Monday, November 28, 2016

Nearly December?

This may be the wettest year I can ever remember.  On the plus side:  It is just a couple of days until we are in December, and we still haven't had a killing frost.  Ron is still mowing between rain days, and I've been able to move a bunch of plants in ideal conditions for them to survive.
I was able to move
this great plant without it even taking a year off from blooming.  Last year it bloomed for three solid months, beginning in November.  It has just begun to bloom this year.
The dahlias have just quit blooming, but are still looking healthy.  
On the sunny days we have a beautiful area for a a walk in the woods.
I've had a perpetual lake at the bottom of the garden for weeks, and still it rains.......

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Experimental Pumpkin Dessert

The cool rainy days of Fall and Winter bring out the cook in me!
I harvested my meager pumpkin crop a while back - 2 small pumpkins that I grew from seeds I saved from a Cinderella Pumpkin.  When I read about how great pumpkin seeds are for you and saw a recipe for roasting them, I thought it was a perfect time to break into the little pumpkins sitting on my kitchen window sill.
I found a total of eight seeds - not exactly enough to turn on the oven and roast pumpkin seeds.
Plan B - Find an interesting recipe and at least use the pumpkin meat.  So I first cut the skin off both pumpkins and cut them into 1" squares and cooked them in a small amount of water until they were soft and mashed them.  (Drained excess water before mashing)
It's so nice to have the internet - But a bit distracting to try to focus on a single recipe - there are so many to choose from.
Here's the recipe I found:  

It says "Prep Time 20 minutes" - but I beg to differ - it took most of the morning - but maybe that was because I had to improvise a bit.
It called out 25 gingersnaps crushed to make the crust and I didn't have gingersnaps.  I thought about making some, but it would have taken me all day if I did that, so I used a package of graham crackers.  I crushed them and then added a teaspoon of ginger, one of cinamon, and a quarter teaspoon of cloves and a quarter cup of sugar, and the prescribed 1/4 cup of butter that I pressed into the baking dish.  Baked for 10 minutes at 350.
Next layer:  16 oz cream cheese blended with 1/2 cup sugar, pumpkin, spices and two eggs.
Spread that layer evenly over the crust and bake for 30 minutes
Next layer:  2 packages of instant vanilla pudding mix, blended with 2 cups of cold milk and 1 cup of CoolWhip.  Spread over baked layer after it cools. The remainder of the CoolWhip is spread on top of the pudding layer.
It gave instructions for roasting pecans for the top - but I found these at Costco the other day, and chopped a cup of them instead.
Here is the finished dessert:

Definitely a "do again" dessert!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Continuing our Greenhouse Project

We keep saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" and then we keep trying to finish every project as quickly as possible!  Not sure my body will hold up until this one is done!
Fortunately, we brought some professional construction stakes home from our Georgia building project, so we started the day finding them and then laying out the footprint for the greenhouse.
Yesterday we went to Home Depot and picked up the first 20 cement blocks for the project, and Ron hauled them to the site this morning.  While he was doing that, I pounded in the four stakes 8' apart to outline the interior walls of the building.
Of course, getting every side to be exactly 8' is the easy part - However, you can end up with a trapezoid if you don't make sure the diagonals are the same.
There's probably some "trick of the trade" for doing this, but we just kept measuring until it was all even.
Then came the hard part - routing the existing water line from where it came out of the ground, across where we had laid out the new greenhouse, and up through a hole in a cement block.  That took quite a bit of digging as the plastic pipe was pretty rigid, but we managed to get it in and the water line covered.
Ron helped me with that as there was no way I could do it by myself.  Then he went off to his mowing project and left me to tinker with the cement blocks.
You can see the water pipe coming up through the first tier of cement block.  I did a preliminary level, but will do final adjustments as we mortar it all together.
Next step:  Off to Home Depot again to pick up mortar mix and another 20 cement blocks.  I'm thinking about filling the holes in the cement blocks with insulation before we do our mortaring.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Great Greenhouse Project Begins

I have never been a greenhouse gardener.  Years ago I bought a greenhouse at the Fair - One of those plastic ones - the biggest one they had.  When we moved it from our old house here, we must have somehow compromised the structure, because the next year, the ceiling collapsed and we had to get rid of it.  But I had never really used it either - it was too hard to heat when it needed heat, it was never in the right place, and it ended up being a storage shed for a bunch of pots, garden tools, rolls of plastic, pipe, etc.  I never grew a single tomato because of having a greenhouse.
That being said, I have always felt that a greenhouse was the necessary next step in my gardening world.  
After watching sun patterns in my existing garden for several years, thinking about the perfect place for it during that time, and two days of hand digging around the water line that comes all the way from the lake, I turned Ron loose with the tractor and my vision.
My goal is to have half of it earth sheltered on the north side, and about a quarter of it earth sheltered on the south.  
We managed to do all our excavating without breaking the water line.  I have it drained for the winter, but it's still a major pain to fix water line breaks, so we were happy to find it before we broke it.
Next step - lay out a 9' by 9' perfect square, level all four sides, and smooth out the center.
Once the excavation is complete, we will line the edges with cement block - three on the north side, two on the sides, and one where the door will be on the south side.
We have recycled glass that we will incorporate into the walls and glass ceiling.  The water line will be under the floor and will come out with a faucet inside and another outside to service the rest of the garden.  More updates as the project proceeds.