Posts tagged: autumn

Happy Winter! Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah!

By , December 23, 2016

Christmas tree, (c) The Herbangardener

Greetings of the Season to you all!

I hope this finds you well. Can you believe how quickly it has become almost-Christmas? It’s almost a little scary.

I have been meaning to put pictures here of the rest of the season’s garden including the harvest, but it hasn’t happened. After Christmas I will backtrack and post those pictures.

But in the meantime I wanted to put some wintry pictures up. We’ve had approximately two days of wintry weather so far this year. It’s been too warm and dry. Most of what we’ve had is this:

Sunshine, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

That picture above is pretty too, but I love the raw bleakness and snowfall of a real winter’s day. We had one yesterday, and I went out and gathered evergreen boughs and made a wreath.

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

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If you need any last-minute Christmas making-and-baking ideas, here are some from my recipe archive:

Challah Bread, 6-braid

Chocolate-Orange Macaroons

(Healthier) Pecan Snowball Christmas Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Cranberry-Pumpkin Muffins

Gingerbread

Chocolate-Dipped Candied Orange Peel

Snow Ice Cream

Cranberry-Mandarin-Ginger Relish

Traditional Hot Mulled Apple Cider

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Catching up: Late Summer into Autumn

By , February 3, 2016

Lindsey The Herbangardener, (c) The Herbangardener

Your eyes do not deceive you my friends! Yes I am finally updating my blog.

February of 2016! And I haven’t even shown you the rest of last year’s garden. There’s much to tell you about since we last chatted back in July, but first things first and this post will be for catching up with the rest of the season. Last summer’s garden is a distant memory already and these pictures remind me that it was a pretty good year although at this point I can’t even quite remember the details of it. Right – oh, I know. I remember I was impressed actually with how well things did considering the long-lasting, cool spring we had paired with a few pelting hailstorms, each one progressively more damaging, leaving leaves and stems hanging by threads. All that hard work, seed starting, transplanting, and coddling, shredded! It was a Great Year for roofing companies, let’s just say. I think I may have already talked about the hail — I bet I did, this is sounding familiar. No matter; it was a surprisingly satisfying year with a solid harvest in general and more tomatoes than expected. Then again when you set your expectations to ZERO, a number of things do tend to look surprisingly good! (Do you smell a life lesson too?)

The pictures really do look luscious don’t they? The beauty of this garden absolutely fed me and kept me grounded when I needed to block life out for a while and put my bare feet on the earth and my hands in the soil, or relax with a cup of tea and admire my living, growing, changing, edible creation.

Potato of the Year!

POTATO OF THE YEAR!

(c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Potato harvest (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossom, (c) The Herbangardener

Early Silver Line melon, (c) The Herbangardener

‘Early Silver Line’ Melon – they were seedy and not very sweet, strange texture, not that tasty.

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini harvest, (c) The Herbangardener

Preparing zucchini parmesan, (c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glories, (c) The Herbangardener

Geranium (pelargonium), (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries

Pureed elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Elderberry Fluff (cooked & pureed elderberries) – I love it

At the clinic, (c) The Herbangardener

Heart in a basil leaf, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Green Zebra open pollinated tomato, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden Greek salad, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat in the basket, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomatoes heavy on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Verbena, (c) The Herbangardener

Cucumbers on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Green cabbage, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown strawberry, (c) The Herbangardener

Apple wood bundle, (c) The Herbangardener

Freshly cut ash wood, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glory, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

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Red Kuri winter squash, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting green tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting potatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Autumn in the garden, (c) The Herbangardener

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Catching up with photos!

By , November 28, 2014

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Happy late-Autumn to you all! We only recently stepped into real Autumn actually, after the longest and most luxurious Indian Summer here, which topped off a perfect Summer season and glorious Springtime. The garden looked beautiful this year, it was a satisfying harvest for most items, everything was lush, we received rain at regularly spaced intervals, and it never got uncomfortably hot. On the health front, I’ve certainly made progress after referral to a more responsive, take-the-reins style doctor and some quality time on a couple of antibiotics. Another pneumonia came on in the Spring, as well as various other ups and downs, several viruses, and the identification of an immune deficiency. That pretty well glazes over it. It’s been a hard, embittering year. I’ve fought tooth and nail to even be this far. Obamacare itself has been my saving grace, and yet our alleged “world-class” healthcare system is a giant obstacle course, broken in many places. When you’re feeling awful, you don’t have the strength or stamina to run through a marathon obstacle course, yet that’s what a patient often must do if they’re unfortunate enough to be a patient. As I said though, I’ve been feeling far better overall than I have in quite a while, and by hook or by crook, that trend must continue.

Let’s move on though; there’s a lot of good stuff that balances out the infuriating crud, so let’s go on and have a tour through that, okay?

