Thursday, December 14, 2017

Cranberry Wine

Starting a new batch of cranberry wine using a new recipe.  JR tried my 2017 batch and declared it "too cranberryish" whatever that means. I confess I haven't tried it yet (haven't opened my bottle yet.) but I trust JR's opinion.  It was probably too tart, so this time I'm using a recipe that includes raisins.  

Just started the first step yesterday, so this will be stirred for 5 days and then put into the carboy.

The Great Snowfall of 2017

It was so unexpected, I would be remiss if I didn't mark this monumental event by a post.  We had snow.  We had snow in South Texas.  We had snow in South Texas in December.  In DECEMBER!  
This was so unusual, we were all a-twitter, calling and texting each other for several hours with pictures and expressions of joy and giggles!  Watching it unfold on social media was so much fun.  Here's a few picture of our place, plus some pics of our family that were sent to us that evening.
 Around 5pm that evening - our front yard
 Front porch when it was just starting

 Joss's first snow!
 KT has seen snow before, but I'm sure this was exciting for her!
 Max's first snow!

 The following day we drove to San Antonio - there's still snow on our hill country hills!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Joss - our Sleep Over!

We had Joss over for a night this past weekend - that girl is getting to be so much fun! She's at the perfect age - not a baby anymore, and still young enough to enjoy the simple things.

We ran all over the property, picked the eggs and fed the animals, had dinner and watched "The Grinch." It was Joss's choice, I think she had just watched it so she wanted to see it again.

 Joss got a Wonder Woman shirt from the mailman, so she wanted to show us 
the Wonder Woman stance!
Her night-time routine...
 Joss is opening a Hatchimal - she got a little hedge hog!
 We had so much fun! 

Fall/Winter Garden Log -- December 5, 2017

Goodness its been a long time since I've garden blogged. It's been growing and we've been harvesting all along, but not too much new to report on.  Yesterday we decided to shut the outdoor garden down since we're expecting some cold weather.  Not sure how cold we'll get, but we'll have to protect the water lines down there and shut them down, so it was a good time to call a halt.
I'm giving a big recommendation to the Dragon carrots. Those things were prolific and I had a great crop due to great germination.  The others were less so, but still pretty good. Also, the Dragon
 is just a pretty carrot that looks so nice in a salad.  
Purple outside, bright orange inside. Just beautiful and tasty.

Yesterday I dug all the carrots up (Yes, by myself!! Amazing!) (well, not so amazing, I'm a bundle of hurt today because of it, but it felt good to work myself some.) I also picked the rest of the broccoli, the lettuce, all of the very small cabbages, and the remaining spinach.  It was quite a bit, so I'll probably have to freeze some of it this week.
 Spinach (Matador, Red Kitten, and America)
 Lettuce (Green Ice, Salad Bowl Red and Yugoslavian Red Butterhead)
 So many carrots! (Dragon, Amarillo, St. Valery, and Sugar Snack)
 Red cabbages
Savoy cabbages

Today I'm picking the rest of the kale and chard.  That'll put the end to the outside garden.  I'm still raising a few things in the greenhouse, which is fun.  I need to start a new tray of microgreens since I let them go while we were on our trip.
 I'm leaving the Purple Plume celery in the garden and will water by hand if it survives
 Peppers in the greenhouse
 The birds all got a carrot top treat!

Christmas Tree Farm

Sunday we took our annual trip to the Pipe Creek Christmas Tree Farm to get our tree and take photos of the grands.  It was a bit sad this year - the farm has suffered from too much success.  They will most likely be without trees big enough to use next year.  It was busy, but the trees were mostly small and picked over.  Next year we'll have to make a new plan, I'm afraid.
 Joss and KT are ornaments!
 And we're off! Max took this as an invitation to take off into the trees!  He can NOT be stopped!
Now Joss is off!

The two littlest ones stuck together, but KT went off with her dad and mom to try to find a tree. I had a hard time getting them to stand still long enough to get a good picture!

 Ashley tried to keep up with him - he took her on a merry chase!
 My man! Tiger stripes and an elf hat.  I'm in love!!! 
 The most darling little Santa helper!
Joss took over Max's stroller. I thought he would go ballistic, but he couldn't have cared less.

 KT was helping her dad. She's getting so big (sigh....) almost 8 now. How has that happened?
 We tried and tried to get the three of them together for an annual Christmas pic, but Max is Mr. Go Go Go right now, and will not be tied down. Wonder where he get's that stubborn streak???
 They've added a sand pit for the kids since last year - they all had some fun there for a while.
 Mmmm! That candy cane is so good!
Boys. They like to stack things. And then fill them with sand.

Thanksgiving Trip to Ruidoso!

John and I took a little long weekend trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico, for the Thanksgiving Holidays.  We really love that area and had a great time reconnecting with all the places we love to visit.  
 Started with breakfast tacos!
Oil, oil, oil - everywhere!

Wednesday we traveled and arrived around 4 pm - which worked out great.  By the time we checked into our little cabin in the woods, we got settled and went to dinner at Farley's - we have to go there at least once every time!
Thursday we too at drive early just to sight-see around town and the Inn of the Mountain Gods, and then came back to the cabin for a Thanksgiving feast that we brought with us. 
 Mornings were chilly, but it warmed up nicely during the days
 John made us sweet rolls for Thanksgiving breakfast
 We sat out on the porch with coffee afterward - listening to the birds.

Afterward (I think I took a nap, very uncharacteristic! Must be the mountain air.) and then we went to see a movie at their tiny theater.  I think we found our people there - everyone was about our age! It was funny!  We saw Murder on the Orient Express - very good by the way. We both really enjoyed it.  I think they are making the second Christie movie, too, so something to look forward to.

On Friday we drove out to Tulerosa, New Mexico, to visit the Tulerosa Winery and pick up some very nice wines. We go here every time wed visit, too.  We got to visit with the owner for quite a while and he filled us in on their history. He's in his 80s, but as with it as ever.  I picked his brain about the pistachio trees he has planted in the front of the winery, I have always wondered if they would grown here. It's a bit of a mystery, he only got to start his trees because a friend of his provided the seeds many years ago.  All of his trees were started by seed. There is also a male and a female tree, just to make things even more complicated. 
 Next we stopped at the Heart of the Desert winery and had a wonderful tasting there.  This was there first day of Christmas and the whole place was buzzing with little elves and Santa's helpers.  So much fun. We might have bought several wines there, too! ha!
That evening we went out to the Inn of the Mountain Gods for dinner at their buffet, and then John lost lots of money at the casino. Ha! He sets a limit, though, so it wasn't that bad.  He has fun, and that's what counts.
On Saturday we started the day at The Log Cabin for breakfast - very popular place.  We times it perfectly - got a table very quickly, but then the crowd really came and there's usually a wait. Whew!

We walked through town and did a little shopping for a few hours with all the other tourists.  There were some shops that have survived and some new ones - we found a pretty cool tea shop and stocked up for cold weather to come.  
 They have this tree planted all through the downtown.  We asked at the local nursery and they thought it was probably a crab apple, but it looks more like a type of cherry to me. Mystery!

Then we took a drive up to Lincoln and all around the area. We enjoyed seeing how things have changed and how they've stayed the same.
We had a dinner of cheese, meats and wine at the cabin that evening and then got up early to head home.  It was very relaxing and nice to get away for a few days.  I hope we can do several "long weekend" trips in 2018, it's one of my resolutions for next year!