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Gardening &
Landscaping




   BirdsNest  The Cushaw Pie was a hit with attendees of the town wide yard sale. But you cannot believe how many women said"that's too much work" when I told them how to take the whole squash and prepare it for making the pie. The pie we offered for tasting was delicious. Here is the recipe, if you do not have Cushaw squash, you can use any other winter squash or pumpkin or sweet potato.

http://seekingsimpleinthesuburbs.blogspot.com/2013/01/how-to
-make-easy-delicious-pumpkin-or.html
13 hours ago .




   BirdsNest  a lady we met during our sales at the flea market sold us some Cushaw squash. It is a green striped winter squash some say is better than sweet potato or pumpkin for pies. Also called the Tennessee Sweet Potato. We bought a bunch, at least I did, Hagar was amazed at how many I bought. Maybe he thinks I am crazy. Anyway, at some point during the night I am going to cook some to taste. I am staying up all night to be sure we get out of here on time, so I should have plenty of time to get this done. The van is loaded with everything, I think.
Friday at 21:17 EST .

   4 people like this.



   MeiDei  I have to confess Bird, some days I wish I was your neighbor!
Yesterday at 10:17 EST .

  2 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Our neighbors directly next door are much older and one is hard of hearing so they are not disturbed by our middle-of-the-night prepping for the flea market or anything of that sort. We were out of here by 5:45, grabbed a "to go" biscuit and got to the booth area by 6am. Already there were people setting up,Haitians waiting to pounce, and darkness still. I waited a few minutes than started to unload. It takes a bit because of the tables-they were buried under plants and squash! We were almost set up when our friend showed up for his booth space. It was a busy day. As I said earlier, the Haitians were the first shoppers, it sounded like a foreign country. Worst part of it was they stayed lots longer than usual. They agitate everyone. One woman picked up a jar of relish, asked the price, then slammed it on the table in disgust. She did buy 3 bags of peppers, gave me the money, 3 bills, so I thanked her and she left. One of those bills was a five.
The next wave of illegals also stayed all day, between the two groups we were all wondering what has become of our country. Lots of women sporting NRA buttons. There was music, food, car show,and tractor show all included for the day. We packed up at 2 and headed out. Had a good day of sales, sold lots of pepper relish and bread and butter pickles. Lots of requests for watermelon rind pickle....next year. No one makes it anymore so maybe I can manage it. We are both bone tired today.
14 hours ago .




   BirdsNest  Saturday is the big town wide yard sale. We will be there at 6am along with shoppers of Haitian origin trying to buy everything for pennies. Around 7am the migrants show up and try to buy everything for a dollar. Then around 9am the place looks like the good old USA again. And it will be fun til about 1:00 when the crowd thins. As soon as the crowd starts to get sparse we will pack up and go. Wish us luck, we have lots of jars of jams and pickles and relish to sell.

Last week at the flea market, we sold a jar of bread and butter pickles to a guy from the San Francisco area. He chose the spiralized pickles over the traditional ones because they were different. Hope he enjoyed them.

Next week is the "Chicken Swap and Sale" at the local feed store. we have some chickens to sell, some old girls-making room for a new flock. I have no particular fondness for these chickens so I am not agonizing over their leaving. The Silkies are another thing, we need to sell the older ones and pare down to a smaller flock, keeping both roosters because I like them. I am trying to make my workload easier for the winter. Hagar is still trying to get better, but all reports from others with Lyme disease, it takes upwards to a year to feel better again. We will also be able to offer for sale the jams/relishes/pickles for sale because we make them ourselves. Hope we don't have any left. Now that's a laugh! We have made 45 pints of pickle relish not counting the hot relish!!

Did get the quart of apple butter made thanks to the gift of apples from our friend. And we dehydrated some sage for a customer, so that is ready to go. Now to remember to get it all packed in the vehicle.
Friday at 07:17 EST .

   1 person like this.




   Hollyhock  Bird, is the grape juice processed for 10 mins in a water bath canner? Do you remove the seeds from grapes or use whole?
September 17 at 22:17 EST .

   2 people like this.



