This is not about the Seinfeld episode.


If you add   8 cups of diced green tomatoes, 6 cups of diced granny smith apples (peeled and cored), 2 cups of brown sugar packed, 2 cups of white sugar, 2 cups of raisins, 2 lemons diced (remove the seeds everything else gets added), 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar, 2 tsp cinnamon,  1 1/2  tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of allspice,  this should be about 22 cups of stuff.  I called the 2 diced lemons a 1/2 cup.

ready to start cooking

ready to start cooking

Put all of this in a large pot, bring to a boil and cook uncovered at a slow boil  (just higher than a simmer) for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally and what do you get???

Well, I did this the other day and I got 9 cups, that’s all, just 9 cups of Green Tomato Mincemeat.  Very tasty too.  My recipe calls for 8 cups of diced granny smiths,  only had enough apples for 6.  But that worked.  And the kitchen smelled wonderful.



I grow sweet potatoes in containers that I hang off of my deck.  I like the foliage all summer and the small purple flowers.  I grow my own slips. Here is a link to an earlier post with the starting of the sweet potato plants,

I have 1 large round container and 4 rectangular containers (kitty litter buckets).  To harvest I just dump them out into my wheelbarrow and pull off the potatoes.

large round container on side of deck

large round container on side of deck

4 kitty litter buckets with sweet potato plants

4 kitty litter buckets with sweet potato plants

sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

sorry, it's a little fuzzy. sweet potato harvest 2013

sorry, it’s a little fuzzy. sweet potato harvest 2013

Not a bad harvest, some large ones and a lot more small ones.  I have them spread out  on cardboard  by the wood stove to cure before I store them in the cellar.

In my last post I wrote about pulling up my tomato plants.  I want to add, that I DO NOT compost these plants.  I bury them away from my garden.  This is to help control the tomato blight.  This blight would survive a compost season.  It probably is in the soil but I feel better not mixing it with my compost.




We’ll get to the soup in a bit.  Right now I want to update the garden.  This could be a short post, “the garden is done”  actually the garden is never done.  Looking at seed catalogs on a snowy day is a gardening activity.

The tomatoes are done.  I pulled up the plants and gathered the red and green tomatoes.  Now, I have to decide what to do with the green tomatoes.  DSCF0008I let the ladies and Jack into the garden to clean up where the tomato plants were.DSCF0012As you can see they didn’t stay just where the tomatoes were.  Jack is in with the carrots.  Not much left in this garden, some leeks, carrots and parsley.  The other garden has kale left in it.

On to the soup.  I took a walk through some of the conservation land in town the other day, looking for mushrooms.  Found a nice “hen of the woods”, about the size of a cabbage.  Cleaned it and cut it up.  Froze three, 1 quart bags and made soup with the rest.

hen of the woods

hen of the woods


Wild mushroom soup.

4-6 cups of mushrooms,  1/4 cup leeks or onions, 2-3 tbsp olive oil,  1-2 cloves of garlic,  1/2 cup white wine, 1 cup of chicken broth, 1-2 cups heavy cream, 2 cups water as needed, salt and pepper to taste.

I’m very flexible with ingredients and amounts when I make soup.

Saute the leeks and garlic in olive oil till soft, add the mushrooms and cook till they brown slightly,  add the chicken broth and wine,  simmer 10 minutes.  Puree in 2 batches in a blender adding water as needed.  Return to soup pot, add cream, simmer a couple of minutes to blend the flavors. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with fresh soft pretzels warm from the oven.  I have a small bowl with melted butter to dip the pretzels in.

leeks and carrots

leeks and carrots


mumsDSCF0005more mums


I have TOO many things going on in my world, somethings have shifted to a lower rung.  My blogging is one of them, to my 3 faithful followers I apologize. I will try to update how my garden has been doing first.

These pictures were taken on July 28th, I meant to post sooner, just didn’t get to it. My gardens have suffered from lack of attention also, the weeds are larger than the tomato plants.

