People (okay, one person) asked how I made Blueberry Ginger Jam. The ginger is crystalized ginger, which is can be eaten just like
candy. Just a little bit added to the blueberry jam gives it a nice,
bright kick it wouldn't have otherwise.
I would normally be a bit embarrassed to admit the recipe, except that it's just so good.
Basically, follow the instructions for cooked blueberry jam on the Sure-Jell instructions. When it's time to add the sugar, add a jar of minced crystalized ginger (whatever size is carried in the grocery store, maybe about 2 oz?). Then proceed with the recipe as directed. That's it. Embarrassingly good.
On Friday night, Spouse and I were enjoying a DVD. Suddenly, we heard a huge crash from outside. Neither one of us knew what it could be. Spouse went out to investigate, but since it was dark, he didn't see much.
The next day I was absentmindedly looking out the window when I saw a large branch in the yard. I looked over toward the trees and saw a HUGE branch at the edge of the woods. I called to Spouse, we went outside, and this is what we found:
(Click to enlarge)
The entire top of this red oak snapped off. We have no idea why. There weren't any heavy winds, and the last big storm that came through the metro went to the north of us. So, today Spouse and our tree guy will be chopping and hauling all of this away.
Spouse was somewhat upset. He hates to lose trees, any trees. However, he's been somewhat mollified by the idea that the small bur oak trees growing in this area will now have more sunlight to grow big and tall (as long as they weren't all smushed by the falling red oak).
On Saturday, I did some more jamming. This may be it for jams this year, unless I get inspired at apple time.
Four hours of work and I ended up with 27 jars of summertime goodness (two jars had already gone "missing" when I took this picture). Homemade jams are perfect for hostess and holiday gifts. What was made: Raspberry, Blackberry/Raspberry, Spiced Blueberry and Ginger Blueberry.
I just noticed this bald-faced hornet's nest hanging over our neighbor's driveway. It's about 10 feet above the driveway.
Although bald-faced hornets visit some flowers, and thus do some pollinating, they are pretty much the bad-asses of the wasp/hornet world. They will sting repeatedly if bothered, which is why I was very careful in taking pictures. In this particular picture, you can see several hornets around the nest opening.
In our neighborhood, bald-faced hornets usually build their nests in trees. In other places they build them right on houses and other buildings. As you can see from this picture of the back of the nest, the elm branch seems to still be alive and growing.
Until last year, we had only seen a wild turkey once at our house. Now they seem to be everywhere. This guy let me get within 5 feet of him. In fact, he was so busy drinking from the pond that I had to say, "Hey, turkey" several times just to get him to look up.
This barred owl has been hanging around the yard for the past week or two. Spouse said he watched a large owl (probably this one) and a smaller owl flying around a few days ago. After a few minutes, the large owl swooped to the ground and came back up to the tree with a chipmunk in his beak. Mmmmm . . . lunch.
(Apologies on the picture quality. It's cropped from a shot which was taken from our living room window close to dusk. It's about as close as you can
get to these guys. As you can see, he definitely had his eye on me.)
This was the first bed I planted after the new vegetable garden was built three years ago, and it needs some serious help. At this point I just ignore it, but this fall I'd like to think I could put some things in so that it looks somewhat presentable.
This bed is next to our deck and screened porch, so it's highly visible. I had planned a small water feature - a pot with a bubbler - on the left-hand side, but didn't put it in this summer as the bed looks so crappy. I need help!
Here are the specifics. Most of the bed has full shade from the arborvitaes until about 3:30 pm, after which it gets full sun until sunset. The very back gets little sun. Given this, I thought that "partial shade" would be the best description. It has ample water - when I water the vegetable beds, this bed also gets watered. There are no longer deer, but we have lots of rabbits.
Ligularia 'The Rocket' on the left - must be moved - hates this site - wilts in the arfternoon
Various daylilies - in the middle - like the site, but I don't want too many of them
Siberian iris - in the back, have never bloomed since transplanting - either planted too deep or not enough sun - will be moved to another bed
Veronica Sunny Border Blue - in the middle - likes the site but eaten by rabbits
Japanese Forest Grass - can't see it in the picture - has never grown much, just a few spikes (but it still lives)
Golden Creeping Jenny - does okay
Old peony - on the far right - was there before the wall was built but came back - does well here. Gets the most sun
What's died: coral bells, ajuga, non-wild columbine (the wild stuff does fine), hosta (moved before death), a few different hardy geraniums.
Goal: Mostly perennials with various leaf forms. Nothing taller than about 3 feet, most in the 6" to 24" category. Color is open. I started with yellow, blues and purples but now I just want things that grow. No rabbit food. Mostly on the light colored side, as the site is so shady during the day.
This is a welcome sight for Minnesota farmers and gardeners - rain! It's been at least 6 weeks since we've had more than a little piddling shower. It's been raining for more than an hour now, and it's wonderful.
On Sunday night we had our first beans and potatoes, a 4th of July tomato, and a few Sweet Baby Girl cherry tomatoes thrown in for good measure. The beans are Kentucky Blue, and I think the potatoes are Rose Finn
Apple (the row marker was hidden under straw, and I was too lazy to
look at the master plan).
The potatoes were sweet and creamy - no need for butter. The tomatoes
burst with sweetness. But the beans . . . ahhh, the beans. Every year I
marvel at how absolutely delicious garden beans are - the food of the