Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harvest Monday - November 1, 2010

Amazingly enough, things are still growing out there in the garden. I gathered one more picking of beans this week, but I'm afraid this may be all there is for now since it's getting cooler by the minute.
The carrots are finally putting on weight which is very nice. I may forgo carrots in the spring to save space and stick them in the ground in August again. This seemed to work nicely!
The garlic is sporatically showing its shoots which is great
The season is finally and certainly changing. It's been down right plesant here the last few days.
Hop on over to Daphne's Dandelions, our fearless hostess, to see what everyone else is harvesting!
Keychains for a Cause has been doing a lot of work this week in custom school colors. This order for two University of Georgia and three Alabama keychain wristlets came in this weekend.

EG, don't dispair, the order did come with one Auburn wristlet as well, but my blue makes the orange look too much like FLA instead of Auburn, so that's got to be figured out before I ship this out tomorrow.

The morning comes early. Sweet fall gardening dreams.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween, Haircuts and Heresy

Things are gearing up for Halloween here, and all of the festivities will thankfully wind down soon. Yesterday at school, the kids had 'Book Character Day' so the boy wore his Luke Skywalker costume and the girl went as Snow White. They were just adorable.

The night before, this is how the girl was planning to go to school in the morning. She was emphatic, if nothing else, but I prevailed. Thank goodness for everyone involved.

When we got home we went straight to our neighbor's house and had a grand time carving pumpkins. The boy wanted his to have bolts like Frankenstein and the girl put a beaded pipe cleaner on the top of hers to dress it up. Both pumpkins exhibit the fact that I am not a master pumpkin carver, but they both have holes and light up when lit, so I call that a success.

Halloween this year is a bit of a mess since it falls on a Sunday. I don't know about y'all, but here in GA, people have ducks when Halloween falls on Sunday because it's sacrilegious and try to mandate that everyone go out trick-or-treating on Saturday, but what winds up happening is that some go on one day and some on the other and it turns into a big mess. What people need to understand around here is that when you hold children's Halloween parties right in the middle of the Georgia-Florida football game, THAT'S sacrilege.
No, this isn't a Halloween costume, but the Man actually did it! We've been talking about getting his head shaved for years and he came home yesterday with it finally done. I think it looks great!
Lastly, our Family and Consumer Sciences teacher ordered several keychains from Keychains for a Cause in custom colors to represent her friends' schools.
The fob in her right hand was free for ordering 5 or more. Thank you for supporting our Relay for Life Team, Ms. Miller!
The morning comes early. Have a safe and happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good Things are Coming Up!

I noticed today that some of the garlic is coming up! I took the lazy gardener's way out again this year and just planted the cloves as is. I was geared up to plant them the way Daphne does, but I couldn't find a moment to look it up, write it down and then perform the operation, so when the three minutes came my way when the sun was still mostly out, I took it and ran, for
I had until the girl realized she fell asleep at the dinner table to dash out there and stick the garlic in the ground.
So, the garlic went in, not as planned, but it still worked this way last year. The cloves may have been a bit on the smaller size last year and not as many may sprout this year, but they're planted. I wanted to get a picture of the sprouts, but it's been just yucky out there.
Another good thing is that today, alone, we had orders placed for 13 keychains! I was very excited. These five (and one free for ordering 4 or more) is going to Louisiana in the morning.

The morning comes early. It sure does, but try to make it to your bed if you can.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beans! Beans! They're Good for Your Heart!

Guess what I harvested this weekend and again today?

More BEANS! Actually, there was even another gallon zip bag full that I brought to school to give to my team teacher. What was in the picture above was enough to fill an entire large colander which just made me crazy-giddy.
I know I've belabored it enough, but this late summer planted green bean experiment has done so well because it's been cool at night, warm in the day and generally dry, so the beans did wonderfully. The bean beetles are getting to them now and the pole beans have just about quit, so there may only be one more harvest or two, but it was soooo worth the gamble. Hopefully next year will be as dry and we can try it again. I'm honestly almost considering not wasting the space in April to plant them for the summer and just waiting until the fall next year.

