Friday, August 31, 2012

Early Light Photography

Bell pepper

Black cherry tomatoes
Chair on deck
Bok choi, pepper, snow peas thinned out
Purslane - an edible weed

No words necessary.  Just enjoying the beautiful morning and the lovely light and decided to share a little with you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Deck Garden - Finishing Up

Overnight, my deck garden recovered from the trauma of transplanting and perked up greeting the strong morning sun. I just had to capture this beginning.

I love to look back at where my garden started, the bare dirt, the tiny plants, the hope of something delicious and nutritious. 

Yesterday I got a great start on putting my fall deck garden together, moving this plant from the big container to its own container, giving all of the plants more room to grow.

Today with the early fall sunshine encouraging my little plants to do something grand, it just created a sense of excitement. 

I had already walked around my gardens in the front yard and back.  I had already plucked numerous cherry tomatoes that tasted like pure delight into my mouth (must get my Vitamin C, right?).  I had picked the last of the Cosse Violette bean pods from the front garden that had dried up and removed the beans to preserve for seed.  I had already picked at least 15 pounds of pears.  I had already watered my garage container garden noticing that the snow pea plants were about 6-8 inches already and reaching through the last of the bean plants in that container.  The pods on those plants still being quite purple I must leave the plants in place.

A nice surprise is how quickly the Dwarf Bok Choi grows.  My plants are only a couple of weeks along and they are already getting some thickness to the stalks.  I can see planting these many times throughout the fall and winter bringing them into the house at night.

After planting red leaf lettuce, spinach and Aichi cabbage seeds in hanging baskets, I took some pictures to share.  Enjoy!

Calabrese broccoli and bok choi (center)
Aichi cabbage

Dwarf  Bok Choi
Snow peas, bok choi and jalapeno peppers
Red cabbage
Red leaf lettuce, spinach and Aichi cabbage seeds sown

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oh the Sun! Oh the Dirt!

It is a glorious day here in Connecticut. Early, when I arose, it was in the 50's and a bit nippy. But now! Oh, now it is perfect!!!

Last weekend I asked my 19yo and 12yo sons to fill up my new containers with soil and compost. Although they kind of skipped the compost it is what it is at this point and I am not dragging buckets full of compost up to my second story deck.

Soaking wheat berries to sprout
 The boys off to their first day of school this year, a pork roast in the slow cooker for pulled pork sandwiches tonight, wheat berries soaking in one of my really big new Ball jars, a little knitting done while watching a show on Netflix, I decided it was time to pot my fall veggie seedlings.

In the back, the medium-sized black container has my bell pepper plant along with purslane (remember I grow weeds deliberately).

Fall container garden
To the left of that is the larger black container with snow peas, Calabrese broccoli and another bell pepper plant.  The largest green container has bok choi, snow peas, and three jalapeno pepper plants.  The closest square container has four Calabrese broccoli plants.  The small green container has Aichi cabbage.  In the small pots are Calabrese broccoli.  We do love our broccoli.  Still left to plant are the four hanging baskets which will each get one variety of lettuce for baby greens throughout the fall and winter months.  And in the other large square container I will probably plant more Aichi cabbage which didn't germinate well in the flat.

I decided to grow my fall garden on my deck because I didn't want to bother with pests, diseases and deer, and my tomatoes and cukes are still providing lots of yummies every day.

In the lettuce bed I will be planting my seed garlic which should arrive in October.  I plan to put 3 inches of compost in that bed, turn it a couple of times and then just grow lots of garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.

The bed in the front yard I am thinking about planting a green cover crop.  Still haven't decided if I have the energy.

The kale seeds do not germinate well and are very slow to grow.  I have three seedlings and one larger plant that I am hoping will go to seed so I can save the seeds for next year (and some for my seed saver collection). I will need to research ways to encourage kale seed germination.

Well, that's how this sunny day is being celebrated in Connecticut.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Joy in the Junk

Face it! We all have a lot of junk to deal with.  Every day, all day long, life interferes with our selves, so to speak. Life infringes upon our thoughts, our plans, our hope, our dreams. We all know the not so cute little saying: "Life sucks!" Well, sometimes it really does.

So how do I stay so hopeful and find joy most of the time.  And I really do.  I am not a worrier.  I have worries, or things, complications, situations, and most of my life, that is not under my control.  But I do not sit there stressing about it, wringing my hands and hyperventilating.  That just isn't my nature. 

