Category Archives: Family

What Season Is This?

Just for the record. Me and this blog have divided the earth into 3 regions. Northern hemisphere, North of 23 degrees latitude, Southern hemisphere, South of 23 degrees latitude Then there is that region extending from about 23 degrees North to 23 degrees South Latitude where temperatures are favorable for gardening almost non-stop 12 months a year.

Look-up your first and last freeze/frost dates by zip code Find Frost Date Sorry only works for Zip Codes located in the United States.
Pickling Vegetables everything from Artichokes to Zucchini.

grilled dove Fall Hunting Starts on the first day of September in the south and southwest USA.
Opening day for Dove season seems to be a southern holiday and is much enjoyed even if you (grin) fail to down even one Dove. At least in Oklahoma, the native Mourning Dove and the White Wing Dove(mostly seen only in southwest) near and along the Texas/Mexico border areas have strict daily limits. However the non-native Eurasian collared Dove aka Ring neck Dove has no such daily bag limits.

Doves, pigeons and squab deserve their own category. They are really dark meat birds with very little fat. When plucking doves and pigeons keep them whole. (It’s an eye appeal thing) They are very easy to pluck taking only a few seconds once you get the hang of it. What you get in return for your effort a beautiful presentation and those little legs, which are so very tasty! Remove the wings from doves and all but the first wing joint on pigeons.

Dove are small birds, one dove makes a good portion for an appetizer, three to four are served for a main course. Pigeon being larger birds, only one pigeon makes a light dinner main course. Serve two for that hungry working man in your family. Squabs are the same as pigeons, serve one to two per person.

In my opinion, grilling is the best way to cook young doves and pigeons. Grilling is the only way to get the skin crispy without overcooking the breast meat. Don’t over cook your dove or pigeon! They are small birds and cook quickly. Remove them from the grill while the breast meat is still a light pink. Older Doves or Pigeons are better braised or aluminum foil wrapped and oven cooked.

Quick Hints on Grilling Dove or Pigeon
* Grilled Doves Stuffed with 1/4 to 1/2 tart apple and fresh herbs, brush with bacon fat or wrap bird with a slice of bacon and dust with smoked (sweet) paprika before serving.
* Cajun Grilled Doves Doves rubbed with Cajun seasonings and grilled hot and fast.
* Grilled Dove, pigeon or squab Italian Style. Grill your birds over a hardwood fire and dressed only with a little bit of salt and a little black pepper and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Don’t over cook your birds! It is just that simple.

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Vegetables You Should Consider Growing

kohlrabi Kohlrabi sometimes called German turnip or turnip cabbage. Is an annual a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.

The taste and texture of kohlrabi is similar to broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.

Kohlrabi – A few recommend Varieties

Variety Days to Harvest
Early White Vienna 55
Grand Duke 45
Purple Danube 40

rutabaga

Rutabaga Is sometimes called a turnip, Swedish turnip or yellow turnip. Tops and root can be eaten cooked or raw in salads.

It seems that from what I can find rutabaga is a cross between cabbage and turnips. The name Swede is used instead of rutabaga in many paret of the UK, including much of England, Wales, Australia, and New Zealand. The name turnip is also used in parts of Northern and Midland England, the West country (Cornwall), Ireland, Manitoba, Ontario and Eastern parts of Canada.

Rutabaga

Variety Days to Harvest
American Purple Top 90

fennel Fennel is a flowering plant in the celery family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea coast and on riverbanks.

It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and, along with the similar tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe.
Florence fennel or finocchio is a variety with a swollen, bulb like stem base that is used as a vegetable and can be eaten cooked or raw in salads.

Fennel

Variety Days to Harvest
Trieste 90
Zefa Fino 65

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Horseradish – Hate It Or Love It – It’s A Must Have Plant For Every Herb Garden

blooming horseradish Horseradish – Hot and Pungent. Grow it anywhere. Asia, Australia, Canada, USA, UK and Europe, South Africa, grow it anywhere. Horseradish does best in cool damp, not wet soils.

More than almost anyone wants to know about horseradish. It is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family (which also includes mustard, broccoli, and cabbage). The plant Origin is unknown but is probably native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. It is now popular around the world. It grows up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) tall, and is cultivated primarily for its large, white, hot and pungent tasting root.

Intact (whole)horseradish root has hardly any aroma. When cut or grated, however, enzymes from the plant cells break down to produce allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil), which irritates the mucous membranes of the sinuses and eyes. Grated or mashed it should be used immediately or preserved in vinegar for best flavor. Once exposed to air or heat it will begin to lose its pungency, darken in color, and become unpleasantly bitter tasting over time. (Thank you wikipeda.)

