Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Garden In August

I've been doing what the knowing Gardener About Town does in August: beginning the processes for putting the garden to bed for the winter.  I'd like to do it right just once, to say I've done it.

If you think it's too early even for the frozen north, you'd be surprised at all there is to do, and how slowly and carefully I do things I'm trying to do well.

All of my plants in pots need to come out of their pots.  I can store any plastic or metal pots in the garden shed, but clay pots only survive the winter in the house or in the garage ( on shelves off of the ground).  I empty my pots and wash them out in a big tub.  This takes awhile with my dozens of pots.

If they're a potential houseplant or tender perennial I'd like to overwinter, they need time to acclimate to their new surroundings.  I am beyond guilty of having a garage full of plants in November that still look sooo nice, surely I should bring them inside.

If they're an annual or herb, I will be giving them a spot in a garden bed where they can finish out the season.

There is the wisdom that hitting the weeds hard late in the season doesn't give them time to drop seeds or recover before winter.  I've been working on that, but as you can see in the pictures below, they are wily and determined.

I have some new daylilies and a few perennials that have been getting a start in the vegetable beds this season.  They need their own spot in the garden, and many established plants are overgrown and crowded and really need to be moved.  There's time between now and about September 26th to move, water in and establish new plantings.  That date is my own measure of the earliest date that I've seen the garden get shut down by the early arrival of winter.

I'll need to clear everything out of the vegetable beds once things finish there so it's all ready for spring plantings.  

It's time to update my garden maps so I know what might be added in the spring, and what is currently where.  I've gone back to trying to know each plant in the garden by its common and botanical names.

See why I need an early start?  Here's how things look today:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jessica Robinson's Farmhouse Apple Crisp

I wrote about the New England Farmgirl Cookbook the other day on my Adventures of Merlyn Perilous blog, and today I tried the apple crisp.

It didn't seem likely I'd find granulated maple sugar at the store, and I did not.  I used an additional 3/4 cup of brown sugar instead.  I'll keep an eye out while shopping elsewhere.

I lack Apple coring skills, though I have a decent enough Apple corer.  Apples, as it turns out, don't like to stand upright.  They want to sit angled so you aren't certain of getting that problematic core.

Even so, the recipe was simple, and did not say you needed to cool before adding a scoop of ice cream, so I went for it.  Almost like a warm Carmel Apple, this is the best apple crisp I've ever had.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Orphan Black (Season 1)

I've seen the first three episodes of the twisty suspense series Orphan Black on Amazon Prime.  It has been on my radar for a long time, but I never took the time to watch it.

We're in a real television doldrums for the sort of science fiction/suspense/horror shows I watch.  Thank heavens for Netflix and now Amazon Prime for offering some good things I haven't seen.

The basic premise is that our protagonist Sarah sees a woman who looks exactly like her walk in front of a train.  Her moral compass is a bit off, so she steals the woman's identification and identity, hoping to get what she can from the hapless train victim.

The woman was a police detective, on administrative leave for shooting an innocent woman armed with nothing but a cell phone.  The detective's partner and shrink try to help her as she digs herself in deeper in the impersonation.

To complicate things, she begins getting demanding calls and texts from a woman desperate to get in touch with her.  When the woman tracks her down, Sarah sees she is also identical in facial features to herself, something she can barely register before the woman is shot in the head before her eyes.

There are at least two more of these women in the city, who grudgingly tell Sarah they're all clones, and someone is killing them (the series of clones) off.

Tatiana Maslany does an astonishing job of portraying multiple characters with the same face and completely different mannerisms and personalities.  I used to marvel at actors playing identical twins, but this goes way beyond that.  She's just fascinating.

Each episode is so suspenseful and fast moving.  Great for science fiction and mystery lovers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Getting Old Rolls Of Film Processed

As if I don't have enough photographs to sort out, I somehow have a few old rolls of undeveloped film. 

I hoped I might be able to bring these to light with my photo scanner, but apparently that doesn't work.

I found instructions for developing them yourself without a darkroom, even, but meh.

I've bookmarked this site https://thedarkroom.com/    They say they'll process, digitalize, put on CD, and send you the negatives (which you actually can scan with your scanner).  They will even correct colors (apparently older unprocessed film takes on odd reddish coloring) if you don't have any photo editing program yourself.

Another tool in the quest to get my scrapbooks in divine shape.

I haven't used them yet myself, but I will be sending in a couple of rolls to see what is unearthed.

Monday, June 27, 2016

DOA In The Kitchen: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

While making out the weekly grocery list I ask for suggestions for the next week's menu.  Sometimes I get nothing, sometimes something new is requested.  This week, chicken with wild rice soup was offered, and the recipe that was suggested was from Allrecipes.com.


This soup doesn't take long at all to make, thanks to the quick cooking rice required.  I used Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice mix.  I feared the soup would be sort of bland tasting, but it was flavorful and tasted better with every bite.

Served with Vienna bread, crackers for the cracker fans, and slices of Swiss and cheddar cheese, everyone loved it and had multiple bowls.

The only place I varied from the recipe was the part where they have you take the chicken mixture off the burner briefly, I simply turned the heat down to three.

I'm looking for a recipe for another day using real wild rice, but this one will do for a nice Sunday soup for the nonce.

Friday, June 17, 2016

DOA In the Garden With The Plants and Rabbits

Rabbits love peppers, even jalapenos.  And Jacob's Ladder, and lots of stuff.  They're babies though, just babies.  I continue my efforts to block them from the vegetable garden.  Lots in bloom despite them.

Daylily Barbara Mitchell

A Peony I gave to my sister lives on somehow and will need rescuing.

My beautiful smoke bush. My son hates it because it pokes him while he mows. 

California Wonder Peppers before rabbit attack.  3 left.

My watermelon wishes it were consistently warmer, but otherwise it is happy enough.  Probably busy sending down those deep roots.


Cosmos in bloom

Beagle beagle beagle.

Spiderwort and heuchera

Apple Zestar, the first apples that have grown since planting



Daylily Lullaby Baby

Finally the vegetable garden is looking good, though under attack.

Coleus and gomphrena

Persian Shield