Some beauty in our fall gardens

Well, it’s officially fall now and we’ve experienced our first light frost. It’s always sad to see the heat loving summer plants go (I’m already missing you basil…sniff, sniff) but we’re relishing in the abundance of beautiful fall crops (hello cilantro!) With shorter days and cooler temps, everything seems to perk up and colors become more intense. At our local market people often comment on how beautiful our yard must be, as if we live in some wondrous Shangri-La. After my kids get over their fits of snorting and giggling, I politely explain that most everything that is beautiful is at market and that our little farm isn’t all that gorgeous.¬† One of the hazards of being self employed at home is that there is always work around me just begging to be done and I tend to focus on that work and not the beauty. So, a couple days ago, I decided to ignore the voices in my head and grabbed the camera and set out to see just beauty.

I think Tom Thumb lettuce has to be one of the prettiest things we grow and it has the side benefit of being mighty tasty!

 

The zinnias perished with the frost but the roses continue to bloom.

I’m watching these brussels sprouts carefully as we rarely get our timing down correctly in order to get a good crop. Most years we get brussels peas!

The winter storage cabbages are starting to form heads and they relish the cold weather so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make it.

The arugula and beets in the tunnel are coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to roasted beets come cold winter days. Too bad I’m allergic to arugula as I really love it.

 

This lovely rose, Mon Petite Chou (My Little Cabbage) is my favorite!

The bees are busily storing up for winter.

This solidago, Fireworks, is magnificent!

Although the plants aren’t so pretty, the tomatoes in the tunnel continue crank out lovely fruits.

After a long, hot and dry summer, I love the look of fresh new crops developing. These tiny carrots are growing by leaps and bounds and will feed our family nicely this winter.

These much underrated marigolds have been real workhorses this summer, producing buckets of stems every week.

The cooler it’s gotten, the brighter this celosia has become.

One of the final lilies of the summer.

Isn’t it wonderful how a camera can focus on just the lovely? I think I’ll try looking with a camera’s eye more often!

Seed saving

We love growing heirloom vegetables because of their great diversity and wonderful flavors but we also like them because we can save our own seed. It’s so comforting to know that we have that small amount of control over one of our most basic needs…our food.

Tomatoes are one of the easiest crops to save the seed for.

Seeds are squeezed out into a container and a little water is added.

After a couple days it looks like this. Kind of gross huh? This process breaks down the gelatinous coating around the seeds.

Then it’s just a matter of pouring the goop into a fine strainer and rinsing until only the seeds are left. We then tap them out onto marked paper plates and allow them to dry.

Whatever you do, keep them away from small children during this drying stage. They LOVE to combine them all on one plate! We learned that lesson the hard way.

You are now blessed with a lovely array of your own FREE seeds! Store in envelopes or other seed storing containers. It couldn’t be easier!

 

Blue hydrangea wedding

After a summer of country/shabby chic type weddings it was fun to do this elegant, hydrangea wedding. The blue hydrangeas were shipped in directly from the grower in Oregon and they matched the brides colors perfectly! I’m always a little nervous when ordering in flowers as you never know for certain if they’ll be exactly what you want. I’m so envious of designers on either coast who are able to go to their wholesale markets and hand pick all of their flowers.

A single hydrangea on every other pew and some tulle draping made the aisle special.

White lisianthus made a perfect partner for the blue hydrangeas.

The lovely ladies!

And the beautiful lady of the day!

Ah, my favorite, decorating the cake.

Congratulations Amelia and Mike!

Cherry Tomato Soup

When life gives you an overabundance of cherry tomatoes…make tomato soup!

I’ve never made soup with cherry tomatoes¬† but since I found myself with a mass quantity of them this week I thought I’d give it a try. First, I put them in the oven with a large chopped onion and then drizzled olive oil over all. Garlic would be great in the mix also. I did discover that these little babies turn into little exploding grenades after they’ve been roasted for a while! Use caution when stirring.

I roasted them until lightly browned, like this. Aren’t they beautiful!

After removing from the oven let them cool slightly. Depending on how thick you want your soup you can drain off some of the liquid at this point. If you drain it all you’ll have something more like sauce. Add some butter if you’d like (I used 4 T for 5 cups soup)¬† and salt to taste. I also put a generous drizzle of honey in mine. This is where you need a really good blender. With all those little peels in there you’ve got to have a blender that will blend them up thoroughly. I have a Bosch and it worked perfectly.

After a few minutes of blending this is what it looked like. Give it a taste and see if you need to add additional salt or honey. Basil blended in now would be great also.

The finished product!

And now, if you walk around the house bragging about how wonderful this tastes, you will find yourself with nothing left to put in the freezer! Oh well, I’ve got several more flats of cherry tomatoes to go!

Enjoy!!

 

 

Wealthy

My friend Jennifer told me the other day that she feels wealthy whenever she has a nice supply of honey on hand. I thought it a bit of an odd remark until I started filling honey jugs this week and you know, I think I understand just what she was talking about.

I also felt wealthy as I prepared tomato sauce to go into the freezer in preparation for yummy pizzas and spaghetti this winter.

The counting of my wealth continued as I watched jars of salsa, peaches,

applesauce,

and tomatoes being carried off to their basement storage.

I or my children have never felt true hunger.

Yes, I truly am wealthy and thankful to the One who provides my wealth!

Enjoy your day as you count your riches!