Monday, June 29, 2015

The fence is done! Part four

We think it turned out great! Take a look.....


Each trellis pole has either a seedless grape vine or a fuzzy kiwi vine. To facilitate plant growth and help the vines grow skyward, my husband build a growing frame. The were painted in the colors used to paint the house.


It looks great, this side of the fence holds three seedless table grapes and the other end is where the kiwi are planted. The grapes will do well and we might get a bit of fruit that the squirrels don't enjoy, but no guarantees on the kiwi vines. We did purchase two female and one male, just in case!


There are two cables running along the trellis poles, the full length of the fence. In a year or so, the vines will need the cable for support.



You can see it a bit better in this photo. ( It looks a bit like a clothes line..... ) Once the vines are growing green and thick, you won't see much of the cable wire.


And lastly, the foreman is taking a final look around, for quality assurance.

You may view part one here.

You may view part two here.

You may view part three here.

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends, if not, tell us! Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

this post is shared with:
garden tuesday @ sidewalk shoes
tuesday garden party @ an oregon cottage
maple hill hop @ maple hill 101
tuesdays with a twist @ back to basics

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Natural Mint Simple Syrup

I am a fan of mint, it is refreshing and goes with just about everything. I also like ice tea, but sometimes want a little something extra in the tea, like a splash of mint simple syrup. So I made some.....


Mint Simple Syrup
by the seat of my pants
makes 1 qt

4 c water
4 c sugar ( we use natural evaporated cane crystals )
the leaves from about 6-8 stems of mint

Boil the water, add sugar let cool. Add mint leaves.


Place in large jar and cover. Shake or stir every other day for about 10 - 14 days (this will prevent molding on the surface of the mint leaves).


Decant into a bale top bottle. Refrigerate.

Add a splash to ice tea, drizzle over melon or berries, add to mineral water with a squeeze of lime.


How would you use Natural Mint Simple Syrup?

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends, if not, tell us! Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

this post shared with:
this is how we roll @ homemade for elle
blog hop #5 @ our simple homestead
full plate thursday @ miz helens
homemade mondays @ frugal by choice
hearth and soul @ apriljharris.com


Monday, June 22, 2015

Garden Tuesday, the one about a staycation!

I was out of the office last week, and we had a nice week of staycation! I love a staycation, and have always considered it a real vacation. Truthfully I am away from home so much with the commute and work, that saying home is what I usually want to do.

We did take some short trips, one to Crater Lake Oregon, which is a beautiful sight. And as crazy as it sounds we went to a sandcastle contest in Cannon Beach Oregon on Saturday and turned right around on Sunday and went to Lincoln City Oregon for father's day. Got a little sun, got a little time at the ocean and got a little time with loved ones. Oh and don't forget the sea lions.......



















So how is the garden you ask? Why thanks, it is coming along. I do have a confession to make, we did not get the soaker hoses laid out in time, so we are hand watering and the garden is showing a bit of dryness. And the swiss chard is showing a sunburn.....,,so here are the updates, both the good and the bad (or wish were better!).

This swiss chard is sunburnt...

This volunteer zucchini is in....

...the sugar snap peas.

The red currants and the gooseberries are ready to harvest,
the crops aren't large, but all the little bits of fruit will go to make a mixed fruit jam. 



The potatoes, green beans and Roma beans are doing very well!



Rhubarb and berries are filling the freezer. 

And we have 3 seedless grapes to plant along the trellis fence.

How is your garden growing?

If you like what you see here, we would appreciate it if you told your friends, if not, tell us! Our goal is to share relevant information that you will enjoy and use for yourself and your family. 

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments! 

this post shared with:
garden tuesday @ sidewalk shoes
maple hill hop @ maple hill 101
tuesday garden party @ an oregon cottage
tuesdays with a twist @ back to basics

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bird houses and solar cap lights, part three

This fence has been designed to offer so much to so many.

Privacy for both families.

Safe housing for our bird friends.

And a little ambiance in the mix.



Each trellis post has either a bird house or a copper solar light on top. The nice think about the solar caps is their friendly glow in the evenings.


I am more than ready for part four, a planting at each trellis post.

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments!

this post shared with:
tuesdays with a twist @ back to basics


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Roasted Bitter Greens for the freezer

When you cook from what you grow, you do tend to be fixed on what is coming off the garden. For us right now, it is radishes. That coupled that with my new favorite way of cooking vegetables, results in lots of roasted vegetables on our table at mealtime.


Roasted radishes and greens are delicious, and I ended up eating the whole pan. Keep in mind that the greens of the radish plant are rather dry to start with, so the roasting doesn't take long. The first time I made roasted radishes with greens, they ended up so very ugly that sharing them here was not a possibility. They started out gorgeous.....


and ended up so ugly that no one was allowed to view them, as I devoured the whole mess, because they tasted that good! What starts out as a fair amount of food, ends up reduced down to about 1/4 of what was. If you plan on serving roasted radishes and greens, you will need one bunch, for each person.

And what about the flavor? Well let me tell you, the radish sweetens and the greens are a pleasant bitter. A winning combination in my opinion. Bitter is a taste element that we don't often turn to in this country, except for beer. Which is a shame, because bitter is cleansing to the palate and good for the digestion. The flavor of roasted radish greens reminds me of broccoli rabe, which is hard to find in our produce market. 

Having a really big bowl of radish greens was the perfect opportunity to sock some away for future meals. Since I had over roasted the greens my first time making them, I had a fair idea of what I needed to do this time, and it worked very well. 

Roasted Radish Greens, for the freezer
by the seat of my pants
450 degree oven

Radish Greens
olive oil
salt
minced garlic, if desired


Toss the greens in a small amount of olive oil. 


