Gardening and Preserving Goals Update June 5th 2017

It’s been a busy few weeks without a lot of time for updating. I did get my entire garden planted but of course I have run out of room. I thought my husband Scott would just shake his head at me but he surprised me instead by saying “where should we dig new beds?”

I am not sure I can handle more space to fill but I am thinking about it

Below is my goal list for preserving and gardening. Everything in bold is what I have accomplished so far. The only thing I have preserved is 2 batches of Dandelion Jelly and I see I forgot to add that to my goal list!

HERBS

  1. Garlic 
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

CROPS

  1. Asparagus
  2. Strawberries
  3. Raspberries
  4. Blackberries
  5. Cherries Sweet
  6. Cherries Sour
  7. Pears
  8. Peaches
  9. Grapes
  10. Rhubarb
  11. Sweet Peppers
  12. Banana Peppers
  13. Eggplant
  14. Onions
  15. Shallots
  16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
  17. Snap Bean Pole
  18. Peas
  19. Spinach
  20. Lettuce
  21. Cabbage
  22. Swiss Chard
  23. Beets
  24. Radish
  25. Carrots
  26. Cucumbers
  27. Pumpkins
  28. Gourds
  29. Winter Squash
  30. Zucchini
  31. Yellow Squash
  32. Cantaloupes
  33. Water Melon
  34. Sunflowers
  35. Tomatoes
  36. Celery
  37. Broccoli
  38. Potatoes
  39. Yellow Tomatoes
  40. Paste Tomatoes

PRESERVES

  1. Strawberry Jam
  2. Grape Jelly
  3. Black Raspberry Jam
  4. Red Raspberry Jam
  5. Peach Jam
  6. Pear Jelly
  7. Apple Jelly
  8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
  10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
  11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
  12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  13. Apple Sauce
  14. Grape Juice
  15. Pear Juice
  16. Tart Cherry Juice
  17. Pickled Beets
  18. Canned Beets
  19. Vegetable Stock
  20. Vegetable Soup
  21. Tomato Sauce
  22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
  23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
  24. Bread and Butter Pickles
  25. Frozen Corn
  26. Frozen Peppers
  27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  28. Red Root Relish
  29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
  30.  Dilly Deans
  31. Pickled Hot Peppers
  32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
  33.  Crushed Tomatoes
  34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
  35.  Canned Green Beans
  36. Frozen Peas
  37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  38. Chili
  39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
  40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Garlic


Shallots




I named my rooster “Cluck” he guards the garden from vicious predators.

I guess that’s it for now. Have to wait for Mother Nature to work her magic!

See you next time. -MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Gardening and Preserving Goals 2017


Each year I try to garden with a goal in mind. My goal is always to produce and preserve as much food as we need to get us through the winter and to help me spend as little as possible at the grocery store.

Last year I had some pretty lofty goals and fell completely flat on my face. It was a horrible growing season in 2016. Heat and drought took it’s toll on the garden and a late frost killed all of the blossoms on the fruit trees. I have never seen anything like it really.

I revisited my goals from last year and chopped some of the harder to reach goals out.

Here is a list of my family’s 2017 Gardening and Preserving Goals.

Herbs:

  1. Garlic
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

Crops:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Strawberries
  3. Raspberries
  4. Blackberries
  5. Cherries Sweet
  6. Cherries Sour
  7. Pears
  8. Peaches
  9. Grapes
  10. Rhubarb
  11. Sweet Peppers
  12. Banana Peppers
  13. Eggplant
  14. Onions
  15. Shallots
  16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
  17. Snap Bean Pole
  18. Peas
  19. Spinach
  20. Lettuce
  21. Cabbage
  22. Swiss Chard
  23. Beets
  24. Radish
  25. Carrots
  26. Cucumbers
  27. Pumpkins
  28. Gourds
  29. Winter Squash
  30. Zucchini
  31. Yellow Squash
  32. Cantaloupes
  33. Water Melon
  34. Sunflowers
  35. Tomatoes
  36. Celery
  37. Broccoli
  38. Potatoes
  39. Yellow Tomatoes
  40. Paste Tomatoes

wp-image-1321768642jpg.jpeg

Preserving:

  1. Strawberry Jam
  2. Grape Jelly
  3. Black Raspberry Jam
  4. Red Raspberry Jam
  5. Peach Jam
  6. Pear Jelly
  7. Apple Jelly
  8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
  10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
  11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
  12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  13. Apple Sauce
  14. Grape Juice
  15. Pear Juice
  16. Tart Cherry Juice
  17. Pickled Beets
  18. Canned Beets
  19. Vegetable Stock
  20. Vegetable Soup
  21. Tomato Sauce
  22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
  23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
  24. Bread and Butter Pickles
  25. Frozen Corn
  26. Frozen Peppers
  27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  28. Red Root Relish
  29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
  30.  Dilly Deans
  31. Pickled Hot Peppers
  32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
  33.  Crushed Tomatoes
  34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
  35.  Canned Green Beans
  36. Frozen Peas
  37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  38. Chili
  39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
  40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers

 

So far, we are already doing mighty fine with our 2017 gardening goals and we have had plenty of rain too. Yippee!

