Monday, September 29, 2014

Annoying business practices

It's still September. The weather is gorgeous. We haven't even had our first frost yet.

So what do the stores do? Get rid of all gardening items and start filling the shelves with Christmas stuff!

About a week ago I picked up a flower pot as I start repotting plants that have been outside all summer so I can start moving them indoors. Knowing that I had found the correct size, I returned to get more pots....ha! Fat chance. Not only were the shelves empty, the pots had all been shipped back. No transition time between seasons. No reduced prices before the change (which would have given customers a hint as to what was coming). Instead of offering even a small selection the entire section was destined to house holiday junk. Why 'junk'? Because it's the same in every store. Do people really need to buy more cheaply made decorations every year? Of course not! Does anyone seriously want to start decorating three months early? Not if they have any sense. I think it would be brilliant if we all chose not to buy anything from the holiday section. Let all that useless stuff sit there, gathering dust and eating into their profits.

Naturally, I also sent the store an email stating just what I thought of their management choices. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Exciting solar news

The electrician came today and started installing the new system.

Pretty cool. He had me order a couple extra breakers for fail safes so it will be another week or so before he comes back to finish the job. I'm very excited to move forward with the project finally.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Free food and the down side

When I was gifted a box of tomatoes I spent a day turning them into ketchup. In thanks I gave a bottle of homemade vanilla extract which led to more tomatoes and some green beans. Of course, I couldn't accept without assisting in the picking and then I needed to do more canning. Today I got a call asking if I wanted apples. Again I helped pick until they finished their harvest and now have four bags of apples to process and store. So much to do, so little time and energy to expend.

At least the weather is lovely (though I could do without the mosquitoes). An early bedtime is sounding absolutely wonderful after this weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Potatoes and Pickles, oh my

Dill pickles are my favorite food to can. So simple, yet rewarding. These were made with a mix of cucumbers from my garden, my parents' garden, and my neighbor's. I'll tuck them away to soak up that delightful dill flavor.

This year I made a change from the usual Yukon Gold potato I normally grow and tried two purple varieties. Purple Viking on the left and Purple Majesty on the right. The Viking is the only one I've dug up so far (just one under the plant!) while the Majesty are prolific, although producing many more small spuds than I prefer.

Funny how the Viking has such a gorgeous skin color while the Majesty hides all its splendor on the inside.

Purple potatoes are supposed to be high in antioxidants, although I can't confirm if the white-fleshed Viking has similar properties.

At least this promises to be a decent harvest.

The monarchs gather

I counted eleven monarch butterflies flitting around my back door recently.

Beautiful. Wings like stained glass.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Homemade ketchup

Earlier this summer I found a recipe for making ketchup and decided to try it if I had the chance. Yesterday I got lucky and was gifted a big box of tomatoes.

Lots of tomatoes, onions, some vinegar and spices, a little sugar and salt ...

and result! It does seem like a lot of work for just four pints of ketchup, but still cool.