I harvested my garlic on July 28th and as usual it was very successful.

Garlic harvest 7/28/13

Garlic harvest 7/28/13

Beets needed to be thinned, this is a second planting, the first planting did not survive.  So this planting is in the other garden. (I have 2 main vegetable gardens on each side of the driveway).

Beets needing to be thinned

Beets needing to be thinned

This is old news now BUT back in July is was BIG.  I have ripe tomatoes.  I don’t have any pictures of my Black Cherry Tomatoes because I eat them before I’m out of the garden.  Maybe later on when there are more of them.

First tomato  8/28/13

First tomato 7/28/13

I also have tomato worms.

First Tomato worm 7/28/13

First Tomato worm 7/28/13

My first planting of lettuce has gone to seed and I have pulled them, maybe I planted too many, the wheelbarrow is pretty full.

Pulled bolted Lettuce 7/28/13

Pulled bolted Lettuce 7/28/13

I did get a picture of my Black Cherry Tomatoes. Actually this was my salad last week.



I missed 1 of the tomato worms and didn’t go looking for him until I noticed not only chewed leaves but the actual stocks of the plant were being eaten.  Found him.

Big Guy,  8/14/13

Big Guy, 8/14/13

That’s the update on the garden. Next post will be Ini’s update.

This is one of the things that I have been busy with, it challenged me and was a joy to work on.  It is a free-standing cabinet made in Walnut and Carpathian Elm Burl.  Very pleased with how it turned out.DSCF0002




Let’s do the disclaimer first.

There is never enough time for the garden, ever.  This season even more so.  I injured my knee in April, which slowed me down.  Had it operated on in June, which slowed me to a stop.  I am on the mend and trying hard to follow my Doctors advice. But laying about isn’t something that I’m very good at.  I did go play in the garden last week, nothing strenuous.  But not a bright thing to do, my knee hurt real bad that night and I spent the next day on the couch with ice and my leg raised.  So now I am trying to follow my Doctors advice.

So on to the garden.

My spinach is done.

I’ve cut my last asparagus and it was a very good year for asparagus.

My beets have stopped growing and seem to be shrinking into small red seedlings so I turned them all under and planted carrots in their spot.  These are in my mouse-proof bed beside the first planting of carrots that are doing very well.  Maybe you can’t plant carrots and beets together.

first planting of carrots, beets were planted in front of and beside them  6/23/13

first planting of carrots, beets were planted in front of and beside them 6/23/13

Lettuce crop is just starting to bolt (go to seed).  Have planted some more and they are coming up.  I only plant 10 or 12 at a time which is generally more than I use.

lettuce  6/23/13

lettuce 6/23/13

The 3 types of kale are doing well, my wife made her favorite chicken and baked kale last night.  Our second cutting.

from the bottom, turnip, kale, swiss chard, kale and a wall of peas  6/23/13

from the bottom, turnip, kale, swiss chard, kale and a wall of peas 6/23/13

I was very late getting my squash, pumpkin, melon and cucumber seedlings planted, they were small and very yellow.  Some of them, now that they are in the gardens, have turned to a nice dark green but they are still small.  We just have to wait and see, I think I may have started too late for some of them.

butternut squash seedling   6/23/13

butternut squash seedling 6/23/13

My corn is being over run by weeds. Because of how close I plant them, with a sore knee I just can’t twist and bend right to do the weeding.  No one else has applied for the job so the weeds are taking over.

My tomato plants are suffering also. I haven’t been able to tie them up yet.  There are small green tomatoes on some of them.

tomato plant  6/23/13

tomato plant 6/23/13

My peas have been spectacular.  I planted them very heavily and they just grew into a mass of vines and pods.  After hand picking a couple of times, I pull the plants right out of the ground and sort through them on my potting shed table.  I started freezing them for this winter.

first peas  6/24/13

first peas 6/24/13


potting shed table, sorting peas with the ladies helping  6/30/13

potting shed table, sorting peas with the ladies helping 6/30/13

My chickens enjoy watermelon on the first of July and it is hot and humid.  My deer, well maybe “mother natures” deer, enjoy the blackberry patch.  How do they eat the plants thorns and all??

