The giant zucchini Dan is holding? That thing is humungous! Ah well, it is now chicken treat.
Archive for September, 2010
The vegetable garden continues to putter along. Our other projects and day jobs are keeping us from giving it much attention, and it shows. It needs a good weeding, the tomatoes should be topped, and the dead cukes and pumpkin plants need to go away. The summer was very dry, but in the last 2 weeks we’ve had quite a bit of rain, and are getting more tonight. I had given up on the summer squash, but with the rain we’ve had a flush of new blossoms and some new fruit forming. The yellow crookneck are OP, and quite prolific, but the taste just does not compare to the patty pans, especially the Flying Saucers.
The kale is coming along, I’ve got lettuce and green sprouting in the hoophouse, and two more tomato plants in their which have some ripening fruit, too. The beans and peas are growing albeit slowly. At least the peas, planted in late July, have some fruit setting. Warmer weather is predicted for the weekend, I’m hoping we get it.
We finished the main area of the laundry room ceiling tonight, now we just need to complete the area over the freezer nook, and finish putting up the trim we had to remove to install the ceiling.
The view from the washer/dryer nook. We need to reinstall the green window trim about the left window. We had to remove it to squeeze the last piece of beadboard up in there.
I am really pleased with the recessed lighting. If we’d had the old hanging lightbulbs I am pretty sure we’d have broken one tonight.
Some extra trim work we added to hid the beams supporting the closet wall.
I hope we can finish this fairly quickly on Saturday. The new flooring goes in on Tuesday!
A critter, most likely a squirrel, has been nibbling at my pumpkins, so before work this morning I harvested all the ripe pumpkins and squash. I put it in the hoophouse to cure for a few days, then will try storing it in the coolest room in the house.
The dark gray/green squash are Futsu Black, a Japanese winter squash. The chewed upon pumpkin is a Winter Luxury, and the other pumpkins are New England Pie. The tan squash are Waltham Butternut. I have four more New England Pie pumpkins than pictured, and 3-4 green/orange ones still on the vine, trying to ripen.
I’ll weigh them all in a few days when they’ve had a chance to cure.
Sunday we finished installing the recessed lighting fixtures in the laundry room, yesterday Dan purchased 240 linear feet of beadboard, and last night we did some prep work for tonight’s project, beginning the beadboard ceiling installation.
Before I got home from work this afternoon, Dan cut and installed 2″ foam insulation along the exterior walls and sealed it well with foam adhesive.
After a quick dinner, we began the primary task. We used small finish nails to nail the plank to the 2nd story floor joists at the tounge, then carefully set each nail with a nail set. A rubber mallet encouraged the boards to fit tightly together along the tongue and groove joint without marring the board. We got a total of 4 boards installed. The next step will be to cut around the two recessed lighting fixtures, a fussy job, so we called it a night. But it is looking good!
Last weekend Dan and I had the pleasure of meeting Kate, who blogs at Living the Frugal Life. Kate was visiting Maine with her father and used the opportunity for a visit to Henbogle. Dan and I really enjoyed meeting her and showing her Henbogle, and I really enjoyed talking with her about sustainability and her reasons for her quest for frugality, I got some food for thought (and a good reason to bake some scones).
I’ve got some ideas for a few posts kicking around in my head and about my gardening efforts and what I’ve learned over the summer, and it was great to talk with Kate as I am thinking about this topic. Now I just hope I get a chance to actually write these posts.
Thanks for visiting, Kate!
Brrr! While tomatoes still rule the Henbogle harvest, I fear it won’t be long, as today’s high temperature was in the low 60s and the cool weather will be around for a few more days. I have a few tomatoes ready to pick tomorrow, and I will, then we’ll see if any more ripen. My next big harvest will be winter squash and pumpkins, and fall greens are starting to come along –although I need to get some more greens sowed!
This weeks totals:
Herbs — 14 oz
Chard — 12 oz
Squash — 3 lbs 1 oz
Peppers — 11 oz
Snap Beans — 6 lbs 12 oz
Tomatoes — 17 lbs 3 oz
Total pounds: 501.69
The week’s harvest tally brings the value of my harvests throughout the season to $1680.81. Expenses remained the same at $305.54, bringing the net value to $1,375.27.
See who else is contemplating the end of summer harvests at Daphne’s Dandelions Harvest Monday series, where gardeners share their news, both good and bad.
