Thursday, October 16, 2014

and time goes on...

I am a lousy blogger right now...why?  Can't say.  I have all sorts of interesting ideas {{{at least in my mind they are}}} but to sit down and blog about them...well I have a deficiency of remembering why and what I was going to blog about!  Decided I would link this to Annie's Fridays Smiles this week.  Writing this post made me smile and feel all happy so it fits! Go check it out.  Lots of fun things to smile about!

I am going to blame it on all the summer time fun going on around here and my "feeling good" most of the previous quarter of the year!  I was too busy with all the stuff I was doing and enjoying the warm summer days.  I spent some time treading water in the swimming pool, tending the garden and eating the products of my efforts.  All without a lot of increased pain issues I might add.   Today it is a different story.  I have a flare up going on that has been bugging me for about 3-4 days now.  I hurt all over.  I can't use my thumbs because of too much pain and I wish summer was still around.  Chuck and I closed up the swimming pool for the winter on Sunday because 80 degree days and 50+/- degree nights aren't conducive to keeping it warm enough for us to swim in.
I love the swimming pool in the summer and I still feel like it was one of the best "home improvements" we did just after buying the house in 1987.  It is 8 1/2' deep and about 38'x18' wide.  The shallow end is only 3' deep and not big enough for water walking but treading water is gentle and causes very little stress to my already stressed body.
The pool closed and winterized...I'll probably open it again in April 2015
Gardening is another exercise in the summer that I miss when it turns cold.  With my fibro, chronic fatigue, orthostatic hypotension I am fearful...yes fearful of falling over all the time.  It takes me weeks to get back to feeling good when I do that! :-)  Chuck had the yard workers build us some raised beds last year and I love them. 
Six beds total four are about 5'x5' and the other two are 6.5'x6.5'  Being two railroad ties tall makes it easy for me to bend over to work in the bed and not worry about bending over too far.  I also use the wide edges as seating cause I can reach halfway across each bed from seated position so that really limits my ability to fall over!
I tried to follow the Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Barthalomew and the Square Foot Gardening Foundation method of gardening.  Sometimes it worked for us sometimes is didn't but we still had a good time playing in the dirt!
the cabbages when we first planted them. 
ready for harvest

cabbages after a few weeks.
we had a total of 9 of these gorgeous cabbages this year!!
 Chuck loves corn so each year we are devoting one bed to grow a corn crop.  This year we did pretty well getting about 50 large ears of corn in our harvest. 
corn patch at about 4 weeks!
Chuck holding an ear of corn he is harvesting!

one days harvest!

 
large beautiful ears!


Do you see the sunflower above Chuck's head in the picture above?  
It started out like this...
grew to this...

and ended up like this...the seed head was a good 12-14 inches across and the birds and critters really loved munching on it!

Add caption
Potatoes!
This was taken on a hot dry day in July and the Okra looks pitiful as does the green beans.  Suffice it to say I have about 30 pint bags of okra off those pitiful plants.  Yummy for the tummy!
okra growing tall!

I bought a couple watermelon plants and planted them in with the corn.  We got a total of 5 melons off the two vines.
And surprise!  I forgot they were yellow meated. 

a volunteer cantaloupe grew in the corn and we harvested a couple great melons off that freebie vine.
We had tons of tomatoes and pepper s this year also.  Here is a heirloom tomato I tried that was purple topped.  They were prolific but not as tasty as the Juliet plum tomatoes I also tried this year. 



Lots of red and yellow peppers.  This lot ripened to orange!
 Well that was a pretty intensive gardening pictures.  I really did enjoy gardening and it was something that I could do and it didn't cause a flare up in my fibro or chronic fatigue.  I enjoyed that a lot.

Now how about something yummy to eat?  I tried a new recipe last night and ended up eating two pieces...I know I am a pig!  I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.  It is a gluten free pumpkin spice bar!  Yummy!  Recipe is huge though so I suggest using the adjustment for a smaller pan. 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin... 
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins, or 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup ginger
mini-chips
Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a large rimmed half-sheet
pan, about 18" x 13"; or line the pan with greased parchment. Note: to
make these bars in a 9" x 13" pan, see "tips," below left.
2) Beat the oil and the sugars together until well blended.
3) Beat in the eggs, then the pumpkin purée.
4) Stir the baking soda, baking powder, salt, spice, and xanthan gum into
the wet ingredients, then stir in the flour, beating gently to combine.
5) Stir in the nuts and raisins/ginger. Let the batter rest in the bowl for 15
minutes, then stir again to combine before pouring it into the pan. 
6) Bake the bars for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester
or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7) Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a rack to
finish cooling; or leave it right in the pan, if you've lined the pan with
parchment.
8) To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together.
9) Beat in the maple syrup, then mix in the confectioners' sugar and salt.
Adjust the consistency of the frosting with additional maple syrup or
confectioners' sugar, if necessary; it should be nicely spreadable.
10) Frost the bars and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Once the
frosting has set somewhat, cut into squares or rectangles.
Yield: 4 dozen 2" squares, or 3 dozen 2" x 3" bars.