You know....I was in the middle of an explanation of the background to The Canterbury Tales today in class when a student shouted out, Mrs. _____ (the foods teacher) said you had a pretty awesome garden. I paused and replied, "I'm attracted to shiny things," which was about just as random as I could get in response to his equally random comment. Then, the buzz started moving around the room...."She's got a garden?" "Mrs. ____ gardens?" "She's nurturing enough to make plants grow?" and the comments continued until one student, the eloquent one, said, "You'll have to pardon us, Mrs. _____. You just don't seem like the gardening sort." I paused and absorbed the comment. Gardening is a relatively new hobby for me; it's only been three years since I started, and I'll admit, my mother once told me I shouldn't have children because I couldn't keep a house plant alive. However, there's a freedom, sovereignty and down right confidence that comes with growing your own food, so I paused and instead of chastising the class, said, "Yeah, but what I really want are chickens." Everyone jumped at listing who they knew who had chickens I could buy. One kid then said, "Hey you could name one Chaucer!" for which everyone else groaned because it got me back on track. Oh well. Such is the life.

On a teaching note segwaying very awkwardly into another Keychains for a Cause update, this beaded wristlet keychain went to a teacher who is a collector of antique jewelry. Her style is magnificently elegant yet understated and the keychain compliments her style and colors perfectly. She's a classic beauty.

We've got about three new designs that I'm going to put up later this week or this weekend. We've had a request, also, for black and gold keychains to match a local school's colors, so I'll have that up as well.

The morning comes early. Try not to overdose on green beans with me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Support That Makes Me Giggle!!

Yesterday was a big, big day all around. For the first time in several years of trying, I harvested sugar snap peas! Not only were the peas good, but I had carrots also!! I made this little veggie dish to take to a baby shower yesterday and I was just giddy with excitement!
The peas were pretty difficult to find being that they had almost toppled over on themselves. I had to think of something quick since they're still flowering like crazy. I took some knitting yarn and wound it around and around the trellis, propping the pea vines up as I went until it looked like an odd loom, but it worked.
Well, see how long it lasts, but for now they have the support they need.
Keychains for a Cause has also been receiving a lot of support recently and it makes me so happy to know that what started out as a lark has been so well received. We've now not only got the original on-line store, but we've added one to the Facebook page, also. (Psst....go "like" the Keychains for a Cause page on Facebook and get a 10% discount when you order through our new Facebook store.)
This week we've filled several orders including this one for a set of soccer key fobs to be given to the players on a 5 yr old's soccer team to put on their book bags' zippers. What a cute idea!
Another customer had the same thought and bought this key fob to give to her girlfriend who is having a girl after a string of boys. She's set on using the same 'boy' diaper bag, so her friend thought a sparkle princess key fob to use as a pull tab on the zipper was just the thing the new baby needed.
When you do your holiday shopping, don't forget us! These wristlets and key fobs will make excellent gifts and stocking stuffers. All proceeds go to support The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
The morning comes early. Sweet pea gardening dreams.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Pesto

I ate some more of the pesto today

with a spoon,

on the couch.

There's got to be a twelve step program for this.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Searching for a Muse

Oh, Muse of food, thy name is Pesto.

About a week ago I mentioned harvesting the rest of my basil to make room for the garlic. I gave all of the basil to a French teacher at my school who asked for some in trade for some of her pesto. Now, I've never had basil straight before this year and the only pesto experience I had was a very, very bad one in Venice on our honeymoon years and years ago. I admit, I was trepidatious, yet almost excited based on my recent acknowledgement that basil is not, in fact, the devil's clay.

Well, the long three day weekend passed and I was a barrel of anxiety. Was I going to like it? What if I didn't? What would I tell her?

