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Monday, September 18, 2017

9/14.. moving on with cleanup

9/14: Took a bit of a day off today. Did some chores.. today was the last anything harvest of the tomatoes, and the first deep trimming off of vines to the fall. Still got blossoms opening up that might ripen, and a few fruits that still will ripen.. The toothache plant is in it's first final flush and first weak plant culling.
Started up a pepper mash, will see what happens with this one..

From frozen
About 4- 41-2 cups of hot banana peppers, all red ones.
About 2 cups of green jalapenos
3 fingerlings, about a half cup?
This amount to 7 cups
Added in 1 cup of fresh picked Tobago Seasoning peppers- 36 of them.

For the brine... information is all over the place. I ended up using 1 liter hot water with 196 grams salt. It was supposed to be 189 for 10% solution, but meh. I did have the Himalayan salt on hand, and used it. Filled half gallon and a pint and a half jar. Capped them with coffee filters, then let them sit for a few days...
UPDATE 9/19: The jars were just starting to get a little bit of bubble forming, but nothing forming on the surface yet. Turned out the 2 jars into the blue crockpot and added 2 cups of white vinegar. Let it sit on low covered overnight, from about 4PM till 10 AM. At around 10, I tasted it- hot, the salt has mellowed a lot, needed more vinegar for sure. Added 2 cups cider vinegar and turned the heat up to high to start really burbling while I did some work in the solarium capping a couple windows for the winter. By the time it hit 2PM, the fumes were noticable, and it was burbling good. So I closed the solarium up and left the lid off the crockpot so it can all reduce a bit. Had to set up a ventilation fan to help suck out the fumes it got toxic pretty damn fast.

Warm, sunny, and fine. I took the final harvest off the toothache plant and pulled out the bed entirely- kept 3 plants to pot up to see how they fare in the solarium.

9/16: busy garden day. Again sublime late summer weather. Drew off all the milk and litter jugs of water that I could for now, still need to move them into the solarium and to the garden beds that are getting fall watering. Cleaned out all the dead pots around the kennel and cleared the pots off to storage.
Squash bugs, yeah muthafucker. I have been keeping an eye out on the stair bed to see if they would turn up there after I pulled out the whatever squash and sprayed the beejeebers out of the area. And yep, sure enough, they did. Interestingly enough, they were all over the scalloped squash, but the entire cocozelle squash was almost untouched, though it has fresh and dead leaves, and even a couple blooms on it.
I emptied out a silver cooler and dropped the scallop squash plant entire into it- then dumped a couple gallons of water into it then put the lid on. Then I mixed up a 2 gal sprayer full of Neem/Tea Tree/Peppermint/Rosemary mix, and sprayed the entire area.  By the time I had come back out with the sprayer, the inside dry area of the cooler was crawling with bugs- I sprayed the dickens out of the cooler and it's inside before anything else.
Then I went and checked the whatever squash I had pulled out and layed out days ago- and shucks, that one still had bugs on it. So I picked it up and packed it into the cooler too. And then I noticed a few adult squash bugs on the base of the cocozelle. And then sprayed the stair garden heavy, the lasagna bed area that had the whatever squash, and the cage I laid the dead squash on heavily.
While the shade was coming on good and it was hot as hell in the sun anyway.. I dug out several Irises from the solarium bed. It's far past time for those to be transplanted off to other places in the yard more friendly. All of what is there of the specials are now potted up, and what's left is probably just the regulars to be dug up and relocated another time.
I also planted in the Solomon's Seal out back in the wee folk bed. I picked up that plant so darn pot bound I had to cut the pot off the plant, so I'm hoping it will take off well.
After all of that, started in on some re-potting of the porch plants. The botanical tulip got divided up into 2 pots- a big and small one. The two Hot Pokers I picked up and potted a year or two ago got pried and sawed apart into 9 bunches that are now in one big pot to not freak out while I figure out where they will go in the yard.

