Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Visit to Indiana County, PA with Piccadilly!

Yarnick's Farm Stand
Lynnette Yarnick Describing How They Grow Produce for Eat 'N Park Restaurants!
Some of the Tomato Vines Are 100 Feet Long!
They Have Some Good Looking Squash and Pumpkins for Decorating!
They Grow Herbs in Stacks Hydroponically!
Romaine Lettuce is Also Grown This Way!
One of Several Covered Bridges in the County Still in Use!
Thee Village Eatinghouse Where We Had An Amish Wedding Feast!
The Drying Shed

A Cat at The Drying Shed Found a Perfect Napping Place!
The Smicksburg Pottery!
Entrance to the Studio and Garden at Smicksburg Pottery!
A Lovely Terraced Garden!
A Beautiful Clump of Nasturtiums!
'Walker's Low' Catmint
Reminds Me I Need to Plant More Annuals-Zinnia Closeup!
Beautiful 'Wooly' Thyme!
I Have Always Killed This Agastache!
Broken Pottery Lines the Driveway!
The Mahoning Creek Pottery by Chance or Appointment or Festival Time!
The Amish Have Made Smicksburg and Surrounding Areas Their Home!
Thought I had better do a post about my visit along with the Piccadilly Herb Club to Indiana County, PA.  I grew up in the county next door and had never been to this part of Indiana County.  Lots to see and do.  Our first stop was to Yarnick's Farm and it was probably one of my favorite stops we made.  They have a lot going on every day in the growing season.  They grow produce for Eat 'N Park restaurants which is a local chain along with produce for their farm stand.  They have a Halloween Boo-Grass and Hog Roast coming up on Sunday, October 12, 2014 featuring the James King Band.  A great family owned business that you should support if you are in the area.

We next went into Smicksburg and had an Amish wedding feast at Thee Village Meetinghouse.  Not a very good blogger, didn't take any photos of what we ate.  Too busy eating!  We then had time to shop.  Patty who described the Amish wedding feast at the restaurant has the shop next door.  Lots of country items and a cat who found its spot for a long afternoon nap.  We then walked across to the Smicksburg Pottery and discovered they not only have beautiful pottery, but a lovely garden near the studio.  I think this was my favorite spot.  Lots of annuals which I always keep telling myself I need to plant and just a lovely space to spend some time.  The owner's husband came out and told us that he has trouble getting his wife to make pots in the springtime because she would rather be in the garden!  Duh! 

The other pottery, The Mahoning Creek Pottery is only open by chance or appointment or during one of several festivals they hold in Smicksburg.  Hopefully Bonnie and I will get back there next year and take The Herbal Husband with us!  We also stopped at the Cheese Shop where they make their own cheeses and the Windgate Winery.  All in all it was a great day.

I'm still picking raspberries and making jam.  Tomorrow's batch will bring my total for the season so far to 120 jars and the raspberries are still producing!  I need to get more sugar because I haven't even done all of the herbal jelly yet!  Our weather is going to change by the end of the week.  We may not have our first frost, but my pineapple sage has started to bloom so frost can't be too far behind!
Finally, the Pineapple Sage is Blooming!  It Must Be Fall!
  Hope you are having a great day!  Talk to you later!  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Under Attack at the End of the Season!

The Bite of the Stink Bug Produces More Leaves!
Well, there is good news and bad news!  The bad news the damn stink bug attacked my oldest lemon verbena.  The good news is that it produces new leaves and the bites weren't as significant as before.  We had stink bug problems on the raspberries, apples, grapes and tomatoes.  We were finding them in the nasturtiums because they were in close proximity to the grapes.  No damage to the nasturtiums.  Just orange tattoos on my fingers!

So it has been crazy here as far as raspberry jam goes.  I have made almost 8 boxes or 96 jars of jam!  It is a spectacular year.  I've made 3 boxes of grape jelly.  That is done for the year.  I have yet to do any herbal jelly!  Down in the 40's tonight.  Basil will have to be processed in the coming days!  Although it will be back in the 50's for the next few nights.  If we can get through this one without too much damage, I will be able to some other flavors.  The pineapple sage is starting to blooming as is the Peruvian salvia which is a beautiful flower.  Here it is in bud.
The Flower Bud of the Salvia discolor or Peruvian Sage!
Last Gasp for the German Chamomile!
There are so many herbs to bring inside!  Here we go again!  We can't help ourselves!  Hope you are getting everything done here in the northeast or mid Atlantic.  Talk to you soon!  Oh, happy fall!  One of my favorite seasons!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Raspberry Jam and Grape Jelly Take a Selfie!

This is my life at the moment!  When you grow fruit, it is sometimes hit or miss whether you get anything!  This year despite the very cold winter and the stink bugs, we have had a bumper crop of raspberries.  The jury is still out on the grapes.  They are still being cut and detangled from cat hair.  Yes, we have a feral cat that likes to climb especially the grape arbor and rests up there.  The Herbal Husband was cutting grape bunches the other day and out comes the cat.  Scared the you know what out of him!

So I will be posting sporadically.  The temperatures are starting to drop at night here in southwestern PA, so you should be doing something with your basils in particular.  Everything else should be OK.  I have my list of herbal jellies I will be making.  Just look at my chores list because I will try to change it to keep you thinking about herbs that need to be harvested.

We have been very cool already!  So I have had to scramble to make sure that the herb garden hasn't started to die back!  Lots to think about!  So hope you are having a great day wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Book Review of Blue Jelly by Debby Bull!

A Very Quick and Enjoyable Read!
I have such a big book collection that I don't always read each book as they are purchased!  It sometimes takes years for me to read them.  Dusting is an excellent way for me to pick out a book that I might not otherwise have read and get it read!  Such is the case with Blue Jelly--Love Lost and the Lessons of Canning by Debby Bull, a former editor at Rolling Stone magazine.  Blue Jelly is a memoir with canning recipes.  What more do you need! Now that I think about it I probably nipped my herbal jelly title from this book.  Ms. Bull talks about jelly making and canning as being a zen experience.  Some people enjoy a crowd when they are canning.  I prefer to go it alone hence the zen experience.

My kitchen is so small that to get more than just me working on process is almost too many!  This book is described on the cover as a deliciously quirky memoir.  She drops names because she can (pun intended) and because she had therapy, I can relate to her story in some small way.  If you enjoy canning whether it be savory or sweet recipes, you will love this book, like dilly beans, red current jelly and a recipe for raspberry jam when her therapy didn't work.  Just to name a very few.  I'll let you figure out which jelly was made blue!  Even the chapter descriptions in the beginning of the book will make you laugh out loud!  It is really a group of short life adventures with canning as a finishing touch.

Ironically the recipe I really wanted to do was one that she didn't give and I won't ruin the reason why.  You need to read the book.  So some day soon I will give you a recipe for rosemary apple jelly!  Thanks Debby Bull for making me laugh, think and love making jam and jelly so much!  In a similar vein, I have been very busy picking raspberries (because of rain) and making jam.