Monthly Archives: June 2010

A Rose is a Rose…

I love roses and keep adding to my collection each year.  The roses have been bursting with blooms lately and I admire them daily.  I thought I would share a few recent pictures of my blooming beauties.

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Filed under Flower, Gardens

Winter Sowing Update

It was months ago that I decided to attempt starting perennial seeds by using a winter sowing method that I had read about in my Northern Gardener magazine.  I posted (here) about getting everything set up and flower seeds planted in these plastic milk jugs in the dead of winter.

Over the next few months, I set the milk jugs out in the snow and let nature take its course.  As things started to warm up in the spring, I opened the jugs up during the day to allow the germination process to start, triggered by the moisture and warm rays of sunshine.  The seeds eventually started to sprout and I had lots of little seedlings.

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Simple Garden Moments

It finally feels like summer to me.  The kids have all returned from various camps and grandparent visits.  Our evenings have opened up somewhat and I am not dashing here or there to sit and wait at practices, rehearsals or lessons as often.

The good news about this is that I have more time to be outside working and enjoying our farm and the simple pleasures of gardening.  Moments like these, for example, when you are digging around in the flower bed and look over and see a beautiful butterfly enjoying your plants.

The bad news is that I usually write my posts while I am sitting at practices, lessons, rehearsals, etc., so I have less time now to blog about all the stuff we are doing around here!  Summer is short, however, and things will be back to the usual high-speed chaos before you know it.   In the meantime, I will continue to do my best to steal a few moments to provide updates…maybe on rainy days when I am forced indoors.  🙂

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Filed under Daily life, Flower, Gardens

Preserving Rhubarb

Like most people, we have more rhubarb than we know what to do with. After all, there are a limited number of things you can do with rhubarb, and all of them involve a LOT of sugar to tone down the sharp flavor.  During the harvesting period of spring through the end of June (in my zone 3-4), our daughter usually makes us pans of rhubarb crisp, rhubarb muffins and rhubarb cake to enjoy.  She loves to bake and we love to eat her creations.

This year I decided to attempt preserving some rhubarb to enjoy past its short season.  My first project was to make some simple rhubarb jam.  My husband’s co-worker had an easy recipe for refrigerator jam.

Simple Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

6 c. diced rhubarb

3 c. sugar

Combine and sit at room temperature for 4 hours.

Heat mixture to boiling for 10 minutes.  Add 3 oz. package of strawberry gelatin.

Pour into canning jars.

I am not an expert at canning, or anything else for that matter, but I am trying to learn more each summer as I try to preserve food from the garden.  I boiled the jars of jam in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes just to seal them up.

The resulting jam was very tasty and the consistency out of the fridge was good.

The next recipe I attempted was this ginger rhubarb chutney recipe that I found over at tigress in a pickle.  I discovered her blog a few months ago, along with her companion site, tigress in a jam.  These sites are great resources if you are looking for a collection of recipe ideas for preserving your garden bounty.  In addition to standard pickling and jam recipes, you will find unique and creative recipes with some wild flavor combinations.

Anyhow, this sweet, tangy, and intensely flavored chutney turned out delicious.  After finishing a batch, my daughter and I took some fresh bread with a piece of cheese and put a scoop of chutney on top to test it out.  I loved it and to my surprise, she did too!  Over the weekend, we smoked some pork chops and covered it with the warm chutney, which was also a great pairing.

What other ideas are out there for using or preserving all that rhubarb?

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Filed under Food, Freezing and Canning, Gardens, Vegetable

Preparing and Expanding the Perennial Gardens

Although my husband might disagree, it is my firm belief that you can never have too many perennial gardens.  So, after a few years of threatening to expand my gardens, I decided to go ahead this year.

I always start my landscaping projects by laying out a garden hose in various shapes and looking out the windows in the house to see how it will look.

I tried many different variations this time to try to find a shape that I found pleasing.

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A Few Days in the Big Apple

After our visit to West Point, we headed back down to New York City to spend a long weekend.  We stayed right in Manhattan in the Mid-town area and were complete tourists, hitting many of the major attractions during our short stay.  It was our first visit to the Big Apple, and even though we have been to many big cities around the world, NYC is in a league all by itself.  It is unique, chaotic, vibrant, crowded, overwhelming, charming, diverse…so many things.

We wasted no time jumping into tourist mode, heading straight for the top of the Empire State Building to take in the fantastic views of the New York City area.

We went to Times Square to people-watch and to try to get discount tickets to a Broadway show.   Continue reading

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A Visit to West Point

We are home from our visit to West Point to retrieve our oldest son and our whirlwind tour of New York City.  Arriving at the Newark airport last Thursday morning, we hopped in our rental car, only to find that our GPS device that we had brought along was dead and the charger was not working.  With no good maps and only basic directions from West Point literature, we headed out on to the New Jersey turnpike.  Needless to say, the congestion and stop-and-go traffic made for a stressful introduction to the New York area.

After several hours stuck in traffic, we finally made our way up to the Palisades Interstate Highway and arrived at West Point just in time to take the last tour of the day.  West Point is a beautiful and historic campus located on the Hudson River.

Originally founded as a fortress during the Revolutionary War, West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America. Continue reading

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