Archive for the ‘jalapeno peppers’ Tag

06-11-2015 Journal–Garden Update!   Leave a comment

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I thought I’d take a little time today to give you a general update of the garden. I realize that it’s still early in the season but with the warm weather finally arriving the plants have really begun to grow.  As usual there have been a few fatalities in the garden. Two jalapenos dried up and fell over and three of the cucumber plants followed suit.  The peppers had their stems cut which confused me for a time.  I thought it might have been deer but a nearby nurseryman  advised of a rash of cut worm complaints in recent weeks. They love chewing through the stems of healthy plants.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for them and squish as many as I possibly can.

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The cucumbers were ones I purchased from Lowes  and I’ve come to find out that most plants purchased from local nurseries seem to thrive much more than those purchased from these big box stores.  I  think it all comes down to how the plants are handled.  Unfortunately at any big box store, they hire a bunch of high school or college students at minimum wage and set them loose on the plants.  Too much watering is just as damaging as too little and those kids are clueless.

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With the new plants in hand I replaced the dead ones last night.  I spent some time chopping down the seed stalks of my rhubarb plants too.  This should help them fill out a little more and give me a better harvest when it comes time to make jam. I was surprised to find a number of rhubarb seedlings in one of the other frames. The seeds must have blown there last year and took root this spring.  I replanted them nearer the rhubarb patch will I’m going to be forced to enlarge next season.

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‘There always seems to be one on these guys hanging around.’

I finally began caging the tomato plants when I found the first bloom on one plant.  I was going to wait until later in the month but the plants are growing so quickly they’ll need the support from the cages to keep the fruit off the ground.

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As you can see by the photos the entire garden including the herbs are looking good.  If this keeps up for another couple of months we will have a ton of product to deal with  this Fall.  I have a feeling we’ll be canning a lot more than we did last year with a much larger variety as well.

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11-01-2014 Journal Entry– A Mexican Halloween!   2 comments

Another Halloween has come and gone and it ended last night with a visit from the grandson.  He’s now officially more than two years old and obsessed with all things Mickey Mouse.  He’s a big fan of the Mickey Mouse Club much as I was while growing up but for entirely different reasons.  He loves the music, wearing the ears, and dancing around. All I had was Annette Funicello and her two perky friends.  It’ll be a another ten years before he begins enjoying that part of the Mickey Mouse Club.

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Halloween is an odd holiday anyway and it’s more for the costumes and candy than anything else.  Since I’ve pretty much given up on that part of the holiday I figured I was safe for another year.  Leave it up to my better-half to come up with something for me do.  She walks in the door two nights ago carrying bags of groceries which I later found out were for some party being held at her work place.  She’d been anointed as the head cheerleader in that store as well as the official food preparer for all functions. Apparently my cooking services are available because of her and they get them free of charge.

I was sweetly requested to help prepare enough taco filling for ninety to a hundred tacos.  That’s ten plus pounds of cow, browned perfectly and seasoned with that magical blend of Mexican spices.  I began my preparations but something seemed to be missing and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.  It was this:

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I think that cooking Mexican food of any kind without tequila or jalapeno flavored vodka is against the law in a few states or should be.  I slammed down two quick shots of vodka, picked up a couple pounds of meat and got to work. Four shots and ten pounds of hamburger later the meat was cooked, seasoned, and packaged for shipment to the store. Not only was I relaxed, I was positively glowing.

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The party was a huge success with more than ninety people filling up on tacos and enchiladas.  It’s not your typical Maine meal by any means but everyone loved it anyway. 

This Halloween I was able to do some cooking (I love that) for a large gathering that I didn’t have to attend (Yeah!), loaded up the grandson up with as much candy as possible which I wasn’t then forced to eat (Yeah again!), and didn’t have to worry about dressing up in silly costumes (Yeah #3!).  That for me is a really successful Halloween and I hope to do it the same way next year.  By then we’ll have a little brother or sister for the grandson tagging along to make it even more interesting.

I hope your holiday was as exciting as mine.  There are times when I miss the costumes and craziness of years past but then good sense prevails, I have a glass of wine, and kick back and relax.

09-15-2014 Journal Entry – Fall Has Fallen!   Leave a comment

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I really do like the Fall of the year.  It ends a rather busy season that I also enjoy but at times it’s a relief to see it end.  The better-half and I finally decided to call it a day with the garden.  We began the process of pulling up the plants and removing the fabric from the frames.  Then delivering those plants to the compost pile for use as fertilizer two years from now.

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The last cherry tomatoes were collected, the remaining cucumbers were picked and should keep us in salads for another week or so.  I’ll miss them as I always do once the snow fly’s and because I’m not all that crazy about veggies shipped into the county from south of the border somewhere.  Thanks for nothing Walmart.

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The remaining jalapeño peppers have been left whole, cleaned and canned for use in the future.  They should still retain some crispness since they were only cooked long enough to kill the bacteria on their skins.

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Some of the cayenne peppers made their way to the dehydrator and will be dried and ground into a fine powder.  A number were also strung on thin copper wires for displaying in the kitchen. They make for an attractive curiosity once they start turning into that bright beautiful red color.

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The only things remaining in the garden are the herbs. In a week or so just before the first frost I intend to further harvest a quantity of oregano, sage, parsley, rosemary, basil, and tarragon. Once dried they’ll be used to replace older herbs we have in storage.  I’ve discovered that if they’re stored in air tight containers they remain useable for up to two years.  Once they’ve lost their fragrance and flavor they need to be discarded and replaced.

I feel a little guilty wanting to see the garden end after all of the time and effort we’ve put into it but at the same time I can’t wait for it to be over so I can kick back and relax for a while.  I see Winter as the time I require to rest, recharge my batteries and begin the process of planning an even better garden next year.  I’m already considering building a small greenhouse, a larger cold frame, and even some sort of in-ground irrigation system.  For me half the fun of having a garden is the process of improving it each year and experimenting with new plants we’ve never grown before.

Our Winters here in Maine can seem endless if your not occupying yourself sufficiently.  Snow shoveling and snow blowing will only get you so far.