From the time I was young I learned to escape.  I know I have mentioned this before.  I honestly believe this coping mechanism allowed me to survive some tough times growing up and as an adult.  When I was younger, though, I never really knew what joy was. How do I get it? How do I maintain it? How do I keep it from slipping away when I get irritated and bothered by LIFE?

As I got older I began to exchange escapism for joyful productivity.  Sometimes it was sewing, quilting, knitting or crocheting.  Much of the time it was cooking and baking.  I found that instead of just hiding away with a book and disappearing from my life to avoid the pain I could work through it. 

But then after many years struggling with illness I seemed to arrive at a place where I have joy just being.

Sounds like Nirvana, right? I am an intense person.  I feel deeply.  I give generously.  I care too much sometimes.  My personality type often sees injustice in everything.  And I really do. 

So how in the world does someone like me find joy? I took control of a few basic things like kicking really awful, negative people out of my life.  Sounds terrible doesn't it?  But I came to the conclusion that it was necessary or I was going to completely disintegrate and disappear.  My decision has brought great hardship upon me and my children but I wouldn't change it for the world.  And my children all agree with me (well, most of them). 

Sometimes you have to stand up and say, "Enough!!!"

I had to stand up for myself.  I had to go against my church, my husband, even much of my family in order to find relief from the horrible emotional suffering I was experiencing.  But I did it.

Joy is found in being yourself, not who or what someone else wants you to be.  Joy is found in giving yourself permission to enjoy life.  I no longer feel guilty for enjoying food, wine, walking in the park, capturing a sunrise, telling my children we are having sandwiches for dinner.  Joy is found in a moment.

How do you find joy?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rainbows and Unicorns

We've all heard the phrase, "Go to your happy place." 

Where do you go, mentally and emotionally, when your entire life feels like it is falling apart?

Some people just emote: cry, yell, and vent. 

Some people close up and shut everyone else out.

Some people go spend a lot of money.  Retail therapy, you know.

Some people scrub, rearrange and purge clutter.

Some people pray real hard.

Some people dream big dreams about what could be.

Some people just read their Bibles quietly.

Some people literally pack up and leave town.

Some people post all about it on Facebook (and we all wish that they hadn't).

Do you have a happy place?  Have you created an internal place of refuge that brings you back to center?

Of course, what we are really talking about are coping mechanisms.  Everyone has a bad day here and there.  Everyone.  Sometimes, though, people have a bad year, or bad YEARS.  Sometimes there is so much loss that the soul resembles Swiss cheese.  Swiss cheese that has been left out overnight and is now limp and greasy.  Some people never really recover from their losses.

I was speaking with someone the other day and they admitted that they do not have a happy place at all.  There is no internal place of comfort and peace.  That it seems to be black everywhere. One day I just blurted out, "Rainbows and unicorns!"  I then explained that when I felt the mood had gone too far into the blackness I would say, "Rainbows and unicorns!" to change the mood.  I don't think it helped.

That got me thinking about whether I had my own happy place.

When I was younger I learned the art of escapism.  I had a wonderful imagination, regularly climbed trees, even hid out on our roof.  I knew how to get away from the pain.  But I never dealt with it. 

When I got a little older I didn't escape as much.  It didn't seem to work.  Of course, I was a poor single mom, and escaping for an adult usually costs money.  There were no free Kindle books then and I have never been a crier which is a real shame.

Then I "got religion*" and was taught that escapism was wrong, bad, cowardly. 

A few years more down the road and I had a couple more children, a disconnected husband, and an idealistic point of view -- I have always been idealistic. I began to finally reach a point where I had to face my demons instead of hiding or escaping from them.  Oh,  I still had my escapes. Were they really escapes, or were they my "happy places"?

After the loss of an early pregnancy, I planted an herb garden in my backyard.  Was that an escape or a therapeutic exercise? I created something beautiful and useful as a way to work through my pain and disappointment. I realized that my happy place is not an internal place where only I am allowed.  My happy place is something external, something beautiful that I can enjoy but can also share with those around me. The internal part is the planning, which is extremely pleasurable to me. This is the truly creative part of any project, and might have something to do with the oh so many unfinished projects in my possession.

So my happy place is creating something.  That is what truly settles me down, brings me back to a place of civility and calm.  

What or where is your "happy place"?

*In 1984 I joined a church that was a borderline cult.  It didn't quite qualify as a Reverend Jones kind of cult, but it had controlling leadership, isolation, and no heart.  It was legalistic and therefore "religion," not a healthy spirituality.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Behave, Dear!

Warning: there are some choice words in this post. 

