Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's all over.....but the packin

I have an official migration date of November 12, that's the day that I fly out of Edmonton to Mazatlan where I will take a short boat ride to Stone Island, my second home. I have a box in my closet that I will be putting things into that I don't want to forget to take with me,  and a "to do" list going of things I need to do before leaving. While my head is sometimes far way these days I must focus at the tasks at hand, like work and winterizing my yard. Putting away the garden is almost as much work as putting it in. I love putting away food for the winter, canning and perserving, and freezing but I don't do as much these days as I used to just because I am not here for 5 months and I must say I miss that. I do squirrel some away, I'll be back mid March or Beginning of April and it's not until June or July or even  August until I will be eating fresh vegetables again so I like having some stuff stashed away for when I get back. I love coming home knowing my first trip does not have to be to the grocery store to stock up on food, I can just go shop in my freezer and storage. I have some beans, tomatoes, and beets in the freezer, I have some potatoes stored away as well. I also got busy this weekend and make some salsa, one can never have too much salsa. Her e is a little photo essay from the last 2 weeks.
There was a lot of Zucchini in my life and so I had to get creative;

I call these zucchini canoes, I sliced a fairly big zucchini lengthwise  and cut a V out of the middle and sliced a bit off the bottom so that it laid flat making a little canoe. Then I put a slice of bacon in the hollow V and baked it until the bacon was cooked then I put a slice of cheese on it and some basil and a little dab of olive oil (the bacon did not provide enough fat like  I thought it would) and some green onions, then I baked it a wee bit more just to melt the was so good. 

I invented Zucchini lasagna, a layer of noddles, a layer of last years homemade pizza sauce (the last jar) a layer of sliced zucchini and dry cottage cheese (mixed with an egg) and one more layer of noodles and sauce and then some cheese, it was so good I had to have a glass of wine with it. Next time I wouldn't be afraid to add more zucchini. 

I also dealt with my tomato collection this week. I had some amazing tomatoes this year. I spend the little bit extra and bought some organic seeds and I must say it paid off. My organic tomatoes were amazing, they had a sweetness to them that I had never tasted before, like they were infused with sugar. They were big and knobby looking, just before they would turn red they turned pink, I had never seen that before. I made a big batch of salsa with some of them and also just froze some. I have really simplified my method of freezing tomatoes. I used to peel them and cook them and then can them in jars, then I discovered a few years ago that that is not necessary. Now I just cut them into a few big chunks and put them in a jar and jam my hand in there to mush them up a bit to squeeze the juice out and close the jar leaving about an inch of head space to prevent the jar from exploding from expansion. That has been my method for the last few years. This year my freezer is getting a bit full and since jars are so bulky I put them in ziplock plastic bags. The bags will also make getting the tomatoes out a bit easier when they are frozen, sometimes (ok, almost always) I forget to take my jar of tomatoes out of the freezer in the morning before going to work and then in the evening when I want to make supper my tomatoes are still frozen and near impossible to get out of the me, jamming a knife in there trying to break it up to shake it out will just result it you smashing the jar...yup. So I think my plastic baggie will be much more user friendly. Now, peeled tomatoes look a lot nicer in your chili, stew or soup but I don't mind bits of peel in my soup/stew/chili or whatever, plus garden grown tomatoes don't have a thick peel anyway, no more blanching and peeling for me. This method is a whole lot easier, especially when your tomatoes don't all ripen at the same time, you can freeze a baggie at a time as you have red ones.

Monster knobby tomatoes

Baggies for the freezer

Home made bread, with garden fresh pesto, cheese and favorite summer sandwich. In order for my tomatoes to fit on my bread I had to cut the tomatoes vertically instead of horizontally, otherwise one slice as way too big to fit the bread. 
Then one night there was rumors of frost so I quickly harvested what was left of my crop at the golf course. 
The raised bed on the 11th tee box was just stunning all summer and kept us in squash and zucchini for most of August.

I collected a dashboard of tomatoes out of the bed above. The tomato plants were the runty ones that didn't weren't worth keeping in my greenhouse and instead of throwing them in the compost bin I planted them in the bed just to fill space, we'll see how many turn red. 

The last of the zucchini from the 11th tee box

I also harvested my little wash pad garden, don't you just love my wagon, I always feel so farmer-ish when I use it. If I ever get me a farm I'm going to buy a golf cart and a wagon just like this. 

This little homestead like space was home to our potatoes. In July sometime I suddenly decided to plant potatoes here instead of grass, it was late for planting but again I just wanted to fill the space so that the weeds didn't take over. Turns out that the weeds came anyway. 

We did still manage to harvest a box of small potatoes. 
And then it happened, -4C one frosty morning.

You can see the moon, that was the warning, a clear night on a full moon will usually bring frost.

Now my garden looks like this;

The squash plants hanging from the arbor look like bats

Looks a bit spooky I think
I think I'll leave the sunflowers until Halloween and dress them up

The view from my kitchen window is not so great anymore

My next door neighbor knows how much I love my garden and came over to ask if I was ok and offered her condolences. I was however, very ok with all this, it was a bit of a relieve to have it over with. Now comes clean up.  In may look all drap and creepy in my yard but at work it is absolutely stunning right now and I am so blessed that I can enjoy the fall scenes there now. Here are just a few shots.

We have had very interesting skies

We have had some of the most beautiful sunrises and I haven't missed a single one.

Long beautiful shadows just seem to dance all around me

Mixing colors

Trying to hang on to the green a bit longer

The waters seem bluer these days as well

leaves falling everywhere turning everything to gold

Still lush and plush, makes me want to take my socks and shoes off and run barefoot

Little bits of color are showing up everywhere
With the weekends getting colder I spend more time indoors now.....baking to keep the house warm.

French bread, banana bread and of course zucchini bread
I also started knitting, isn't this the most adorable little old man like sweater?

Isn't this the cutest thing ever? I don't have any little men in my life right now but now I have a gift on hand should I need one. One thing that frustrates me is how you can always see where I stopped knitting flat and starting knitting in the do I correct this, what am I doing differently? 
 One last harvest picture and then I promise I am done blabbing about my garden

Sorry I lied.....I had to add my little pumpkins


Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Nice photos, lots of yummy looking produce.
I used to just cut out the stem end on my tomatoes and throw them in a ziploc bag in the deep freeze. When you want a few you just grab that amount, throw them, while frozen, in a bowl of water for a couple of minutes and the skins slip right off.
Couldn't be faster or easier in the busy harvest season and in the winter you very simply and easily get to use skinless tomatoes in all your dishes.
A win win situation.
Have fun getting ready to go.
I deleted my first comment as I had made a mistake, got to remember to proof read lol.

Contessa said...

Great ideas from you & Brenda on how to do an easy freeze of my tomatoes. Thanks.

Love all your photos but especially the autumn colors. Your garden harvest is phenonmenal and such a cute story about your neighbour coming by after the frost.

Looks like we'll be winter neighbors for 5 months. Yeah!

Contessa said...

I forgot to say, what a good photographer you are.

Trinidad said...

Oh my what lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing :) Everything looks so yummy and made me want to cook something with all of your vegtables! Now you are starting your countdown amiga! Hope your clean up goes smooth.

StrawBerriRose said...

Great photos Mary. The Gold Coarse is lovely. What a producttive garden. No frost here yet. Maybe to night.