Fall & Winter Stock Up

Pantry Essentials – by Kim VanderWerf

Also:

  • remember the books you’ve set aside & magazines
  • last years seed catalogs until the new ones arrive
  • fall & winter prep lists
  • cozy socks
  • soft warm sweaters
  • good quality tea
  • soup and casserole recipes

This year we’ve decided to do Christmas differently as far as gifts go. I believe we are going to go with more intentional, possibly handmade, custom made/designed or sentimental gifts that may be bought or made or have someone make. But as far as gift lists, or wants, or commercialism–nope that’s out for our household this year. I’m still working all the details out but I will share them here as I come up with them.

Update on our move–that’s complicated as is everything this year. Normally, the person with citizenship would return to their country and start the residency process and then the rest of the family would follow. That is not how things are working right now with our move. The residency requirement vs. how long, because of covid-19 restrictions, aren’t meshing. At this time I cannot stay long enough to meet the requirements so I will be traveling for a few days to meet with our house-sitters/renters who are caring for the home we have purchased. We will be working on winterizing everything and working out winter/spring 2021 details. Hopefully come March 2021 we can begin again–we are thankful to have friends that are helping us to take care of our property. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to do it all without them.

Fall Prep–   from This Old Home

 

Stock up Fall 2020 -video on how to stock up for an emergency

Until next time–be safe and be well!!

 

Apple Cider Donuts

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Apples are aplenty this season–we’ve sampled so many good apples from several of our local orchards. This past weekend my husband and I traveled alittle over an hour from home to visit one of our favorite apple stands –Bauer’s Market Place  and loaded up on them.   We also picked up a couple loaves of their famous Apple Fritter bread and two gallons of apple cider.  Sunday  I made some Apple Cider donuts from a recipe I found here.

Since we were near downtown La Crosse WI we decided to find a place along the waterfront to get a bite to eat.

Lacrosse view

While the view was breathtaking–the food, combined with poor service, and the noise level, were not. Two hot sandwiches that were served cold with cold fries for $40.00 was a bit extreme even for waterfront. Worse yet it was during the dinner hour and we were the only 2 customers eating–with one other table of 4 customers enjoying a liquid dinner.

But ah oh yes that view…

Once home I attempted to make my long anticipated apple hand pies with caramel drizzled over the top, but since we were wanting to take them on a picnic the next day–I did not make the caramel to go with them. Also, pressed for time, I did not make my pie crust from scratch. Big mistake. They tasted good but next time I’m going to take the time to make homemade crust and also the caramel–because what’s an apple without caramel?

Best Apples for Cooking and Baking here

Recipe for Cider Glazed Apple Bundt Cake here

Last but never least the final picture of my last two tomato plants–still producing in October.

Most years, just like a lot of other people, when October arrives everything in containers on our deck is basically brown/dead looking. This year is no different. But instead of rushing things I’m letting nature run its course. My plants are still producing tomatoes –they’re still hanging on so I’m going to let them live out their best lives. This coming weekend there is supposed to be frost so time will tell if this years garden season has come to an end and it is time to clean it all up. Everyone on social media seems to be rushing things–first it was fall/halloween mid-August and now some are rushing to Christmas.  At almost 55 I ‘m so over rushing time. Time does a wonderful job of that all on its own. I’m trying to slow time down in any and every way I can. It’s the first week of October for heaven’s sake not mid December lol… Until next time Happy Fall. We are on vacation until the third week of the month celebrating early our 25th (Silver) Wedding Anniversary.

Fall is fast approaching–harvest then cleanup—100 tomatoes this year! 🐛🍅🍅

Happy First Day of Fall!! 🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁

Lots of pumpkins in the store to choose from!!

I bought a hubbard squash and a white, green blue, and orange pumpkin. I plan to carve them out and then feed them while still fresh to the birds and other outside critters.

Last photos of this years container garden–

Last of my tomatoes ripening–

Last summer Farmer’s market haul–

Some pretty good food cooking with fresh produce–

Some interesting things I learned with this years container garden were pretty interesting. I started with three tomato plants planted in organic soil. I bought the plants at a nursery that I’ve been buying plants at for years. I also spent $34 on a large geranium plant that looked dead by day two on my deck. After a careful inspection I found two of the plants in the geranium bush to be rotten so  I replanted the entire large geranium plant. I then went out and purchased two tomato plants from Home Depot and two tomato plants from Walmart of which I did not plant in organic soil. A few weeks later I purchased some herbs and a single geranium plant. Once the flowers were on all my tomato plants I was pretty sure I was going to be seeing some amazing results. A short time later all the plants I’d purchased from my favorite nursery were dead and I was down to five tomato plants, some herbs, and my geranium plant. These plants were planted in potting soil called Expert Gardener and it’s sold at Walmart. It must work great for everyone else too, because it was always sold out when I went in to purchase more. By summer’s end my tomato plants produced over 100 tomatoes—mostly salad and cherry tomatoes. My geranium is still blooming, my herbs were absolutely awesome this year. My butterfly bush and the tropical flower I bought in June are thriving–prettiest hardiest plants ever and to think both were basically dead when I bought them! So mixed feelings on all this as I spent an incredible amount of money on nursery plants and organic soil and had zero results.  On top of that in years gone by having spent an enormous amount of money on fertilizers, soil, and such also very little in the way of production. Yes this year I had more plants so rightly so more tomatoes—in years gone by I had two to three plants and they produced between 10-20 cherry tomatoes in total. I have a lot to think about going forward. This was my last year for growing tomatoes on our deck. We will have one more spring here as our move has been delayed by the health issue I’ve been dealing with all summer. I am getting better but it is slow going. Next year’s garden will be mostly flowers for bees and bush beans!!

