Happy Bell PepperWhat gardener doesn’t live for the warm season crops? The squash, the corn, the peppers, and of course, swoon, the tomatoes. As we work our way through the 2nd week of December, and approach the shortest day of the year on December 21st, I dream of the summer just past and the summer to come. Here’s what worked, and what didn’t, for me in 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20141123_124614watermarkThis wonderful and simple recipe was sent to me by my friend Lauri. It’s originally from Ortega, and calls for their 4 oz canned chilies. Since I roast and freeze my own chilies, I just use those. This makes a great breakfast (the leftovers are great for work the next day), and we’ve been known to have it for dinner when we are awash in eggs or in a hurry. Prep time is really fast, and its on the table in less than an hour. It’s also a great change of pace from the “all things turkey” after the Thanksgiving week-long leftover fest. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC08274watermarkWe’re on the tail end of a week where daytime temperatures haven’t gotten above freezing. Like the rest of the country, we’re in path of the “Polar Vortex” coming down from the great white north. It’s very unusual for it to be this cold (with snow on the ground to boot) this early in the season. Thankfully, Walla Walla is a big fat Zone 7 climate, and we haven’t gotten below zero, even at night, in the three years I’ve lived here.

We had an incredibly long fall, where we really didn’t get a significant frost until November 11th. I went out and picked the last of the tomatoes, hot chilies and sweet peppers a few days before. Seriously crazy. Our average first frost date is normally in late September, or early October at the very latest. Read the rest of this entry »

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Braeburn

We live in the land of apples here in Walla Walla. According to the US Ag statistics, Washington produces about 58% of the apples grown in the United States, and 68% of those grown for fresh consumption. A lot of those apples are grown within about 50 miles of where we live (though Yakima and Grant counties far out produce us). So much so that with the record-breaking crop this year, I heard of an entire field of gala that the farmer was just going to leave on the trees until they dropped, as all the cold storage warehouses were full and galas don’t command the big prices that honeycrisp do. Made me want to buy a pig, just to fatten it up on apples! Read the rest of this entry »

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This is my produce washing sink, that sits under an apple tree in our side yard. I take some variation of this picture every fall. I’m always struck by the contrast of the fall leaves against that white (well, whiter than anything else out there) sink.

An old friend used to say, “Put a fork in me, I’m done”. Well, yesterday was my last farmers market of the season. We started in May doing one market a week, and come June, we were doing three. We went back down to one in October. But it was a total of 60 markets in the last 6 months. I think I skipped a total of 5. I say “we” because my husband helps me set up and tear down on Saturdays. But mostly its me. It’s been a GREAT year (more on that in another post) but for now, I’m really happy to take a bit of a break. I AM however, filling 3 wholesale soap orders and prepping for a holiday market in early December. So, I’m not done yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Man, has it really been over a month since my last post? Shame on me. That’s a first in over three years of writing this blog. August and September are just crazy, right?! So…what’s been happening. Well, let’s see.

We butchered 16 rabbits. A new post on what I’ve learned about rabbits since I started out a few years ago coming soon.

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Post “one bad day”. I’m giving pelt tanning a try this fall.

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San Marzano Redorta GreenI’ve grown a LOT of different paste tomatoes over the years. When I was in Colorado, they were always short season determinates. When I first moved to southeast Washington, I tried all of those same varieties here since I still had the seeds. Nothing spectacular came of it.¬† Last year, I tried Amish Paste (for the third and last time),¬†Federle and Martino’s Roma. I had bad problems with blossom end rot and wasn’t impressed with any of them.

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Calamity Jane

Terrible picture with my phone as she wouldn’t let me get close. Calamity Jane in garden.

So I knew Jane (our half wild half domestic turkey named after Calamity Jane) was sitting on a bunch of eggs under the Chinese Cabbage out in the garden. Just about the time I was thinking I needed to check the date to see when she was likely to hatch them, I heard peeping! She only managed to hatch out 5 (out of about 15 eggs) but given the 100+ degree heat in the last month, she did OK. They hatched around August 7th. I’ve left her and the babies out in the garden, away from the rest of the flock. I put out food and water for them, and hope that they all eat squash bugs until there are none left! She’s down to four as of yesterday. It’s not unusual for them to lose a few in the first few weeks. I often think they quite literally lose them as they wander through the tall grass, while the little ones try to keep up. Read the rest of this entry »

MarketTomatoeswatermarkI’ve probably told this story before, but when my husband and I were moving from Durango Colorado to Walla Walla Washington, he asked me, “what do you want to grow more of, now that you have a longer growing season”? And my answer was “tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes”! Can you ever have too many home-grown tomatoes? Well, come mid August, it might seem like it. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC07811watermarkI’ve done several blog posts on sourdough. This one is about how I got my starter to “start”, back in August 2010. This one is a follow up with a ton of recipes, written two years later. I’ve gotten a bit out of the habit of baking regularly (too busy, and trying to lose a few pounds by cutting out bread products, among other things), and my starter had been languishing in the back of the refrigerator for many months. I decided I needed to get it out and work with it again, before it perished. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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