Horseradish can grow up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) tall, and is cultivated primarily for its large, white root. Horse Radish with a little vinegar is commonly used among the Germans for sauce to eat with fish and meats as we do mustard.

Horseradish is a perennial and is hardy zones 2–9. And can be grown as an annual in other zones, although not as successfully as in zones with both a long growing season and winter temperatures cold enough to ensure plant dormancy. After the first frost in the autumn kills the leaves, dig and divided it’s roots. The main root is harvested and one or more large offshoots of the main root are replanted to produce next year’s crop.

Horseradish sauce is commonly served along side beef or pork dishes, lamb and egg dishes and with cheese and sausage (worst). A common horseradish sauce is made using graded horseradish and mustard or mayo. Sometimes the sauce is as simple as a bit of vinegar or lemon juice. Sometime horseradish is mixed with grated beet root.

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Yellow And Red Paper Wasp

paper wasp Twenty-two species of paper wasps have been identified in North America. (wikipedia)
The best that I can tell I have been blessed or cursed with 4 different species of paper nest building wasp. I hear people calling them Yellow wasp, Yellow jackets, Red wasp and a few names that I can’t use on a PG rated blog!

I find nest of the common Yellow jacket wasp, European yellow wasp, and 2 different types of Red paper wasp. The Red paper nest building wasp are my enemy! Simply put have a really crappy attitude and will attack you or your pets for no known reason.
:-( Unlike bees, that can only sting you once, wasp can sting you many times.
When I discover nesting sites containing red wasp I go into chemical warfare mode and spray the nest with wasp killing chemicals.

red paper wasp Killing the little bastards. Killing the wasp and nest removal is fairly simple and safe if you follow a few safety precautions.

Once you have located their nest, wait until night fall after all the wasp have returned to the nest for the night. Carefully approach the nest. Using Hornet/Wasp killing spray, spray the wasp and nest. While wearing heavy rubber gloves, remove the nest. Burn the nest or squash their nest under foot to kill any larva contained in the nest cells.
The same procedure is also effective early in the morning before the wasp have warmed up and leave the nest for the day feeding and being a real pest to animals and people.

All Wasp are not the bad guys. Most wasps are beneficial and are critically important in natural biocontrol. Paper wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae. Because they are a known pollinator and feed on known garden pests, paper wasps should be considered beneficial to a healthy garden.
Wasp feed on a wide variety of caterpillars including corn earworms, armyworms, loopers, and hornworms that are used as food to feed paper wasp young.

Caution Paper wasps will sting if they are disturbed or their nest is threatened. Wasp stings are painful and can cause an allergic reaction as can other insect (bee) stings.

I have found paper wasp nest under lawn mowers, on the bottom wire of barbwire fences, under house eaves, in the rafters of little used out buildings, under porch decks. You can never be sure that wasp have not build a nest near you, your house or your garden.

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August Vegetable, Berry And Fruit Gardens

August and September are pay back months. That’s when you get paid back for all the time, water and effort you have invested in your summer garden.
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other Southern Hemisphere Gardner’s will just have to bear with me on this. I do know it’s still winter in your gardens. But Spring is on it’s way.

You may find your harvest basket running over with summer squash, okra, onions, garlic, eggplant, tomato’s and cucumbers. Apples, berries, grapes, plums and early pears are waiting to be picked, for eating raw fresh off the tree and vines or processed for your freezer, canned or made into jelly and Jam.
Their is so much needing done that it’s hard to find time to just set and enjoy your garden, fruit and berry orchards.

My tiny garden was truly tiny this year. What few plants that survived our long running drought, the tomato worms, squash bugs, cucumber bugs, vine bores and grasshoppers eat.

I mounted my tiny spring tooth harrow our John Deer tractor today and harrowed my tiny garden plot. It’s (the garden plot) dry as old buffalo bones. A lot drier than I thought it was. I’m jerking up dirt clods larger than my fist. It will take a lot of rain to bust up dirt clods that large and that dry.

The chemical war I conducted on my tiny garden plot this past Spring has worked out well. I put down a heavy dose of preeminence and sprayed all my weeds, mostly bind weeds with a combo of 2-4-D and glyphosate herbicide. It accomplished a very effective kill of weeds and prevented other weed seeds from germinating all Spring and Summer.
I will repeat this treatment next spring (around mid February) before tilling my garden plot and installing my drip irrigation system.

Maybe I can post a few pictures of my tiny very dry, garden plot and some of my home/handmade farm helper implements I have made (as needed) over past few years.

