Blog posts from October 2009

Ode to Rhino Beetle…

Oct 30, 2009

So, I love bugs...all sorts of bugs. I draw and paint lots of pretty flowers, but bugs are one of my favorite subjects to render. Especially with high quality colored pencils. I can sit for hours and hours obsessing on all the tiny detail. This here is a drawing I've done of a rhino beetle in all it's glory. Aren't they amazing and beautiful?

Did you know...Rhino Beetles are the strongest creatures on Earth? The rhinoceros beetle can carry 850 times its own weight. That's proportionally more than an African Elephant can carry! That's the definition of a badass if there ever was one. Badass beetle!

Fall Tomatoes…

Oct 29, 2009

My fall tomatoes are going gangbusters. But for just a tiny bit of late blight on a few of the plants, most are just about as healthy as they can be. The 'Green Zebra' plants are about 7-feet tall right now! Due to cool temps however, fruit is ripening very slowly. Chances are I'll still be picking a lot of green fruit right before our first frost. But that's ok...just means I get to make fried green tomatoes!


'Green Zebra' in the back are dwarfing everyone else...


'Celebrity' plants have a lot of nice fruit on them and some are finally starting to turn a bit yellow..


As usual, 'Golden Mama' plants are absolutely loaded with fruit. They have gotten just a tad bit of late blight, but nothing that's keeping them from producing nicely. I have some Roma's fruiting well also. There is one of my Organic Gardening Test varieties, a saladette type, that is still producing and ripening from the plants I planted in spring. VERY unusual. It's definitely a winner and will be my main pick for the review they publish next year. Can't tell you what it is yet, but it's awesome!

Don’t forget…Botany of Desire on PBS tonight!

Oct 28, 2009

For any of you that have read Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, you'll be thrilled to know that a TV version will be playing on PBS October 28 at 8pm, or you can buy it online. It looks just beautiful. Can't wait.

Time to make pepper relish…

Oct 26, 2009

Back to those peppers taking over my refrigerator...last night I managed to get the first batch of pepper relish made and canned some up. I still have bowls of peppers in the fridge and plenty yet out in the garden...but it's a start!


Pepper relish has plenty of vinegar in it, so it's not mandatory that you have to process the jars, but, if you want to store them for a long period without refrigeration it's a good idea to go ahead and water-bath process for about 10 min. 


There are lots of different ways to make relishes with peppers. My mom makes a highly blended pear/pepper relish that is to die for. So you can be creative about mixing other ingredients. I kept this one pretty straightforward.

Lots of peppers (mild, hot..and one habanero! You can mix whatever peppers you like)
A few cloves garlic (I'm not crazy about onions, but they are what most people use)
1 Tablespoon of sea salt
2 1/2 cups organic apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar.
2 cups organic sugar (less if you want a not-so-sweet relish)

  • Food process or hand chop (with gloves!!) the peppers. Remove seeds.
  • Place peppers, garlic (or onions) and salt in a 6 quart pot. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 10 min.
  • Sterilize your canning jars in the canner with water boiling (you don't have to process your jars if you're just going to keep them in the fridge, but you should still sterilize the jars or run through dishwasher first)
  • Strain water off peppers and place back in 6 quart pot. Add vinegar and sugar to peppers and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20 min.
  • Pack pepper relish into sterilized jars. Pack down to press air bubbles out. Wipe lip of jar clean with dishtowel. Place lid on jar and secure ring, not tightly, onto jar.
  • Place jars into water bath canner and process for about 10 min. Start counting processing time when water comes back to a boil. 
  • Or, just fill jars and place in the fridge. Again, the relish will last a long time in the fridge even without canning.
Super yummy!!!!


It’s a Pesto Party!

Oct 23, 2009

It's getting chilly out there folks...that means that very soon, all that beautiful basil out in the garden is going to take a nosedive. You know what that means right? Time to make Pesto...lots of it! I started making batches last night and will continue to do so until we get a frost. Basil can suffer from cold damage at temperatures of 40F or below, so just remember to use it before it gets too cold.


Here is one bunch I picked last evening. A few different varieties mixed in there. Sweet basil is the large-leafed variety. 'Sweet Aussie' the small green leaves, 'Pesto Perpetuo' the small variegated leaves and some 'Purple Ruffles', the dark purples leaves. All basil varieties have a different flavor and fragrance so its nice to have several to choose from.

I'm not very recipe oriented when it comes to making pesto.  I just sort of throw it together. Have on hand some garlic, EV olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, roasted pine nuts, a little salt and LOTS of basil leaves. I use my one "as seen on tv" gadget purchase, my Magic Bullet, LOL, to make my pesto. It's all I use it for but it's totally worth it! I quarter a couple cloves of garlic, throw in a table spoon or so of pine nuts, a pinch of salt, a healthy helping of olive oil, a few chunks of the cheese, then stuff the jar full of basil. Pulse this combo (or process in food processor) until it reaches your preferred consistency. You'll just need to adjust the ingredients to reach the flavor you like best. Some prefer more or less garlic. Then, you can simply freeze portions of pesto in an ice cube tray, covered with plastic wrap. Once the cubes are frozen, put them in a freezer bag and seal. You can keep it for about 6 months in the freezer. That should keep you in homemade pesto until next spring, when you can plant fresh basil plants. YUM!

Going to Peru…

Oct 21, 2009

So, have I told you guys I'm going to Peru in December? Well, I am! My best friend Kimberly and I are going to trek around in the Amazon jungle near Iquitos, Peru for a couple of weeks. We will be staying and studying with some native shamans. Very exciting.

This is where we will be...


This is where we'll swim...and hope the piranhas don't eat our


 I (not Kimberly, lol) will be looking for these...and some bigger ones!


And these...awwww


And of course studying all sorts of fabulous plants...

Can't wait to go...but for now I have to be satisfied with the ache in my arms from the 5 shots I got to day...owwwww. Still a couple more to go. My poor, poor guns! At least they gave me cute band aids, lol.


I'll keep you guys posted and hope to have some wonderful photos to share upon my return.

New Magazine: Urban Farm

Oct 20, 2009

Premiere-uf-cover-4 I love me some magazines. Just found a new one from the publishers of Hobby Farms and Hobby Farm Home, both of which I subscribe to. Supposedly, I should have gotten a copy in my mailbox about a month ago...haven't seen it. And it should be on newsstands somewhere...haven't seen it. I want it! Any of you guys found it yet?? If so..gimme the 1020. Out.

Morning coffee malfunction…

Oct 20, 2009

I ask you this: How is one supposed to get their day properly started when the newly opened, non-expired half 'n half comes out in a chunky smelly blob??? Ewwwwww. How can I drink my wonderful Illy espresso (albeit decaf) without a little cream? It's criminal. SIGH. GOOD Morning...LOL.


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