Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Our first apple!!! OMG it was delicious.

This bowl of cut up apple is the first apple out of our garden. We have nine apple trees and about 50 apples ripening right now on two trees that were planted last year. This is an Ambrosia. It was big and delicious.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Garlic planting day

Today I planted one long row of garlic. There are about 40 cloves planted. First you clean your garlic. Mine has been hanging in the shed for a few months and is a hard neck garlic. I cut the stems about 2-3" from the cloves. I then trim the roots and rub any little dirt lumps off. Then I pull off the dirty outer layer of skin leaving a lovely white clean garlic. You must leave some skins on to keep them dry and clean in storage. I then take the biggest and best cloves and replant. I have a full planting guide here.

I sat in the garden to clean garlic. Left the white skins lying there to break down and moved the stalks to compost. Very satisfying.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Orchid Transplant Day

I seem to always forget to take pictures. I always think of it after I'm done. I've been blogging since 2011 so you would think I would have this down by now. I don't, so here is a picture of my transplanted orchids. They were in tight little pots with no rigidity. They were weird and wouldn't stand up on their own. The sphagnum moss was so tightly packed I was sure that the centres would never dry out, hence, rotten roots. One of them was exactly like that. All the centre roots were rotted. I cut out the dead roots and placed the plant in front of a fan for about an hour. Nicely dried out, I put them in the only clear pots I could find. They were a bit bigger than I wanted, but they would do.

I found this sphagnum moss at Dinter Nursery. It is a small, thin, hard block that you put in water to hydrate. When I first grew orchids, you only used mixes of bark mulch or my old favorite, Tree Fern. This orchid potting medium is new to me. I am a convert.

Tree Fern

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Making a batch of Vanilla Extract. I smell wonderful.

Making your own Vanilla Extract is so easy. Here's my recipe. Buy a bottle of vodka. This time I bought a 1.14 litre bottle. I have tried multiple brands and Smirnoff is definitely the best. I add 20-30 Madagascar Organic Vanilla Beans. {I get them on eBay} For this larger batch, I used 30 beans. Split the beans. Pour about a cup of vodka out of the bottle and start adding the beans. When the beans are all in the bottle pour the vodka back in to the bottom of the neck which gives you the space in the bottle so you can agitate the beans. You just tip the bottle gently end over end. I do this every day for a week or so and then a few times a week, and eventually I just do it now and then when I walk past it down in the larder. A lot of people consider it done in a few months, but I age it for a year. Drink the remaining vodka.
You would not believe how good I smell right now!!! Vanillaaaaaaa.
Closeup of beans. Aren't they beautiful.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

OMG, Swiffer's are washable !! Not garden related, but pretty exciting.

Yes, that's right, they are. Swiffer's are washable. Just throw them into the wash with your laundry, flatten them out and let them air dry. Not only are they washable, but they work better after washing. They fringe out more and get fluffy which makes more dusting surface and they actually pick up more dust.

Here is a Swiffer before:


And here is a Swiffer after washing.

I had already decided to create a pattern and sew some fabric Swiffer's in the winter that would be washable and reusable as well as being a much more environmentally friendly material. {Which is actually what initially got me thinking.....what would happen if I put one in the washer?} We go through a lot of these in the store so I will be thrilled to see the end of these altogether. I will share my pattern when I make it.

Monday, September 07, 2015

New potatoes and new {old} Corningware

Today I grabbed my mandoline and sliced up four cups of our beautiful potatoes right from the garden and made my first Scalloped Potatoes in about thirty years. A few weeks back, my friend Leslie found a couple of Cornflower Corning pieces at a thrift shop for me. Thank you Leslie. You know I love vintage kitchen things. So I dug it out and this was the result.