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Lazy Summer Dogs (I Do Mean – Hot Dogs)

1905 street vendor selling hotdogs. 3 cents each or two for 5 cents.
hotdog-street-vendor
First things first. What makes the best hotdog bun?
* Off the supermarket shelf hotdog buns. Serve at room temperature, warmed or toasted on your BBQ grill or on a cast iron grill pan.

* Baguette, French or Italian stick bread.
– Hoagie bun.
– Sourdough buns. (see Hoagie bun)
– Subway bun. (See Hoagie bun)
– Croissant bun or Bavarian Croissant or Pretzel Croissant bun.(Not moon shaped)
– Cuban bun (bread) similar to French and Italian baguette bun. (bread)
– Split top roll(bun) A hot dog style roll.
— Cut bun(roll) in half if to long for 1 serving. Slice length wise to lay open like butterfly wings.
– Tortilla – use small flour tortillas, fold in half serve like a flour taco with your favored toppings.

No matter what name you use. Frankfurters, franks, wieners, weenies, tube steak, worst(there are many types and styles), (hot) links, Polish or Italian sausage. They all go well served on a warm or toasted bun with topping of your choice.

Spread (unsalted) butter on your buns, grill to a golden brown.
Hint Before spreading room temperature, soft butter on your bun, add a little mustard and or garlic paste to your soft butter, mix well. :-( I know it sounds bad, but, :-) it really taste good. Wow what a delightful surprise.

Ketchup, mayo, mustard, diced onion, relish, chili (I use canned Wolf brand) and grated cheddar cheese are all American common hotdog toppings.

Now lets try thinking out of the bun.
* Shredded cabbage or cold slaw.
* De-seeded sliced, diced or grilled chili pepper.
* Crispy bacon slices or bacon bits.
* Grilled red onions.
* Slice, dice or grate any cheese that you like not just American cheddar cheese.
* Sliced or diced avocado or avocado dip.
* A dollop of sour cream dip.
* Sweet, dill or sour pickles finely diced. Drain away excess pickle juice.
* Tomato’s or maybe cucumbers finely diced and drained.

All American Hotdog Is one of those dishes that it’s really hard to screw up.

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Cactus Apple Jelly and Jam – Frugal Living In America

A updated re-post from 2012

Making Cactus apple jelly and jam is not a project for wimps or sissies. However cactus jelly is worth the time and effort you will invest in making homemade cactus apple jelly and jam.

Source: aneyefortexas Prickly Pears
It’s the time of the year for picking cactus apples and for making cactus apple jelly and jam.

Making do with what you have. The West and Southwestern parts of the United States is not blessed with ample rain fall to have berry and assorted fruit tree crops. So we make do with what we have, prickly pear cactus fruit.

Prickly pear cactus apple fruits are much like a lovely woman, a wonderful sight to behold, but, dangerous if carelessly handled!

Caution: Prickly pear fruit is aptly named. The tiny prickles are pernicious and once they get into your skin you’ll be feeling them for days. Here’s how to collect prickly pear fruit without getting the painful prickles. I find that metal salad tongs and a good pair of heavy leather gloves work well in picking the cactus fruit off of the prickly pear pads.

Use tongs to remove a prickly pear from your collection container. Use the same tongs to hold it over the cactus apple fruit over a flame of a gas stove burner. Some people use a gas camp stove or even a small portable propane torch. Turn the fruit so that the flame touches it on all sides including the ends. Drop into a bowl and repeat with the next fruit until you’ve done all of the prickly pear fruits. If you don’t have a gas stove, you can use hot coals in your BBQ grill or a gas grill.

Cut the ends off of the prickly pear fruits. Use a small sharp knife to peel them. Chop the seedy pulp into small chunks.
Put the chopped prickly pear pulp into a large heavy pot. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until the chunks fall apart and you have a soupy, seedy stew.

Run the simmered prickly pear pulp through a food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, pour the cooked pulp a little at a time into a sieve or fine-holed colander. Press the liquid and pulp through with the back of a wooden spoon. Measure the strained prickly pear liquid and any pulp. Return to the large pot you originally cooked the chunks of prickly pears in.

For every cup of prickly pear liquid, add 3/4 cup granulated pure cane sugar and 1 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Also add the peel (including the white, pithy part) of half a lemon for every 2 cups of prickly pear liquid. The lemon peel provides pectin so your jelly will properly gel. You can omit using lemon peels if you use a product like ‘sure gel’.

Return to a boil, quickly fill hot sterilize jars with the prickly pear jelly. Fasten lids and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Alternatively, pour the hot jelly into hot sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. The advantage of this method is that the jelly can be stored in a dark cool pantry shelf until it is ready to be opened for use.

Helpful Hints For Processing Jelly and jam

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