Chickens with watermelon  7/1/13

Chickens with watermelon 7/1/13


Deer eating blackberries  7/1/13

Deer eating blackberries 7/1/13

Last item, anyone want to guess what this flower is??DSCF0001

Hint, it makes a very tasty jelly.


“New England Plant Swap Planned for June 1st in Walpole”  This was the headline in the local paper that caught my eye on May 1st 2013.  I did a post about it   and have been looking forward to it since then.  Yesterday I dug up some rhubarb, wisteria, siberian iris and transplanted 3 black cherry tomato plants to bring to the Swap.

The GPS said it was 35 minutes away and off I went.  It was a little more than 35 minutes but not much, I got there just after 9:00 am and they hadn’t started yet.  There were three rounds of plant taking, round one was everyone who had brought a plant could go and take one plant, round two was you could go and take half as many plants as you brought, ( so if you brought 10 plants you could take 5 in the second round) and the third round was you could take the balance of your plants. This worked very smoothly, probably because gardeners are nicer and more patient than non-gardeners.  Just my opinion.

I had a ball.  All of my expectations were met and exceeded.  Jim, with his official looking New England Plant Swap shirt, pointed out Lance Robinson as the master-mind behind this Plant Swap.  Lance started this last year and the day was cold dreary.  Today was sunny and bright, actually HOT. I thought it was well attended, well organized and location, location, location.  Adams Farm is a beautiful piece of New England.  The Walpole Garden club has a butterfly garden there that is stunning and there is a community garden with 62 plots.  Good sized plots.

Spending the morning talking to people with green thumbs and dirty fingernails, was most enjoyable.  Marcia and I swapped stories about chickens.  Peggy offered me strawberry plants from her community plot.  I can’t say enough good things about this.  Thank you Lance, great idea and job well done.  I will try to give my new plants a good home.  This is what I got  strawberry plants, 2 types of hosta, 1 day lily, some Sedum autumn joy and 1 red hibiscus.  Quite a haul if you ask me.

I didn’t count how many tables were set up for the plants, all were covered and there were plants on the floor around them.  I have 2 pictures that were taken after the first round and maybe after the second round, I was busy picking out plants.

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

Did I mention that I had a good time??

Thanks Lance


This will be the last in this series. Maybe.  In my spot of New England, carpenter ants, come calling every spring and through out the summer.  I have battled them every year I have lived here, which is a few decades.  Everyone worries about termites but I think carpenter ants do more damage in half the time.

Even with a few days that have been warm, I still am using the wood-stove for heat.  I store my kindling in trash barrels outside to keep the wood dry.  When I went to get some from my last barrel, that was against the side of the shed, there were big black carpenter ants in the barrel.  In years past I would have used a couple of bug bombs on them.  Now, I call over the ladies and dump out the kindling.  After kicking the pieces around to reveal the hiding ants I think the ladies got all of them. They will be turning them into my morning breakfast tonight.

They are amazing creatures and so useful.


searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

Tomatoes.  I got a late start with starting my tomato seeds this year, 4/3/13 is when I planted most of them.  Today I transplanted them to two 9-packs.  They look so small.  Will they be ready in 4-5 weeks to go into the garden??  They will be ready, might be small, but they’ll be ready.  I could always go the a garden center and buy a larger plant.  No, I’m too frugal.

Cold-frame 4/25/13

Cold-frame 4/25/13

The tomatoes are in the front tray, the 3 round cookie containers are my original starting pots.  There are more plants in these if I need more.  The back tray has my lettuce and basil on the left, then my leeks and finally my sweet potato slips.  The slips are big enough to be cut off of the potato and potted.  Maybe this weekend.

It is so nice to be playing in the dirt.



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