Saturday, July 5, 2014

Today's Harvest July 5th

Today is our 4th of July here because today is the day we are having the fireworks down at the marina. I did put up a flag banner (we always have a couple of flag up, the US one and an Army one) across the porch and we had some great ribs from the grill yesterday but today we will really go and celebrate.
Before we go to the marina though (about 6:00 p.m. even though the fireworks won't start until around 9:00 p.m. because we will never get a decent place to park if we don't go early--the marina is just a small country place with a dirt road), we basically just sit around bored until time to go.
 I got down to the garden. The garden is scary right now. The weeds have grown higher than most of the plants and you want to use caution stepping into them. I didn't see anything to worry about on my trip down there today though. I did have to search some to find the peppers and herbs but once found they were still producing. There is also a few nice tomatoes on a tomato plant that actually had a cage to grow on but they aren't ripe yet.
Anyway, I went back and got some scissors and trimmed up the thyme and sage. I did make a sad discovery when I trimmed the thyme is lemon thyme which to me is like the lemon balm...we might never use it (it was not labeled lemon thyme when I bought it). I am going to dry it though and give it a try on the potatoes and maybe some fish or chicken and see how it goes. There was a lot of that thyme! And some big leaves on the sage. I haven't had fresh sage for a while now so am pleased to get some.
On the way back I stopped in the greenhouse and trimmed the peppermint. Other finds in the garden were one lonely ripe blueberry and a pepper and then 2 more peppers in the pots by the porch.

Sorry for the phone picture my camera is deleting pictures at random when I take them :(  All the herbs are in the oven on cookie sheets. With a gas oven the pilot will have them dry in no time. I will probably have to turn that thyme several times though.
I ate the blueberry (a little tart, it could have stayed out there another day but I was afraid a bird would get it) and the peppers are in the frig, if we don't use them up quickly, they will be frozen.
It is a little cooler today so we aren't as miserable and may make for a very nice 4th sitting out at the marina by the lake waiting for the fireworks. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Calhoun Falls, Where There Are No Actual Falls

We didn't plan on hiking when we took our little trip to Calhoun Falls, SC. We planned on seeing some falls. The joke was on us when we found out there weren't any actual fall in Calhoun Falls, SC. It seems like this would be apparent when you looked it up online. Phil had looked it up before we went and we both looked it up when we got back and could not find where it tells anywhere that there are no longer any falls in Calhoun FALLS, SC. Apparently when the Savannah river was dammed the falls were lost in favor of the new lake it created.
Anyway, I have never seen a more desolate road as I have going to Calhoun Falls. The town leading up to it are just completely dying. One called Willington  had some beautiful old houses and buildings but only a few brick buildings (and by few I mean like two or three) made up the main street and they were abandoned. There were beautiful old churches all shuttered and closed. Also a town called Mt. Caramel was in the same state. Gorgeous old mansion houses but only one business in town and that was a furniture store. There were also some nice old farms but most were in a state of disrepair. I tried to get a picture of one farm that had a huge brick silo with no roof and a huge tree growing out the top of it, but I was unable to get the picture fast enough as we passed. I bet it hadn't been used in over a 100 years to get that big a tree growing out of it.
I really loved the countryside. I would love to live there but it was sad too because I wondered how you could live there without traveling forever to find work.
Now Calhoun Falls does have a state park which is where we ended up. It is a lot like the park we have here on the lake right by the house except it is larger and has tennis courts. It has a swimming area and camp sites and picnic sites. It is also all in a bit of disrepair. We were there on a Sunday and there were maybe 3 other cars that we saw in there which is probably why it is in disrepair. We are having the same problem with the park we have by the house, it isn't getting used enough to pay for its upkeep anymore.
So we had gotten out and drove all that way there and we wanted to do something and they had a few "nature trails".  I am a bit sceptical when it comes to "trails" here in the South. Being from New Hampshire, I find the woods here aren't all that nice. They just aren't the same kind of pretty. I find myself missing home more and more.

The first part of the trail was promising as I saw a deer right off. Phil missed it but I saw it running away from us. Unfortunately, she was way too fast to get a picture.

There were these little bridges across ditches where water used to run. The boards under your feet on this one moved and the railings on one I went across just leaned way back on me.

Here are a couple of pictures of the lake on one spot of the trail where you could get to the lake by just stepping off a few feet.

This was actually a very steep downhill on the side of the trail but it doesn't look like it from the picture.

