Garlic Cake and Free Friendship Seeds!

I was hoping for an occassion to bake this Garlic Cake and I made sure I have all the ingredients.    The only problem is if I make it now I will be the only one eating it and I really don’t think that’s a good idea – maybe I could freeze most of it …hmmmm.   It probably won’t be until next week that I make it so stay tuned if you would like to know how it turns out!    I found the recipe in this Garlic Cookbook by Linda & Fred Griffith –

Make sure to stop by and retweet this post I created at my other blog – first 10 to retweet will receive Free Friendship Seeds and a Hello Card!   What Fun!  

I have also been working on improving my website and just added a new page last night called Add Listings.   Some great great listings have been added so far and I hope to keep this idea going well into the holiday season and beyond.   What do you think?

I can’t forget to show you these guys – remember, those pumpkin gourds I had drying out?  Well, I painted up a few and have them smiling away being ohhh so happy!

Happy Fall !!!

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Garden Wrap-up

Fall is upon us and the summer gardening season has pretty much ended – a few tomato and pepper plants remain, but most have been removed.   It came on suddenly, hot in the 90s very early in the season and the temperatures reached heat indexes of over 100 – now all the sudden it’s Chilly!   The cooler weather is welcome and fall colors have to be some of the most spectacular of the year; just hoping those cold snowy days don’t arrive too soon!

The Nasturtium flowers continue to grow and bloom in the container on the deck and I am sure they will flourish up until a frost covers the ground.

These flowers were planted as a team GROW project with many other gardeners across the country and all documented their progress throughout the summer months.   “I’m growing Nasturtium “Spitfire” for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee’s Garden for the seeds.”  

I also planted and just recently harvested TriColor Bush Beans also received from Renee’s Garden and I will be blanching and freezing these later this afternoon.

 TriColor Bush Beans – yellow, purple, green

I have some mini pumpkin gourds I will be working on this week and these were actually from last year’s harvest.   My mini gourds this year didn’t take off like I had hoped so I only have a few and they will have to dry before I can work on them.   The larger gourds are still out in the field and they were doing great until the 115 degree weather hit and I was not there to water them – they suffered, but I will have some gourds regardless.

 Mini pumpkin gourds setting in the sun to dry after I washed and scrubbed them getting ready to decorate.  

I want to Thank everyone that entered the Garlic Giveaway and we did announce the winner last week … this will be the last week the garlic is listed for sale in the shop; then it’s Garlic Planting Time!!!     

Thanks again and Happy Fall!

As the Garden Grows

The watermelon (Moon & Stars) are growing right along ….along with the gourds!!!

 Watermelon in front – Gourds in back

 Apple gourds

 Watermelon

I canned up cucumber for pickles (3 canning sessions) so I am set for pickles.   Last year we used Burpee’s Pickler and I attempted to save the seed and plant this year, but they never sprouted so the cucumber we did use was called Muncher and it worked well.   I actually let the cucumber sit in cold water (added a few ice cubes) before slicing up so they were nice and crisp.

The 3 types of basil were all doing very well – Mrs. Burns Lemon which I made cookies with ……. so good!    Thai and Purple Ruffles which I set aside and have drying.   I did use some of the Lemon basil to save in ice cubes – not sure how I will use them … maybe more cookies!

The tomatoes were ripening up and I was so happy to make my first batch of salsa – which does not last long in this house at all!

I did spot and remove this nasty tomato hornworm – one of the chickens had a tasty treat.   I am very much on the lookout for these beasts … they can destroy a tomato plant really really fast.  

The hot sun and sparse rain have taken its toil on the gardens this year and it continues ….. down south – up north we have had a TON of rain – sure wish I could reverse the weather for a few days here and there!

First blooms of the season

My most recent trip down south was exciting with all the new blooms we were able to witness – I hope they can all survive the heat the next few months!   It did cool off somewhat and rain before we left so that was encouraging.   The nasturtium flower seeds that were direct seeded sent out a bloom well before the transplants in the deck pot (which I found interesting, since the transplants had a head start).