Something is trying to rage out of my inner being.  My bullshit meter has been going off a lot lately.  A LOT!  Most of my Facebook friends know where I stand on GMO's (genetically modified organisms) as in our food supply is mostly derived from genetically modified seeds (foreign DNA forced into plant seeds).

I drive my Facebook friends crazy with my postings on my wall and on Kellogg's pages (we are boycotting Kellogg Company and trying to inform the general public on what GMO's are -- most people don't know anything about them).

So I heard that most farm bureaus are just biotech marketing forums  SOOOOO I decided to start checking out farm bureau Facebook pages.  What do I find? All of these pro-GMO and chemical posts, blogs, etc.  Apparently farm bureaus ARE just biotech marketing forums.

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am not a quiet, demure, obedient woman.  Nope.  I'm not.  I am polite.  I am punctual.  I am respectful.  I am law-abiding and I pay my taxes.  I don't cheat and I don't steal and I don't usually swear.  Most people misinterpret these characteristics to mean that I am gullible and submissive, maybe even not so bright.

I do think for myself.  I do not allow my friends and family to influence me much.  On the flip side I am not a gossip and I am not self-righteous (most of the time).  I believe what I believe because these are the conclusions I have reached after careful research and deliberation.  I am, however, always willing to listen to the other side and have the ability to understand the perspective of the opposition.  I respect those who are passionate about whatever they believe.

Now we get to the point of this blog post.  I started commenting on farm bureau articles.  I got the usual corporate responses.  I was respectful and posted a different view.  I can do this all day long.  What I can't stand, and what has really angered me until I am nearly seeing red is a man telling me that the government and chemical companies declared that something is safe, so it must be.

Okay, something in me wants to completely blast these guys.  Here is what I am hearing:

"Don't worry your pretty little head over such things, honey!"

Yep, that is what I am hearing.  This whole thing just gushes paternalistic, patriarchal bullshit!!!  Really?  You say so, and you're a man in business, so that settles it?  We should just believe you?  Really???

I will leave you with this little piece I got from a book I own called, Bright and Happy Homes, Household Guide and Companion, The Choicest Treasures of Wisdom, Instruction, Amusement, and Devotion, published in 1882 by Fairbanks, Palmer & Co.  

How great a thing it is to understand a daughter's mind in which sensibility, that demands sympathy, has so much larger a place than logic, that needs only to be reasoned out.

We believe that there is sex in mind, and that the essential type of womanhood appears equally in the example of the highest culture and genius, as in the average standard.

Every page shows the woman's guiding pen, no matter whether a De Steal or a Godwin ranges into the bolder realms of thought, or an Edgeworth or Hemans walks among the daily affections and cares of life.

A true culture must be based upon this fact, and the mind must be trained in accordance.

Little may be gained by persisting in making a dry logician of a school girl, for abstract reasoning is rarely a woman's forte, but precisely on that account, the reason must be appealed to by the living truth, which will find a ready response from perceptions so quick and intuitive as often to see at a glance what the logical understanding will with difficulty argue out.

It is a great mistake to try to train a girl to be a man, in case of mind, or way of life.

We can never slight the hint of nature without bringing down her retribution, and temporary success but delays the evil day.

Truly trained, the girl will have as much reason as the boy; and hers will be more intuitive, whilst his may be more formal and severe in its reasoning.

Strength of character will be hers, not, perhaps, so much the stern sense of justice that most marks the masculine conscience, as the full and earnest affection that adds mercy to justice, and love to duty.  Force of will shall be hers, not perhaps the iron will of man, but what is quite as well, and in its place better, the heroic patience that conquers evil by enduring it.

The result shall be a disciplined, sagacious intellect without masculine hardness, delicate sensibility without imbecile listlessness, active energy without moping drudgery, a combination of powers and graces that wins homage from every heart.

I would not adopt any definition of woman's power less generous than the hint of nature, and the will of God.  Rather allow the largest scope to the development of every gift, and trust the feminine instinct to vindicate its own prerogative, whatever be the talent called into requisition.

In another passage in this book it discusses women doing the work of men:

While woman preserves her sex, she will necessarily be feebler than man, and having all her special bodily and mental characters, will have, to a certain extent, her own sphere of activity.  When she has pretty well divested herself of her sex, she may then take his ground, and do his work; but she will have lost her feminine attractions, and probably, also, her chief feminine functions.
Yes, men used to believe this.  Many still do.  Just ask some of the older men who still think they run the world.