I received the pesto as promised, but the man's been out of town and I didn't want to embark on the adventure by myself. It sure did look tasty, however. It smelled heavenly, too.

So, tonight the man came home and I made a shrimp, pasta, and alfredo dish and scooped out a generous helping of the pesto to mix in with it.

It was wholly unacceptable and borderline criminal in its yummy goodness. I've never had anything like it before and ate and ate and ate until I wasn't hungry and then went for seconds and ate some more. I NEVER go for seconds!!! To show you just how wonderful the pesto in the dish was, there's none left. I made an entire box of pasta and it's all gone. Usually I can make one box last three or four dinners, but not this one. Gone. G. O. N. E.: Gone. It was fantastic and there is no parallel.

Traci, I find myself in an awkward position. I'm not making pesto. I don't trust myself. You are my sole supplier and I think we need to barter heavily next season to keep us both in supply or I honestly think I'll cry. What in the world am I supposed to do all winter without your pesto from fresh basil? Can I buy 'fresh' basil in the store and give it to you? I'm at a loss, but I can't survive the winter without more, I tell you. More!!!

Have you gotten the gist that I kind of liked it? It was stupid awesome and you're my hero. I have a shrine set up to you in my school cabinet, but don't ask to see it because it will make the other teachers feel bad.

On a Keychains for a Cause note, these three breast cancer awareness and three black cross on pink keychains are headed out this week to Lovie. Thank you for your order, Lovie and the skull key fob you requested is yours free for the order of four or more keychains. Thank you for helping support my school's Relay For Life.
Oh, BTW, speaking of my school...our county just won an amazing 1 million dollar prize for being the best urban county in the entire United States! Check out the link. I'm pretty darn proud. The picture on the front page at first was a picture of the hallway in my school, but the pictures are on a rotating basis, so it's not up there just now and I don't know if it will be back. The prize is granted to award scholarships to students who struggled at first, but have raised their grades enough to attend college. This is a FANTASTIC sub group of kids that work harder than you may imagine and they get over looked for scholarships because they struggled in 9th or 10th grades. They are truly students who deserve recognition and I can't wait to see the first scholarships awarded.

The morning comes early. Sweet basil, scholarship awarding dreams.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I've BeenSkunked!

I've been skunked! Well, not me exactly, the pole beans and the eggplants. The perfume of skunk is undeniable, unavoidable and wholly unbearable. We have full six foot fence around the yard and I've never seen a skunk anywhere in the vicinity before so there's no telling where he came from or how he got in, but he was here alright. He was here and was apparently offended by the eggplants and decided to give them a what-for.

The smell has dissipated a bit, but it's been highly entertaining trying to guess what in the world happened.

The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Green Bean Goodness and Bus Driver Appreciation Day

Seriously. I've been so happy with the green bean harvest this fall, but this is beyond fantastic. I still have a full bucket in the refrigerator and went out and pulled these two pounds this afternoon. I thought I'd giggle if I got one solid picking, but I'm on number three or four! Woohoo!Now I've just got to use them all. I could blanch and freeze them, but they just never taste the same. It's not like zucchini which you can masque in casseroles. Frozen green beans taste like...well, frozen, limp green beans. Looks like some may be taking the trip to school in the morning. I know they'll make people happy.

I took a handful of them tonight and made use of them in a soup I made with tortellini, ground beef (sausage would have been better), garden garlic, oregano, basil and rosemary, tomatoes, onions and carrots. Usually I would have used black beans, but these green beans did just fine and were so tasty in the soup that I'll do it this way again.
Green beans seem like the only things I've got to harvest! Check out Daphne's, however, to see the bounty everyone else is hauling in.
The week of October 18 is National School Bus Safety Week and here in Georgia, it also coincides with Monday, October 18 being Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Bus drivers are an integral, yet under recognized and appreciated force without whom out schools could not function as we want them to. You can show support for your students' bus drivers this week or for the holidays with a small bus driver key fob from Keychains for a Cause. Proceeds go to support the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
Mr. Helms, this keychain is for you. Thank you so much for keeping our children safe. You are most certainly appreciated.

