these are mouse melons. tiny little cucumbers that look like miniature watermelons. they are still producing! pick them when they are little for a more mellow flavor. they are delicious and the perfect pop of cucumber. i grew them on the trellis with the rest of the cukes and string beans. i am in love. they will be a staple now for sure.
it's salad time. though i tend to nibble these just as they are, with only a bit of sea salt added. i love radishes. and that cleared out radish spot was just what i needed. i started one too many tomato plants this season and was able to fit a small amount of the overflow into that opening. i'll have to be creative with the rest. i've been considering the flower garden. whatever works!
i found my favorite refrigerator pickle recipe! no cooking involved at all. just a little chopping and you're on your way to crispy fresh dill pickles::
it took some hunting to find the dill seed. i wound up having to order it online here, which worked out fine. that full pound of seed will last me through the summer i would think, probably much longer. you can find the recipe for these easy dill pickles right here. i made the following adjustments: 1/2 to 1 clove of garlic (my garlic was spicy and the first batch was a bit overwhelming, this part is to taste, you might like the garlic spice). more importantly here, don't use the full 1/3 cup of sugar. a couple tablespoons is fine, maybe even just one, or one and a half. the full 1/3 cup made these too sweet for our liking. other than that these are fabulous. you literally just stir everything together and dump it in the jar with your cucumbers. it couldn't be easier.
here is a delicious recipe from big b's mom. this cake warmed our house right up during the last snow storm::
blueberry cake, the recipe::
1/4 cup butter / room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup butter / room temp
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
sift the dry ingredients and set aside. cream the butter, add the sugar and beat until light. add the egg and beat well. add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. beat until smooth. fold in berries. spread in greased 9X9 inch pan. to make the topping, mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and then cut in the butter until crumbs form. sprinkle the crumbs over the batter in the pan. bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. you can use a cake tester to make sure it is done. let it cool, or don't. you probably won't be able to.
just after the first blizzard, one of the buff orpingtons started laying. and this time we didn't have to do any chicken training::
soon after, and even with all this cold and snow and ice, we started getting a darker brown egg. i had thought it was a speckled sussex egg but i found bean hanging out in the nesting box yesterday, which would make it a cuckoo maran egg::
i am so loving these hardy hens. we are in the coldest throws of winter and we're getting nearly a half dozen eggs a day. not sure how we ever survived without them.
this one was supposed to be posted mid-december so that you would have enough time to gather supplies and then surprise your favorite taco-maker for the holidays. but things happened and i wound up gifting my batches away for new years. so bookmark this for next year, or remember, taco-enthusiasts have birthdays too! it's a fact.
this is the simplest thing to make and infinitely better than any packet you will grab at the store. this recipe will make enough seasoning to fill an 8 oz. jar of your choice. it's the perfect amount for gifting::
mix all ingredients together thoroughly and dump lovingly into a jar. use 2 tablespoons of mix per pound of meat or meat alternative. or use more or less. it's really up to you and your taco spice preference. happy taco night!
do you have a few million miniature candy canes lying around like we do? i have the perfect solution: peppermint hot chocolate. it may seem hypocritical to dump candy into your organic hot chocolate mix, but remember, it's the holidays! or it was. and if we can't eat crap once a year, during the holidays (or shortly after), then when, i ask you, can we eat crap? the answer to this question should always be "during the holidays, by all means"::
pretty self explanatory. keep the candy cane in the wrapper and gently, but firmly, smash it with the bottom of a jar. then just tear it open and dump it in. i find that one miniature candy cane makes for the perfect portion of peppermint per cup of hot chocolate. if i could have thought of a way to say "cup of hot chocolate" using all p's, that last sentence would have been something to admire.
whipped cream is a necessity. the crumbled candy cane on top is not. i added it for those of you who like sprinkles or want a little crunch in your hot chocolate. i prefer mine without the crunch. the crunch shown here was provided by an additional candy cane being smashed up. don't go taking it from the perfect portion. unless of course you want a milder peppermint hot chocolate taste. to each his own.
the excitement over the first blue egg was something to behold. again though, it was found in a hole under the coop. this time it was my turn to crawl in after it. apparently all of the chickens need to be trained individually. they don't "watch and learn". i assumed buttercup would lead the way, but no such luck. we washed off the dirt and put the first blue egg into the nests with the faux eggs and chickadee has been using the boxes ever since. blue eggs were the big news around here until christmas eve morning when we found the goose egg::
i thought indy was playing a trick on me when she brought it in. i was on the phone and hadn't realized she went out to check the coop. it looked bigger than her hand. i knew this might happen with buttercup. my sister had told me a horrifying story of how she nursed her leghorn back to health after it had passed an egg almost the size of itself. the story involved said chicken living in the house and lots of warm baths....for the chicken. it also involved other details but you don't want to know them. i hope that buttercup will remain strong in her random large-egg-laying. she seemed unscathed this time around. and the egg was a double yolker as expected! a christmas miracle!!