Finally, I really love this passage:

Yet more sternly we must carry out the doctrine of the need of an education essentially self-relying...

He will remember its (fortunes) uncertainties, and beware of sanctioning the too prevalent folly which regards woman as born to be petted and dependent, and brands a rational and self-relying education as masculine and ungraceful.

If we have our eyes open we must see the wretchedness of this system, and regard every daughter as cruelly treated who is not enabled without loss of self-respect, in case of need, to take a stand for herself, and prefer, to an uncongenial marriage, or a degrading dependence, reliance upon her own arts of accomplishment or utility.

One second I think the author of this book is a real Neanderthal and the next I realize that he is quite progressive in his attitudes towards women.

Just had to share where my head is today.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Woman's Hands

A mother's touch is legendary. We all envision delicate, petite, soft hands caressing a child's fevered brow.

Women's hands in modern advertising are always slender, smooth and have perfectly manicured nails. Men probably don't even really look at a woman's hands. My guess is that they are looking elsewhere, right men?

I have always had old hands. From the time I was a young teen I noticed that my hands were wrinkled and looked like they belonged on a 40-year-old woman. Because I am not terribly vain and really don't care, and because I have always worked with my hands, gardened, sewn, crocheted, cooked and subsequently washed up, I haven't really noticed my hands much over the years.

Yesterday I published a blog post on bread baking. Being the real person that I am, and not having a young hand model available, the hands in the photos on that blog post are mine. They are old. They are wrinkled. They have cuts, bruises, burns, callouses, and not-so-pretty nails. They are a working woman's hands. Sadly, they are not attractive hands. Yes, I noticed and vainly wished I had pretty, delicate hands for once in my life.

When I pull weeds I do not wear gloves. I own gloves and always attempt to use them but find that I cannot "feel" what I am doing so I end up casting them aside.

When I cook and wash dishes I do not wear gloves. I often use touch to determine if a pot is truly clean, if that hardened food on that plate is completely removed. When I sew, knit, put the battery charger clamps on my battery, check my oil, do laundry (often by hand), use a shovel or haul firewood I do not wear gloves.

My hands are often swollen, a side effect of my screwed up body after being infected with Lyme disease and who knows what else. When they aren't swollen they look even worse because they are so wrinkled they might as well be on the body of an 80-year-old.

You know what? That's okay. I have real hands. My hands do hard work. My hands pick berries and cucumbers from prickly vines. My hands are not on display for the pleasure of strangers. My hands are here to provide sustenance for my family. My hands bring great pleasure to my cats and dog.

On good days my hands are almost strong. On bad days they betray me. But they are still MY hands. They still do good.

Some days my hands shake. Some days my hands cannot even write a check. That's okay. They can still peel a potato or chop an onion. I think I might start photographing the hands of women. What a project that would be: a celebration of the work of women via their hands. Why not?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Baking of the Bread

I have been baking bread for over 30 years. It seemed like such a mysterious undertaking when I began in my run-down duplex in Austin, Texas on my used painted table. Imagine this: there was no internet yet. I had my Joy of Cooking cookbook only. Guess what? I taught myself how to bake bread using only that cookbook. The results weren't quite what they are now but it fed me and my son at the time.

A few years later I learned how to bake bread using a sourdough starter. That is a lot more complicated, though amazingly delicious if you have the time and energy. Definitely worth exploring after the basics of bread-baking are mastered.

If you have never baked bread ever then you are in for a treat. You will feel amazingly accomplished after baking your very own bread from scratch without corn syrup, xanthum gum, or genetically modified ingredients of any kind.

The following method is done completely by hand without the aid of any appliances. I have added notes for alternative use of appliances. Use whatever you enjoy, have time for, want to use. Who cares how the bread got made?

Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 2 loaves

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp warm water
Add 3-4 tsp dry yeast to warm water
Add 2 Tbsp raw honey or sugar
In a 4-cup measuring cup or bowl combine the following:

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp warm water
3-4 tsp dry yeast
2 Tbsp raw honey or organic sugar

Stir and allow to sit to activate the yeast and get it started.

In a large non-metallic bowl I put in the following ingredients:

3 cups of unbleached flour (organic, of course)
2 cups of whole wheat flour (organic, of course)
2 tsp salt

Whisk dry ingredients together. Nope, I don't sift.

Flour measuring is kind of tricky.  Make sure you fluff up or sift your flour before measuring. I fluff because I am lazy. I don't want to wash my sifter. Okay, that isn't true that I am lazy or I wouldn't be making bread from scratch. It hurts my hands terribly to use a sifter. It sounds cuter when I just say that I am too lazy to wash my sifter. But I digress.

