Thursday, November 29, 2012

Second Time Consuming Hobby

New Sheepshead Minnows,  November 29th,  2012
      Many of you don't know that I have a second time consuming hobby that has afflicted me since I was a kid: fish keeping and other small critter keeping.  Having found a great benefit in keeping gardening notes and pictures in the blog format, I have reluctantly started a second blog, George's Bio Lab.  If interested in this new adventure, please drop in for a visit at:
      Gotta go check on the fish.  They love the cold weather when I am not spending soooo much time out in the gardens.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Smokin for Thanksgiving

      My neighbor Rick has a neat gizmo for smoking foods, and he has been kind enough to let me take things to his house to smoke when he has the fire going.

Rick's smoker,  November 21st,  2012
      This neat smoker reminds me a lot of a steam engine.  The fire is maintained in the smaller drum off to the right.  The fire heat and smoke enter the larger drum where they are connected.  The food is therefore not on top of open flame, so you don't have to worry about flare ups the way you do cooking on a grill.  I bought a turkey and a nice slab of salmon to smoke, and decided to experiment with some sweet peppers and garlic cloves.  The dill is from some plants I potted up and moved to the porch.

Salmon, peppers and garlic cloves

      There is my turkey in the back right corner, with Rick's pork loin in front.  He also had bought a bunch of turkey wings and legs at the store.  They probably smoke more thoroughly as they are smaller pieces.  The turkey neck that I included had very little meat, hardly worth that experiment.

We be smokin
       Rick threw on a large salmon fillet he had bought.  I know that will be delicious as the taste test we did on my salmon last night was a resounding AH, yummy.  In just a few hours, we will eat our smoked turkey, as well as his friend that was cooked in the traditional manner in the oven.  With two turkeys, we get double the giblets in the gravy!  And enough left overs for everybody to take home.  Simply scrumptious.
       Gobble, gobble.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Tomorrow

      Happy Thanksgiving to everyone tomorrow.  It is my favorite holiday.  A time to gather with friends and family to enjoy the day.  To eat. To eat, then eat some more.  Probably to nap in front of the TV while a slow football game is on.  It gives me great pleasure to have a fall garden, to be able to pick fresh veggies to add to the Thanksgiving Feast.  Direct from Pop Pop's gardens.

A beautiful radish harvest,  11/20/2012
Swiss Chard to pick,  11/20/2012
And lettuce for a salad,  11/20/2012
Total haul,  11/20/2012
      Wow, what a nice haul, and so much fun gathering it.  The radishes in the middle, salad greens to the left, arugula to the right, and a mess of swiss chard greens at the top.  Plenty of delicious fresh veggies to go along with the turkey.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Planting More Garlic

      There is a saying that you can plant garlic on the shortest day and then harvest the bulbs on the longest day.  That should mean that I am not too late to still be planting cloves.  A friend who recently moved from our neighborhood had been growing some named garlic strains.  That is pretty cool because my garlic has been from the "three for a dollar" variety at the store, or from plants thrown away on the park compost pile.  In any event, I am pretty happy with my current garlic strains, but look forward to trying something new.

On left: Red Russian, on right: Music
      The two bulbs that my neighbor gave me were separated into the individual cloves.  The Music variety, on the right of the photo, had only seven cloves, but they were quite large.  These cloves were planted on November 10th, 2012.

Broken into individual cloves

      I cleaned up a section of bed #9, where I planted the Music cloves at the east end.  The Red Russian cloves went in the west end of bed #9.
      Today, 11/16/2012, I planted 100 cloves of my next to premium size cloves in the west end of bed #1.  I still want to put in more cloves, as it is so easy and productive to let the garlic do its thing over the winter.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Been Fishin

Nassawadox Creek, Virginia,  November 10th,  2012
      We just came back from a wonderful visit with some friends who have a second home on a beautiful cove on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  My friend Rick and I always enjoy the fishing, as the scenery makes a fishing trip a success even when the fish are not biting.

Just across the cove

      This fallen tree is very near their dock, and is slowly falling apart after several years.  There are many pieces of driftwood around the creek.  Even a couple of pieces have found their way to my garden back here in Delaware.
      But fishin is always more fun when there is also catchin.

      And eatin.  We caught four keeping size rockfish the first morning.  And had some extra fresh fish for breakfast just hours later.  Simply scrumptious.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Winding Down and Ramping Up

      For many things in the garden, the five plus inches of rain from Hurricane Sandy was the final straw.  Some tomato plants that were hanging in late in the season have wilted from too much water.  The sweet potato tops that survived the frost have now collapsed.  I pulled the zucchini plants shown in the following picture because the fruits have just stopped growing. 

Pulled the zucchini,  November 2nd,  2012
      The squash needed to come out to be able to refurbish that bed for getting the cold frames back in action.  In the back yard garden, I cleaned up a frame that had also had squash plants, to plant some starts that have been waiting in six packs.

      This frame has Four Seasons Lettuce, volunteer Frisee, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, and a few shallot starts that might give me some bulbs in the spring to divide and regrow.  That big empty space in the front beckons to be a seed bed for some new cold weather crops to sprout for later transplanting.  Even as the summer garden needs to be pulled, the winter garden activity is just beginning.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gold Finches are Eating my Chard

      The first time I spotted several gold finches on my swiss chard, I assumed they were eating some insect.  Yet swiss chard is rather insect resistant.  And it looked like they were eating small pieces of the leaves.  Today was the third time I have seen finches on the chard.  When I arrived at the garden I scared off maybe half a dozen finches.  Yet several remained to tear at the chard.

Gold finch on my swiss chard, November 1st,  2012
Two finches right in the middle
      Now I love having gold finches in my yard.  I even encourage them with all of the different perennials I have that make a finch seed bonanza.  Luckily, when the chard is at its peak, the finches have plenty of other food.  Now I am happy that they have an alternate food source.  Eat your veggies little birdies.