Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hugelkultur trellis garden, pineapples beans pumpkins scarecrows

Radish, cantaloupe, cucumber harvest in Mid- August

Monday, August 14, 2017

Today's harvest of Cantaloupe, radish, cukes, & tomato + lantern pumpkins

pumpkin lantern
tasty cantaloupe

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Today's Big Tomato Harvest + Taco Pizza Dinner with garden veggies

Today I harvested pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce. With the tomatoes and lettuce, I topped them on a vegan taco pizza I made. Basically you can use the crust recipe that I provided in my previous garden pizza posts, or use your own recipe. Depending on your crust, bake the crust for 5 minutes or longer if necessary, then spread refried beans (pinto) on top with taco seasonings, chopped onions, vegan shredded cheddar cheese (Daiya brand), and bake for 10 minutes. After cheese has melted, I top with the lettuce and tomato. Add taco sauce or whatever suits your fancy.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My Big Pumpkin fell off the fence + painting pumpkins for fall scene

"Harvest Moon"

Monday, August 7, 2017

A couple of days of garden havests

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Scarecrow, pumpkin, weird squash early fall scene decor VIDEO

So many pickles

Already we have eaten several jars of pickles in the last couple of weeks. The cucumber harvest is strong, and I have pickled over 20 jars of cucumbers.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pumpkin, buttercup & cucumber harvest

The bigger pumpkin is the Jack-o-lantern variety and the small one is Sugar Baby pumpkin. Beside the pumpkins, I harvested buttercup squash and cucumbers.
Although it's cryptic, the flowers were from my great grandma's funeral. She was also a gardener, and a lover of flowers, birds, and all things nature. I didn't know this until today at her funeral, but her grandson who is a preacher said her favorite verse from the bible was: "Be like the tree planted by the water." Although I'm not religious, I must say I like that saying.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fall scene painted pumpkins & scarecrows

Today, I cleaned up the zucchini and crookneck squash beds, then directly sowed peas to replace the squash. Other than that, in the last couple of days I've been harvesting cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and tomatoes. I added the scare crow to the garden. And I made a new scare crow for the fall scene since I am already harvesting the pumpkins and weird squashes.

"Garden Revolution" or garden evolution depending how you see it

scarecrow 'peace-love-pumpkins' sign

Saturday, July 29, 2017

First figs harvested + other beautiful garden veggies

kajari melon, pumpkin, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers

figs from the Chicago hardy fig tree

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fig update + Why you should plant Chicago hardy fig trees VIDEO

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Preserving tomatoes in olive oil + how I am using the garden food

As you know, I have made pizza, spaghetti, salads, stir fries, and smoothies with the garden fruits and vegetables. If you looked at yesterday's post, I have a picture of the buttercup squash I ate from the garden. I broiled the squash and ate with vegan vanilla ice cream. You can look at my previous posts this summer to see some of the dinners I have had with the garden food. I have been boiling potatoes and eating with slices of tomato and cucumber, as well. I encourage you to experiment with your garden foods!

I have been pickling cucumbers, freezing berries, zucchini and crookneck slices to preserve the fruits that I can't eat immediately. I have also been dehydrating some of the vegetables. I made crookneck squash chips by dehydrating slices and then packing them in jars when they cool.

Additionally, I dehydrated cherry tomatoes for over 12 hours. After they cooled, I packed them in mason jars. When I finally bought extra virgin olive oil, I wanted to preserve the tomatoes in the olive oil. To pack the tomatoes in oil, first re-hydrate them in boiling water and let them soak. I added Italian seasonings with the tomatoes. Then drain the tomatoes and put in jars, covering them with virgin olive oil.

Trying hairy ball fruit for the first time + garden harvest

I found the rambutan fruit randomly today at wal-mart. I have never trheied them before and seen that my online friends eat these, so I wanted to try them of course. They taste like a very sweet grape and I loved them, and highly recommend them. These were from Guatemala. You have to cut them around the edge, pull off the top shell, then bite down on the white fruit that contains a big seed, and remove the bottom shell. I sucked on the fruit with the seed and then composted the seed and shells.