The morning comes early. Sweet garden, green bean, soup dreams.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Green Bean Goodness

Sometimes Mother Nature is kind and where she taketh away in the summer - say as in a lack luster green bean crop - she giveth freely in the fall.

Yes, I'm obsessing about my fantabulous fall green bean harvest almost as much as I obsessed the lack thereof in the summer.

Why can I do that? I'm a woman, and I can obsess over miniscule things that are meaningless to anyone else but me. It's my obligation to my sex and I won't let them down. :)
Another Autism wristlet from Keychains for a Cause ships out today, this time to a teacher at The Monarch School right here in Duluth, GA. She works with Autistic children and plans to use the wristlet for her school and home keys to show her support for her students and her cause.
The morning comes early. Sweet greenbean gardening dreams.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Holy Cabbage

As I reevaluate the seasons in which I plant things, cabbage is on the list to be a one season crop. It seems like the cabbage worms are less prolific in the winter/early spring, quite unlike the compound that the worms have created out of my cabbage this fall.

Here's one of my cabbages just laden with holes.
This one's worse if you can judge by the amount of poop stuck down in there.

Good thing is....the cabbages are preoccupying the cabbage worms and they're staying out of the broccoli. I think I'll just leave the cabbages in as a sacrificial crop in hopes to keep the broccoli pest free.

A request was made for Keychains for a Cause to carry religious themed keychains, and the request has been honored. You can now find this pink and black cross design in both key fob and wristlet size. I made the promise to cut and resew the back side of the keychain so the cross would not appear upside down on half of the keychain.

If you've got a good link for additional religious themed ribbon, let me know. As well, if there is another cause or design you'd like to see us carry, shout it out!

The morning comes early. Hopefully they're as cabbage worm free as the broccoli.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Harvest Monday - October 11

Late fall harvests are almost as exciting as the first summer harvests. I'm just thrilled beyond belief at these beans. This is the third such picking I've gotten and the bush beans are just now starting to look good as well. I can't wait until those start producing. Then I'll be rolling in beans.
The vining cucumbers gave me two more and the eggplants that I chopped down to the ground sprung back and gave me another eggplant. I'll have to remember that for next year. I honestly thought that would kill them, they were so bug ridden, but they grew back lush and beautiful to give me a second helping of eggplants all around and I'm not complaining.

Football wasn't so bad this weekend, either. EG, bet you were smiling there for a while.

This Autisim Keychain from Keychains for a Cause is headded out to Tennessee this morning!
Thank you for your order.
Stop by Daphne's to see what everyone else is harvesting!
The morning comes early; sweet late fall gardening dreams.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hallelujah - The Dog Days Are Over

The dog days of summer have thankfully gone. At first, I thought we had skipped the 80's altogether and just hoped straight into the 70's, but this week has brought the 80's back in style....we'll revisit this later. ;)

With the cooler temps, the dog, who avoids the dog-days like the plague, refuses to come inside. See how he's even ignoring my taking his picture?
Ah, the dog. His name is Gibson and he's been alternately blamed for tomato eating and lettuce eating. We've come to know Gibson fondly through the almost two years I've been blogging on the garden.....Two years, huh? Two years and all you know my children by are the terms, "The Boy" and "The Girl." I think the time has come to change that. My friends, here are my children.

Luke Skywalker:
and Daphne.

Yes, the 80's are back in style!
Mom, you can start breathing again.
The morning comes early. May the Scooby Snack Force be with you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bye Bye Basil

After the pledging to the basil the other day, I didn't know how much more of it I could take. Then, like a sign, the garlic I ordered showed up in the mail. Some of the garlic has to go where the basil is, so the basil came out and the garlic went in.

