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Archive for October, 2008

I have more seeds than I could possibly plant next year and I could toss them to the worms or the compost bin, but I would much rather send them off to someone who could enjoy them.  I am working out in my head how to do this, but I am thinking I would post the address on my website where people could send a SASE and then I could just put the seeds in there and send back. SASE = self addressed stamped envelope (an envelope inside the envelope you are sending with your address and postage already on it).  That way it won’t cost me anything and all it will cost the person is postage and 2 envelopes.  I am sure I can’t send anywhere like out of the country – there has to be laws about that, but within the USA should be ok.  If I start with Marigold seeds to see how this works all should go smoothly.  Envelopes at the post office go through this machine which could crush seeds so that’s why most seed companies send your order in a box or bubble wrapped envelope (these don’t visit the machine) and they arrive uncrushed.  That’s what I read on the internet and it makes sense since I have received seeds from others that were in fact “crushed” and no good.  Marigold seeds won’t crush and they are very easy to grow!

I am open to suggestions so if anyone has ideas or experience, I am all ears.  Otherwise, watch the website or my blog to see what I come up with!

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Not quite 2 headlines that go together – don’t think I want to indulge in a recipe made with compost, except of course if I were a worm.  Anyways, I tend to my compost piles/bins religiously and I also feed my worms when they are hungry.  I have blogged about all of the above previously and today I received one of my newsletters that had a Great article on composting.  I share here.  A second newsletter I received today is Local Harvest, which is such a wonderful tool for those looking for local produce and also for those who wish to sell their wares.  You can subscribe to the normal newsletter and also to one specific to your area – what events are taking place within a certain mile radius.  It’s worth it .. keeps you in touch with local and real.

Now the recipe – I found this recipe and adjusted it somewhat.  It calls for yams and since I have been experimenting with all sorts of new winter squash lately… here’s the scoop.  Sometimes, you can only take so much yam or winter squash.  It is great for you but a bit heavy if you consume too much.  So here you are, baking/steaming this new winter squash and everyone has a spoonful or two.  Now what do you do with the remaining?  Sure leftovers work (for one day) – then what?!  I substituted the winter squash where the recipe calls for yam and you can do this with any recipe I would think, same consistency (kinda) and it is very healthy! 

Cinnamon-Yam (or winter squash you prefer) Biscuits

2 cups flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder (which I think is WAY too much – all you taste is baking powder and I hate that!) so adjust that baking powder amount to like 2 instead of 4 and maybe less.  I can eat a flat biscuit if it tastes great! 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. allspice, 1/2 cup butter,cut into small pieces (1 stick)  I didn’t use that much either!  One stick of butter??  that’s insane.  I added more milk. 1 cup mashed cooked yam and 6 tbsp. milk or more if needed.  Oven preheats at 425.  Combine all dry material, cut in butter. Beat yam and 6 tbspn. of milk together and stir into dry mix.  Form a soft dough – turn onto lightly floured surface and cut out circle biscuits 3/4 inch thick.  Bake about 18 minutes.

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We arrived back home today to snow flurries and I thought frost was bad!  The frost did arrive down south actually a day earlier than up  north here, so for the record Frost October 20th in Southern IL and October 21st in Northern IL.  oh gosh, here comes winter …    Another major, major difference with the 2 locations has been gas prices all summer.  We watched them fluctuate day to day and as we made our trips down south we watched as the prices went lower and lower.  This weekend we paid $2.83 up in Northern IL and $2.14 down south……….What’s up with that?!?!  I did gather all the Luffa and it is now drying on racks indoors

  Soon I will unveil the sponges within!  We also went to a small town Fall festival and Halloween parade – it was the kid’s parade and there were 300 kids parading down the main street in their costumes….they were So proud!  Check out this old water tower in the town –

We had quite a scare with 2 of the dogs – they disappeared for hours!  There is no way we could go looking for them since we would get lost ourselves in the country.  They did find their way back home and I was so Happy!  Here’s Frankie ….

