We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Walk In The Garden

I just came in from walking in the garden and there is nothing like pulling up a carrot and washing it off and eating it straight away. So very different from the carrots purchased at the store and so much better .

Wind Storm, Rain and Power Outages

We had a 60 mile an hour severe wind storm yesterday, that was followed by pouring down rain. We ended up with about a 1/2 inch of rainfall and really needed that. However, Ohio has now been declared an emergency because power is out all over the state. We are fortunate because we did not loose electricity like we did a few years ago when it took about 5 days before it was restored. But it sounds as if it could take days to restore it in this 100 degree weather.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cucumbers Fail

My cucumbers will need to be pulled because the cucumber beetle has wreaked havoc.

 So I have replanted in a spot far away and will keep a row cover on it when it pops up. Plus I will keep my neem spray close by. What a disappointment.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia-Blueberry-Nectarine Pie

I will be baking a Blueberry-Nectarine Pie for the month of July as a TWDBWJ member. I found the actual recipe at the Baking With Julia TV website. Stay tuned for my creation and photos. The plan is to have this for dessert on the 4th of July!!

The Filling
3 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups sliced nectarines
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Large pinch of grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

The Crust
1/2 recipe Flaky Pie Dough
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water, for egg wash
Crystal or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Makes 6 - 8 servings
Put half of the fruit in a medium saucepan, add sugar, flour, and lemon zest. Stir to mix. Bring to a soft boil, stirring constantly, and simmer until liquid thickens. Remove from heat, transfer into a bowl and stir in the uncooked fruit. Taste liquid, and adjust flavoring by adding lemon juice. Let cool.
Cut dough in half and on a lightly floured work surface roll one half into an 11-inch circle. Fit crust into a 9-inch cake pan with 1-inch-high sides. Allow excess dough to hang over sides. Roll remaining piece of dough into a 10-inch circle. Spoon the cooled filling into the pie shell and dot with butter. Trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 inch. Lift the 10-inch circle of dough onto the pie, aligning edges of top crust with bottom crust. Fold both layers of overhanging dough under to create a thick edge around the rim of the pan. Crimp with fingers, creating scallops every 2 inches around the rim. Press the tines of a fork against the flat scallops to decorate. Paint with egg wash and sprinkle with crystal sugar. Cut 4 to 6 slits in the crust and chill for minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Place pie on a parchment lined pan and bake 50 minutes or until crust is golden. Let cool 30 minutes before cutting.

Harvest Monday

The garden is starting to come into a full swing for harvesting.

Cabbage (3 pounds), carrots( 2 oz.) and lettuce ( 3oz)

Yellow wax beans which we will have for dinner tonight, along with cole slaw made with the cabbage.
 ( 4.45oz)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bumpus Dogs

Click the above because this is how I  feel about squirrels eating my tomatoes. It is a lot like the Bumpus dogs and their turkey adventure.


If anyone has a sure fire way to keep squirrels out of the tomato beds I would love to know your solutions.I had one Black Krim ripening, and this morning I found it on the ground next to the plant. Although I had heavy plastic fencing around my tomatoes to keep the deer out, it did nothing for the squirrels. I now have plastic fencing on top of the entire bed and the bottom portion of the fencing is weighed down by bricks around the perimeter.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Latest From the Garden

There is nothing like fresh chard from the garden. It tastes so much better than store bought. Harvest weighed in at 13.25 oz.

This is the basil that I used in my favorite Easy Basil, Tomato, and Pasta dish I mentioned the other day on this blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia- French Strawberry Cake

This is a wonderful dessert. The actual cake is a genoise and this recipe called for one layer to be sliced so that there would be three layers. I baked this cake in a 6 inch pan with a removable bottom. But please note that I did not pour all of the batter into this pan, since the recipe called for an 8 inch pan. I probably left out about a cup of batter.The cake was not that difficult to make. I beat the batter with my KitchenAid with the whip attachment at medium speed for about 10 minutes.

Please visit our hosts for this month's recipe if you are interested in making this dessert. Our hosts will also post the recipe for the French Strawberry Cake if you would like to make this yummy creation Hosts are Sophia of Sophia’s Sweets and Allison of Sleep Love Think Dine.

 Even though I used a pan with a removable bottom, I still used a wax paper lining.

The strawberries were wonderfully ripe.

First I layered with strawberries and then whip cream.

I pipped the whipped cream on the cake with a star tip.