9/17: Another round in the garden. Unpotted and massaged the Lucifer today- the one plant I got a couple years back yielded up 2 really large, 4 large, 8 medium, and 9 small crom chains, and those are now repotted up into 3 pots- it was a devil of a task, lol. Cut back the coleus real well and left the mothers outside for now- I have 3 ice cream buckets full of the cuttings I now need to decide how I want to handle, lol.
Still a goodly bit to go with the plant cleanup, but not too bad too. I got Parks Candy Lillies I need to drop into the couple squash bins real soon. I think I'm going to take out the whole bed the squash grew on to use as the winter shelter spot again. The two bins are already on the one side, and it shouldn't be too difficult to cobble together the other side. I have 3 flats of small lavender, 2 flats of asparagus, and a few other odds and ends I'd rather mulch in deep to tuck away for the winter rather than bring them into the solarium for overwintering. I still got a goodly handful of fruits and herb pots out by the kennel, I'm going to tuck those onto the kennel porch for the winter- again, the whole front is already capped off, it should be easy to mulch deep there. I'd like to keep the inside of the kennel empty for now in case I get the chance to get a roof on it yet this fall. It was really handy, but who knows.
Still have a few more perennials to plant in the lasagna beds, and a bunch of small mums to put into the ground.
Already planning the next raised bed to the east of the tomatoes, heh. This year earlier on I layed in a thick paper and straw smother bed curving off with the mow line  when I moved the other two raised beds. Now's the time to put it to use, and also recycle the most damaged of the tomato towers into a composting cage. With 1 cage, I can break it down into 2 panels, then link them up and shape them to make a 3'x3'x3' cage. This is perfect to drop into the middle of the next raised beds spot to give me a place to heap up all the good composting greens I got building up right now to get layered in with browns and left to simmer for a while and let cook down till next spring. Then next summer when I'm ready to drop a 6x4' raised bed there, I will already have my base stuff layer built up and just a little bit smaller than the frame to help with taking the cage out and spreading compost stuff around.
The whole yard needs a good mow around too, at least in the areas that the leaves build up in. Time for what is likely to be the final mowing before the leaves start building up enough to be needed for mulch. I want to be raking up leaves off the grass, not trying to detangle the grass to get leaves right now, lol. This year I don't happen to have straw bales on hand, so I'm going to be bagging up leaves for my thermal buffers in the few spots I will need that sort of thing in.
That is a nice thing about starting to switch over the lasagna beds to perennials, some different mulch needs there this year. I'm going to need to heap it deep on the little west bed. I plan on putting in seed garlic in the middle bed to grow out to pull next fall, so it just needs keeping up with cleanup and some mulch. The biggest bed I plan on planting in the asparagus seedlings as it's forever bed next year hopefully if the seedlings do well- so this fall once the cleanup is done, that whole area is getting capped with plastic to solarize, and zero mulch there. So I'll have the "spare" leaves to bag up for other use.
Now that I'm pretty much done with most of the Irises.. mostly, lol. Still got 3 pots of the Watervliet Irises that I don't know what they are really, lol. Gonna pull 2 of them off for me, and give the other one to Sonja.
I need to go in and clean out the bed where Jay's Skies are growing too soon. I'm gonna cull out some of those for Sonja too. The bed needs it anyway, and I know I want to replant the one tagged iris I just pulled out from behind the solarium in that area. I also want to break up one of the bins of lilies to put in there too, but that will wait till next year once I'm sure of which lilly bin it is and get the irises done first, lol.
Also got a darn big heap of bulbs heaped up... now comes the time of year that all those last years buy, potted up over the year, divided, cured, and ready for planting time comes on. And I got plans for them too.

Hmmm, some food... the hot pepper mash has been sitting in it's jars capped off with coffee filters for a couple days now. Tomorrow is time for some reblending and setting up into refining. Pulled out a chicken from the freezer a couple days ago that's roasting up with taters and creamed spinach.

9/18: Tomatoes today, it was time. I have two Freds with a couple of clusters I didn't cut back, because I know those will probably ripen up before the chills hit. That's going to be about a week from now, when overnight temps will be dipping below 50. But all the Romans are gone, the Candles had a lot of babies, but I know those take a long time to mature, and not worth waiting on. The Flames only had about 5 green tomatoes on both plants, so scrapped those too. Tore out the cages, and cut one up into that compost cage, and got all the tomato cuttings and dead toothache plants dumped into the cage. Still have plenty of room to toss on more as the season winds down. A good mow around is next up tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Got a bit done..

