming up. The cousins get to play, play and play some more.  They have so much fun together.  They always play baseball and 'bad guys'.  Here they are playing both.  This is always after they have had their fill of carrots.

This last Sunday we were having a visit on the deck, waiting for the BBQ grill to get going when right there walking along side the deck was a mother raccoon.  Not surprising as we have raccoon visits frequently.  (Just last week they ate all 7 of my fish that had survived last years slaughter.

Momma with 4 babies
What was surprising was that following along in a perfect line were 5 (five!) babies.  She led them along to the side yard, up the fence, up the sycamore tree and there they played for 30 minutes.  As if putting on a show just for us, those cute babies played 'King of the Branch' trying to push each other to their death 20 feet below. They climbed over and under each other, dragged each other the length of the branch, ran back to mom and bit, tugged and pulled. The boys could hardly believe their eyes! Raccoons wrestle just like kittens.

This baby trailed behind and makes 5

We watched in delight and just as they came, with some hidden signal from mom, down they went, onto the fence and followed it over to a neighboring yard. 

We were left with smiles on our faces.  

I hope your Sundays are as delightful.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Why I love to garden!

It just struck me that as a grandparent, there is a lot of knowledge to pass down.  Memories are important too. So why not combine the two.  I'm sure my grandsons will carry a lot of memories with them and have a great joy of gardening in their lives.  Not to mention it is good for you. Just look at these photos if you are not convinced of your influence.

Bumpa gives a lesson in gardening

 Bumpa's other name is Rick.  The boys absolutely adore their grandpa!

The boys do their garden chores

Ian eats his just rewards

Smiles all around.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July Blueberry Muffins

This morning I promised Mr. Rick blueberry muffins for our Independence Day breakfast. I found a great sounding muffin recipe on Pinterest. The muffin recipe can be found at

The muffins

These muffins were sooooo good! The only thing I did differently was to toss a bit of flour on the blueberries before placing them in the batter.

We have three blueberry bushes that are three years old. This year they are beginning to produce enough blueberries to keep us happy.

The blueberries

We LOVE blueberries!

Usually we place netting over the bushes to keep the birds out, but this year we tried Scare Tape. It seems to work pretty well.  I also keep the bird feeder full to distract them. Actually it's a promise I made to the birds. "I'll fill your feeder if you stay out of my garden."  I'm not sure we are in total agreement, but for the most part it seems to help.

This Independence Day we are celebrating our independence by reaffirming our goal of becoming more self-reliant. I try to grow seed that is not hybrid and use organic gardening methods. I am learning to save my seed for next years crops. Mr. Rick's composting efforts turn out rich loamy soil that nourishes our plants and reduces water consumption.

Though small steps, each step taken is better for the planet and our health. Our daughters are growing their own gardens now and feeding their children fresh organic produce. That is the best reward of all!

One garden section July 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Salad Garden

The Salad Garden
 Last night we had our first complete salad from the garden, with the exception of a yellow and red sweet pepper!  Hurray...this means the season of healthy eating is underway. Now the hard work begins to pay off.

After harvesting yesterday morning, I realized I had a little work to do in this garden, so spent a few hours weeding and caring for these hard working vegetables.

The salad garden is having it's ups and downs this year. Usually I follow pretty closely a four-year rotation schedule in my vegetable garden.  But this year I decided to make one area a simple salad garden.  It contains snow peas, two kinds of lettuce, spinach, radishes, pac choi, and celery. I also put my basil, parsley, cilantro and dill in this bed.

Snow peas

The snow peas are doing so well this year.  Probably due to the cooler and wetter spring.  My grandsons love them dipped in ranch dressing.  This year we have had several meals with sauteed snow peas with just a tiny sprinkle of sugar to help them carmelize. So very good!

Pac Choi
However, my radishes are woody and inedible. One of my favorite things in a salad.  I planted some more today. 

My big disappointment is the Pac Choi.  We have never grown this vegetable before, but love it in stir fry. We planted the seeds indoors in March and were late getting them in the ground. Even though the weather has been cool and wet, they are beginning to go to seed.  I know I didn't thin them as quickly as I should have.

I read on a garden forum that many people find the plant edible even though it is bolting as long as you eat it before the flowers have actually bloomed, so maybe we will have it tomorrow.

And lastly in the salad garden are the pretty lettuces and spinach. They are doing so well in this bed! There is nothing better than a home grown salad or fresh from the garden lettuce on your sandwich. Yum, Yum.

I think it might work out okay to grow the salad garden as a fifth rotation bed. There may be two years of the same crop, but three years before any crop gets repeated.  More about my rotation at a later date.

Happy salad making!

Friday, June 22, 2012


The artichokes are really producing this year. I had never even heard of this vegetable until I met my husband and one night he asked for artichokes for dinner.  I looked up how to cook these interesting thorny globes and boiled one in water and olive oil and served with Miracle Whip (at his request).!?  "What is this?",  I said in amazement as he dipped each leaf into the MW.  I tried it eventually, and found I actually liked it!

The artichoke frame

I love these veggies now.
However, growing this prickly menace was a totally different thing. I kept trying, but they grew so tall, tipped over and never produced at the same time.  But this year, my best friend and husband built a frame around my six plants that helped them stand upright against the weight of all those thorny little fruits.

And once I got up the nerve, I moved straight-away to tackle the pulpy leaves and sharp thorns. It was so easy, I'm sorry I didn't try to cook these baby artichoke hearts sooner.

The one thing I did was to place them in a bowl of 50-50 water/lemon juice after peeling and cutting in half. They stayed looking beautiful while I finished the rest and, after cooking, they retained just a whisper of lemon. Yummy.

I now love these little guys and it seems serendipitous that my existing plants need to be divided. Oh what new recipes I will have by next years harvest.

2012 Artichoke Meals:

  1. Roasted Artichoke Salad 
  2. Donna Giblin's Artichoke Chicken 
  3. Steamed Baby Artichoke Hearts served with salmon and a mustard/dill Aioli for dipping
  4. 2 ea. 8 ounce bags of frozen hearts for future use on chicken pizza
Hope you try these fascinating vegetables.