Last year I planted soft neck and this year I seem to have gone all hard neck, so we'll see how it goes. I'm eager to see what these garlic scapes are all about! I've never seen cloves so large as the Russian Red. Those were impressive. I put some in a small 3x3 of the corner yard and the basil box (3x2) and then the left overs in the other corner yard where I'm hoping the rotten squirrels will leave them alone. That box doesn't get much sun in the fall, so we'll see how they perform out there.

I was going to put them out where the jalapenos and eggplants are, but those suckers just keep on churning out the goods, so they can stay for now.

It all had better be worth the while. UGA won, SC beat AL and now LSU is running over FLA. I'm half thinking the world is coming to an end. Thank goodness I've got on clean underwear.

Sent a Keychains for a Cause order out to Idaho this morning! All three are wristlet sized and represent a variety of causes including transitional cell cancer and Autism. The purple is indicative of so many causes including general cancer awareness, Crones, Fibromyalgia, Cystic Fibrosis and so much more. They should be there soon!

The morning comes early. Sweet garlic dreams. Take a breath mint to bed if it makes you feel better.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Pledge Allegiance to the Garden....

Yeah, I don't get it either, but the girl has insisted this is the way it is. She has an affinity for dandelions and blowing their seeds directly over the garden beds. Today, each time she pulled a weed, she would say the Pledge, but not to the flag, to the garden. She's three and started three year old preschool this August so I'm assuming she learned the official Pledge there.

This was all well and good until she saw me cutting the basil and insisted I say the Pledge each time I snipped off a stem. It was a much longer process than I had anticipated.
After the first 16 times, I started cutting the branches lower and lower in hopes of speeding up the process. There's a teacher at school that promised me pesto if I cut her some more basil. I've never made it before, so I'm excited I got one more cutting out of this plant before the frost came. The way it grows, I may even get one more.

Today I'm putting up some more black and white ribbon for the Keychains for a Cause.
I think it's a bit classier than say....the monkeys. Although those really are fun.

The morning comes early. Sweet garden pledging dreams.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No Contest

I've already mentioned it, but now it's really fact. All though this summer I kept fawning over other's pictures of their bean harvests. Mine were curled, sparse, bug laden and generally non existent. It made me sad.

I had an extra trellis spot open in August and planted some more in a hail Mary attempt and sure enough, they've grown and now that the weather has gotten cooler....BAM! Green beans abound!
I honestly think it was the heat of June and July that did them in. Now the struggle is going to be rearranging my own planting tendencies to make sure I understand that just because "they" say I can plant beans in the spring, they really do better for me in the fall and if I want pretty, straight beans, I need to revamp my way of thought and go with what works for me, regardless of what the extension agency says. That's going to be the hard part, but look...they're straight and there's more than three of them at a time! They were even clustered together on the vine. I've never had bean clusters. Woohoo!

Keychains for a Cause is still going strong and we're still running the free shipping offer for October. We had another custom keychain order from a woman who's father had both bladder and kidney cancer so we made a keychain to reflect both colors. If you'd like colors that aren't on the website yet, please email me and we'll get them up right away.
I'm very sad to say her father lost his battle weekend before last, but now she uses her key chain as a way to garner attention for cancer research and honor her father's fight.

The morning comes early. Sweet green bean gardening dreams.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Harvest Monday : The Verdict is in - To Trim or Not to Trim Sweet Potato Vines

