August 27, 2013

RVA Swappers Meet

My friend, Kristen was telling me about a Food Swappers meet in Richmond (RVA) that a co-worker she knew had gone too.  It sounded like a lot of fun so we figured next time there was a meet we would go and see for ourselves.

A few weeks ago, RVA Swappers made an announcement about having an anniversary meet on 8/26. Kristen, Ashley and I all signed up to go.  :)

Once we checked in we bought some raffle tickets to try to win some cool prizes.  (Ball jars, gift certificates)  We didn't win anything.  Ah well.  It was still fun to try though.

We set up our items on the swap table.  You basically bring 6 items.  One for tasting and five to swap/trade.  The items are either homemade or homegrown.  Anywhere from jams, baked goods, garden veggies etc. 
 I decided to bring my homemade vanilla extract.  I know it's good stuff.  It's the only extract I use and I've sold a ton of it so I know it's a good product.

Here's my bottles set out on the table.

Here's some other items.  In this picture you can see fig jam, blackberry jam, peach butter, and taco seasoning.

There was some fabulous refreshments.  The deviled eggs were delish.  I don't really like chick peas but the two squared bowls in the front were fried chick peas and they were AWESOME!  I really loved them.

I tried the yellow cheese. It was very good and creamy.  :)

Here's the swap table with some more goodies.  There was a salted caramel sauce, truffles, bbq sauce, and some cookies.

Here's the truffles.  One was made with champagne and the other with red wine.  
I tried the champagne one and it was good.  I wanted to trade but by the time I went to ask the lady had already traded all of them.

Ashley, made and brought lactation cookies.  They are good for women who are breastfeeding b/c it helps you produce more milk.  If you're not breastfeeding then it's just a normal cookie.  It's sorta like a granola bar.  They are really tasty.  I love them and I think they would be a good breakfast cookie.

Kristen, made taco seasoning.  Homemade taco seasoning is the best!  
It's so much better than using those packets.

Towards the end there was cake.  The icing had coffee in it.  I don't like coffee and I could taste it right away.  The cake was good.

Here's the group of swappers.

Here's a picture, I took this morning of all my goodies.

The chewy coconut lime cookies were really good.....and they are all gone as I type this.  haha

My other goods.

We had fun.  Now that we know how the whole process works we know the next one will be even better.  I hope to be able to have one in my own town.  I have so many ideas of items I could make to trade for.  :)

August 25, 2013

Garden Update: Day 184

This past week was a crazy one.  It's one that I would rather not have to deal with ever again.  
On Wednesday, I was stopped in traffic at a light on my way to work and was rear ended, pushing my car into the vehicle in front of me.  My corolla was sandwiched between a suv and a pickup truck.  :(  I'm okay but sore and I have a sprained neck.  When I saw the car approaching I knew it was going to hit me and I tensed up and grabbed the steering wheel and closed my eyes and braced myself for the impact.  Tensing up is normal instinct when you see you're going to get hit but it makes your muscles hurt afterwards which is what I'm dealing with now.  It sucks.  :(
Now I am waiting to see if my car is going to be totaled or if it's at all fixable.

Now onto some happier things......My Garden.

On Friday, I picked my number 15 squash.  :)

I decided to take some of my harvest into work Friday morning to share with others.  They didn't last.  They were grabbed up within minutes of setting them on a table.  :)

This is my butterfly bush/tree that my mother-in-law planted in the front yard.  It's doing really good.

It's covered with lots of pretty purplish flowers. 

Now onto my container garden.  I cleaned up some stuff and checked over everything.  I got rid of the other big boy tomato plant.  No more tomatoes were going to be harvested so it was time to clean it up.  Some of the ones left on the plant had tomato rot so I put the plant in my compost pile.  I also dumped the zucchini plants into the compost pile.  The plants was all dried up and there wasn't anymore zukes on it.  I figured it was time to get rid of it.  I also got rid of the 4 small potato pots.  They smelled horrid.  It was nasty.  BLECH  So, I dumped them in the compost pile too.

Here's the compost pile.  I have the pots sitting out to dry up a bit.  I need to wash them out before I put them in the shed.

