CHARRED & JARRED—CHILE PEPPERS

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Ripening Anaheim chiles

Ripening Anaheim chiles

OUR LONG, WARM SUMMER TRAIPSED RIGHT INTO OCTOBER. That meant that the Anaheim peppers that rarely ripen around here did so–more than half of them turned red. I ended up with about seven pounds of them to put away for later use. Several years ago when I had a bumper crop, the thought of placing lots of peppers on the gas burners in my kitchen seemed daunting until I had a bit of a brainstorm!

One batch roasting on the BBQ.

All four pounds roasting on the BBQ.

How about utilizing the gas grill/bbq? I can roast/blister/char all of them at one time, outside instead of in the house, with no smoky odors lingering for hours. To roast all of the peppers this way takes about seven-twelve minutes! On Monday I dispatched 4 1⁄2 pounds of peppers, from roasting to in-the-jar-and-finished in just about two hours.

Make a small slit in the shoulder of the  pepper so the peppers don't steam from the inside.

Make a small slit in the shoulder of the pepper (so the peppers don’t steam from the inside) before roasting.

Charred and ready to rest

Once charred, place in a large bowl, cover and rest about 15 minutes.

Easy peeling.

Easy peeling.

Once the peppers have rested and steamed a bit they are ready to peel. The more mature the pepper, the thicker the flesh and skin; steam is created between the skin and flesh and the skin separates easily. Thinner walled peppers have thinner skins and need scraping in my experience.

Four pounds of peppers ready for canning.

Four pounds of peppers ready for canning.

Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone

Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone.

In her book Well Preserved, Eugenia Bone has a recipe that she attributes to Michigan State Extension, for Marinated Peppers. She call for red bell peppers but I have found it works just as well for Anaheim and other home grown sweet/hot peppers. (Since I do not have permission to reprint the recipe here I will leave it to you to find it online; like here for example.)

The finished product.

The finished product.

I choose to put up my peppers in half-pint jars as there are only two of us in this household, so more convenient for me. I also add just a bit more garlic than called for, leave the peppers whole (to use for chiles rellenos should the urge strike); using four pounds as called for in the recipe, I usually end up with about half of the brine left over. These are really delicious in the middle of winter, when like tomatoes, the taste of good summer produce is hard to come by. The total yield for seven pounds of peppers was twelve half-pints.

Happy canning!

THE MUSE WENT ON VACATION

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A late summer afternoon walk on the beach.

A late summer afternoon walk on the beach.

IT HAS BEEN A GOOD LONG WHILE SINCE MY LAST POST.  At some point I felt like I had run out of topics to write about. The muse went on vacation. How many times can I write about the same plants in the same place in my garden with continued enthusiasm? If it it tiresome for me what about you, the reader? Best to take some time off and gather some new experiences, tackle some small projects, do some canning (a bumper crop of snap beans and apples), do a little local traveling and connect with the people and things I love. So here, is a short review in words and pictures.

Big Four Mountain and waterfalls

Big Four Mountain; waterfalls, and snowfield

In July I had a birthday and it was my wish to do the short hike to the Ice Caves at Big Four, about 90 minutes northeast of Seattle, with our grandchildren. The snow slides off of the shear, vertical face of Big Four mountain and piles up at the base over the winter. As summer comes along, the snow at the top of the mountain melts, water cascades down the faces creating numerous waterfalls that undermine the piles of snow. The snow mounds melt from the inside-out creating caves. They are cool to stand in front of on a hot summer day, but notoriously unstable and known to collapse, so going into them is a bad idea. IceCaves_v   IceCaves_1

One of many Winthrop area fires seen from the fesival grounds.

One of many Winthrop area fires seen from the fesival grounds.

A week later we were off to the Winthrop Blues Festival where we heard great muscic (Charlie Musslewhite; Shemekia Copeland, Homemade Jamz, Too Slim & the Taildraggers) and watched fires burning in the Methow Valley; that part was strange. For a couple of days the only route to and from the area was Hwy 20 through the North Cascades. Scores of people lost their homes and the fire burned up 300,000+ acres.

Fire and smoke influenced the sunsets.

Fire and smoke influenced the sunsets.

A member of Homemade Jamz playing his Muffler Guitar! (They were great.)

A member of Homemade Jamz playing his Muffler Guitar! (They were great.)

BACK ON THE HOME FRONT…

A quiet spot in the garden to sit and reflect

A quiet spot in the garden to sit and reflect

Back in April I shared a post about the redwood tree rounds that were saved from the cutting of our neighbor’s 60 year old redwood. In August I made a visit to my sister (RedClothespin) in Long Beach, WA and she sewed up the covers for the seat top cushions; she is a whiz with a sewing machine.

Weather resistant Sunbrella fabric. Only one drawback–they are under the canopy of a large pine and susceptible to pitch drips.

Weather resistant Sunbrella fabric. Only one drawback–they are under the canopy of a large pine and susceptible to pitch drips.

The view into the vegetable garden from the redwood seating.

The view into the vegetable garden from the redwood seating.

