Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Seeds and cookin...

Happy Tuesday :)
Now is the time of year to look for clearance seeds... Well, more like a week or two ago was probably the time, but I actually got out of the house today.

And I picked up a LOT of seeds. The local dollar store had them on clearance, 90% off! So I picked up a bunch of different kinds of flower seeds :) 1.28 got me 17 packets of flower seed.
Then I hit the local hardware store to see what they had. They had already pulled their racks, but I scored a few packets of seed for 50 cents each, mostly more flower seed. And some more radishes, I will likely drop some in the ground yet this year.
Now I need to do a bunch more wintersowing research, lol.

And the luffas are growing like mad! I really really hope a couple of them are ripe before the frosts hit. They produce a crapton of seed and I want to have a couple new bath scrubbies this winter :) But if nothing else, they look absolutely lovely growing there. Not too much of a success with the overhead trellis though- I have the ropes spaced a foot apart and I think that's a bit too far for the luffas to be growing on.

Made mac and cheese from a box for dinner- of course I tossed in a goodly handful of shredded dried zucchini, broccoli, and sweet potato to fortify the junk food. When I make mac and cheese, I always melt my butter and milk together before adding in the cooked pasta... Here's a nice and quick way to dice up a stick of butter for easy melting:

This is also a great way to dice butter for other melting purposes, or adding into baked goods that need to granulate the butter, like biscuits.

Super Hump Day!!

Another three pounds of green beans picked, blanched and shocked, and on the dehydrator. I'm not sure how many pounds I've picked so far, I've kind of lost track. But I know for sure more than 15 pounds so far.
Today was an orchard day. I needed to get out and pick up all the dropped fruits. It's pretty much a mandatory thing for a healthy orchard. I dunno how many pounds of apples and pears I cleaned up, but it made a nice heap on the veggie row compost pile. If the critters want to snack on them there, fine, I noticed they really weren't eating them on the ground under the trees, lol. Sooner or later I'll get an orchard rake to make the task easier.
Picked pears, a lot of them were ripe!
The trick to pears on when to pick is do it when the stem end has a slight springy give and the fruit lifts off the tree when pulled horizontal. If you leave them on the tree to get ripe, they will overripen unevenly, inside to out. Right now all these are spread out in a large cardboard box in the solarium to finish ripening.

Picked a bunch more red apples:
Those lifted nicely off the tree.

Then some green apples- there was no way in hell I was going to try picking every apple on the loaded ass trees, so I shook branches instead.
The pips are dark brown on them and I was a little surprised that shaking works!
So what did I do with all those friggin apples? Topped and bottomed them, quartered them, and set them to a simmer with 4 cups water in my biggest stockpot to yield up their juice and get nicely cooked. Killed the heat once stirring them had a mashing effect, then attacked the stuff with a potato masher. Then into a cheesecloth lined collander to drain the juice off. This will be made into apple jelly tomorrow. Just how much I dunno, depends on how much juice I end up with. But I'm hoping for enough to do a batch each of cinnamon and non cinnamon.
After starting to pull off the mash, I started to feel awfully bad about the notion of discarding that much apple pulp. It has seeds and center bits and skins mixed in, so no good for apple sauce. I have an almost 2 gallon bucket full of tips and ends that could be used otherwise too. I think my answer is going to be dehydrating the leftover pulp and ends for add in for  winter season suet cakes.  Birds will eat the hell out of suet cakes. And they love apple and it's good for them.
Hardings also had cauliflower on clearance for 99 cents a head instead of the usual 3.59, so you bet your butt I picked up a few heads for pickling, that will get done tomorrow too. They also had frozen peas for a buck a bag, so I picked a couple up to go onto the dehydrator tomorrow. I am really keeping my fingers crossed for a fall crop of peas!

Got in one of my seed trades today, all flowers this time. Cesars Brother siberian iris, black eyes susan, heliopsis false sunflower, red and yellow blanket flower, pink columbine, and rose campion. I'm going to have to look up most of these to find out how to handle the seed! The gal that traded with me suggested what would work in my growing zone, and will be sending me even more seed in a few weeks when they are ready :)
Looks like next years flower plans are really well under control as far as seed goes- still need to finish setup for all that wintersowing! Heh, good thing I have till the winter solstice to figure out what I need to do :)

I decided to make chicken and spinach enchiladas for dinner tonight, super easy and super yummy.
And speaking of food... I need to figure out what to do about campout cooking in a couple weekends. Stuffed buns, jellies and breads, pickled goodies, salsa and chips, instant potato soup mix? Geez, I dunno.

Busy frigging Thursday!

I meant to get the lawn mowed before the weekend... Looks like that ain't gonna happen if I leave in the morning, lol.

So I made a mistake last night when I allowed the apple pulp to cool before dumping it in the colander, only got 4 cups of juice... So I reheated the mass and set it to drain again, and got the other 2 cups I was expecting out of the mass. 
While I was waiting for the apples to drain, I pulled the two packs of juice from previous batches from the freezer. In total I ended up with 12 cups, enough to do 2 batches of apple jelly, one with cinnamon, one without.
Ended up making the lemony cauliflower first then... 8 quarts of it!
I was gonna go pull garb together, but had a voicemail from the hardware store about seeds, so I ran into town.. I picked up 60 packets of veggie seed for 20 bucks, and got 94 packets of flower seed for free! That's right, 154 dollars worth of seed for 20 bucks, can't beat that. Quite a bit of it is going onto my trade list :)
Got home, and the apples finished draining- or at least as much as I needed them to drain. So I made the jelly, according to the directions on the box of pectin. 9 half pints each of cinnamon and regular apple jelly, yahoo!
Now I need to get my butt in gear and go pick out garb... And clean up the kitchen so it's spic and span for my love to use through the weekend since he's staying home and I don't want to leave him with a dirty kitchen to deal with...

So I'm off! Everyone have an incredible and wonderful Labor day weekend!!

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