I decided to harvest the sweet potatoes in the corner yard this afternoon. I looked up on the blog and realized that I pulled them the same day last year so my experiment would be perfect.
Last year I did not trim the sweet potato vines and got this for a harvest
Small and pitiful was my opinion. There were two out of the whole batch that were baking size.
This year, I put them in the same box with the same growing conditions and got THIS!!
The largest one wasn't a sweet potato so much as it was the size of a new born baby!
Most of these will most likely have to be turned into a pie or mashed or something because they're too large to eat, but man, are they awesome. It's about 11 pounds of sweet potatoes from two slips which doesn't hurt my feelings one bit.
I don't even think there is a debate that needs to be had. I know the more roots a sweet potato plant sends down the more chance it has for tubers, but if you trim, the energy goes to a fewer tubers instead, making them larger. I'm a fan of trimming those vines, my friends. Hop on over to Daphne's to see what everyone else is harvesting!
Two new keychains went up on the Keychains for a Cause page today.
The grey is for brain cancer Awareness and Diabetes and Asthma Awareness,

and the green is for kidney cancer awareness, missing children awareness and many other causes.

The morning comes early. Sweet potato dreams!

BTW, any good sweet potato recipes that call for MONSTERS you'd like to share would be much appreciated!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Suppose Halloween IS Right Around the Corner.....

Completely off gardening, but I suppose today I'd finally had enough of the comments about my grey hair. It's really started to come in heavily these last two years and although I don't think I consider myself to be overly concerned about my getting and looking older, I figured it was time.

So I went and colored my hair a medium brown to try to cover the grey and their idea of medium turns out to be a whole lot darker than my idea of medium.
It's really dark. Really dark. I can already feel the obligatory teen angst rising within me, but at least I'll blend in with all of the Cathedral/Goth kids at school. Eh, but then Halloween is right around the corner and the dark hair really goes with the spirit of it all. Speaking of Halloween.....there's a new sparkle spiderweb design going up on the Keychains page tomorrow, most likely.
The morning comes early. Even on the weekends. Why is it that you wake them up at 5:45 and they scream like some one's done shot their dog and yet when they wake up all on their own at 5:47, all seems to be right with the world. It's just not fair. Sweet gardening dreams.

How Ya Like Me Now?

My plan seems to be least for now. Seems like I may come out on top and foil those lettuce eating squirrels after all. I left the stumps in the ground because lettuce can sometimes come back and sure enough, there are a handful that have started to do just that.
Who knows if it will have time to get to an edible size before our first frost, but I think we've got about another 3 weeks or so, so I'm hopeful. I was debating pulling out the rest of the sweet potatoes this weekend, but we just had rain. I may now give them the week to dry out.
Today we added three more keychains to the Keychains for a Cause page. We added a burgundy velvet ribbon, a red ribbon with purple polka dots reminiscent of the Red Hat Society colors and then this orange ribbon used to show awareness for leukemia and motorcycle safety.
The morning comes early. Sweet gardening dreams.

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Straight to the Hunt and I Win!

Most of us run in the same blog circles and I know you've found me rather redundant all summer in my posts on other's blogs saying, "Oh, I wish my green beans were as nice," or "My green beans just never look that straight!" Well, my friends....I've won the green bean lottery....
Look at the straight beans!!!! Now I'm seriously wondering if all of the thin, woppy beans I got all summer was because of the unrelenting heat as these beans are planted in the same place and with the same packet of seeds that the terrible performing ones from the summer were. Man, am I glad I got some good beans for once and we've still got a good time to go before the frost. So, there you have it folks...I think beans are going to be a fall crop for me!
The bush beans in the side yard are teeming with flowers, themselves, so I know I'll get more in before it's too late. What a relief. It makes the dull, no harvest months of July and August almost bearable again.
So the beans are straight and it's now time to get your hunt on! Bow season has opened in Georgia and the firearms season is only a week or two away, so we added a new camouflage key chain to our selection. It's not centered in the picture, but that's because to save costs, we make each one to order and this one isn't sewn down. We're already running a free shipping offer in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but Keychains for a cause is also happy to say that we're donating breast cancer awareness fobs to every teacher in our school cluster (our elem, middle and high school) who has battled or is battling breast cancer. It's a staggering number of teachers and we're so glad to support them in their fight for a cure.
The morning comes early. Sweet hunting for straight green bean dreams!