The finished product. Yes I would make it again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Favorite Easy Tomato, Basil And Pasta Dish

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti type pasta
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 8-10  roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste


  1. Prep the tomatoes, garlic, etc-- before boiling the pasta.

  2. Boil pasta while making the rest of the dish.

  3. Saute garlic in olive oil.

  4. Add tomatoes and cover, simmering for 7-10 minutes with the balsamic vinegar and seasonings until tomatoes fall apart.

  5. Cut basil leaves and toss all ingredients together, including Parmesan cheese.

  6. Serve additional Parmesan on the side, if desired

Can be served hot or even as a cold pasta dish the next day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pictures From The Garden

 Chard and I will be cutting it tomorrow.

 Meyer lemons and they are looking great.



Cabbage and it is about ready to be harvested.


Bush beans



Pole beans

HOT Weather and Weeds

Well it is close to 90 outside and I thought I would plant some petunias I purchased to fill in some planters. Plus I thought weeding would be a good idea. I must be crazy, because it is too darn hot out there. Petunias are planted and I did 30 minutes of weeding. I am now inside drinking a large glass of water. I hope to take updated pictures tomorrow to post of the vegetables. They are doing well so far.

First Carrot

My first carrot of the year. They are still pretty small, but I am thinning them out and will add them to stir fry or salads for now. This carrot is really only about 4 inches long.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


You know when you say to yourself that you should pick that lettuce and then you say--umm I can do that tomorrow. One should rethink that because the deer may get to it before you do and that is what happened to me. I had a large pot of lettuce on the patio just read to be harvested and the deer took advantage of it. When will I learn. Well at least I have lettuce in the raised bed and they can't get to that.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Garden Update

It is amazing how in one week the garden can change so dramatically.The tomatoes are 3 feet tall and are popping out little green tomatoes. I can start to snip basil and use it in sauces. Snipping it here and there will make the basil more bushy. The chard took off like a bolt of lightening, along with the beans and eggplants. The lettuce has had a second regrowth and I have a cabbage that is about ready to be harvested.

However, the broccoli raab looks pretty sad and I will replant it in the fall.

Pictures to come in the near future. This is all too much fun!


Just picked shelling peas and have cooked them for an early dinner. I will admit it was a lot of work for 8oz, but they are so delicious.

Poison Weeds Every Gardener Needs To Be Familiar With

I found the following at the OSU website. I had been hearing more and more about poison hemlock and how people confuse it with Queen Anne's Lace. The consequences of getting this on your skin is worse than poison ivy.


Poison-hemlock is acutely toxic to people and animals. Unrelated to the native evergreen hemlock tree, poison-hemlock can be deadly; it has gained notoriety through its use in the state execution of Socrates.
Poison-hemlock can be confused with wild carrot (Daucus carota, or Queen Anne's Lace), as with many other members of the parsley family that resemble it. It has hairless hollow stalks with purple blotches. It can get quite tall, sometimes up to 8 feet or higher. It produces many umbrella-shaped flower clusters in an open and branching inflorescense. In contrast, wild carrot has one dense flower cluster on a narrow, hairy stem, usually with one purple flower in the center of the flower cluster, and is usually 3 feet tall or less. Poison-hemlock starts growing in the spring time, producing flowers in late spring, while wild carrot produces flowers later in the summer.


Poison-hemlock flowering - click for larger imagePoison-hemlock is acutely toxic to people and animals, with symptoms appearing 20 minutes to three hours after ingestion.  All parts of the plant are poisonous and even the dead canes remain toxic for up to three years.  The amount of toxin varies and tends to be higher in sunny areas.  Eating the plant is the main danger, but it is also toxic to the skin and respiratory system.  When digging or mowing large amounts of poison-hemlock, it is best to wear gloves and a mask or take frequent breaks to avoid becoming ill.  One individual had a severe reaction after pulling plants on a hot day because the toxins were absorbed into her skin.  The typical symptoms for humans include dilation of the pupils, dizziness, and trembling followed by slowing of the heartbeat, paralysis of the central nervous system, muscle paralysis, and death due to respiratory failure.  For animals, symptoms include nervous trembling, salivation, lack of coordination, pupil dilation, rapid weak pulse, respiratory paralysis, coma, and sometimes death.  For both people and animals, quick treatment can reverse the harm and typically there aren’t noticeable aftereffects. If you suspect poisoning from this plant, call for help immediately because the toxins are fast-acting – for people, call poison-control at 1-800-222-1222 or for animals, call your veterinarian.

Swiss Chard Question

Well I have a bounty of Swiss Chard. The good news is that this has exceeded my expectations. However, can you freeze Swiss Chard? If so, what is the most successful way you have found to do this? Thanks for all of your help.