I harvested some fruit today as well. I picked some fruits early because I expect to be leaving the state soon for a couple of days.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It's already time to make a fall decor scene with pumpkins + snake skin bird nest

Spring and summer came early this year. Almost by a whole month, flowers were coming up earlier, I was able to plant many summer crops early, and I'm already harvesting winter squash in late July. I predict that there will be an early fall and winter, actually.

I started making the fall scene with those weird squashes that I cannot I identify. I placed them in an old wheel barrel (without the wheel), next to the sunflowers and zinnia flowers.

Because the pumpkin vines are already dying and the pumpkins are orange, very soon I will be harvesting the sugar baby pumpkins to eat. I have already started eating the winter squash. For instance, with the buttercup squash, I baked it at 400 degrees F with organic brown sugar, cinnamon, all spice, and vegan vanilla ice cream (obviously it was good!)

This is a sugar baby pumpkin in a hooked net that I borrowed from a backseat of a car...

I have more buttercup squash growing still..

I believe this is a jack-o-lantern. With the jack-o-lantern pumpkins, I am putting them in the fall decor scene/setting. 

And this pumpkin is a jack-o-lantern that will also be going in the fall scene. I wanted my head in the photo as a reference to how big the pumpkin is so far.

I tried to get most of the pumpkins in one picture because I didn't take pictures of all of them individually
More jack-o-lanterns
one of the small jack-o-lantern
 There was a crafty and artistic bird that used snakeskin for its nest in one of the cherry trees...

And I just so happened to take a selfie the night before in the garden...My favorite time to be in the garden or outside is in the evening to watch the sun go down.

How To Identify Chanterelle & Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms video

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Garden harvest of cucumbers & weird squash + making pickles

The large pickle jar broke because I had 0 lids to cover it during the processing and the water evaporated out

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kajari melons at different stages + garden harvest

The hard rain last night actually beat the kajari melons off the vine. The melons must have been ready to pick anyway!

Here is a picture of kajari melons at different stages. If you want to grow these, I purchased the seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at if you're interested.

I tried the ripe Kajari melon, and it tasted like cucumber, but it was odd and I'm not sure how to feel about the taste. The smell is very pleasant before you cut into the melon, and that's when you know it's ripe. In this picture it looks like it's glowing green on the inside of the melon.

Of course I harvested more from the garden today, as usual for right now: squash, MORE cucumbers, and finally lots of tomatoes.

I have three large bags of cucumbers that I'm struggling to eat with two or three bags of squash as well (on top of the bags of squash I have frozen.) I have been eating everything out of my garden and making sure to incorporate it into meals, though. The odd looking squash are going to become my fall decorations. And if you've been following this blog, you know I love my fall decor/scene/settings and I have pictures of them on the blog. Stay tuned for my fall scene this year--I'm going to try some new things.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Found chanterelle & chicken of the woods mushrooms but didn't pick them

I found many chanterelle mushrooms and Chicken of the woods mushrooms in the woods today. Judging by the state of the mushrooms, they may have been worth picking yesterday but considering it rained hard yesterday, the mushrooms were water logged.

I didn't take photos of the chanterelles--I have taken plenty photos of them for anyone that wants to identify them. I took pictures of the chicken of the woods mushroom, though, for anyone that wants to know what they look like and how to identify them even if they're water logged mushrooms.

Notice the way the Chicken of the woods grow in a large cluster around the base of an oak tree. That's how you will find other mushrooms of this variety. I always find them growing on this specific tree around this time of the year in late July. The Chicken of the woods mushrooms and Chanterelles grow at this time of year on the south facing side of the hill, not far into the woods.

Chicken of the woods mushroom have a distinct look as you can see in the photo here. The mushrooms look like a fan. Because I took a picture of the mushrooms after they were water-logged, the color is different. Chicken of the woods are usually colored orange and pink with white on the underside and along the edge.

As mentioned, the chicken of the woods mushrooms are white on the underside. The underside is  sponge-like, but don't let that weird you out because they are delicious. Similar to how I cook chanterelle mushrooms, with chicken of the woods I use my fingers to pull "strips" of the mushroom apart and then fry them with a little oil on low heat. Before cooking, I clean the mushrooms thoroughly and cook them thoroughly.