   Hagar  Wash and stem fresh, firm-ripe grapes. Put 1C. grapes in to a hot qt jar. Add 1/2 to 1 cup sugar. Fill jar with boiling water, leaving 1/4" head space. Adjust cap.
Process qts 10 min in boiling water bath.
This is straight out of the Ball Blue Book.
Enjoy!!
September 17 at 22:51 EST .

  4 people like this.



   MeiDei  That's the process I used....so easy. Doesn't work well with white grapes, tried that once. I used Concord grapes.
September 18 at 09:49 EST .

  2 people like this.





   BirdsNest  Our friend has raised beds she has been planting in forever. She is in her mid 70's and is busy all the time helping to care for her great grandchildren. No time for canning this year and apparently little time to care for the veggies in the raised beds. We had not been over for awhile and when we went to her house to water the plants while she was away for a few days we were shocked to see the beds full of weeds, over 5ft tall. I finally carved out some time to get over there, she was away again til tomorrow, and in an hour I had all 5 beds cleared of weeds and watered. I left the weeds in 2 piles, the guy that gets paid to cut the grass can haul them off. If he does not then I will load them in our van and dispose of them on our burn pile. That was my good deed for the week. It was a nice cool day for it and I only got hot when I had to haul buckets of water to put on the herbs and few remaining pepper plants. After going over there numerous times to water her plants I still do not know where the outside faucet is. She collects rainwater in buckets to use to water all plants.
September 16 at 19:46 EST .

   6 people like this.



   Gerty  Miss Birdie--you've turned into a real, live "gardening angel! Well done!
September 17 at 15:26 EST .

  3 people like this.



   MeiDei  I think you used up at least a week of "Random Kindnesses"
God bless you. We amend our soil and the weeds find them irresistible don't they?
September 17 at 19:05 EST .

  4 people like this.



   Hollyhock  Birdie, what an act of kindness. Would love to see your friends face when she sees the work is done.
September 17 at 20:11 EST .

  3 people like this.



   BirdsNest  We popped over there yesterday to see if she had gotten home and to see if the grass guy had moved the piles. No to both. So I hauled them off and it looks so nice, beds weeded, grass cut. Our friend's grand daughter is having surgery today, so I doubt our friend will be back for a few days. The surgery is at MCV in Richmond, a fair drive from here. Anyway, I was pleased to get the work done for her. She has been a sweetheart to us over the years we have known here and we just wanted to do something nice for her. She is always at the beck-and-call of the grand daughter and great grand children so she doesn't have much time for her own friends. She did catch us at the grocery store before she left and told us to come by and get some apples that someone had given her.
September 18 at 06:55 EST .

  4 people like this.





   BirdsNest  We attended a workshop for hoop houses, now the high tunnels they showed us were used and put together in a cheap way, but we gleaned some information from the thing anyway. Our local Food Bank has a hoop house with tomatoes planted and all were invited to come and ask questions or volunteer to help the transition to a late crop of tomatoes. That was on Friday. The hoop house was so crowded with tomato vines I wasn't willing to help since my clothes would have been ruined by the tomato vines-the stuff that rubs off stains so badly. We stood around and asked questions but we were even more interested in the "Garden Soxx" they used to plant the tomatoes in. This house is on a parking lot and concrete, they use the Garden Soxx filled with planting medium and place them on landscape fabric and add drip tape and POOF!! instant raised beds. Go to the website and check it out. This looks like the answer for us. They even sell the whole shebang-hoop house(with stainless tubing and plastic sheeting,Garden Soxx,heater,drip tape, and more ) for $35,000. Any one with that amount of change just lying around, it's on my wish list!! Really the answer for those who cannot till their soil or live in a small area where there is not much room. The Soxx can be cut to a manageable size to fit where you need it. Can also buy pre-filled sizes. Anyway, go take a look.....
http://www.gardensoxx.com/

We want this for our next year's crop of tomatoes, that way we can utilize an area that DOES NOT have to be tilled, just cut the grass, landscape fabric goes down, the filled Soxx on top.Ta Da!
September 14 at 10:48 EST .

   6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  This has been up for a day, has anyone visited the website? I was contacted by the company because I made a comment about how I would like to sell these. No one on the Shore carries these and I would really like to be able to use these myself. Several of the people who attended the workshop are interested also. We do not have a store, our "store" is the railroad tracks flea market on Saturdays!! This Saturday is the town wide yard sale in Exmore. I have a request from a customer for a quart of apple butter so that means I have to make some more. I only made pints.
September 16 at 07:32 EST .