Oh right — and the downtime and move to a new web hosting provider did happen a couple months ago. I was shamelessly puffed-up for weeks afterward, because I blindly googled my way through the manual migration of this wordpress blog and database, augmented by my minimal technical “expertise,” and without benefit of handy-dandy migration plugins or other sanity-saving tools (learned about those too late, after the old hosting was already turned off). I certainly “learned a lot” — which is the euphemism that you use, instead of telling people that you nearly murdered your laptop trying to rebuild your wordpress file structure.

Anyway, get ready — we’ve got a lot of catching up to do with the photos! Starting with the succulent, late Spring garden bounty, through Summertime, and into the late Autumn now…

(c) The Herbangardener

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(c) The Herbangardener

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Stewed Figs

By , December 7, 2012

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If you find yourself with some fresh figs on hand, try stewing them. They’re a nice little treat.

Cut them into pieces, and cook in a saucepan with a bit of water. Add a good squeeze of fresh orange juice if you like, and maybe a quick dash of salt.

Simmer, covered, until the figs are tender and the water is nearly gone — about 15-20 minutes.

I tossed a sprig of fresh rosemary into this batch. It added a nice flavor but don't use too much or let it cook for too long or it will impart a bitterness.

Serve plain… or topped with pepitas… alongside yogurt… or on a salad.

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Classic Pumpkin Pie

By , November 19, 2012

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With an eye toward Thanksgiving this week, here’s my own recipe for classic pumpkin pie, along with my own crust recipe.

Neither recipe is the most decadent you’ll find out there because heavy, fatty things don’t agree with me. So if you’re wanting to make a pumpkin pie that’s on the lighter side, try this one. I make it every Thanksgiving. The crust is not really rich and flaky, and probably won’t wow any chefs out there, but it is humble and it does the job. I like it.

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Lindsey’s Classic Pumpkin Pie

Rounded 2/3 cup of rapadura (or white or brown sugar)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp, heaping, of cinnamon

1/2 tsp, heaping, of powdered ginger

1 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup whole milk

3/4 cup half-n-half (light cream)

1 15-oz can Libby’s pumpkin (or 2 cups cooked pumpkin or winter squash, pureed, and cooked down if too watery — the healthfood store brands of canned pumpkin are way too watery. I learned my lesson to use Libby’s!)

1 9-inch pie shell (recipe below)

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Preheat oven to 425°.

Mix sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in pumpkin, sugar-spice mix, and the milk and half-n-half. Mix until thoroughly combined, but don’t get overzealous (like, don’t do what I did once and overbeat with egg beaters — it beats too much air in, and makes a souffle-type thing!)

Pour into unbaked pie shell.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, and then reduce temperature to 350° and bake 40-50 more minutes until a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours.

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Lindsey’s Not-Too-Rich 9″ Pie Crust

2 cups flour (whole wheat, or white, or a combo)

1 Tbsp sugar

Scant 1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces (salted or unsalted, either is fine)

Ice water (you’ll use about 3/4 cup)

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In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in cold butter.

I like to use my fingers to rub in the butter and blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Mix the ice water in, 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring lightly with a fork after each addition, until a dough is formed. (3/4 cup is about 12 Tbsp.) Try not to overwork the dough. Small bits of butter will be visible — this is what you want.

When a good, workable dough is formed — not too dry, not too sticky — wrap in cellophane and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to roll out, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin.

Roll into a circle. Transferring to your pie plate is made easier by folding the dough in half and draping it over your rolling pin.

Trim off any excess dough, but leave enough extra around the edge to fold under and crimp with three fingers, as in the photo below.

If you do have a little extra dough, you could use a cookie cutter to cut out a little something-or-other (a maple leaf, for example) that you can bake and then place on top of your finished pie as decoration.

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Autumny things, Leaf acquisition, and Taking it slow

By , November 13, 2012

Autumn evening: Mugs of tea, a sleeping cat, reading the neighborhood newsletter, soaking feet in hot water, PBS on the TV....

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone. (Is Prairie Home Companion even still on? Gosh I haven’t tuned in in years… I loved that program…) Anyway, that’s been our Autumn — quiet, restful, and in keeping with the shift in season to colder weather and a reduced number of daylight hours (which I welcome!). F is still on leave from his job, resting and rehabbing his broken arm. It’s so nice to have him home here. We’re both just resting, which was so needed. I’m continuing to get weekly acupuncture treatments that are really helping to flush out my body and liver from 10 months of strong, toxic antibiotics — and probably also the megaload of endotoxins created by the Brucella bacteria itself… and probably also the antivirals I was on when this illness was still in its misdiagnosed-as-something-else phase… and probably also the narcotics from two really painful surgeries before that. Yikes. It’s an unpleasant process and I get impatient, but overall I’ve been hanging low and trying to let my body do its thing.