Taking the 1 cup measuring cup, I put it into the flour and scoop and release over and over, fluffing the flour.  If the cup has a little more than 1 cup or a little less than 1 cup when you add it to the bowl that is okay. It really doesn't matter much.

Proofed yeast mixture

Putting it all together

Pour water/yeast/sugar mixture into dry ingredients.

Add 2 Tbsp fat of your choice (olive oil, coconut oil, I have even used lard).

Stir with a good-quality wooden spoon. I prefer my shorter bamboo spoon.

If the mixture is too dry to stir easily add 1 Tbsp water at a time until it is very sticky.

At this stage of bread making your goal is to develop the gluten which creates the structure necessary to hold the carbon dioxide gas the yeast organisms will create causing your dough to rise. Gluten develops as it is rubbed, moved, handled. You do not need a heavy hand during this process. As a matter of fact, there are bread makers (human kind) who don't knead at all, they just stir, allow to rise several times, gently stretching between risings. I have done it both ways and prefer my method because it takes less of my time and attention.

If I am tired, I actually sit down in front of the tv or computer with the bowl and stir for a few minutes off and on. I stir about 10 times let it sit, stir 10 more times, take a break -- I have weakness in my arms so I take my time. You just want to develop the gluten a bit. If you are able-bodied you can get this stage done in 2-3 minutes of stirring in the kitchen, or use your mixer with a dough hook.

If you have a bread maker you can use it for this entire stage and even the rising stage, then remove to form the loaves or rolls.  I don't like the big hole the bread maker leaves in a loaf of bread so when my bread maker worked I just used it to mix, knead and rise. I also noticed that the loaves were much tougher than my handmade bread. 

Kneading and Forming the Dough

After the dough is very stretchy and you can tell the gluten has developed enough (it is very, very difficult to stir), dump the dough onto a floured surface, either a countertop or large wooden cutting board.

Add more flour until you can handle it with floured hands and not have the dough stick to your hands (it will still be a little bit sticky but not too bad).

Knead the dough for a couple of minutes continuing to add flour. The goal is to end up with approximately 3 cups of whole wheat flour total but you are looking more for a consistency, not an amount of flour.

Pour a Tbsp of oil in the bowl, put the dough ball back in the bowl, flip it so the top and bottom of dough ball are oiled.

Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. The plastic wrap keeps the bread moist and the towel helps retain warmth which is necessary for the rising process.
I place my dough in a warm place in my kitchen to rise. Keep out of cool drafts. Near a coffee pot, in the corner on a counter on the stove side, even beside the refrigerator are good places. I like to make bread when I have a pot of something cooking on the stove. A warm kitchen makes the rising process go faster.
Allow the covered dough to rise for an hour or so until the dough is at least doubled in size.
I have read that it should bounce back when you press down with your finger. Really, it isn't that complicated. A little less rising, a little more rising. It doesn't really matter that much for family bread baking. We are not going gourmet here, at least I'm not. Your family, partner, spouse will absolutely love you for that amazing smell you are filling the house with and that fresh-baked bread taste, hot from the oven experience.
If you want you can start your bread at night and put the bowl in the fridge to slow rise overnight.  Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temperature before continuing.
Putting the waxed paper or plastic wrap aside to reuse later, flour your hands and punch down the dough. This gets the majority of the air bubbles out of the dough.

Knead for a minute or two on a floured board. You are getting ther est of the air bubbles out and developing the gluten a little more for the final rising. You should not need to add any more flour at this stage. The dough will be fairly smooth though not as smooth as white bread dough.

Divide the dough in half.

Forming the Loaves

There are many methods for forming loaves for baking. I lean towards what is fastest and easiest.

For long loaves, I keep folding the long sides into itself as the loaf gets longer then fold the ends in a couple of inches. You want your dough to be the length of the baking dish or pan.

Forming a loaf pan shape you can tri-fold or roll it out and then roll it up similar to a jelly roll shape.

Place both loaves in a greased 9x13 glass baking dish or individual loaf pans.

My new favorites are two long loaves in the 9x13 pan. Bakes so fast, versatile size for sandwiches or garlic bread, and looks so lovely, artisan-like.

Brush the top of the dough with olive oil or butter, or spray using a non-GMO baking spray which means no canola.
I found an organic olive oil baking spray at my grocery store or you can buy spritzer bottles designed for oils.
Cover with the waxed paper or plastic wrap you used in the first rising then with a kitchen towel and allow to rise a second time.

