Gardens in August

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I haven’t been doing much cooking this late summer.   We’ve had unusually hot weather –followed by unusually cool weather.  I’m quite certain that Ma Nature is simply having her way

Painted concrete

ABOVE: we painted the back patio–I’m pretty happy with it.

The cottage in the background is still a work in progress.

I must confess I’m also not  as energetic as I usually am this time of year.  I’ve made several jars of freezer jam, but the only thing receiving a water bath around here are the chicken ladies when the temperature hit 104 degrees!  I need to get on with canning and freezing.  The gardens have been very giving–in spite of my neglecting them their fare share of water.

Many of the things I planned to do this summer are going to be on the back burner waiting for next summer.  I have a short list:  paint the house, cottage, and shed, plant privacy trees to block out the neighbors, clear out the raspberries that I allowed to go wild, and re-gravel the side driveway.

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My grapes remind me of a  line from a children’s storybook “I think I can. I think I can. ..”

This is their fourth year, so hopefully they’ll make it!

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Swiss Chard is something I truly love to eat.  That being said–why did I think I needed so much of it?  I am knee deep  in Swiss Chard.

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The new gals are fitting right in.  They are now laying cute little eggs.  Pearl is still abusing them.  Pearl is like  a grumpy old lady who doesn’t want you to walk on her lawn.

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My little 4 in 1 pear tree is doing quite well.  I have another branch–not pictured–that holds 2 more Asian pears.

I’m still harvesting: potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, Italian beans, Bush Green Beans, cherry tomatoes, Italian plum tomatoes, herbs, onions, chard, collard greens peppers, and a few other things.  Pumpkins are almost ready.

I still need to take photographs of my two gardens in the front of the house.  I don’t know why I’m more drawn to the backyard.

I’m going to plant more lettuce and radishes today.

I threw my back out last week.  I’m coming back around again, so I’m sure by Sunday I’ll be baking and cooking up a storm!

NEW! Angelnina’s Photography Blog

I started a new blog- Angelnina’s Photography

I’ll still be blogging here at Angelnina’s Cottage, but I’d like to make a home to track my progress on school as well.

I’m being taught by professional photographer Patricia Ridenour.  Ms Ridenour is an amazing photographer, and her passion is contagious.  I’m more than grateful to have found the perfect instructor.  She teaches us the rules, and then encourages us to break them–yes!

The first post at Angelnina’s Photography, was shot in my formal living room, using a basic work light hung at a 45 degree angle and a small diffused light box.  The first photo is in natural light.

Got Potatoes? German Potato Salad!

garden tatersABOVE: Taters from my garden

When I was a pre-teen, I used to dig around in the kitchen cabinets looking for something to eat.  Money was always tight, and fancy food in our house was a can of Campbell’s Vegetable Beef Soup.   If we were out of canned and packaged foods, we usually had a bag of potatoes, a box of Saltines, a loaf of white sandwich bread, eggs, and a carton of milk.  Many people would be surprised to know how many meals you can make with those five ingredients.  Throw in some cheese and bacon and you’re going to eat pretty darn well.

If you’re ever hungry for a snack, but you haven’t gone grocery shopping yet, try crumbling some saltines in a large glass and then pour milk on top of your crumbled crackers–eat it with a  spoon.  Flavorful?  No.  Healthy?  Not really.  Filling?  Mostly, yes.

One of the recipes I can remember digging out of my Mother’s only cookbook–“Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook”–is the German Potato Salad recipe.  I remember the first time I made it–I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Simple ingredients turned into something kind of fancy!

Over the years, I’ve made the salad by following the recipe to a “T”.  I made it again last week, and thought I’d share.  If memory serves me right, as a kid, I had to substitute Spam for bacon.   I don’t recommend using Spam. 🙂

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I used the updated Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

My good friend Liz gave me this book.

German Potato Salad

Makes 6 to 8 servings

6 medium potatoes (2 lbs)

6 slices thick bacon

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 Tbs all-purpose flour

2 Tbs sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt (less if bacon is extremely salty)

1 tsp celery seed

dash pepper

1 cup water

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 hard cooked eggs, sliced

In a covered pan cook potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 to 30

minutes or untill tender; drain well. Peel and slice potatoes. In a

large skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble, reserving

1/4 cup drippings. Cook onion in the reserved drippings until

tender but not brown. Stir in the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed,

and pepper. Add water and vinegar. Cook and stir until thickened

and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in bacon and

potatoes. Cook about 5 minutes or until heated through.  Add hard

cooked eggs: toss lightly to mix.