Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Bottle Tree

A bottle tree in the garden is totally a southern thing, y'all.

I have been wanting a bottle tree in the garden 
for quite some time now.  
I think they are just beautiful!
But I also think I'm becoming one of those people,
you know the one, 
the crazy neighbor who has too much yard art.

I'm not that bad yet, but I'm working on it!!

This wasn't exactly the style tree I had planned when I was having bottle tree fantasies. I had pictured a free flowing, tree-like form, but whenever I came across those, they were ridiculously expensive. So I had Doug buy a 4x4 post and Danny and I hammered in nails for the bottles to rest upon.

It's a work-in-progress!
She's mostly "nekkid" right now, but she will evolve over the year as I collect bottles here and there.  I'm so tempted to go buy wine this very minute for the pretty bottles and just pour the wine into another container because 
Impatient = my middle name.

Bottle trees add such a nice touch of whimsy to the garden and have wonderful benefits such as never needing to water, prune, or fertilize.  Plus, they are rumored to catch evil spirits roaming around at night! 

It's a tree that even the laziest gardener can't kill,
but they might stumble a little going out to the garden after drinking all that wine and beer!

Monday, June 23, 2014

No time for blogging today!

Now that I've got that pesky garden snail problem licked, 
I can get down to some serious sauce making!  
Loads of  SanMarzano tomatoes are ripening by the day. 

I've waited all summer for this!

Check out my super simple way to make tomato sauce HERE.
You won't be sorry!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Just call me the Drunken Snail Slayer!


They have completely decimated my garlic bed (above).
And have eaten through more tomatoes than I can count (below).
I would go out to the garden each morning and pick off and crush as many as I could find, but they simply outnumbered me!  I posted the question on how to get rid of them on Facebook and my ever-wise friend, Peggy, gave me a solution...


She said to bury a small container at soil level in the garden.

Fill the container just shy of the rim with beer.
Luckily, I just happened to have some lovely Shiner Bock in the fridge.  I really hated to waste in on those slimy villains, but I was desperate! 

I set the filled containers out at dusk, 
because the snails become more active at night.  
I thought by morning I might have a dozen or so. 
 I almost passed out when I found THIS:

These greedy little slime balls crawled to the container, 
drank the beer, got drunk, fell in, and drowned!

If I repeat this 2-3 more nights I might make a dent in the snail population in my garden!  Although, I might get some funny looks at the local grocery store for buying beer in the middle of the day with four children in tow...

Thank you, Peggy, for your wonderful idea!
You're definitely getting some tomatoes 
(and whatever else you want from the garden) 
for helping me defeat the army of snails!

Monday, June 9, 2014

It must be summer!

Because I have 'cukes comin' out of my ears~
and that means it's

I used to hate, like REALLY HATE, bread and butter pickles.  I couldn't understand why anyone would want to eat a sweet pickle!  In my opinion, if you're going to eat a pickle, it's got to be crisp, garlicky, dilly, and just a bit spicy.
Recently, by mistake, I had some sweet pickles on a hamburger....
it was delicious!
And ever since then I have been a believer in the goodness of bread and butter pickles!
Here's my recipe for making them:

Pack 7-10 pickling cucumbers into quart sized jars 
with half of a thinly sliced white onion.

Make a brine of:

2 cups apple cider vinegar
(Use an unpasteurized vinegar like Bragg's) 
1 1/2 cups of honey
1 Tbs. mustard seed
1 Tbs celery seed
2 Tbs sea salt

Pour this mixture over the cucumbers.

Place lids on jars and give them a good shake to get rid of all the air pockets and put them in the fridge.  They'll be perfect in two weeks and will last months in the fridge.

And because I love them so, I made a batch of good 'ol lactofermented pickles!

Here's a post on how to make them:

Here's to summer time and eating pickles, 
which ever ones you prefer...sweet or sour!
Get your pucker on!