  4 people like this.



   BirdsNest  For folks like Balogreene,Surfie,heck anyone! These answer a really hard question about where can we put the garden and who is going to till it. Plus if you get the filled ones they are filled with Super Compost and weeds will be almost nil especially if they are placed on landscape fabric. There is NOTHING better than no weeds to a gardener. Minimum work, maximum benefit.
September 16 at 07:36 EST .

  6 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  I did go to the site right away. Read it all. Compared the pros and cons to Earthboxes, and for me the Earthboxes won hands down. Not that these aren't a good idea though.
September 16 at 14:46 EST .

  6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  It's good that you checked it out. The Earthboxes don't work for everyone. And the Garden Soxx may not be the ideal for all.
September 16 at 19:32 EST .

  6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  WW, the Food Bank Soxx have been through their 3rd season and still look great. Granted they leave them in place, but there is no reason to move them anyway. All they do is remove the dead plants, tidy up the area and wait til next growing season.
No weeds to pull, except for a very few we saw, it looks like a grand solution. This garden is not tended to every day either, a young lady from Va Beach comes over a couple of times a week and supervises volunteers. Except for watering, there is not much to do once the plants are in and the strings are attached to the braces in the top of the hoophouse. They have drip lines for watering.
September 16 at 20:52 EST .

  5 people like this.



   MeiDei  Thank you for this, I sent it to a friend of mine who has a decorative fish pond - she's ordering their pond soxx.
September 18 at 09:52 EST .

  3 people like this.



   BirdsNest  I went back to the site to look for the pond soxx-that is a great idea. Thanks for mentioning it.
Friday at 21:12 EST .

  3 people like this.





   Flaming Sword  Darling Birdie,
I need your expert advice. I want to get rid of the junky food dehydrator I currently have and get a real one. I'm assuming Excalibur is the best? But there are numerous models and I have no clue which one to choose? Your input would be appreciated.
September 13 at 13:56 EST .

   7 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Excalibur is the only brand we recommend, it is what we use and it is a workhorse.The 9 tray is a charm, the 4 tray is not as powerful, we have both.
http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/prepp
ers-specials/

also here...
http://www.amazon.com/Excalibur-3900B-De
luxe-Dehydrator-Black/dp/B004Z915M4


You may want to consider getting extra polyscreens if you plan to dehydrate herbs-we use a cover sheet on leaves to keep them from flying all over the interior. We do not use the polyscreens, we purchased plastic needlepoint screens in a size that we could use .

There are many places to buy these, you will have to decide what options you want and which is the best deal for you. Timer or no timer, we chose no timer. Ours is 4 yrs old so they don't make our model anymore. Sometimes the company offers refurbished, that is what we got with an extended warranty.

We love our Excalibur.
September 13 at 15:25 EST .

  6 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  Ok, even though it's just me, I decided to go with the 9 tray instead of the 5 tray. Did some research, most people say the timer is a waste of money. Then there's the glass door (about $30.00 more ) or the regular door. I see no reason to need the glass door. Sound about right? If you have no other insights, think I'll go with this. The screens or needlepoint screens, and the fruit roll up trays I'll deal with later.
September 13 at 16:23 EST .

  6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  That sounds great FS. Timer, no. Glass door,no. Nine trays will amaze you at how much you can fill up. I use mine to dry out bread for grinding into bread crumbs. Rising bread or rolls. And I love to make fruit roll ups. For those buy the proper sheets, saran wrap does not work, been there done that. Go for it!!
September 13 at 17:15 EST .

  6 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  Thanks again Bird,
I just ordered it and the nine sheets too.
September 13 at 18:25 EST .

  6 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  Bird,
My Excalibur arrived this morning. He's a big boy!
September 16 at 14:43 EST .

  6 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  I put this on the wrong post-so will try again.
My fruit roll sheets arrived 30 minutes later. Herb drying question. I have 9 trays. Each tray has the needlepoint type screen. Since I probably won't dry more than 3 or 4 trays of herbs at a time, can't I just put the herbs on the tray, then top it with the screen from an unused tray?
September 16 at 16:03 EST .

  5 people like this.



   BirdsNest  FS, absolutely you can top off with the screens you don't use. We did that for as long as we could til we had just too many herbs and needed to go another route. Wow, your Excalibur arrived quickly, you must live near civilization.
For a few times we used plastic wrap on top of the screens taped to the side of the tray for roll ups, but the fruit stuck to the plastic,the tape stuck to the tray, and the roll up tasted of plastic. The silicone sheets work so much better for roll ups.
September 16 at 19:36 EST .

  4 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  Amazon Prime, woman! Free two day shipping on anything you want. Weight be damned.. Worth its weight in gold.
September 16 at 20:19 EST .

  5 people like this.



   BirdsNest  I am gobsmacked!!

Notice...it takes longer to dry basil than sage. Be sure not to rush the drying of herbs, you will lose potency.
September 16 at 20:54 EST .

  7 people like this.





   BirdsNest  The manufacturer of Ball jars has changed their guidelines for prepping lids for hot water bath canning. They do not recommend boiling the lids, simply put them in water no hotter than 180F or wash with soapy water,rinse and dry and use them that way. We have not boiled our lids for a long time but still keep them in hot water til ready to place on the jar. For those that use the old method of heating jars in the oven, boiling lids and then just filling jars and covering them....I have no expertise in that method. A good friend of ours does that and is successful but we stick to USDA guidelines for most of our canning. Oddly enough, the USDA has not changed their guidelines.
September 5 at 07:23 EST .

   2 people like this.



   Balogreene  The new things I have read (so all I've used ), recommend the hot, not boiling, method. I do keep everything in hot water till I put it in the jars, thus 4 pans on the stove!
September 7 at 20:17 EST .

  7 people like this.





   Clipped wings  I read this wall and envy all of you for your successful gardening. We planted a few varieties of tomatoes and were rewarded with three or four, which the birds seemed to appreciate.
However, one small triumph this last week. A friend brought me a very large box of pears. From these I made some pear butter from a forty year old recipe . Turned out well so now I have something to show from a hand me down crop.
September 4 at 11:18 EST .

   6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  CW, can you share your recipe? That was sweet of your friend to bring you the pears.
Someone gifted us with bags of pears and as soon as they start ripening we can do something with them. I am trying to deduce who dropped them at our gate. Last year I had to beg for pears and my neighbor allowed me to strip his tree, he has moved to NJ and there are new people in his house. It's a puzzle.
September 5 at 07:11 EST .

  2 people like this.



   MeiDei  Maybe your former neighbor told the new owners you would appreciate any surplus. Ask them.
September 5 at 21:35 EST .

  3 people like this.



   Clipped wings  I will post the recipe for the pear butter on the Recipe Wall. Hope you can use it for the gifts you have been given.
September 6 at 14:41 EST .

  6 people like this.





   BirdsNest  today I want to make tomato jam with the last of the tomatoes. There will still be a few more for eating but I really want to make the jam. Another batch of pepper relish is in order, last year we made 60 pts and there are 2 left(we don't eat any ). I want to gift some to the old fella that asked me to make it for him 2 yrs ago. He has hit hard times and cannot afford to buy it anymore. Made a batch of hot pepper relish and found among the pepper plants a hot pepper that I did not know was there, so I used 4 of those ground up in with the 2# jalapenos with seeds,this batch is NOTICEABLY hotter. My hand burned for a full day after touching them. I used food service gloves, but they tear easily and that was the result.
September 3 at 07:52 EST .

   6 people like this.



   BirdsNest  Made the tomato jam, 1 pint,5 half pints and 2 midgees(a really small jar ). Hagar tasted it..."tastes like ketchup"...a lot of help he is!!
September 5 at 07:12 EST .

  4 people like this.



   Flaming Sword  My fruit roll sheets arrived 30 minutes later. Herb drying question. I have 9 trays. Each tray has the needlepoint type screen. Since I probably won't dry more than 3 or 4 trays of herbs at a time, can't I just put the herbs on the tray, then top it with the screen from an unused tray?
September 16 at 15:29 EST .

  6 people like this.



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