9/9: Weather was lovely today. Cool and breezy at first, then fine for work out in the yard. Got the whole batch of hot peppers smoked up and into the dehydrator. The last batch of enchilada sauce done for this year- another round of regular pints. The tomatoes are winding down enough, I got another goodly batch on trays that need to go into the freezer- those will finally become a batch of salsa. And then just a few more working in for more regular eating again.

The early part of the day was mostly spent with a bit of cleaning, as usual. Then the afternoon was spent on working on those lasagna beds.
I tackled the western bed first. It's the smallest one, and the first one I knew I wanted fully planted in. I weeded everything out, cut back the bronze fennel.. And planted in a Agastache Foemiculum Blue Fortune, Baptista Lemon Meringue, Baptista Blueberry, A couple rosemary, a lavender, and a couple each of two different colors of mums. Not sure which colors, the buds aren't showing yet, but two different leaf types.
Then on to the middle bed. It wasn't so bad really. The couple bean towers came out, and the bronze fennel got cut back. Didn't plant in anything yet- I just have blue eyed grass planned in front, and I want to go back over that area for a second grass removal first- I don't want to confuse my good plants with the weeds.
I've got a handful of various bulbs that I'm going to be planting in in a few weeks when the time is right. These are ones I picked up on clearance in 2016 and grew out in pots this year- all of them divided well, and will be good for sowing in later this fall. Now I just need to keep those beds cleaned up a bit, water if needed, and mulch in and I should be good to go.

The eastern and biggest bed, ugh.  I planted in some brassicas this year, then neglected the bed. A volunteer squash showed up, which saved me the trouble of planting in a trap squash there. Don't know what it is, looks like a white acorn of some sort, though it grew on a bush vine. First I cut back the grape vines yet again and pulled them out. And then yep, cut back the bronze fennel. The squash plant must have had every bug in the yard on it, yuck.
During cleanup, I sprayed a goodly gallon of Neem+ tea tree, peppermint, and rosemary oil all over the bed, surrounding area and fence, the plant I pulled out and laid on a tomato tower in the driveway.. everything. Little suckers didn't like that much, some of them appeared to be bleached out by the spray, and died. The bed isn't fully clear of weeds, I kind of pooped out by the time I was done spraying. But all of the brassicas are uncovered again, lol. And I can tell where the borages are springing up from. That bed is going to get finished clearing out entirely then a plastic cap laid over it to smother and solar kill the dickens out of it for as long as I can stretch it this fall for next year- I do have a rather nice and goodly round of asparagus rootlets that never made it out to the back 40 that I plan on setting in there next year to make that it's own permanent bed. Not a huge one, but plenty for fresh eating for two, while the rest of the pickling asparagus can continue on in the wild beds out back.
Making a couple pans of scalloped taters and ham for dinner tonight :) Decided to just split the batch between 2 pans so one could just be straight popped into the freezer. 

9/12: First off Happy Birthday to my sister! This is a good holiday- weather was superb, and everyone was bustling. Sunday was spent on some family affairs, and Monday I was feeling wretched with a stomach bug or something that made the need to be close to a bathroom and bed was necessary. Today I got a bit of canning done, couldn't put it off and the weather was fine and likely to turn tomorrow. It was either stuff the freezer and wait till the weather cleared again, or just get it done. So I sucked it up, and skipped any gardening plans though the weather should be clearer later this week.
Making mac and cheese and broccoli for dinner tonight, sisters choice since it's her B-day :)

Kind of a random general weather note. This year the U.S. got gobsmacked by a couple hurricanes. Harvey, which landed in the gulf and almost drowned Houston, and Irma, which was a SUPER hurricane that shredded Cuba and the entire state of Florida, and is now storming over pretty much every state touching Florida. Our Labor Day cold snap was the tail end of Harvey, and we did actually hit the low 50's into high 40's overnight. Days have been mild, and nights chilly since- we have been closing the windows or keeping them closed. Today during the day we peaked out around 80- tomorrow we are supposed to be possibly getting evening rain from the push in of Irma. Crazy.

