Monday, August 27, 2012

Billbasco Sauce

We have a bunch of cayenne peppers turing red in the garden, so Bill picked them and made tabasco...I mean Billbasco sauce.

The process went like this: chop 10-12 peppers, sprinkle with salt, heat in vinegar, blend. The end. 

In prudent kitchens, the blending would have been done in a blender. A covered blender. 

We don't have one of those. We have a stick blender, so all the aerosoled bits of burning hot pepper escaped into our kitchen. Bill made Billbasco sauce...and pepper spray.

I will recreate the scene for you.

Setting: old house. Late afternoon. Bill is in the kitchen over a steaming pot. JoAnna is in the next room over - the living room. An open doorway separates them. 

Bill: cough hack cough cough Arrrg! hack

JoAnna: Are you ok?

Bill: Don't come in here.

JoAnna: Do you need help?

Bill: cough gag Don't cough cough come in here!

The resulting sauce is actually quite mild. 
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Growin' growin' growin'

"Halloo!" say the chickens.

Would you like a tour of our garden? And by "our" we mean the garden that the humans so evilly will not let us get into?

This is the area from a previous post that was weed free. It is no longer as such. The bean teepees are just starting to produce fruit now that it is cooler. 

The winter squash are coming along. Butternut:

Sweet Lightning pumpkin. They are individual serving pumpkins. About 3-5 inches.

We've got 7-8 cantaloupe nearly ripe. This is the sweet passion variety and legend says if you eat them in the field in moonlight, much passion ensues.

Our sweet corn is taller than the weeds:

Some Thai hot peppers. This plant is so tall it reaches my mid-thigh. The little peppers will turn red and Bill has designs on stringing them up and drying them for winter stir-fry.

The fall beds have been planted. Lettuce, spinach, beets, and fall radishes, which can apparently be stored.

A pumpkin turning orange!

These are gold peppers. None have turned gold yet, and they start to rot when they touch the ground. We picked 15 or so and made tamale stuffed peppers with local pork.

The tomato zone... please notice the drip irrigation line. It took me a full week to install it throughout the garden and as soon as I was done, it rained. It's been raining about every 3 days since then.

The tomatoes have cracked under the pressure. I'll be making some tomato basil jam with them tomorrow.

This was Sunday morning's harvest. The beans have been dillied. The cantaloupe will be eaten tomorrow (Bill says the internet says to let them sit for three days after picking). The jalapenos will be stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. That's right.

We have a million jalapenos. This is one branch of one plant. We have 6 jalapeno plants. !!!! We've got some pickling and want to leave a bunch to turn red, but we've been eating a lot of spicy meals lately.

Shelly says, "that's enough. Time for a nap." Bye!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We got rain! And firewood!


It finally rained last weekend. We could have guessed that it would have to be a pretty powerful storm to make it to us, given that all the smaller storms were either deflected around us, or broke up before they reached us. Apparently drought is self-reinforcing, and it took a mighty storm to break through all the dryness.


The winds were about 80-90 mph and trees were toppled everywhere. The trees that didn't fall over lost huge branches, or their entire tops. We've got a ton of firewood for next year, and today the sounds of dueling chainsaws are echoing throughout the street.

The storm woke us up Sunday morning around 5:00. It was powerful enough that Bill suggested going downstairs to check the radar. By the time we were half-way down, we could hear branches slamming up against the house and decided to skip the radar and head for the basement.

When we were in the basement, the power went out. And then we wished we had thought to bring a flashlight on our evacuation.

As soon as it was light out, went to inspect the damage.

We're not entirely sure what happened to Bill's stove. Perhaps the wind pushed on the walls and the insulation leaked out. Besides that, it is unscathed.

The chickens, turkeys, garden and outbuildings are all fine. Our neighbors are all safe and power was restored by noon.

The 'hood looks a bit wind-tossed, though. What surprised me was how far branches flew from their trees. The branch in front of Bill is from that silver maple tree about 50 yards behind him.

The corn across the street was all bending in one direction, so we knew it had been straight-line winds and not a tornado. 

Our sad, scraggly old peach tree fell, missing our car by a few inches. 

Even after the big storm, we're still way, way down on rainfall. We've had about 2.5-3 inches this past week, but the creek down the road is still a bunch of stagnant, disconnected puddles. 

We'll be busy for a few weeks cutting up firewood. We've got maple, mulberry, locust, walnut... such a lovely variety. 

This is our neighbor's tree. Our neighbors on the other side lost a bunch too...they moved in 2 days before the storm. Such a crazy way to be welcomed to the neighborhood! We met them last night as they were clearing some brush. We're all bonding over the hum of chainsaws.
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