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Tuesday this week, October 21st, we were hit with our first frost and I captured some pictures.  Down south I am hoping we have a few more weeks of frost free, but according to my calendar frost appeared on October 29th last year.  I am thinking that my two different areas have basically the same frost dates, the difference in weather is a more milder winter down south than up here in Northern Illinois.  I never really considered myself living in Northern IL (always said western suburbs) but if ya look at the map, it surely is Northern!

I mentioned in the heading title “I’m Famous!”  Well, a few months back I started blogging for GRIT magazine and it can be tough at times to come up with a topic since I am not officially living in the country yet and when I read what the other bloggers are writing about … well, it’s tough.  The staff over at GRIT have made it very easy though and in this month’s issue of the magazine the editor, Hank Will, names each of us bloggers by Name!  So they really appreciate our input and it’s totally awesome to be recognized IN Print and for everyone to See!  Blogging at GRIT is a little more personal and they sure do make ya feel at home … stop on over … GRIT blogs.

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I heard we may have had frost last night but not sure … either way, it’s right around the corner and then winter … blah!  The main reason for the “blah” besides the total chill that runs down my spine is the fact I can’t garden outside for many months.  I can organize all the seeds I have, tidy up my solarium and start some seeds under the lights (herbs for using all winter, some hard to get going flowers)  and plan, plan, plan for next year.   I can work on some good recipes too … like this one I made yesterday – Flaxseed Muffins.  They are way healthy and very tasty!

 Flax muffins

I have to say I am very happy with my Spinach this past season, planting in the spring and then saving the seed to plant in the fall (which I did) and I have quite a bit of seed left for next spring.  There is still some spinach out there which I should harvest today before that frost knocks the life out of it.

 Fall crop of spinach

I will be undertaking a new project, which is way overdue, of revamping and decorating my fireplace.  I did start a website and will now have more time to work on that, so that’s cool and the new blog will have crafty stuff on it; such as the fireplace makeover with dried flowers from the gardens! 

The Swans have all but grown up!  You can still see the difference between the adult swan and the babies, who are almost 5 months old (couple more weeks).  When the cold sets in they will be leaving the area and a new pair, or maybe the same pair, will return next spring and have another flock of babies.  It really is remarkable watching the baby swans grow!

 Adult swan in the middle of 2 young swans and then one of the younger swans spreading its wings!

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What a nice, long wonderful weekend down south with family and friends – it’s so hard to leave and come back up north to the old routine life.  The Luffa is starting to dry on the vine …

  2 luffa on vines Luffa half dried

The Coneflower (Enchinacea) has gone to seed also –

 At first I thought this was some type of moth, but after I googled it, I found it to be a Painted Lady Butterfly – quite common.  We visited the State Park nearby and captured a deer roaming the trails …

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This weekend is Stan’s birthday … woohoo and we are going down south with both kids (wow!) and my sister’s family.  We will most definitely have a great time and I am bringing all kinds of food.  I do need to pick up a birthday cake tomorrow, but I did make a banana bread for breakfast or snacks …

 And I made this Garlic dip which I found on Recipezaar.  I had to roast a whole head of garlic and then add all the other ingredients ….. it’s chilling now.  I decided to start experimenting with Garlic since I am growing it in the garden … good thinkin! 

Check out this discovery … we went to another Fall Farm this past weekend and bought some more gourds which I talked about at The Crafty Garden Blog, but I didn’t mention The Delicata Squash we bought!  oh my goodness … it’s Good!

  Sweet and creamy tasting and so easy to bake.  Cut in half, place in a pan with 1/2″ of water, cover and cook at 375 for about 30 minutes.  Serve with butter and herbs or just plain.  We will be going back next week to pick up some more since this will be a dish we bring to Thanksgiving dinner.  It stores for 7-8 months too.  Yes, it will be growing in Deb’s Garden next year!

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