Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snow in Denver

I woke up to see quite a bit of snow today, October 28, 2009. Right now it's 8:30 mountain time and there is about 5 or 6 inches on the ground of very heavy wet snow and it's still snowing. It's suppose to keep snowing until sometime Thursday. I'm so glad I topped off the bird feeders yesterday.

Here is an unusual sight - a junco on a bird feeder. They usually feed on the ground. This is the first time I have noticed them up on the feeder.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pepper Jelly

This year I grew peppers solely for the purpose of making jelly. The peppers I grew were Gypsy (mild), Marconi (mild) and Volcano (hot, but not killer hot). My spouse had the idea of using the juicer on the peppers and then making jelly out of the juice. The only problem I had then was figuring out how much juice to use since the recipes called for chopped up peppers, not juice. The Gypsy peppers ripened yellow and made a nice golden jelly, while the Marconi peppers are green and made an olive green jelly.
Here is the recipe I used:

Pepper Jelly

2 cups juice from mild peppers
1/2 cup juice from hot peppers
2 cups cider vingegar
6 cups sugar
2 pouches of Certo liquid pectin

Juice peppers using a juicer.
Combine with vinegar and sugar in large pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for ten more minutes.
Add pectin. Bring back to a rolling boil and keep boiling for 1 minute.
Pout into hot sterilized jars.
Process (boil) in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

At first I used just 1 cup of juice from the mild peppers and 1/2 cup from the Volcanos, but that didn't seem quite peppery enough, so I eventually settled on 2 cups of either Gypsy or Marconi pepper juice and 1/2 cup of Volcano pepper juice. Next time, I'll grow more hot peppers and make the jelly even hotter.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sempervivums, Sedums and Hypertufa

Recently, I bought some new hypertufa pots from a local pot maker. What is hypertufa, you may ask? It is a concoction of cement, peat, and other stuff such as vermiculite or perlite that is used to make planters, fake rocks other garden objects. Its main advantage over regular cement is that it's lighter. Plants, such as succulents do well in planters made of it.

Years ago I made my own hypertufa pot and it turned out well. But it was quite messy and time consuming for one pot. I planted some Sempervivum funckii, Monstrosum and Cobweb in it and pretty much ignored it for years. The pot sat there in all weather, staying in good shape and the semps grew.
Eventually the pot got partially covered up by rogue lavender plants, which didn't hurt the pot, but did cause some of the semps to disappear. I pulled the pot out from under the lavender, put it back in the sun and the semps resumed their growing. See the picture at the top of this post.

Since I really like the look of hypertufa as well as its ability to withstand our freezes and thaws, when I saw some for sale (at a VERY good price!) I bought some more. The picture above shows one of four I bought.

Then, I hit up some of the end of season clearance sales at Timberline and O'Tooles and bought some more sedums, alpines and sempervivum. I planted them in temporary pots and will keep them there until next spring, when I'll then plant those that overwinter well into the hypertufa pots that will be well seasoned by then and ready to plant.

The pot above contains Sedum dasyphyllum, Sedum globosum, Sedum tetractinum and an unknown sempervivum.

The pot above contains Sedum divergens, Draba aizoides, Sedum rupestre 'Angelina', Sedum Major, Sedum hispanicum Purple Form and Sempervivum arachnoideum.

I also acquired some sempervivum via mail order. The above two pots contain sempervivum Blue Boy, calcareum, Gay Jester, Magical, Maigret, Speciosum, Spherette, Casa, Sirius, Fuego, Solange, Dolle Dina and Jovibarba arenaria x hirta f/Belansky Tatra.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Demon Eyed Cat!

There was a glowing eyed beasty in the garage the other night!

Eric is hoping we don't notice him and he can stay there all night hunting mousies!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Few New Necklaces for the Shop

Here are a few new necklaces and a bracelet for the Etsy shop. I haven't got them listed yet, but I will soon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Best Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is yet another great way to use surplus Zucchini or other summer squash. As usual, I had quite a surplus so I experimented with different recipes and also varied recipes to see what I liked best. This particular recipe is my favorite and is also well liked by my family and friends. It is tasty, very moist and has loads of fiber.


3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups shredded zucchini, packed
1 cup shredded carrots
3 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins

Beat 3 eggs. Add vegetable oil and brown sugar. Beat together until smooth. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking power, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add everything else and mix well.

Pour into 2 greased bread pans and bake at 350°F until done - about an hour. Use the toothpick test.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dried Tomatoes

Here it is the middle of October, weeks after a hard freeze, and I'm still drying tomatoes. The tomato crop was large again this year, with a good crop from about 16 tomato plants. Since I have so many tomatoes ripe at the same time, I have to find a way to store them for use later, and having already so many jars of canned tomatoes, I now dry them.

We use a lot of dried tomatoes - they are great on salads, thrown into stews, or just eaten right out of the bag. Since I don't use any preservatives, I freeze them once I dry them, just to be sure they don't go bad from any residual moisture left in them.

This year we grew Better boys, Amish Paste, Sun Golds, Jet Sonic, Sweet 100's, and two varieties from Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian Tomatoes were from seeds brought back by a relative. They germinated well and grew vigorously. The fruit from these were huge, one being a pinkish red and the other a true tomato red. Both were gorgeous tomatoes, but we thought they were rather bland compared to the Better Boys. I probably won't grow them again, although I may save some seeds.

The Sungolds and Sweet 100s are cherry tomatoes that taste great, produce well and dry fantastic. These are on my "always grow" list, along with Better Boys and Amish Paste.

The Jet Sonic tomatoes were great producers of perfect looking fruit, but I found them rather bland. I won't be growing them again.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I was going through some photographs from this past summer and came across these from July. Back in March, my daughter died her hair her hair vivid pink

This past July, she found a very green dress at a vintage clothing store and decided to dye her hair to match.

While I was taking pictures, the Twenty Pound Tabby, decided he was in need of a belly rub. Here he is in his best "come hither" look.

He got his belly rubbed and then he got cuddled.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zucchini Broccoli Cheese Quiche

If you grow broccoli and zucchini, chances are you have too much. Here is one way I found that uses both in a way that the family really likes, and is easy to make as well.
This year I grew yellow summer squash instead of zucchini, but I found that they are indistinguishable in the quiche except for the color.

1 store bought pie crust or homemade pie crust
1 clove garlic or 1/4 chopped onion - which ever you prefer
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups broccoli
3 small zucchini sliced
1 cup milk
5 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put the crust in the pie plate and prick the bottom to prevent the bottom from bubbling up. Put the plate in the oven for 5 minutes to set the crust.
While the crust is cooking, grate the cheese.
Beat the eggs, salt, pepper and milk together. Add the garlic or onions.
When the crust has cooked for give minutes, remove it. Sprinkle the cheese on the bottom, add the broccoli then top it with the zucchini slices.
Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and zucchini.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400, then turn down the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes or so until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
For a variation, try putting the cheese on top instead of the bottom.