I preheat the oven to 400 degrees about 30 minutes after the start of the second rising. The heat from the oven helps the dough to rise quicker.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from pan immediately and allow to cool on it's side if it was baked in a loaf pan or on its bottom if baked in the 9x13 (I pull the two loaves apart to cool) for 10-15 minutes before slicing if you want warm bread. Cool completely if you want sliced bread for later.

Brush the loaves with melted butter or olive oil for a softer crust, or leave as is for a harder crust.

I like the long loaves which make smaller sandwiches. These two loaves don't last 24 hours in my household.

If you are not going to use the bread immediately you can double wrap/bag and freeze. You can also slice and then freeze if you like, even freeze a few slices in sandwich bags for making school lunches (reuse the storage bags for the sandwiches). The frozen bread defrosts as it helps keep the sandwich refrigerated until lunch.

Well, you did it! This recipe can be used for rolls, fried bread, even flatbread (without the second rising). This is just the beginning. The world of bread baking is enormous and full of adventure. And don't forget sourdough.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Deck Garden and Pests

Eclectic Deck Garden

My deck garden is changing and growing and evolving every day.  Along with a place where we hang out laundry (I have two 40-foot clotheslines that are accessed via my 2nd story deck), and grill the hamburgers, and occasionally shoot targets, and watch for deer and coyotes, and look at the night sky, and . . . I am starting seeds and growing tomatoes, peppers, and weeds.

Yes, I am growing weeds.

Cultivating Weeds

One of my recent interests, among many others, is foraging for wild edibles.  I am a neophyte for sure.  A few months ago I knew that dandelions were edible.  That's it.

Today I know that lambs quarters, wild strawberries, purslane, milkweed, Japanese knotweed, plantain (the kind that grows in my lawn, not the banana lookalike), cattails, autumn olive, and many more are all edible and grow on my property (except for the cattails which I hope to remedy soon).

I used my goat house compost for potting soil in all of my deck garden containers.  I have pulled many weeds out of those containers.  One weed I have allowed to grow in my bell pepper plant's container: purslane.

Purslane can be used in salads, soups, and pestos, and is reputed to have a spicy flavor. 

The picture to the left shows a leaf miner larva chowing down on my purslane.  I picked off each of the leaves that was damaged and threw them away.  These pests can do a lot of damage.  I will need to check each day for new damage.

Leaf miners are larva of flies, moths, even beetles that eat the fleshy part of leaves.  This protects them from predators, giving them a safe place to chow down.  After taking this picture I noticed that my purslane is forming buds.  I will collect some seeds to sow next spring, or maybe even this winter indoors.

Fall Seedlings

In pot number 1 I have from top and going clockwise Snow Pea (2 o'clock), bell pepper (4 o'clock), and the rest Calabrese Broccoli.  I planted a couple more Snow Pea seeds yesterday so that I have at least 4 and hoping for 6 plants going into the cooler weather.

The broccoli seedlings are ready to be replanted in larger pots.

I suspect the bell pepper plant will not have time to do much of anything before it gets too cold but I might bring it inside and provide a grow light for some of my plants; my real wish is for a small greenhouse on my deck.  Oh, if only.

In pot number 2 from the top we have two Snow Peas (11 and 2 o'clock), three Jalapeno pepper plants (5, 7 and 8 o'clock), and in the center Bok Choi seedlings.

My 19yo son and I went shopping on Wednesday and treated ourselves to a Chinese buffet.  Of course, I had to taste every vegetable in that buffet.  I was so excited to find steamed Bok Choi leaves with the crunchy bottom part and green leafy part intact.  So now I am really excited about my Bok Choi.  I will make this crop succeed somehow.

The Jalapeno pepper plants are for my boys.  I prefer sweet peppers but they really like that heat.  Again, started way too late most likely but I will do what I can.  Still want that greenhouse.  There must be a way!

Bell peppers and purslane
Baby bell peppers growing
Bell peppers and purslane
I believe these are Moskovich tomatoes

San Marzano plum tomato

Moskovich tomato, I believe
 Although my garden tomatoes are all still going strong I think I will be able to extend my tomato harvest with these container-grown tomatoes.  I was hoping one of them would be the yellow pear cherry tomato but alas, not to be.  Those turned out to be the most delicious, sweetest cherry tomatoes out of all the varieties I grew this year.

Now to find some giveaway pots from someplace so I can replant my Bok Choi and Calabrese Broccoli seedlings.  Wish me luck!