Saturday, October 24

Clean up has begun

The last of the carrots are still in the ground, and will be dug up as weather permits over the next couple months. (freezing temps seem to improve carrot flavor, I think) Everything else is long gone.

The tomato bed has been dismantled today, the rotting fruits are in the compost bin, along with vines, some grass clipping mulch, and a good portion of mud that was mixed in. If I leave the tomatoes in the garden, I'll be weeding tomato plants next year (they are tenacious buggers, too) . I should probably dig up the beans also, since a lot of those went to seed and I don't want volunteer beans next year either.

Still haven't found any onions that I planted from seed. I may probe into the bed and see if there's something in there. If there's nothing, I won't feel bad about tilling the bed, but I'd really hate to lose all those onions if they're hiding in the weeds.

Sometime this week, when the weather is good, the whole garden will be hit with round-up and weed-whacked. I'm sure there are a few million weed seeds in there - if I get ambitious, I might try burning the weeds. Or just deal with it like I do every year - pull weeds.

The bad news...
The vintner who picks our elderberries told us there's a poison ivy patch invading the corner of our property. This is an interesting dilemma for me - I have never reacted to poison ivy, and thus never learned what it looks like. So I have spent every available moment in the last week surfing the web for photographs and hiking back there to locate the poison ivy. No luck. Hopefully K will have some time to come back and show me where it is. Thanks for small blessings, if anyone should clear out poison ivy it should be the person who doesn't react to it, right?!

The consensus of my web search says that I should find the point where the plants roots are, cut it off at the root & mark the location this fall. Then, next spring hit the young sprouts with herbicide (round-up) every time it tries to leaf out. I'll be wearing a disposable coverall and gloves to gather up the vines, just because I haven't reacted doesn't mean I'm willing to gamble!


Monday, October 19

Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies

What would you do with some extra baking apples? These cookies have been adapted from a standard oatmeal-raisin recipe, and turned out well. I've added comments on substitutions that I made.

1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1_1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats
1 cup apple pieces (or dried apple pieces, with sufficient water to moisten)
1 cup caramel bits

Heat oven to 350 F.
Cream butter, shortening, and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Combine flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon - add to wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in oats, apples, and caramel bits.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to set on cookie sheet for 1 minute after removing from oven, then cool on wire rack.

Substitutions I have successfully made:
Applesauce for 1/2 the fat
Hot cider mix for granulated sugar

If you cannot find caramel bits, unwrap caramel squares and freeze, then crush with a mallet.