Friday, September 8, 2017


9/3: It was a cool morning. Got a batch of Flaming Fred sauce and a batch of sloppy joe sauce cooked off and ready for the fridge. Picked off another 30 pounds of tomatoes off the Freds and Romans- I really need to do a cleanup day tomorrow and clear off all the tomato plant debris and such.
Those two glorious heads of cauliflower yielded up 8 quarts of florets for pickling. This was after cleaning them up and cutting them up. Last time was about 6 quarts cut up yielded 9 pint and a half jars.. I will have a full day of canning tomorrow, even if I don't touch the peppers yet.
And sigh.. the tomatoes are still dehydrating. Just a few are mushy... but that's all it takes in a dried batch. Have to keep drying overnight again.

A nice soup tonight- corn and chicken chowder. We had gotten those dozen ears a couple weeks ago that I shucked, cut, froze off the kernels and made stock from the cobs.. And hmmm, had a couple chicken boobs in the fridge defrosted.

9/8: been a few days, busy. Got the Flaming Fred sauce canned off, 14 half pints, and sloppy joe sauce, 5 pints. It rained all weekend and into the week, and was way too crappy to set up the outdoor canning kettle, so the cauliflower didn't get canned, or the peppers. We've eaten up one full 4 quart tub of cauliflower in various dishes, and I still have another in the fridge I can maybe pop off a batch with tomorrow if the weather holds good. All the peppers either went into the dehydrator- 3 trays of hot banana chunks, 2 trays of jalapeno slices, 1 tray of fingerling rings- or into the freezer, ended up with about 3 bags of peppers!
Today I picked the 2 Tennesee Sweet Potato Squashes, cleaned up their rack area, and moved all the peppers over to that spot. They really need all the full sun they can soak up right now before the true chilly hits and I have to decide if I should pull them in or let them go. I did get a nice full round of pepper picking done today, so I have a full batch to do another round in the smoker.  I also picked what's likely to be the last good big batch of tomatoes- the plants didn't like that chilly spell one whit. I got a batch of nasturtium seeds picked- a scant half pint, but hey, beggers can't be choosers, and I don't really have a lot of nasts growing this year.
With the weather chilling out, now I need to start figuring out what I want to do with all the plants this year that are outside. Time to start thinking about getting a roof back onto the kennel too. I don't happen to have a handy stack of straw bales this year to make up a snug box on the south side of the kitchen, but I might be able to figure something out with perhaps bagged leaves this time to make something snug for the plants I can overwinter outside that way.

Nightvale is getting a slow start, but is starting... The whole village just sort of petered out into nothing this summer- too much other stuff going on to really fuss with stuff that much. A couple weeks ago I started really cleaning and sorting stuff.. Then over the last weekend re-arranged the furniture, looks good and different now. Then with the solarium cleanup came a lot more shuffling and sorting of stuff, lol. And then I had myself a rare day or two of actually feeling creative, and wanting to use my new bench setup, and indulged myself in repainting Oncle Boo's house, doing the jewel detailing done on the carousel, fixing Ms. House Spider and now she's up and walking again, and a couple other minor repair things. Now over the last couple days I've gotten the platforms sort of set up and starting to figure out where the big buildings and setups are going to be.

A bit of interesting news for us.. this week was a busy one of chasing around- we closed on the land contract and the second parcel that landed in our laps. We now have a total of 25 acres, with a pretty full back 20- including a new large pond. It's an ultimate dream expansion we sort of chortled and wished over early on, but figured it would never happen. And also, the neighbors had a property turn up for them that they were able to get- it's got the acreage that they will be removing the dogs and the horses to their new place. So pretty much as soon as the stable is really cleared out, I plan on moving in there with some gardening stuff. That front horse pasture area is chock full of years of horse poo trampled down and pounded in, and the stable has electric and water already. I don't plan on making the mistake I did years ago and plan a huge garden. But I do plan on starting to work that area in for gardening big stuff, like trying out the 3 sisters garden, or sprawling melons. In the spring if the plants survive it, I can start planting in the orchard and berry bushes out back too. I still plan on utilizing and upgrading the gardens out front. But since the lasagna beds are about ready for their permanent plantings, and just a couple more raised beds up the line to the kennel area.. And with it being just the two of us soon, without the need for such large gardening of the food needs.. and with my fondness for container gardening around the kitchen.. And with the chicken coop and run area opening up soon since the dogs will be gone from there soon... the gardening and homesteading around here sure is going to change fairly soon. The front will keep evolving into more permanent and perennial gardens.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


8/25... time to start really keeping some notes again. The summer has pretty much gone, or at least feels like it... No sweltering nights, the solar eclipse was cool.. and now we are getting down into the 50's overnight here... WTF, right?