There were other trails but the good podiatrist I went to here was not able to fix my foot....well he could but he couldn't fix it with anything my insurance would cover so by the time I was done with my 1.75 miles my feet, ankles and knees were killing me, plus it was pretty darn hot by then so that was enough. That was it for our little day trip to South Carolina. It was pleasant but not exactly a trip we will repeat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More Harvests from the Kid's Garden

Yesterday before I left work I got out to the garden and pulled the onions. Some of them formed small onions and some of them didn't do anything at all. The red onions did the best and the yellow ones did the worst.

And while I was out there I picked the tomatoes. Some need to ripen a little more but the birds are eating the red ones so I picked them a bit early to save them from the birds.  These tomatoes are red, yellow and red with green shoulders. The red ones are Celebrity, the yellow ones are lemon boy and the red with green shoulders should be Mr. Stripey.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Our New Farmer's Market!

It was the ladies in the Human Resources office (they have any office inside our Club) who told me that a Farmer's Market had been started in town. It is open Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 12:00. Phil and I forgot about it last week but we got there this week.
It's real small and located on one of the few old brick streets still left in town. The street really isn't used now and is basically an alley between the old buildings.
When I say small, I mean --real small. There were only 8 tables this weekend when we went. I stole this picture off of the website because I forgot to take one. This picture makes it look like a lot more than it is but if you count umbrellas, there were only 8 tables the day that picture was taken too.

But small does not mean that they didn't have anything good to offer. We found several good things to  buy and we wanted to support this market so that maybe it could grow so we bought from 5 of the 8 tables.
One table gave us a spoon with a sample of some of the best grits I have ever eaten and we bought this 2 lb bag from them for $5. Worth every penny.

Phil got himself some blueberries and tomatoes. I could not find the tomatoes when I went to take this picture so I take it they were pretty good. 

I also got some cucumbers (also gone today),a pint of honey $8 and a couple of black eyed-Susan plants for a dollar each.

There was a man selling grass fed beef out of a freezer as well. I would have liked to get some of that but it was just a little too expensive but maybe next times we'll try a little. There was also a table with just natural cleaners and I didn't buy anything from that table so maybe next time on that one too. They are supposed to have music some weeks and I will be interested to see that as well.
Anyway, the market runs through September and I hope it really catches on and gets even more tables.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Harvest from the Kid's Garden

Some of you have asked me about the kid's garden at the Club. Unfortunately, I have hardly no time to get out there and it has been horribly hot here lately. I can't take kids outside when it is that hot. I thought maybe I could take them in the morning but my 7:30 when I get there it is already too hot. I did make a quick run out to it today though and this is what I brought in. Even with all the grass weeds that are growing in the beds, they are still producing just fine.

There are a lot more tomatoes and peppers out there but there aren't at lot of squash and the pattypan squash has done the worst so far, the peppers have done the best with the tomatoes running a close second. No cucumbers. The heat beat them right away and very few carrots as the soil in our beds needs more organic matter, I think, it is a bit hard and sandy. We got strawberries but the ants eat them before we can get them. We had a few blueberries too but not many. Most of the herbs that survived the late frost are still looking good but the beans are suffering in the heat.
Here is a picture my boss took.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

They had rhubarb at one of the grocery stores I went to this week. We don't get rhubarb down here often and they stick the strawberries right next to it--on sale--when they do.
When I was a child we had a patch of rhubarb in the yard and we children would go steal stalks of it to eat. My mother thought this was silly but we didn't get many treats so we took what we could get. My mother never did use any of it though I am sure my grandmother who's house it had been, once used it as it was a well taken care of, large patch. Anyway, it is a shame my mother never used it. My mother could cook but she wasn't real fond of cooking so she wasn't real adventuresome with her cooking.
Anyway, as I was saying, the rhubarb was on sale and I got several stalks...just over a pound...and two pints of strawberries so I could make pie.
I started making the pie early on Sunday because it is ridiculously hot here now and the house is constantly hot so no one really wants to cook anything...but we had to have that pie...
Things went pretty well until I did the crust. Like I mentioned it is hot which made my shortening real, real soft and made the crust too wet and it just wanted to tear and stick no matter what I did (and I am usually fairly good at crusts) until I got frustrated and threw it all in the trash and started again...with less shortening. The second crust went fine.
I put a cookie sheet underneath the pie in case it spilled over when cooking. From now on I will go with foil as I now have a pan that I doubt will ever come clean and an oven that needs cleaning as well.
And here it is...

Without a doubt the best pie I have made in a long time even with the spill over. It wasn't too sweet and it wasn't tart at all. It was just right. Plus the crust was so good and flaky!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Around a pound of rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
2 pints of strawberries, pitted and sliced
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
 pastry for double crust 10 inch pie

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Prepare bottom crust. Pour in filling. Make top crust. Put FOIL all under where the pie goes in the oven. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes on 425 degrees, then turn down to 375 and bake 50 minutes longer.