Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #4

Well, I'm progressing with the garden...slowly. I only got a little work done this week; we'll see if I can finish it before I leave for college on Wednesday! Here's the "Before" picture of Vegetable Bay #3. This year I don't have any veggies in it, though - just two dwarf sweetcherry trees.
See? There they are! On the right-hand side. They're much happier now that they have some breathing room.

I did also get some work done on one of the big bays - it's about halfway cleared. If I can find a time of day when the bumblebees aren't hanging out around there (I think they have a nest under the barn) I'll finish that up and let you see the miracle! Thanks for stopping by - I'll try to get another post or two up before school! There should be more recipes in the near future as well. =)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Delicious Diversion

Well, it's a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I thought I'd give you something a little different to look at than weedy gardens. I tried a new recipe today. It was supposed to be Pumpkin Bread, but lacking pumpkin, I used applesauce instead. =) It's a nice easy quickbread with simple, readily available ingredients. Feel free to skip all the photos and go straight to the complete recipe at the end.

Left to Right: Applesauce, Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Sugar, Salt, Oil.
First, mix together all the dry ingredients.
Next, remove the peas from your measuring utensil. This is the remains of the day's pick of peas. Mom eats most of them. She says they're very good peas. =)

Now you'll use the measuring cup for your oil:

This is also the time to add the applesauce - or pumpkin. Note that I ran out of the homemade applesauce and used one of those little convenience packs to complete the 2 cups. =)

Okay, mix the wet stuff in thoroughly. The batter is medium in consistency - not too thick and not too wet. I don't know what it would be like with pumpkin, but I imagine it'd be similar. Now is probably the time to toss in a cup of chopped nuts if you're a nut person.

I am not a nut person. However, I had a lonely apple sitting on the counter, and I decided to give the poor thing some purpose in life. Here it is, awaiting surgery. Note the peas in the background - are they mocking the apple? Go ahead, apple - just say "split pea soup" and turn the table on those little guys! Okay, I'd better stop anthropomorphizing my fruits and veggies...

Anyhoo, chop up that little apple and toss it in the batter! I expect a lonely banana would also do quite well.
Divide the batter between two greased loaf pans and slide them into a preheated 350 degree oven. Set your timer for 1 hour. The recipe said 1 hour, 15 minutes, but mine were done a couple minutes early. To be safe, I would start checking them at about an hour.

Oh, wait!!! This is the most important part of all! I always sprinkle (a liberal amount of) cinnamon sugar on breads like this before I put them in the oven. It just adds that special touch.

Okay, now here's the fun part (just kidding!):

About 1 hour and ten minutes later, here they are! Notice the nice sugary top - don't worry, some will fall off when you cut slices. You won't go into diabetic shock or anything. =)

Here's the finished product! Naturally I had to test it. =) I did notice that the end crusts are pretty chewy...I'm not sure how to correct that. The inside portions, though, are moist and cinnomany. Very yummy! This would make a great breakfast or snack.

A nice crispy, sugary top. =)

Here's the complete recipe:
"Pumpkin" Bread
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 cups pumpkin (or applesauce!)
optional: 1 cup chopped nuts
optional: 1 cored, peeled and diced apple (or 1 mashed banana)
Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, mixing well. (Add nuts.) Bake in 2 loaf pans @ 350 degrees F, 1 hour and 15 minutes (check with a toothpick a few minutes early).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #3

Hurray for Progress! I should post all my projects on my blog - it's great incentive for getting things done. Of course, then you readers would be bored out of your minds...
Here's vegetable bay #2 BEFORE. Shocking, isn't it? But keep scrolling for a miraculous makeover:
Ta-da! I told you there were tomatoes and peas hiding in here! Well, I found them. I gave them room to breathe, fertilized them and watered them. They're happy now, and that's all that a vegetable asks for. Vegetables lead rather simple lives.

Only three more bays to go after this! I'll try to get them done quickly so I can move on to other subjects and stop boring you with the lives of my vegetables. Thanks for viewing! =)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #2

I'm making progress! Here's vegetable bay #1 BEFORE:
And here it is after I cleaned it up this morning. I weeded, found my vegetable plants, caged the tomatoes and fertilized all the plants. I imagine they're breathing a sigh of relief right now!

Keep checking back for more on the Mystery of the Lost Gardens!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - After, #1

Here's the moment you've been waiting for! Yesterday I showed you pictures of my dreadfully shabby gardens. I got a little work done, and I am delighted to reveal to you one spectacular "AFTER" photo. I put the "BEFORE" photo first so that you can easily compare the two. =)

Never fear - I haven't fizzled out yet. Soon I'll be able to reveal the other sections of the garden as neat and tidy as this first one.

Thanks again for viewing. Check back soon for more updates! =)

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Woes of a Lazy Gardener - Before

Okay, folks, brace yourselves! If you've ever wondered what would happen if you didn't faithfully weed your garden, you're about to find out. I've taken a series of "BEFORE" photos showing a portion of my gardens in a state of serious neglect. Depending on weather, work and how long my back holds out, I will be posting some delightful "AFTER" photos over the next few days. Hopefully they will provide you (and me) with a sense of relief and achievement after the horrors you are about to see. =)

Here's the scene around our porch. We have some nice landscaping, but these dogwoods can get out of hand sometimes. Also, you see to the right our garbage area. We need to hide or otherwise dispose of three small garbage cans that have since been replaced, relocate a few buckets, and fold up the tarps. Also, it'd be kind of nice to complete that little stone/cement path at some point.

Next we find my top vegetable garden bay. Believe it or not, there are in fact a few vegetables plants in there. A couple of them are growing through the lattice, which was supposed to be a support but obviously failed in its duty.

The picture below shows three more bays. They contain peas, tomatoes, miniature cherry trees, black raspberries and a couple asparagus (would the plural of asparagus be "asparagi"??). Hopefully when I show them transformed, you will be able to discern that I am not lying. =)

This picture is taken from the bottom of the bays, focusing on the monstrous black raspberry plants. These have actually done well (perhaps a little too well - they're trying to take over!) and we collected enough berries this season for a pie or two.

Finally, a separate bay containing a cherry tree, a grape vine and red raspberry bushes. I tend to underestimate how much those little plants will grow! I plan to move the raspberries and the grape eventually.

Well, be sure to check on the site for improvements in my gardens! I'm happy to report that the shaggy dogwood has already been trimmed and the garbage area is on its way to being brought under control. I'll share pictures of that tomorrow. Thanks for viewing! Feel free to come over and help weed! =)