So, today I got the first 14 half pints of enchilada sauce canned up- a Mild Garlic one. I was going to start doing up the Lemony Cauliflower too- got the burner and outdoor stuff set up, and started pulling together the indoor mes in place... And discovered I was almost out of white vinegar. Well shit. Had to run to town for a couple gallons of it. By the time I got back it was too late to fire up the outdoor kettle, so I brought in the burner and just prepped up the two big heads- about 6 quarts. And peeled the couple heads of garlic. By the time I was done doing that, it would indeed have been too late to fire up the big kettle.
But while I was prepping the cauliflower, I got the sauce canned up. Tomorrow I'll do up the Smokey Hot sauce while I'm doing up the Lemony Cauliflower outside.
Then I can attend to doing up the double batch of Garlic Salsa. The garlic salsa will be it's own full days cooking up. Last year a single 5 lb batch yielded a dozen half pint jars. This year I plan on doing some half pint jars, and some quarter pint ones for snacking use. So it's going to make for an extra long canning day, lol. Or maybe I'll split it up into two batches like I did with the sauce- I'm rather liking the hold and then process thing I got going on here.

And a great note... Crock Pot bags. They can be sort of pricey, but ooohhhh can be worth it. I start off the sauce in the green crockpot- to get my measurements right, lol. After burbling it up in that crock I whirred it up with a stick blender and poured it off into my blue crockpot- the next quart size up- in one of the bags to do it's overnight low and slow cooking- and it was perfect. All the wet stayed in, and the bag has corners so every last bit of it squeezed out of the bag neat as can be.

Good thing we are down to just a little hefty tray of produce left- whatever don't get eaten in Crispy Chicken Salads tonight is like gonna get used up in something tomorrow, dunno what.. but there's another hefty round of picking that needs to happen Sunday. The toothache plant needs serious picking.. and the Freds and Romans have another full round ready to pick already. I'll probably fire off a round or two of regular enchilada sauce depending on what is ready for fresh cooking- Crockpot round or two of Sloppy Joe mix needs to happen too, but those use skinned tomatoes if I'm recalling right, so I'll be sure to toss some more in the freezer.

When at the farm market where I picked up the cauliflower, I also picked up a generous "quart" of a half dozen HUGE white peaches locally grown. I IQF'd those up, and those will be held with the other bag of peaches for cold weather baking when a delightful fresh peach is a total drool.
Ah freezer action.. With mom and Bear going back to Wi and taking the deep freezes with them.. I've already been saving up my pennies to hopefully get a good deal during the Labor Day sales for a new one. Gonna need to look into another dryer too since I assume they will take theirs with them.

Got a nice good whack at cleaning up the solarium yesterday... then promptly started cluttering it up again, lol. It's always a magic-9-square game out there. We really need to get that old hot tub out of there and clean stuff up. With the cooler and dryer weather it might be more plausible to get the truck up to the back door and load that thing off to the end of the drive with a "free if you can haul it off" sign over the big weekend. Just be done with it if someone else wants to haul it off.

It's getting to be that time of year that I need to clean out the Hardy Hibiscus border in the front, and plant in some of those mums I've been growing out. Give them a bit of time to establish in and want to bloom a bit later on. I think I'm going to be tossing in a couple handfuls of the bulbs I grew out and cured up earlier this year to help flush in spring and early summer blooms too.

The Lasagna beds.. time has come to start some planting shifting. Years ago when we first moved in, I dreamed of a full line of beds of edibles.. and have found over the years our gardening needs are much better served tighter up to the house, and with the shifting of the two raised beds this year, it's confirmed. I figured at some point that a lot of fence area would get to be more dedicated over to permanent stuff over annual stuff.. And I think now the time has come to start with that on a kind of serious planning basis.
I have a nice handful of very good perennials built up now. All beneficial insect goodies. The Bronze Fennel, Blue Borage, and Lemon Balm have all established nicely in the beds. And frankly, I haven't missed the growing space for food, and the beds and nicely fallow and ready for some lovely "other". I've worked hard to establish those beds, time to finish them in. I think perhaps the large bed might be worked up into an asparagus bed. I've got a goodly round of seedlings I can grow out for planting another year- and I do have the wild beds building up back already, it would be nice to have a good close up patch at hand too.
Coming up in the orchard area is also going to be some culling out. The peachish/whatever tree is slated to come down. The Sweet Cherry Trees are going to be thinned out, and the Maple needs trimming too. The green apples might just get scrapped yet- I can plant in a good one out back. Same goes for the red apple out front too. I think with the removal of apple and peach, and thinning of sweet cherry trees.. I'd like to plant in a couple more fruit trees. Another plum or two to cross and grow with our lone Green Gauge that isn't doing much. And another dwarf sour cherry or two to produce with the one we got.

8/26: Another busy day. I got out about a quarter of nine while the shade was still good and the dew still fresh on the plants over the toothache plant bed and did a full harvest- 3 quarts of fresh flowers this time, they are already on the dehydrator. Now that I have a goodly couple gallon bags of the stuff already dried and stashed in the freezer, it's time to pull those out and vacuum seal up the crops for deep storage. I'll still get another flush or two out of the plants before frost hits.
It's also time to start culling out some of the plants themselves to distill/render out with some fats and alcohol pulling. I'd like to produce a couple of topical bits for sore muscle rubs and such. This has been such a good growing year that with some careful storage, I could have a batch to last into 2019.
After I came back in from that, it was time to set up canning. Got the big burner going and the stove, and cranked out a half dozen jars of pickled lemony cauliflower, and a couple rounds to do up the 14 half pints of smokey spicy enchilada sauce. Using the big outdoor burner for the water kettle is wonderful. I was able to use the kitchen table to stuff the cauliflower jars, and used the stove to heat up the sauce and brines. Didn't kill my stove- and was able to keep most of the heat and steam outside, yay!

Tried out a new thing- homemade corn nuts.  Used about 2 cups dried corn. Followed the online recipe with big dried corn, overnight soak- the corn even went into a bag and sat in the fridge for another day before I oven toasted them up today... and tossed them with some soy and wasabi.. They are ok, but not great.. it needs tinkering.
I think the overnight soak is good.. but I think they need a short cooking too to really get a full hydration going on before they get baked. They had some dense chewy inside action that indicated not good enough hydration before baking.
Tossed the bag with about a quarter cup of veggie oil and a goodly shaking of salt. Toasted it off in 5 minute increments, stirring, for about a half hour... at the end they started wanting to pop like popcorn, so I pulled them out... but they really could have used another 5-10 minutes worth of toasting and roasting to get all of them better crispy dried. Not sure if that means I should just use a deeper pan to contain the popping, or finish them off with a goodly stovetop toasting before finishing them off. I might toss this batch back in the oven after I kill the heat after dinner to toast/dry out a bit more honestly.

I poured them hot out of the oven into a big metal bowl, and drizzled they soy over.. it actually sizzled because the corn was so hot. Stirred in a couple spoons at a time about half a can of wasabi powder, and another goodly shake of salt. It took a lot of wasabi for them to have a good hit of it. They do have a nice corn/popcorn flavor to them.. they just need a bit of tinkering to get a nice crunchy baked corn snack. Chick peas are still easier. Gonna use the other half of that can in a bit to make up a nice batch of wasabi peas, yum. I think perhaps with a better cooked up corn batch I want to try coconut oil and some caramelized sugar/spices mix. These kernels are nicely sweet enough on their own I think a good salty caramel version of this would be good.