This last weekend we added 3 more raised veggie beds which brings my planting area to about 200 sq. ft. of space to work with. Yippee! Thank you Mr. Ripley for working so hard. (He said it was my Mother’s Day present).

To date we have planted carrots, peas, radish, and lettuce but much more will be planted by the end of this week.


How will I keep track of all of this? My journal. And lists. LOTS of lists. Should be interesting! Wish me luck and I will keep you updated. -MM

 

 

 

Weeks 3 and 4 Pop Bottles Meet Disaster

Mr. Gray is in trouble. BIG trouble. We have 2 kittens we adopted in October of this last year. I was seriously worried about my seedlings getting damaged by the cats since it is an open space in our basement that I grow my plants in. Our beloved cat Bernie, who died suddenly this fall was completely trained to not go near the “kids”.

Oh yes, it happened in the middle of the night, a crash in the basement and a scampering of feet tearing down the hallway past our bedroom door. I knew what the sound was and I just sighed and fell back asleep. I would survey the damage in the morning.

Sure enough Mr. Gray, yes I know it was him, dumped the whole rack of shelves. Nine pop bottles were scattered across the floor in all sorts of disarray. I didn’t have time to do anything with them because I needed to get to the bakery. I would work on the mess when I got home.

Nothing, unfortunately was salvageable. The second set of shelving was still upright so I hadn’t lost everything, but the basil, lemon balm, cilantro, onions, catnip, and others were crushed.

Today I did get 28 pepper plants and 4 watermelon plants transplanted into their own, larger spaces. They are doing well and hopefully Mr. Gray will not get into any more mischief with these guys. Now if we could just get some sun here in Western NY that would really, really help. -MM

 

Project Peacock SAL Update 2

It’s been three weeks since my last post on my Peacock friend and also since I joined a lovely group of ladies (and gentleman :)) in their Stitch-A-Long Group (SAL).

I have gotten a lot done mostly on its tail feathers but also some on the side branches.

Here is a photo of the last time I posted:
peacock sal 1

And here is a photo of what I have completed as of yesterday:

 The top has not changed so I concentrated on showing you the bottom. I still don’t know if this peacock is a boy or girl. Aren’t the boys the pretty ones and the girls the plain ones so they don’t draw attention from predators? I need some help on this.

See you in three weeks!

Please check out the other SAL member’s blogs by clicking on the links below. They are doing some fantastic work! If you are interested in joining the group please contact Avis who is the very first link.


Avis
ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusanKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineWendyMary MargaretTimothy

Dandelion Jelly-You Gotta Try It!

Last season I decided to try making dandelion jelly. I read people’s comments on how good it was and many of them said they would be making a double batch next year. So I figured, what the heck, why not?

I love trying things made from foraging. We don’t spray our yard (though my husband hates dandelions) and sitting in a grassy field of yellow flowers sounded heavenly.

 

Making the jelly is pretty simple. Certainly easier than making grape jelly.

What you need to do is go out and pick lots of dandelion flowers about 10 cups or so. Just the flowers. No stems or leaves and no flowers that have gone to seed. You need the yellow petals only which I used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut off from their green base. Just a straight cut right across. It’s ok if you have some green bits of leaf in there too but not too much. You will need 4 cups of petals.

Put the cut off petals in a large bowl and cover the petals with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge. You are basically making a dandelion tea and while in the fridge the petals will steep and draw the color and flavor of the dandelion out. This tea is very nutrient rich and you can drink it if you like, but I prefer the strong taste be turned into a sweet, mild jelly.

The next day strain the petal “soup” through clean cheesecloth over another bowl and save the liquid and discard the dandelion petals. What you will have left is dandelion tea which is what is used to make the jelly. You will need 3 cups of the tea. If the liquid doesn’t measure 3 cups, add enough water to the tea to bring it up to the 3 cups needed.

Pour the tea into a heavy bottom pot and add one package of powdered pectin and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to it. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently, then add 4-1/2 cups of granulated white sugar to it. Stir to dissolve the sugar and once again bring everything up to a full rolling boil that cannot be knocked down when stirring it. Skim off any foam. In the photo below you can see the pectin is setting up nicely in the jelly and it’s ready to can up.