Distribute the greens in an even layer (no deeper than 1 inch) on one or more baking sheets. 


Sprinkle with salt and garlic if using.


When oven has reached temperature, place pan(s) on racks, set timer for 5 minutes. Rotate pans and turn oven off, reset timer for 5 minutes, remove from oven, let cool slightly. 



You may serve the greens as a delicious side dish or snip them with scissors to freeze. 


I packaged in 1/2 cup (packed) portions, in sandwich bags, then placed in a freezer bag for long term storage. I hope to add more as the season continues. 

How about your family, do you enjoy a bitter taste element to your foods?


Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments!

this post shared with:
full plate thursday @ miz helens
DIY @ little house in the suburbs
homemade mondays @ frugal by choice
hearth and soul @ apriljharris.com
tuesdays with a twist @ back to basics




Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Radish Top Pesto

I am on vacation this week, and we went away for a couple days. When we got back, there was a lot to catch up on in the garden. During our absence the radish crop went into overdrive, but only on the top end, with little radish growth at all,  to show for all that bushy green top.


The radishes themselves were pithy and a bit woody, but I wanted to try a fermented radish pickle, so that became the fate of the stubborn radish crop. Unfortunately even fermenting the radishes did not help with those stubborn radishes!

As for the greens, I had two different processes in mind, with one being a pesto. Let's start with the pesto, it is so easy and so delicious.


I am a true pesto fan. I have made pesto with so many different herbs and green vegetables. Pesto makes a wonderful spread for sandwiches and burgers. Toss any cooked vegetable in pesto before serving for a delicious change of pace. Pesto and some sour cream in your baked potato, is a whole new game! Plus in the colder months, opening a jar of pesto makes any day a brighter day!


I used some of this pesto in my turkey sandwich, today at lunch. Instead of mayo, which I love, I used some Radish Top Pesto. Simply delicious, so watch out burgers, there is a change coming......

Radish Top Pesto
by the seat of my pants!

Radish tops, cleaned with all tough stems removed
1 t garlic salt
1/3 - 1/2 c Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/4 - 1/3 c olive oil

Fill your processor bowl with the greens, packing lightly.

Add salt and cheese.


Slowly add oil while at the same time using an on and off pulse method to mix and chop the ingredients. Continue to pulse, until a proper consistency is achieved.


Spoon into storage jars, label and freeze.

Use 3X5 cards to make a tape free label. 

Lay the label over the top of the dome lid, fold down the excess on one side. 

Add ring holding the label in place with one finger on one hand while you tighten the ring with the other hand. 

Makes 3,  4oz jars, with some for now

Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments!

this post shared with:
simple homestead hop 4 @ our simple homestead 
this is how we roll @ homemade for elle
DIY @ little house in the suburbs
homemade mondays @ frugal by choice
hearth and soul @ apriljharris.com
tuesdays with a twist @ back to basics

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Stringers and Fence Boards, part two


The lilies in the butterfly garden deserved a showing, now lets move on to the fence.

The stringers are up, and the fence boards in in the works! We are looking forward to the fence being completed. It will offer the much needed privacy. It is true, tall fences make good neighbors.

The truth is, it is difficult to have sense of privacy behind a four foot cyclone fence, while your neighbor has an upper deck that they also enjoy. I think this will help, both families.




And then we can plant a plant at each pole. Our picks include, seedless grapes, fuzzy kiwi and wisteria.


This is a really pretty time of year for flowers, even the deck pots look lovely.

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Growing and harvesting chives

I have had chives growing in my yard and garden for many years now, and yet I have not harvested or used them, very much. That is where I am hoping to make a few changes.  I like chives, and in previous years I have grown garlic chives or Chinese Chives. Garlic Chives offer white blooms, and the blooms I recently harvested for Chive Blossom Vinegar were violet in color.


And then I remembered, I was given a small start of chives, and from that start, is this larger mass of chives. Apparently the garlic chives did not survive winter or the transplant when we established the herb bed, in the back yard.

That small start of chives given to me, is proof that chives are prolific and can offer several harvests during the growing season. There is no right or wrong way to preserve chives, it really rests on what works well for you and your family and presonal taste preferences.

I like have jars of minced herbs in the freezer. It is easy to add them to a recipe or scatter over a salad. Because I towel dry them before mincing, there is very little frost that gathers in the jar, and even when thawed, they are delicious. It is really very simple, take a look.


When the bottom stems begin to die back and the blossoms open up, it is time to harvest. It is easy, just take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut about an inch above the ground.


Pick out and discard any off colored stems, woody blossom stems or dried and shriveled stems.

If you have already made chive blossom vinegar, and you come across more blossoms, you can add them to the batch.


Wash the chives, by submerging the stems under water, turning the over gently and repeating. Any dirt or sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl.


Using two towels, lay the chives in an even layer,


Roll up jelly roll style, twist gently in a wringing motion, let the toweling absorb any excess water.


Take a large handful, and begin slicing thinly, filling a quart jar or other container.


It is safe to pack the jar lightly, sliced chives have some spring to them and when they freeze will not place undue strain against the glass. Cap and place in the freezer.

When you need chives, gently loosen and scatter over your food or add to a recipe. It is that simple.

Thank you for visiting such a busy backyard, as always we appreciate your time when you visit and your wonderful comments!

this post shared with:
weekend cooking @ beth fish reads
motivation monday @ a life in balance
inspire me monday @ create with joy
homemade mondays @ frugal by choice
hearth and soul @ apriljharris.com
tuesday garden party @ an oregon cottage
tuesdays with a twist @ back to basics
DIY @ little house in the suburbs