Dinner tonight is Moms meatloaf. Roasted up four huge golden beets to pair up with that third head of glorious cauliflower I managed to not pickle up and save for dinner tonight, lol. Still got that head of cabbage languishing in the crisper, so going to do up a batch of horseradish and mustard cole slaw. Some tater tots and biscuits... slice up a plate of tomatoes and cukes with some pickles to round it off.. mmmmm.

8/27: kind of a cleanup day. Got the potting table cleaned up and such so I can start stacking other stuff on it. Cleared off and logged up the last of the bulbs finally.. pretty soon it's time to start planting them in again. That's ok.. I've scoped out the lasagna beds. Bed 1 has some nicely established blue borage, and a decent bronze fennel. Bonne plant in the Agastache Foeniculum, yellow and blue baptistias, a rosemary and a lavender, and some allium bulgaricum bulbs. Bed 2 has a great bronze fennel in the back, the lemon balms in the corners are well established and going to seed, and a nice blue borage popped up. Gonna plant in the blue eye grass and a mix of short alliums- molly and neopolitanum- yellow and white upcups of happy. Bed 3 has the best bronze fennel, and two good blue borage in the corners- think I might put in my asparagus babies there next spring.
Then the nice big clear patch around the pole. Needs a bit of cleaning, but meh.
But since I do have the other more shade loving plants too.. time to plan some planning, heh.
Solarium first. Need to dig out a goodly bit of the special irises and throw them into pots to hold up for some 2018 watching. They are the closest to the door, and I want to start keeping that space clear and open more for some spring slab plans. I also want to cull them out to plant elsewhere in the yard once I figure out what their actual blooming is. The whole wee corner could use some serious cleanup in general.. and I also have a lovely Solomons Seal to plant in back there- it prefers some shade and is a very beneficial insect friendly plant. I also have a white bleeding heart to try to get to grow too- I somehow always seem to kill bleeding hearts, sigh.
The counters are open for all the canning stuff to sit for cooling. Tried out a batch of fresh fridge cuke pickles using Milwaukee pickle juice I saved and froze up. Got another crockpot of regular enchilada sauce set up, and will turn around and repeat tomorrow- then do a double batch of pints on the big burner. Now that I've cranked out double the half pints from the 2015 tally, it's time to start working up on those pints.
After that, salsa is on hold again- I've already diced and tossed the peppers in the freezer. But since I do need skinned tomatoes for sloppy joe sauce, the ones in the freezer are going to go to doing up that batch first. I only need to do one double batch to fill the case I want to make of that.

Pulled the beer garden radish roots today, lol.. the little snubs they were, not suitable for any eating. So much for another batch of 1720 relish. They really did expend themselves on seed, which is what I really hoped for from the 7 seeds I planted last year so I can start growing them regularly... and a few seedlings are already self sowing up and need dividing to hopefully get a late fall harvest of some decent roots. Also time to set up another round of the Helios radish- that was damn fine, and we still got time before the frosts get frosty enough that I can grow out another batch.
 Nasturtiums behind the kennel are looking great. So much so I'm seriously reconsidering my idea of building a raised screen for the vines to grow on for some optimal seed harvesting. The two pheonix nasts in containers haven't proven to be particularly spectacular in their blooms- but their seed should be good. The longer vines I think I might need to raise up to be able to catch as much seed goodness as I can- green or ripe for planting, I'm pretty much tapped out on all nast seed!!

8/30: For the last couple days, I've been doing a lot of cleaning and re-arranging of the living room and solarium..  Got the solarium finished cleaned up to get the hot tub out of there. It's been nothing more than a cabinet for years, and it's a huge space eater and it's time to go. I'm looking forward to the extra space to reshuffle shelves again and get some more use out of my workshop. Got a dozen pints worth of enchilada sauce sitting in the fridge to can up tomorrow, and pulled out the edamame for pickling up tomorrow as well.
Picked off another large round of tomatoes, probably another 40 pounds. I think so far I might have picked about 100 pounds total. I've already got another round of Freds cored and in the fridge to set up a crock of HOT enchilada sauce. They are far more prone to cracking than the Romans are. I also have harvested enough of the "perfume" peppers to smoke off a smoker full, those are now cooling to go into the dehydrator overnight to get crispy dry. Got enough of the Roman Candles sitting that I'm going to run a smoker full of those tomorrow and finish with dehydrating. They are such a nice dense paste that they should take to smoking particularly well. And I'm almost out of smoked tomatoes, so it will be nice to have more.
I picked up my first eyeshadow in about 20 years, lol. And it's not even to use as makeup. It's for detailing mini's with. Much like regular paints do go into the "specialty" paints like nail polish does, and I've got a lot of nail polish.. Artists chalks, pastels, and oils only go so far in the color realms- eye shadow fills in the "specialty" dust colors.