I finished the second of the Steelcase chairs. I haven’t quite decided where in the garden they will take up residence. For now they are mobile.

Steelcase chair #2

Steelcase chair #2

ChilipepperChair

Hibiscus hybrid "Cranberry Crush"

Hibiscus hybrid “Cranberry Crush”

Two years ago I purchased a new perennial, this Hibiscus/Rose Mallow. It bloomed in August for the first time. It was spectacular. I was SO excited, I ran into the house to get the groundskeeper!

Hibiscus_Cranberry

Too bad the flower lasts only one day. However, there were a total of five blooms. I am hoping for more next year. The plant should reach 3-4 feet in height at maturity; currently is it at about 24 inches.

The fall planting of snow and snap peas.

The fall planting of snow and snap peas.

A late blooming poppy.

A late blooming poppy.

Lady's Eardrops, hardy fucshia.

Lady’s Eardrops, hardy fucshia.

Dahlia "Awe Shucks"

Dahlia “Awe Shucks”

Akane apples.

Akane apples.

The muse is slowly returning. More later.

GLAMMING-UP AN OLD STEELCASE CHAIR

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The finished chair

The finished chair

MY LATE FATHER-IN-LAW probably bought this (and at least one other) chair surplus some 40-50 years ago for his office. A no frills chair, perfect for a cement mason or laborer to sit on when waiting for a paycheck. Somehow, the groundskeeper managed to hang on to two of them after he took over the business and now one has a new life.

One of these chairs made its way to our house years ago and has been hanging out with the potting bench. As a testament to the quality of its overall construction, the chair has rusted only slightly and the seat and seat back material has held up well too, in the elements. Three months ago we found a second chair in a storage room where the office used to be and I decided to bring it home and dress it up for the garden rather than scrap it to the metal guy who parks just outside the transfer station.

1950's (?) era Steelcase chair

1950’s (?) era Steelcase chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sanded the frame to get rid of the rust, removed the seat and seat back and then gave the chair 1 1⁄2 cans worth of Rustoleum’s 2X Ultra Cover spray paint; they have some great, vibrant, colors for outdoor use.

In the “spray booth”

In the “spray booth”

Refinshedchair_2I found some great oil cloth prints at Pacific Fabrics, wrapped the new fabric around the old and I have a great chair in the garden. This so much fun that I am going to do the second chair; I found a ladybug print vinyl that called out to me!

 

ART COLLABORATION PROJECTS–NEARLY FINISHED!

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I BELIEVE THAT THE PEARS ARE NEARLY FINISHED! I may yet lighten the top portion, as to my mind it is still too similar to the forward pear and the lower background. Also, the yellow pear needs a little warming, rounding and shadowing at the bottom; it’s very close. When my piece is finished, then four of the the five paintings will be complete; only the arrangement needs finalizing. The Abstract and Laden Table collaborations are complete. I am eagerly looking forward to the next project (solo, that is).Pears_finished

Arrangement possibility #1

Arrangement possibility #1

Arrangement possibility #2. The Swiss Chard remains unfinished at the point

Arrangement possibility #2. The Swiss Chard remains unfinished at the point

The Abstract

The Abstract

The Laden Table

The Laden Table

WHAT HAPPENED TO APRIL & MAY?

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APRIL ARRIVED AND THEN IT DEPARTED. AND THEN MAY CAME ALONG. And now it’s June! We managed to get to central Washington and the Potholes/Columbia NWR/Seep Lakes area the first part of April to see the last of the Sandhill Cranes before they flew to parts north. And boy did we see them!

Sandhills on a dike at the edge of Crab Creek

Sandhills on a dike at the edge of Crab Creek

I don’ have a telephoto lens that is large enough to get in really close, but you can see the numbers. Just multiply by ten and you get the idea. They were spread out over a very large area. We figured there were 2,000-3,000 birds.

 

300 maybe? Multiply by 10.

300 maybe? Multiply by 10.

Sandhillcranes_1The central part of Washington is so different from the west side of the Cascade mountains. It is considered Shrub Steppe. Towering basalt cliffs and potholes scoured out by the Great Missoula flood of the last ice age.It is an arid, desert like environment with cactus and cattails alike.

Crab Creek basalt cliffs

Crab Creek basalt cliffs

There is a lot of agriculture in this area too; a benefit of the federal government’s reclamation project in the wake of building the Grand Coulee Dam. There are acres upon acres of potatoes, wheat, corn, alfalfa, apples, cherries and vineyards for winemaking. All of this intermingled with bird habitat. It is a real jewel.

Lower Goose Lake

Lower Goose Lake

This is a great migratory stopover for the Sandhill Cranes as well as many varieties of waterfowl and songbirds.

Fritallaria pudica

Wildflowers like this Fritallaria pudica ,were just beginning to bloom

Beaver lodge at Lower Crab Creek

Beaver lodge at Lower Crab Creek

It is a great area to hike, camp and watch wildlife. And this trip was a nice four day break from a renovation project that began last month.

Zigadenus; also known as Death Camas. It's quite .lovely

Zigadenus; also known as Death Camas. It’s quite .lovely

 

 

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