Tips from our bakers
To toast nuts, place them in a
single layer on a baking sheet and
bake in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10
minutes, just until you can start to
smell them; let cool before using.
Want to make this recipe in a 9" x
13" pan? Change the amounts of
ingredients as follows: 2/3 cup
vegetable oil, 2/3 cup brown
sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 4
large eggs, 2/3 cup pumpkin
purée, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda,
3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/8
teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon
xanthan gum, 2 teaspoons
pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/3 cups
King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour, 1/3
cup chopped toasted walnuts, 2/3
cup golden raisins/ginger mini
chips. Bake as directed in the original recipe. 
For the frosting,
reduce ingredients as follows: 4
ounces cream cheese, 2
tablespoons softened butter, 1
tablespoon maple syrup, 1 1/4
cups confectioners' sugar, pinch
of salt, 1/2 cup diced toasted
walnuts.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-pumpkin-cake-bars-recipe

10 comments:

505whimsygirl said...

Hi Vickie,

Funny, I must be having sympathy pains because I've been hurting for a couple of weeks now. The temperature has taken a dive here and I'm pretty sure that's the reason. I've also been working around the condo as I'm hoping to sell it. The stairs are getting to be too much for my achy body.

Your garden is wonderful! I was hoping I'd see a photo of okra; love that stuff! Fried or pickled, no matter to me.

Take care of yourself.

Hugs,
Kay

Annie said...

As Kay says I'm sure the drop in temperature doesn't help with the aches and pains. My arthritis hurts when it gets cold and my thumb joints are already causing me problems so I really do sympathise with you. Here's to warmer days eh?
Really love all your produce pics. Thanks for linking up this week.
Hugs,
Annie x

Elizabeth said...

Hi Vickie, sorry that you are not feeling so well at the moment, I hope the pain passes soon. Loved the photos of your harvest and I especially liked the photo of Chuck, the corn and the sunflower :) Wishing you a better week. Elizabeth xx

Elizabeth said...

Totally forgot to say thanks for dropping by earlier and glad you liked my photos of Culzean. It's a National Trust property so it is possible to stay in one of the little apartments mentioned and I believe you can even stay in the Castle so if you ever do make it over here that would be quite an experience to consider. And, of course, we'd love to see you too. E xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I hope the weather hasn't aggravated your condition. It affects my arthritis, so I can empathize.

Enjoyed seeing the garden again. Never heard of SFG before, but I don't think it's for me. I'm trying to get back to lasagna gardening after a friend talked me into tilling it a few years ago. It's taken me this long to try to build it back up to have a sustainable garden. Yours certainly flourished. My tomatoes did OK, but my green peppers died before they were even 1 ft tall.

Sorry I'm late getting here. It's been a very busy week!

mamapez5 said...

Well done on all that gardening despite your problems. I would be smiling too with such a harvest. I´ve never tried, or even seen a yellow flesh water melon.
The recipe sounds very good. I´d like to try it as I have gluten-free diet friends here quite regularly, but I am not sure whether I can buy the flour out here. I´ll save the recipe anyway just in case. So thanks for that. I hope the weather stays warm at least for the days to help alleviate your pain. Kate x

Robyn Oliver said...

Hi Vickie, bit late getting to last Friday Smiles, but did enjoy reading your post just now. Hope you are feeling a bit better. Your garden looks amazing and I can't wait till we settle down and are not renting and can have my own veges so much better fresh. Cheers and late hugs Robyn

Monica said...

What an incredible garden and lovely pool. Hope your flare ups die down. I read an article about it lately http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-06/itd-fin061713.php

I think the Guardian reported it last week.
Monica 57

Lisca Meijer said...

Hi Vicky, I've come through WOYWW but I didn't get your desk. Never mind, I loved reading about your veg garden and seeing the photos. It is our dream to have a veg plot. We have bought some land not far from our house, but we need to finish constructing the house first before we start growing our veg. One thing at the time....
Thank you for sharing,
Have a good week,
Lisca#67

Chrysalis said...

What a lovely long post, Vickie. Your garden is amazing! Have a great week, Chris (WOYWW # 24)