8/31... last day of August, and Labor Day weekend on right now. Had a bat in the house this morning, the three of us shooed it off to the solarium and closed it off, and it tucked up cute and tuckered out in a corner. During the day while it snoozed, we got the old hot tub out with the help of Dave and Matt. Sooo much space open now. After the tub was out, I left the inside doors open again while I was cleaning, sorting, and doing up batches of canning. Ocelot of course cried all day long about losing her favorite laying around spot and the kitchen window being closed, poor thing.
Got a dozen pints of enchilada sauce canned up. And did up that 2.5 lb bag of edamame into 9 half pint jars- one didn't seal and went into the fridge. I have to say I'm over the moon happy with having the big water bath kettle outside for this. I'd like to pick up a couple more cinder blocks to help enclose the fire ring better rather than having to shift them, lol. And one of my trivets has proven to be the perfect size to put into the bottom of the canning kettle. Since the new rack I just picked up for 15 bucks was too big, I get to return it anyway, and I'm still good to go.

It's been pretty nice to really pull apart and sort out stuff in the solarium. The hot tub cramped out space that will now be better used. I've already shifted the workbench over those crucial 10 inches to center it under the above lighting and shelving, and have dropped the series of drawers into it's corner niche properly.

9/2: Happy Labor Day weekend... I'm depressed as hell that I didn't get to go to faire this year, not once- first time in 20+ years since that has happened. Too much other going on, too much I just don't blog about here. And this weekend, it does feel like the death of summer is already been upon us, and this is more like the first nice weekend of fall than the last one of summer.
Today, I hurt. The summer is badly catching up on me, the early season malaise, the June food poisoning, the bad fall in early July that barely healed up enough to be functional for the back to back work weeks.. then the catching up on harvesting, processing, cleaning, and autumn setting up ever since then. Yesterday was a blur of doing stuff... Today started out with watering everything, laundry, firing up the smoker and setting up another load of smoked roman candle tomatoes, swapping over the other regular batch of them in the dehydrator to finish up- ended up with a couple trays of not quite done fresh sandwiched between 3 trays of smoked and on low overnight in the solarium... another round of enchilada sauce in the crockpot, this one a Flaming Fred. It's 4 heavy quarts of Freds, topped of with a few roman flames, and done up extra spicy. I've pulled the 10 lb bag of tomatoes from the freezer for making sloppy joe sauce, but they won't be thawed enough to slip till tomorrow, so I'll have to toss them into the fridge overnight.
Then it was nice to sit and relax for a bit in the car to go out to mums to drop off a couple bots and pick up the black audi to bring home. Stopped at Sawyer- got a couple glorious HUGE heads of cauliflower for 3 bucks each for more lemony cauliflower, a nice round of hot banana and sweet banana peppers, and a goodly handful of hot finger peppers- all local grown. Hit Piggotts, and picked up a 5 dollar bag deal of a large amount of hot bananas that were fully ripe and oranging out, and a cram full of a bunch of jalapenos for dehydrating. I've realized I still have a goodly store of smoked hot and mild, mild dehydrated, and smoked flaming hot peppers, but pretty much out of some standard dehydrated hots, lol. All the banana peppers I'm going to pickle up, we are out of pickled peppers of all sorts too.
And kind of a special squee- picked my my first seed packets for next year, lol. a container zuke, some foxgloves, a particularly fragrant sweet pea, and Sungold cherry tomato. With Autumn on the there is already hope for spring. The first harvest has long past, and the second coming up. The uptick is that we are only about 60 days from Halloween!
So now spaghetti sauce is simmering for dinner, and it's time to start some water.. probably well past time to finally post this entry, lol.