A few years ago, in 2003 (cough), we partitioned off the shed connecting the house to the barn, insulated it, added heat, and created a laundry room. Prior to that, the unheated shed housed the dryer, and the washing machine took up a lot of valuable real estate in our tiny 8′x8′ master bathroom.
I LOVE having a laundry room, especially one located a few feet from the solar clothes dryer, aka clothesline. (I used to have to carry the basket of wet clothes all through the house to get to the line.) Somehow, though, despite how integral the room is to life at Henbogle, we never managed to finish the project (sound familiar, anyone?)
Until now. While our siding project is languishing awaiting our unhappiness with the new window to be resolved, we decided to finish that room, especially since the energy audit revealed that we were losing some heat through the insulated, yet unfinished, ceiling. So, we picked out some flooring (the one shown in room photo), made a date for the installation, and got cracking. First, we removed a wall which created a little alcove for the washer dryer, which sounds nice, but really just made it inconvenient to get to the sink. The wall was there when we bought the house, and we never really understood a purpose for it, yet inertia was strong, and the wall remained, until this project.
Wall down, the next step was to re-hang the exterior door, which we installed at the time of creating the room. When we installed it, we didn’t think to leave enough space or flooring under the door, sigh. This is probably the biggest factor in not finishing this room. Today was the day, and thanks to the proper tools (Dan’s new sawzall), it was not that bad. We had the door re-hung in less than three hours.
Door completed, it was time to begin the ceiling project. We aren’t fond of hanging drywall, and our house has lots of wood wainscoating and paneling, so we decided we’d go for a beadboard ceiling. The room was lit by three ceiling fixtures, a rusting ugly one in the pre-existing alcove, and lamp sockets in the main part of the room. We will eventually replace the ugly one with something a little less obtrusive, but for now are concentrating on finishing the ceiling. We opted to put recessed lighting in the main part of the room, and today purchased the fixtures and the amazing wonder Dan installed them. I was pretty impressed with the fixtures.
They were a bit tricky to install, but seem pretty well engineered and I think will be much less likely than a typical fixture to be damaged when we are working on some project or other. Next step will be to put up the beadboard planks. Now that we are rolling, I can hardly wait!
Several years ago, we planted some hops (I believe Cascade) by the old playground swing in the backyard. We, being easily amused, trained the hops to climb the swing frame and called it the Hop-Swing. Someday, we thought, we might harvest them and try using them in brewing our own beer.
This year was a good year for the hops. Apparently they like a nice rainy spring, then lots of dry weather. Monday evening, when we had the family over for dinner, we decided to harvest them, as rain was predicted (and is falling as I write). We picked quite a few — I didn’t weigh them, and am not sure exactly how large the tubs are (but I can tell you they readily hold an extra-large load of laundry), but the tub is about 2/3 full.
Dan has the hops spread out on screens in the barn attic to dry. The hop flower must lose most of its moisture content to be used and to store. As we are now having rain and cooler weather, we will set up a fan to blow air over the hops to facilitate the drying process, similar to what we did for the garlic. Later this fall, once the parade of tomatoes ends, we will try a batch of beer. Stay tuned!
6 lbs ripe red sweet peppers
1 lb plum tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic
1 small white onion
1/2 c red wine vinegar*
2 T minced fresh basil
1 T granulated sugar
1 t salt
Roast peppers, tomatoes onion and garlic until skins are blackened and blistered. Cool, reserving juices, and when cool enough to handle, peel and remove seeds from the peppers and tomatoes. Finely dice onion and measure 1/4 cup, discard any remaining. Puree peppers, tomatoes, onion and garlic. In a large saucepan (I used my crock pot) combine puree and red wine vinegar, salt, sugar, and basil. Cook until mixture is reduced to the point of mounding on a spoon. Ladle hot into prepared jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 6-7 half pints.
*The Ball recipe calls for red wine vinegar. I was planning on using Balsamic vinegar, but had a brain cramp and used red wine vinegar instead, sigh. It still tastes good…. I think the Balsamic would have lent a nice flavor, and would have made the color a bit less orangey.
As it was already 80° F when I started roasting the peppers Friday morning, I elected to roast everything outside on the grill, which worked great. Peeling is a huge PITA; next time, I might try running the peppers and tomatoes through the tomato press to see if that will work.
This is delicious on pizza, as a spread for bruschetta, or thinned with cream, tossed with pasta and parmesan. I bet there are a million other ways to use it, too.