Monday, May 31, 2010

Pink Poppy and Purple Allium

Just a few flowers from my garden.
I was afraid that the poppy would bloom while I was on vacation, but it burst a few blooms out yesterday. Just for me of course ;)
The allium in the bed close to my house are still blooming. They are a shorter variety, but the flowers are massive.

I bought a new camera!
Loving the macro and zoom.

My favorite poppy. Every year my Mom tries to convince me to divide it, but this poppy doesn't like to be moved or disturbed, so she fails to convince me every year.
Actually, I love to move things around in my garden, but this is the one thing that's stayed in the same place. I'm too afraid to move it, because I love it so much.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rhubarb Stepping Stone - How To

Are you a can jammer with leftover rhubarb leaves?
Don't throw them away!
Make a stepping stone!
First dig a shallow hole.

Mix up some concrete.
Remember to wear a mask, eye protection and gloves. Really. It's not fun to get cement in your eyes or lungs.

Place your leaves on top of the cement.

Put a plastic bag on top of the rhubarb leaves and then cover it with a layer of damp sand.

Your stepping stone should be hard in a few hours or overnight - depending on the type of cement you decide to use. I use mortar mix, because it gives the stepping stones a finer detail. There aren't any stones in the mortar mix.
Once your stepping stone is dry let it cure for a few days. Spray it with water every day. Then you can paint it. I use Patio Paints and then seal with an exterior varnish.

This is one I made last summer. For this one I put the leaf down first and then poured the cement on top of it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


These are pictures from before Tansy's neuter, so I'm hoping that their relationship will be even better now.

"What are you doing?"

"sniff, sniff"
"Go away."

"Ahhhh, so comfortable."
"Hey! That was my spot!"

"Not any more. Now it's my spot."
"So rude...grumble...stupid rabbit...."

"I can't believe you! You are so rude!"

"O I'm sorry. I didn't know you khats were so sensitive."
"Humph. Rabbit."


Monday, May 24, 2010

Garden Update 5-22-10

The allium and white iris are putting on quite a show.
I wish I had been able to get a picture today before the 45 mile an hour wind blew in!

I'm starting on my patio. I was able to pour one set of stepping stones, before it started to rain.

My new trellis. I put it together myself with my new cordless drill. I love my drill!

This is a light pink poppy. It's HUGE this year!

Vegetable garden.
I hate that stupid shed! It shows up in every picture. No one wants it - I've tried to give it away for free even, but it's too much work to take it apart and move it out of my fenced in yard.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Can Jam May - Rhubarb

Update 5-25-10 -Pictures! Yay! Posts are so much better with pictures!
Also, if you have extra rhubarb leaves I made a rhubarb stepping stone post here.
You may notice that there aren't any pictures in this post. That's because I am an idiot and I dropped and broke my camera. Argh! I had the worst week for canning. First of all I broke my camera, then I was about to start canning and I'd borrowed my Dad's camera, but then the whole town lost power for 4 hours. Then my Dad went on vacation and took his camera with him. I also had to get Tansy neutered - yes that's right my sweet little girl turned out to be a BOY! Let's just say Tansy is not pleased with me right now - the snip snip wasn't so much fun. I also had a really busy exhausting week at work. There were also a million things I had to plant in the garden. Plants don't exactly wait very well to get planted. Soooooooo a long difficult week.
This month for the Can Jam we had the choice of either rhubarb or asparagus. I HATE(d) both!
My hate for the green spears stems from my childhood. When you grow up in a family that grows asparagus for sale, you eat a lot of asparagus, and in my case develop a hatred of it. This is also why I am not a huge fan of red raspberries. I imagine the same thing happens to children of candy makers. *just kidding!*
So rhubarb. Well, my Mom never cooked with rhubarb when I was growing up, because she hated it. She hated all the sugar that people add to it. However, I turned her into a rhubarb lover with my Savory Rhubarb Soup recipe. I thought about making a rhubarb-cherry jam, but after experiencing the citric acid power of rhubarb in the soup recipe, I decided to try a savory recipe. My Mom was rooting for a chutney recipe, but I have lots of Pear Chutney in my pantry. I decided on a salsa recipe and so Rhubarb Salsa was born, er canned.
Spicy Rhubarb Salsa
3 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup chopped tomatillos
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped chile peppers (I used a combination of habenero, yellow spicy and anaheim)
1 Tbs garlic paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs cilantro
2 Tbs cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup lime juice ( I used key limes)
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 mins. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust 2 piece caps. Process 15 mins. in a boiling water bath canner.
This is HOT!!!
It has a sweet and smokey flavor too.
It's yummy. I think it would make a good barbecue sauce.

Filled jars before canning.



I thought the tomatillo husks looked like flowers.

Chopped peppers.

Rhubarb and tomatillo.






Rhubarb salsa!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rhubarb Soup

*Sorry about the photo quality. I dropped my camera, broke it and had to borrow my dad's Kodak.*
Rhubarb Soup
Nope you didn't misread that! It's soup with rhubarb AND it's delicious. Really. I had 4 servings and everyone else had seconds - :P
This is my adaption of the Spring Pottage Recipe from this article in the Grit magazine : Sweet and Savory Recipes for Rhubarb. This is a great article with lots of interesting facts about rhubarb.
Rhubarb is a leafy green vegetable like celery or swiss chard, but in 1947 the U.S. Customs Court passed a ruling that rhubarb should be classified as a fruit and forever after rhubarb was eaten with pounds of sugar.
This recipe uses the tartness of rhubarb instead of covering it up with sugar.
It adds a touch of citric acid without the danger of curdling the cream.
Just remember, the ancient Chinese used rhubarb as a purgative. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Rhubarb Soup
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cups potatoes - cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup carrots - cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cups celery - cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups diced rhubarb - soaked in salt water before using
2 tsp roasted garlic paste
2 Tbs honey
4 cups hot vegetable stock (*cheater's recipe below)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sweet marjoram
salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Saute onion in olive oil until golden. Add vegetable broth, potatoes, carrots, garlic paste, honey and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add celery and rhubarb, simmer for 2-3 mins. Add marjoram, salt and pepper. Remove and discard bay leaves bay leaves. Remove soup from heat and gently stir in cream. Serve.
Cheater's Vegetable Stock
1 pkg Knorr Vegetable Soup
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbs golden miso
2 tsp soy sauce
4 cups water
Fresh rhubarb from my garden. Since moving into my house, this is the first time in 5 years that I have harvested any rhubarb. Or eaten any rhubarb.

Chopping rhubarb

Soaking rhubarb in salt water

Sauteing onion

Simmering soup

Almost ready!

Adding cream.


This is sooooo tasty!

My Mom hates rhubarb and she even had seconds!
This is the best rhubarb recipe ever and it can make a rhubarb hater a rhubarb lover.