Pour the hot jelly, leaving a 1/2 inch of head space, into hot sterilized jars and with hot sterilized lids, screw the bands on. I processed them for about 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

After the jars have cooled, label and store in a cool pantry. How pretty are these? I love the golden color!

You might ask what dandelion jelly tastes like? Honey. Seriously, I think it tastes like honey. It’s very mild and a tiny bit earthy but I love this jelly and the main ingredient, the dandelions are FREE! I will be making a double, maybe even a triple batch of this golden goodness this year.

It will be a couple of months before the weather in western, NY will be warm enough for dandelions to bloom, but when they do you will see me sitting out there in the yard collecting them. Hope you try it! -MM

Here are the ingredients in recipe form again.

3 Cups dandelion tea

4 1/2 Cups sugar

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 box powdered pectin

Combine dandelion tea, lemon juice and pectin into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.  Add your sugar and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and fill jars. Process 10 minutes in a boiling hot water bath. Cool, label and enjoy on a slice of homemade bread!

Poppy Remembrance Project

 

I finally finished it! It took two years on and off but I finally finished my lovely poppy remembrance field. This cross-stitch project was my most challenging yet and at times made my eyes cross but it was worth it. Over 23,000 stitches.poppy

All that’s left to do is mount and frame it. I will post a pic when I get it all put together.

Meanwhile I have already started a new project. A pretty peacock which I hope to get done by Christmas. My hubby doesn’t think I can get it done by then but after just one week I am well on my way.

peacock

I’ll keep posting my progress so check back next week! -MM

Garage Sale and Thrift Store Finds

We have an obsession here at the Ripley household. All three of us are obsessed with garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets. Just about every week we head out to one of the local thrift stores such as Good Will or Plato’s Closet and in the summer we are at the flea markets and local garage sales hunting for things we collect or need for the house.

Doug, my 15 year old, collects vintage video games and consoles but also picks up things to adorn his room or buys something to make his life easier such as a new desk chair.

My husband Scott loves to check out the clothing but also looks for old car stuff and stuff for me that he thinks I will like.

My weakness is old dishware and I collect interesting milk glass pieces.

All three of us have our collections but we also look for things that will be useful for our everyday lives.

For almost 2 years I had been searching for a light fixture for over our dining room table. I wanted something old and not brand new. Something with character but not dated like brass.

Scott would text me photos of lights but I didn’t like any of them really and didn’t want to settle.

Then one day I was at a local Good Will store and I found what I was looking for. It was heavy and  made in Italy and it was only 6.99! Perfect! I bought it and Scott rewired it and now I have the perfect light. It was worth the wait. And only $7.

light-fixture2light-fixture

Another item we waited a long time for was an outdoor table and chairs set. We found this gorgeous iron and beveled glass dinette set in a local antique shop for only $75! And believe you me it is HEAVY. I reupholstered the chairs with a colorful new print but other than that just a good cleaning was all it needed.

table-and-chairs

Two years ago we got this new desk for Doug at the same antique mall that we got the dinette set from. It clearly is not an antique or vintage but it is a good solid desk with lots of space in it for him and it was only $45.

dougs-desk

As a gamer the above desk chair was not very comfortable for Doug so a couple of weeks ago we found this reclining, much more comfortable chair for him at the local Good Will again and for only $40 it was a steal. It acts as a desk chair but also works well while he makes his YouTube gaming videos.

desk-chair

I admit I have a bit of an addiction to pretty dishware. Not only do I collect them but they don’t just sit on a shelf and collect dust. I actually use them. Thanksgiving, dinner parties, lunch dates even if I am alone on a rare occasion for dinner I will break out a place setting for myself and eat off of something pretty. I love old patterns as well as modern patterns. Just depends on my mood at the time. Here are a couple of beautiful finds I discovered at again our favorite Good Will and a local church garage sale this summer.

dishes

cup

For Christmas Scott searched for a new watch for me. He found a beautiful watch in an antique shop right on our main street and I love it.

In the past few years I have started to seriously appreciate and enjoy items from the past more than I do modern items. I do like brand new things of course but older things have a story to tell. They belonged to someone and they were loved by them. We throw too many things away without regard for their usefulness and life left in them.

A few posts ago I wrote about how I wanted to add the old in with the new in my life. Finding these treasures is another way of enjoying our history without sacrificing our modern future.

I hope we aren’t the only ones who enjoy collecting. Do you enjoy collecting? -MM