That’s it for gardening.

Stayed tuned for my next post about School & Farm : country living in the 70’s.

 

Putting the container garden to bed & more!

Some of my container garden is going to try to overwinter in our apartment again–

My evergreen will be kept on our deck and wrapped in a wool blanket to protect its root ball. This has proved to be a very successful way for me to keep my evergreen tree alive. I’m hoping the ornamental grass, which I think is Variegated Japanese Sedge ( unfortunately I threw away the care instructions/plant ID), will survive too. Most of the birds I’ve been feeding have migrated south for the winter. The last time I saw a hummingbird at the feeder was the first week of October. The Orioles left first and then the finches followed. I set out peanuts and other assorted nuts for about a month and the nuthatches, several chickadees, and some tufted titmouse were able to get their winter stores set up. Now they too are gone and I’ve stopped feeding until sometime early spring when a few early birds will arrive back in this area.

What’s next in gardening?

Well, I planted a packet of tulips and narcissus and those along with my hens and chicks will be overwintering in the garage–insulated with newspaper and burlap. I’ve also got three boxes of paperwhites to start sometime around the holidays.

I lost the battle with my first fiddle leaf fig because it wasn’t properly draining. Truthfully I think it was dead when I bought it as the leaves were quite pale green. This past Saturday I was in a local greenhouse discussing my luck or lack of with a local gardener concerning fiddle leaf figs. She had one that isn’t doing great but isn’t dead yet either and she gave it to me to see what I could do with it. I’m hoping to nurse this one back to full health. I’m learning every day new things about plants and flowers that I will gladly share as time goes by.

The cute blue, orange and green solar lights are something my husband picked up at Shopko when they went on sale for $5.00 and we love them. They definitely brightened up our deck all summer long.

Here is what my container garden looks like today–

Until next spring this post concludes container gardening 2018. Happy fall and winter everyone.

Looking forward to future posts, I will be posting about taking care of fiddle leaf figs, fall food storing, fall/winter food recipes, and at least one post soon on supplements I’ve been using for low-iron, seasonal depression, and also chewable vitamins and are they doing anything for me?

Squash Varieties

Fall is really here in Southwestern Wisconsin with temperatures overnight of 40 and in the upper 50’s during the daytime. I was hoping to get a lot more accomplished this month, but colder than usual early October temps have dampened my plans. We’ve been trying to take a walk in a favorite spot for almost three weeks–rained every weekend. Now for almost a month, we’ve been trying to go to a corn maze and yes you guessed it, it has rained every weekend. This weekend is set to rain all weekend so I’m assuming we’re going to have to hang up what we want to do until next year. Once November hits long duration outdoor events come to a halt. We do hike in a local refuge all winter long, but only on days above freezing. Though last year we did take one brisk hike when temperatures were in the teens. My container garden is almost gone and it’s time to clean things up. Of course, I planted the pumpkins too late again. All the flowers on the plants that came up were male so no pollination happening this year. Next year I’m going to start my pumpkins when they’re supposed to be started and that’s in June. This weekend I am going to plant tulip bulbs in some of the dirt left from herbs I grew and mulch them with pumpkin plants. Our tree and my prairie grass will both be overwintering on our deck. I’ve brought in my beautiful rosemary plant and I am planning on trying to overwinter rosemary again.

It’s fall decor time and we’ve purchased squash (pumpkins) just as we do every year– but this year is a bit different. Thanks to someone I follow on Instagram I’ve learned how to identify squash varieties (way more than my lovely picture above) and also what each variety is good for. Usually, I buy pumpkins for decorative purposes. Not unlike many millions of other people. I know they’re food, but when they’re bought I have no intention of eating them as food. Once they look soft we chop them up and feed them to the birds. Sometimes I’ve dried/baked the seeds and fed them to the birds. This year I am going to carve one pumpkin and bake the other two for pie. I will still throw the seeds to the birds to give them extra energy for their flight south or to get ready for winter. Currently, I’m feeding nuts to a nut hatcher and several chicadees/titmice–that are storing them up for winter. The nuthatch, chickadees, and titmice live together in a small community all winter, watching each other’s backs and protecting their communal territory. Which of course I find so neat because prior to winter the nuthatch is all business/and a bit selfish and doesn’t look like he gets along with anybody. I am definitely the ant in the ant and grasshopper fable. I can definitely appreciate the planning and the storing of food/ winter preparation well before the snow flies.

Until next time–enjoy your fall and on the other side of the world happy spring!