Thus Ends a Tale

In my most recent post there was a pic of our make-shift frost cover.  Sylvia and I had fashioned it with a garden tripod and a blue tarp.  On seeing the image our son, Scott, thought of the line from Shakespeare’s play, Richard the Third.  He quoted it this way, “Now is the winter of our discount tent.”  He’s a clever one.

We had hoped to keep that jalapeño plant alive beyond that first frost.  The next day, I removed the tarp to inspect for potential damage.

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Sylvia went out and harvested the last 43 peppers from that plant.  We estimate about 200 jalapeños from that single plant.  It was the most prolific of the four plants we grew this year.

We missed our goal of November 20 by one week.  Still, we were happy for the extended season.  (First frost here is usually October 20.)

Ode to Fall’s Finish

The fall has fallen
The leaves now litter the ground
Prepared for winter

While Earth is ready for winter, I have a few more tasks to complete.  I should be ready on time.

Frosty Night

We experienced our first frost of the season last night.  It was a hard one too.  What’s a body to do?  How about pitch a tent in the garden?

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That’s what Sylvia and I did last evening as the sun was setting.  Call it a science experiment.  We are trying to keep our jalapeño plant alive until November 20.  (Typical first frost date for this area is October 20.)

We’ll see how our pepper plant survived when the tent is gone.  For my part, faith and hope continue . . .

My Hot Peppers Are Cool!

A week ago, I posted a picture of a bucket full of jalapeños that Sylvia had picked.  There is still one plant in the garden that is bearing  jalapeños.  Today, I captured this image to show that we will be harvesting peppers in November.  Can you believe it?

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We have preserved what we don’t eat fresh by dehydrating and freezing.  Sylvia just brought home the supplies so we can prepare poppers and put them in the freezer.  (For poppers, she removes the pepper core, stuffs it with cream cheese and cheddar and wraps in bacon.)  That way when we have a desire for poppers, we can take them from the freezer and pop them into the oven.  At least that’s our theory.

Other

Sylvia also planted giant garlic for next year.  In the process she discovered some unharvested corms that have started growing and will coming up next spring.  When it comes to garlic, I say the more the better.

We have been busy this past week finishing our window project.  Now, we are now about 99.5% completed.  Best of all, we have finished all of the difficult parts.

More News

Our garden continues to produce.  On Tuesday, Sylvia harvested a few jalapeños from our four plants.  (They are more like bushes.)

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This bucket was nearly full.  A layer of bell peppers filled it to the rim.  That evening she gave away six dozen jalapeños.  We still had a bit over half of the original amount.  This was from one day’s harvest–we don’t harvest everyday.  This single “haul” was more than we would reap in a normal year from four plants.  Organic fertilizer works wonders.

One plant remains and it is loaded.  We are looking forward to fresh jalapeños in November.  We’ve never done that before.

Replacement Windows

Yesterday the construction crew returned to finish the job of replacing all the windows in this house.  Only a small amount of work remained.  In about an hour they had finished their work, cleaned up the work area, took my check and hit the road.  Thanks guys!  Good job, well done.

Sylvia and I will have to put on the finishing touches.  She’ll paint and I’ll shorten and install window blinds.

Purple

I went out to check the flower gardens.  Yes, we have three of them.  The theme seemed to be the color purple.  So many beauties clad in royal purple.  It started with the cone flower.

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This year, Sylvia decided to go with purple salvia instead of her usual red.  While not as bold, the purple has added a bit more elegance in my opinion.

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The purple that is most apt to attract your attention as you approach our door is the petunias.  I’ve always had a fondness for these and this year even more so.

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No pictures of the vegetable garden today.  It’s not very pretty but we’re still harvesting carrots, beets, jalapeños and a few green beans.

The forecast shows no frost for us in the near future.  First frost could come later that usual, which is okay by me.

Merry Gold

We still have plenty of color in the flower gardens.  Sylvia has kept things look good out there.

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All that gold makes me feel rich beyond measure.  Wait.  It gets better.

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You can pep it up a step.  Or even two.

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The purslane adds such a nice touch of color that we’ve let it grow.  At least the ones we didn’t harvest earlier for our dinner table.  The succulent stems and leaves are good in a salad or steamed for greens.

This year, we’ve also added lamb’s quarters (yes, the weed) to our diet.  Thanks Sharkey for telling us about them.  The young tender shoots are best and can be added raw to a salad or steamed as greens.  In the later case a bit of balsamic vinegar adds a nice touch.  (Hint: they make good snacks when you are out in the garden or on a hike.)

Still Producing

While most of the garden is shutting down, the jalapeños are still producing fruit.

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I saw on Facebook that we had to buy jalapeños from the store to have poppers last year.  Not so this year.  I already have some hanging from string as they dry.

Unfortunately, there will be no parsnip harvest this year.  Sylvia planted them . . . twice.  Neither time did the seeds germinate.  Our freezer is nearly empty of parsnips.  We’ll miss them.  Butternut squash, even though we have a few dozen, doesn’t make up for that loss.

Garden Slowing

Much to Sylvia’s delight, garden output is slowing.  Most of the zucchini and tomatoes are in their final stages of production.  Everything has done so well except for parsnips and carrots.  Neither germinated at the first planting.  (Perhaps we got some bad seed?)  Carrots did germinate at second planting, but are not yet ready for harvest.  Sad to say, no parsnips for this year.

Our garden looked like this last week:

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Compare that to a year earlier:

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Special Day

It was 55 years ago today that Sylvia and I made our vows to one another.  In some ways it seems a lifetime ago, and in others like it seems like it was only yesterday.

We are enjoying a quiet day.  This evening we’ll go to our favorite restaurant and have a scrumptious dinner.

More Garden Groceries

Sylvia has begun to harvest potatoes.  Some of them look as pretty as the ones you see in the store.  Most of them don’t.

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I like these organic, home-grown potatoes better than the pretty ones in the grocery store.  Plus, you’ll not find one with its own built-in tripod there.

We have once again cut way back on meat consumption in favor of plant-based nutrition.  Okay, I’ll make an exception for bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.

I don’t have pictures of our poppers.  Who wants to take pictures when they come out of the toaster oven?  Not me!  I want to eat them while they are warm.

Much to our relief, one of the zucchini plants has stopped producing.  The other two can follow soon.  Please!

Careless Words

At times we can be careless and even reckless in our choice of words.  That point was driven home to me on Saturday.

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I was walking by the kitchen where Sylvia was at the counter preparing a meal.  She said, “I’m making poppers, do you want me to leave seeds in your jalapeños?”

Being a bit distracted, I responded, “What ever.”  Thus far, our peppers haven’t been that hot.  Sometimes I like a bit more fire.  How was I to know that the potency had increased?  I probably should have been a bit more careful in my choice of words.

Later at the table, Sylvia carefully selected three for me and took the other three for herself.  She took the first bite and observed that hers was a bit more spicy than usual.

On the first bite, I realized she was correct.  On the second bite, I retrieved a tissue as my sinuses began to clear.  (This has been a bad year for allergies and they’ve had me congested all summer.  Clearing the sinuses means welcome relief.)

As I was finishing the first popper, two more tissues joined the first one.  Soon, I reported, “One down two to go.”  Sylvia smiled at me.

After the third popper was gone, I discarded three tissues.  My sinuses were clear and it was easy to breathe through the nose.

Now it’s Monday afternoon and my sinuses are still clear.  That’s a good thing.  #ReadyForMore