 Direct seeded in the ground

Climbing Nasturtium Spitfire Bloom

Beautiful deep orange color !!

The largest pot contains the nasturtium flowers I had transplanted and as of this picture there were no blooms yet – but about a week later , one did appear … yay!!!

I also planted Container Cucumber from Renee’s Gardens and they were doing Great – we even had our first baby cucumber!

Container cucumber

Some other firsts I was able to capture on film –

 First tomato

 First bottle gourd

 First watermelon

 

First zucchini flowers

“I’m growing Nasturtium “Spitfire” for the GROW project, thanks to ReneesGarden.com for the seeds.”

Zucchini Basil Muffins and Gourds

First I have to share this recipe I made today with zucchini and basil since soon our gardens will be overflowing with both!   I also experimented last night when baking chicken breast (bone in, skin on) and I am impressed with the results.   I baked the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for a little over an hour – the chicken breasts were rather large.   I took fresh basil leaves and covered the top and also put some under the skin next to the meat – the finished flavor was fresh and I will definitely cook this way again!   Now on to the Muffin recipe – Zucchini Basil Muffins –

Grate 3 cups of fresh zucchini and combine with 2/3 cup melted butter along with a 1 cup of chopped basil.   Combine 1 1/3 cup sugar, 2 eggs (I used 1 egg and substituted 1 TB flaxseed with 3 TB water for the other egg) and 2 teaspns. vanilla.   Add all together.   Mix 2 teaspns. baking soda with 3 cups flour, 2 teaspns. cinnamon and 1/2 teaspn. nutmeg.   Stir into the zucchini mixture and add 1 cup chopped walnuts.   Bake 20-25 minutes – Yum!

I finished up 2 different gourd vases for my sister this past week and they were very easy.   Basically I just added a light coat of stain to darken them up a bit and a coat of polyacrylic (varnish) to seal them.   The smaller vase I did woodburn a few flowers as a design but I have to say the gourd’s own design is enough.  

Closeup of the gourd

Smaller gourd vase with woodburned flowers

The taller gourd vase with homegrown flowers added (broomcorn and lavender)

These gourds were from my harvest last year and were ready to craft with a while back but I just now finished them up.   I have more gourds to design and also have Apple, Bottle and what I call Champagne Bottle (the tall gourd shown) planted in the garden this year and already vining out all over!

I am in my glory today since I received my new Provocraft Gypsy!!!

 …. I am so excited!   I charged the battery and added a recent update, the Photo application.    I now have to link my cartridges and start learning!   I did create another blog, RunningGarlicDesigns, and I will be using that to show my different craft creations.   What Fun!!!

Mini Gourd Ornaments

I grew quite a few mini gourds this past season and while most are still drying on racks, a few were finished with the drying phase and I was anxious to use them for Christmas ornaments.  In the past I created some really neat gourd flowers with my minis and some pumpkin decorations.  These I posted at Craftster and can be seen here.  For my lastest creation I first added a thread hanger so I could work on the gourds from all sides and they could dry nicer.

 Mini gourds ready to decorate

I painted 2 coats of white acrylic paint on some and 2 coats of black on others.  I let this dry then added my designs.  The 3 littliest gourds turned out super …

 

as did the mini snowmen ornaments.  I finished by adding a coat of Mod Podge for sealing and for the shiny affect.  At first I tried Polycrylic which I read was a good product to use to seal the gourds, but it seemed to eat at the paint.  Not sure why that happened but will do some further research.  I still have a handful of mini gourds to decorate and tons more once my harvest drys up … so Fun!  It is amazing how they can be transformed into creations of art! 

I added a post to the Business blog titled Benefits of Blogging if you are interested in reading this information.

Here are 2 larger gourds drying on the racks also.  Haven’t decided what they will turn into yet!

 Any ideas?