Saturday, September 13, 2014

Girding my loins...

The dog days of summer were apparently chased away by winter weather!  Okay, perhaps not winter, but the over night low today will be 43 degrees!  That meant that I could no longer put off harvesting my herbs.

Truly, I am doubtful that I shall have drying success.  I don't know why, but I am.  I am almost as afeard of drying herbs as I am trying to knead bread dough.  [Do you like that duct tape repair to my laundry drying rack??  This thing is over 20 years old!]

Whilst I do have one bunch of basil drying, I have basically decided that all my basil will be saved via olive oil freezer cubes.  Mostly, because I cannot think of a recipe where I wouldn't need olive oil with my basil.  Surprisingly, this is all that is left of a 3 quart bowl full of basil leaves.

I decided for my butter that I would make rosemary butter, because I think rosemary butter would be the most versatile in cooking or in slathering on bread.  I mixed two cups of butter with 2/3 cup chopped rosemary.  I really, really, really like rosemary.

This is all but about 1/4 cup of the mixture.  That bit I simply put in a small jar since my other herb cube tray is in use with the basil.

I have more rosemary to harvest and would very much like to make more rosemary butter.  However, I am down to just 2 sticks of butter and wish not to spend any more grocery money until my next budget cycle.  I have thought, perhaps, I harvesting the rosemary, freezing it, and then making butter with it on the 27th.

I have yet to decide if I want to try and winter both rosemary bushes in the solarium or try to leave one in the bed.  They are not supposed to survive the winter here.  I thought, perhaps, I could try to make a plastic frame around one of the bushes and then put the other in a pot for the solarium.  Given that they were just $2.98 at the grocery store, I think I got my investment from them even if they both die off.

With the cold nights already wreaking havoc on my giant spotted begonias, I went ahead and moved my front porch plants to the solarium.  Thankfully, today I finally sold the wireless speaker I chose to sacrifice to pay for some plant racks so that the plants in the solarium were not just scattered on the floor.

There were the most economical ones  I could find that were also the simplest in design and were noted as sturdy.  [I really do need a better pot for the jade plant ... since it sits inside an antique churner on the front porch, I only bring in the interior pot.]

This is the simple shelf I used last year, with the old giant spotted begonia in it.  The one I killed when the door to the airing porch blew open.  This plant and the other three are all rootings from the original plant I got from my step-mother, which is a rooting from the plant she got from her mother.  I adore the spotted leaves and the ginormous blossoms, but they do not like cold weather.  Many of the leaves on the plants have cold burns on them.  But I know they will recover ... soon sport new leaves as the ones laced with white spots wrinkle and fall off.

I need a better place to hang this.  Or ... perhaps ... a hook to put in the ceiling.  The plant is smushed against the wall right now.

From what I can tell, the Wandering Jew baskets can remain outside until first frost.  I think, but am not sure, I will winter them in the dining room on the hooks before the windows above the built-in.  My plan is to prune back the baskets to just above the bottom of the pot so they are not trying to sustain all that growth over the winter.  I just hate to "waste" the prunings, but I do not know anyone who would like a Wandering Jew basket for his/her home.  I think the plant might be like monkey bread ... how you want to keep sharing the dough, but run out of folk who need/want it.  Anyway, I want to prune them and let them be outside for a while before bringing them inside, so they do not have two adjustments at once.

The rose bush I salvaged and moved once Firewood Man dug out that ginormous root from the petered out climbing rosebush is thriving.

Once these blooms finish, I will prune it back for the winter.

I love that they are single bloom roses.  Just think ... this poor thing has languished beneath other bushes for the first three summers I lived here, a single branch that never bloomed.  Once it was placed in the sunlight ... it began growing.

We will not discuss the rose bush that is beside the garage door ... may it rest in peace.

But we could stop and admire ... for a moment or three ... the luxurious GREEN grass that is thriving in my yard thanks to the mild, yet surprisingly wet late summer.  BLISS.

On the morrow, after pruning the hanging baskets, I would like to harvest more thyme and oregano to add to the rack.  I think, too, I would like to freeze some of the thyme.  And I still have basil to harvest and mince and freeze into cubes.  Maybe the rosemary can wait two weeks until I can buy more butter.  I also thought I would make more Beef Stew with Beer, since I use rosemary, thyme, and sage in it.

When the basil bushes are all gone and the weather turns a bit warmer, week after next,  I will move the two best sage bushes together and put the other two in with the prunings.  I will also adjust where the oregano is.  I cannot decide about keeping both of the thyme bushes.  I really have enjoyed using the thyme, but I am not sure I really need two bushes.  In any case, I want to have the plants that will winter and return next year to be properly spaced so that I might decide about what else to put in the raised bed with the single basil bush I plan to get next spring and a dill plant.

No ... I have not yet manage to gird my loins enough to continue reading the commentary on Mark.  What kind of self-respecting ex-evangelical is afraid to read about the crucifixion???

No comments: