Thursday, September 27, 2012

Golden Light

The light has definitely shifted.
The sun comes up later and goes down earlier,
this combined with the smoke from fires
in SW Montana and in Idaho
and with the foliage color changes
contribute to this soft golden glow
that we are experiencing.
It is stunning.
It imbues a feeling of gentle softness and comfort.
Here is some of the bounty of the community.
People have walked in off the street in my tiny town
bearing these offerings from their trees.
Our office candy dish is full of pears right now and my desk
and the kitchen counter are loaded with these
gorgeous gems, italian prune plums.
I don't have to pack much for lunch.

Autumn Yard & Garden

The colors of Autumn are beginning their displays.
The remaining sunflowers with the virginia creeper in the background.
I have been hauling manure to ammend the garden soil.
As you can see, I have also been pulling weeds and renegade raspberry plants
and tilling and making beds ready for the planting of the garlic.
Thankfully I only have to off load the manure!
It gets piled into the truck by this handy farmer.
See? We could use some rain to settle the dust around here.
Colors are changing around the little pond.
And my bowling  gazing ball shines in the light of the echinacea.
The grapes are slowly changing color as they ripen.
And all is right with the world.


I harvested my garlic late this year.
We had a trip planned and everything was happening
at once and garlic had to wait till we returned.
It was in the ground too long, (my guess) and when it
was curing, a bunch of the cloves split.
I knew they wouldn't keep for the winter and
there was too much to eat right away,
so I sliced it thin, "slivered" it
and dehydrated it.
It turned out beautiful!
Now it is beautifully packed into bags and pretty jars for winter use and gifts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bear with me...

No, that is not a play on words.
I really do feel like I always have a bear with me
when I am at home these days.
Last night I was skuttling around the back porch mostly.
I was grilling and I was cleaning out my dehydrator,
which has been living and working on the back deck for a few weeks straight now,
and I came in the house for something, looked out the window,
and there was a big black bear with a tan snout.
This was a different bear from the 7 others I have already seen
just at home this year.
8 bears, in our yard! 8 different bears!
This guy was mosy-ing around the big apple tree that has no more
apples on it when he heard the neighbors start some diesel engine,
he then popped up on his hind legs, (making him seem well over
6 feet tall!) and then he ambled off into the woods.
I went for a walk later in the evening after splitting a 1/2 cord of nice
larch firewood, and on my way back into the yard I noted that
there he was again, out in the meadow.
I clapped my hands and shouted at him so that he would be aware of my presence,
actually my neighbor was walking with me,
so our presence and he dashed off into the woods by the creek.
I walked the neighbor home and then wandered down through the meadow
in the very near dark. I didn't see him again.
I did clap my hands as I emerged from the woods trail out into the meadow
by the apple trees just in case he was out there sniffing for a "midnight" snack.
So yeah, he brings the count to 8!
I think he has been living in the area for awhile.
I have been hearing "someone" in the trees that I call the "wild apples"
almost every evening, and there is a bear "bathroom" area
that shows signs of heavy apple eating and varying levels of "freshness" in the scat.

the meadow

The wild apples are several old trees that have been neglected for ages and
produce very small apples that are kind of mealy.
We have enough good producing apple trees that we haven't tried to prune or
revive this bunch. Plus we need to have some apples to share with the
abundant wildlife in our neighborhood! Maybe that will keep them out of the
good trees! Ha! I try to explain that to them, but the word is not getting out

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rosh Hashanah & Onion Bouquets

I had an abundance of eggs so I made several egg dishes over the course of the weekend.
This lovely loaf of challah was one of them, and just in time for Rosh Hashanah!
Some onions from the garden
hanging to cure.
I will clean them up and store them in the pantry.
I got a whole bunch of very small onions.
I thought that I had harvested everything and then when I started to till
prior to adding loads of manure, I found all kinds of little onions out there,
shallot sized. They are delicious! I just cleaned them up and used them right away
or stuck them in the fridge to use really soon.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Well, to start off,
note that the post title is plural.
I was piddling about on a little painting when
 I got home from work last night,
thinking that I really ought to be outside
enjoying the day and doing one of a thousand
yard/garden chores that need attention,
when I heard a weird noise.
I looked up from my drafting table
and saw the makers of the noise,
a mama bear and her 3 babies!
3 babies!
They were all fluffy and shiny and quite healthy looking.
They were all hanging out under the apple tree
that you were introduced to in yesterdays post.
The apples were already harvested by us.
But one little bear managed to get WAY out on a limb
and find one or two we were unable to get.
I ran out with the camera, they didn't see me.
Then I got thinking about that whole protective mama thing, and I went back in
 and observed from the window.
Mama and two babies wandered off leaving one baby in the tree.
I went out again; then tree baby started making baby bear noises
I didn't know what they meant, so I went back in
just in case it was saying,"hey ma! There is some human here
near the tree and I am scared, come save me!"
The family wandered off.
I heard them in the trees near the creek
and then nothing.
Mike got home.
We went and looked at the trees by the creek to see if
they had damaged them.
They hadn't. They didn't eat the apples either.
So Mike picked them.
I went to the garden for some dinner.
Here is what I found.
We had rice with brocoli and gilled planks of zuchini
drizzled with garlic infused olive oil and balsamic
with a grilled neighbor grown pork chop on the side.
I made applesauce while Mike cut up the remaining whole apples.
One more night of apple processing and we will be done with the transparents.
We have 3 more trees to harvest, but they are late ripeners,
so we get a break.
They are "keepers" too, so we just pick them and store them
for eating fresh.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Apple Season

Ah! A 3 day weekend.
One extra day around the place is such bliss!
The transparent apples are ripe and now they are picked
and most are processed.
Here is a view of my garden from the branches of the tree.

I used a short ladder and picked.
Then I climbed and picked.
And there were still apples I couldn't reach.
So I got some assistance!
As I was literally "out on a limb" I looked over my shoulder
and saw this! There didn't seem to be any life......
Some of the harvest.
As you pick, lots of apples fall to the ground.
Transparents are very thin skinned and bruise if you breathe on them.
So I had a separate trug for those that hit the ground.
They look ok for a little while and then they look aweful,
so I processed the "grounders" first.
Before and After.
And the dryer full of "leather".
My first attempt at fruit leather.
It is delicious! Oh My!
I used applesauce.
I used blueberries.
I used applesauce and blueberries together.....
I used fresh apples mixed with blueberries, delish!
Tonight I try just fresh apples in the blender!
I hope it works because it will allow me to skip that whole cooking step!