But let’s move on. The day before Halloween I got crazy (well, in a Bob Ross “Let’s get crazy” sort of way) and decided to make decorations for our house even though we weren’t going to hand out candy. I raided the rag box and made ghosts, and then drew a bat pattern and made a couple bats out of cardboard which I painted black. Then I wired some branches together to display my seasonal flags. I’m really happy with how the little flag pole came out! It was therapeutic to lose myself completely in a creative and totally frivolous activity.

While I was decorating, the neighbors across the street were raking leaves from their two maple trees. I watched with interest, because this past summer I ran out of autumn leaves for mulching my gardens and I really missed having them. I was determined to collect as many leaves as possible this autumn. I’ve never met these neighbors before, and normally in these situations my shyness overtakes me. But determined to break from my comfort zone, I walked across the street, introduced myself, and asked if they were going to throw their bags of leaves away (yes) and if I could have them (yes). And so by simply gathering my courage and asking, I ended up with eight bags of gorgeous maple leaves, ready for next year’s garden.

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And then this past Saturday, I was whipped into action by snowflakes falling much sooner in the day than I expected, so I raked up our own maple leaves, jumping in the piles just as I did when I was a kid, inhaling their earthy sweet scent — one of the few things that hasn’t changed one bit in all these years.

Some of the leaves went into bins for composting later, and the rest went onto my garden beds for the winter.

And then the snow began to fall harder…

Time to go inside for some hot vegetable soup.

And then some hot chocolate. I’ve found a good way to do hot chocolate — something I actually rarely drink. I bought a quart of Kalona Supernatural chocolate milk, froze it into ice cube trays, and when I want a small mug of hot chocolate I pop a few cubes into a saucepan with some water (because I like it on the dilute side) and a dash of cinnamon, and warm it up until steaming. Delicious! (And don’t forget to add stale marshmallows to your hot chocolate. My bag of them, which must be at least two years old, somehow made it into the moving box instead of the trash can this summer, but now I’m glad I have them! I always did like ’em better stale…)

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Later in the day, heating milk for yogurt making (I’ve learned to babysit milk, because the moment you step away from the stove it will begin to boil, rising up very quickly in the pan and spilling out everywhere)…

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And now dusk. I love the blue light of winter’s dusk and the warm, homey glow from the windows.

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What autumn activities are you up to?

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Preparing for the Snow

By , October 26, 2012

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After what has been one of the hottest, most wearisome summers in my memory, it seems that the autumn season has finally, completely (mercifully!?) clunked into place. We had our first snowfall, which began on Wednesday night by way of a steady rain. I was delighted to see this, so armed with an umbrella and steaming tea in a to-go cup, I ventured out for an enchanting night walk. And an hour after I got back, the rain switched over to snow, falling fast and blowing sideways, blizzard style. By that time the two of us and the cat were all squashed together on the couch, side by side by side, vegging out in front of PBS. A cozy, snowy night.

The next morning, we awoke to the wonderland you see above. Cold and still and silent.

I love the snow because it’s so peaceful.

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If we back up a little bit, though, Tuesday was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the mid-70s, and I was out in shorts and a tank top getting the last of the garden chores in order. It was a busy garden day and I was exhausted at the end, but the progress felt good.

Here are some pictures from my end-of-summer preparations:

The garden in early October just after our first frost nipped a few things.

Potting up the thyme to take inside for the winter

Red Siberian heirloom tomatoes -- I'll definitely grow these again

One of the leeks from the harvest

Cabbage and potatoes just harvested

The rest of the tomatoes, picked and ready to store.

Storing the green tomatoes in the coolest spot in the house (the coat closet).

End-of-season applesauce making

Bringing some of the garden stuff indoors

Tilled in our homemade compost and made a "nursery bed" for the garlic. I'll transplant them in spring to their usual spots around the perimeter of each raised bed. This nursery bed thing is a new thought I had -- never done it this way, but I'm counting on it working like a charm.

Putting the garden to bed

Dusk, my favorite

The first snowfall

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Los Angeles Sunset

By , October 20, 2012

A couple days ago my sister Julie was in the right place at the right time, and took this incredible photo of the sunset, the fingernail moon, and a huge owl that swooped in and landed on a nearby eucalyptus branch!!

I love it.

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Harvesting Our Apples

By , October 12, 2012

Well it’s been an awesome year for fruit here, since our usual blossom-killing frost mercifully did not occur this spring. And so “Make more applesauce” has been somewhat of a standing order on my to-do lists of late. What a blessing, to have so much free organic fruit! My mom’s recent comment in an email made me giggle, asking me what I’ll do with all my time once the apples are through!

The apple tree in the backyard is Red Delicious variety, but the apples are really not good for fresh eating, however they make great applesauce! So F and I harvested them all recently and I’ve been picking away at them, cutting out the wormy parts, peeling them, chopping, and then cooking and canning them.

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What kind of fruit are you harvesting this autumn?

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