Just a few random things to share.
First up, Sassy caught a snake yesterday when we took her out for a run down to Stud Muffin's favorite field. She likes to leap into the shrubs at various spots, boinging like a deer with her front paws curled in. Very funny to watch. Anyway, on the way back to the house, she dove into a stand of trees and scampered around a couple in a circle. She emerged holding a large black snake by the middle and shaking the begeezers out of it. The thing must have been at least 4 feet long, since both its head and tail touched the ground as she held it.
We started to drive the buggy up the hill (you didn't think I ran down there, did you?) and she raced ahead with the snake still in her mouth. We'd stop, tell her to drop it, which she did, but as we'd starting driving again, she pick it up and race ahead of us!
We finally got her to drop it and leave it. I haven't been back down to see if she actually killed it, or if it was playing possum while she bashed its head into the ground!
I have cleared out 3 of the 6 raised beds and decided I needed to kill off all the nasties in the soil before the next planting season. Most of the tomato plants I got, and that ran away with me, were volunteers from last season. That meant that the seeds over-wintered in the soil. But some of these plants got blight, and the eggplants had a terrible bug problem. I don't want that again next year.
So, I covered the empty beds with a double layer of clear plastic, held down with bricks and boards, to "solarize" the soil. Better than black plastic, this will not only heat the soil up underneath to kill seeds, but the UV rays that come in through the clear plastic will get rid of a lot of soil borne fungi and stuff.
Last year, remember, I had a problem with dodder in my spaghetti squash. I tried this same treatment on that bed after I pulled the squash, and this year planted the strawberries in that same bed. No dodder!
Pretty strawberry plants!
I still need to clean out 1 1/2 more beds. This one held last winter's lettuces and some Swiss Chard that didn't germinate until quite late.
The tomatoes are volunteers and unfortunately, the chard has gotten bitter. I also need to move the arched support for the winter cover over to the strawberry bed to protect them from frost.
Lastly, I made some apple muffins yesterday and used one of my very own grown apples. I had ripped the recipe out of Veggie Life magazine years ago, but never made them until now.
Good Morning Apple Muffins
1 c unbleached white flour (I used All Purpose)
1 c whole-wheat flour
2/3 c packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 c raisons
1/2 c chopped walnuts, toasted (I omitted these)
1 c regular soy milk or low-fat milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large egg whites (I used 1 whole egg, but then I 'm a rebel that way)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 12 standard muffin cups.
In a large bowl, mix the first 8 ingredients (flours through nutmeg) until blended. stir in chopped apple, raisons, and nuts if using.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, oil and egg whites. Add all at once to dry ingredients and mix gently just until evenly moistened. Divide batter between prepared muffin cups, filling them nearly full.
Bake muffins until tops are lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool completely before removing muffins from pan.
Of course, I couldn't wait until they were completely cool, so Studly and I had warm ones with a bit of butter. Extra yummy. I always expect that I am gong to have to modify a recipe if it is too bland or too sweet. This was perfect! Great with a cup of coffee.