My pie pumpkin plant is doing good.  The jack pumpkins are good too.  All 3 plants have flowers.  I haven't seen pumpkins yet but I have my fingers crossed.

My yellow gerbera daisies.  :)  You can see my grasshopper friend on one of the big squash leaves.  :)

Here's my grape tomatoes that I've harvested over the last few days.  :)

I will probably make my chicken risotto with these tomatoes this week.  I'm going to save the seeds and add them to my seed bank and plant them next year.  
These grew from seeds I saved from a batch of grocery store bought grape tomatoes.  :)

Do you think I have enough water jugs?  :)

My rose plant.  It's weird that they are different from each other.  The rose on the bottom is more like a common rose and the others look more like a carnation.  hmmmmm

My lemon tree is happy.  My lemon is still green.  I hope it turns yellow.  The plant is very healthy and it continues to get new growth.

August 20, 2013

Garden Update: Day 179

I figured I would do a container garden update today.  :)

We had a lot of rain here the last couple of days.  My small potato pots are overflowing with water right now.  One of the potatoes even floated to the top.  OOPS!  I'm going to dump these out and try to start over by re-potting them.  I hope I'm able to save the sprouts I have.  We'll see.

Yesterday morning, while checking on my garden I took a few pictures.  :)

Some rain drops on the flowers.

Yesterday morning my pie pumpkin plant had a flower that was almost ready to pop.

This morning, while checking on things and giving everyone a drink of water I saw my pie pumpkin plant flower had popped.  There was a bee in there pollinating the flower but by the time I got my camera and came back out it had flown away.  I was hoping he would come back but he didn't and I had to leave for work.  :(

This afternoon, I checked on my garden and the flower this morning had closed up.

I checked on everyone else.  It's humid here again so I made sure everyone had some fresh water.  My jack pumpkin plants have flowers and this one has a flower that will probably pop tomorrow morning.  :)

I harvested 4 grape tomatoes this afternoon.  I will probably have a few more that are ready tomorrow.

I also harvested two squash.  (#13 and #14 for the season)

And I picked zucchini #9.  But he looked kinda deformed.

The end still have a big flower on it.

I opened the flower and it was all kinda of crazy.  Why did it grow like that?  I cut the ends off and I chopped up the zuke and added it to dinner tonight.  I wasn't going to waste it.

I checked on my meyer lemon tree.  It has some new leaves already.  :)  YEY!

For dinner tonight I cut up my purple bell peppers I picked up from my last farmers market trip.  The inside part that held the seeds had a really pretty inside.  I had to get a picture.  :)

I've also been saving some of my pepper seeds from my garden grown peppers and from the ones I got at the farmers market.  Why not right?  If I can grow peppers from these seeds, then I won't need to buy any next year when I start my garden.  :)  This is the start of my very own little seed bank.  :)

August 17, 2013

Garden Update: Day 176

After the Farmers Market this morning I made a quick stop at Lowes to see if they had any leftover seed packs.  They didn't have any.  :(  So, I went to the reduced plant section and saw a Meyer Lemon tree!!!  It was half price at $12.49.  I couldn't resist so I grabbed it and thought I would give it TLC and hopefully it will give me lemons.  :)  We'll see and I'll keep you updated.

Here's the lemon tree.

And look....a lemon.  (not ripened that's why it's green still)

I also found this yellow gerbera daisy plant that was $3 and also begging for some love so I took it home.

My tomato plant was looking horrible.  I decided it was time to chuck it.  I picked off all the tomatoes.  Ripened or not.  

Here's all the tomatoes I picked.

I also harvested a grape tomato.

I swept the porch up and cleaned off the dead leaves on the plants.  I also re-potted the lemon tree and gerbera daisy plant.  Then I gave some of the plants some fresh soil on top and watered everyone.

Here's a squash growing....

Here's a zuke.  There's 2 tiny ones and then this big one.  It should be ready in a few days.

Here's my pie pumpkin plant.  They did spring back up (YAY) and it seems to be happy being outside.

I'm excited b/c the flowers are growing!  I can't wait to see the female/male flowers.  The female flowers will have the little pumpkins behind them.

Here's the jack pumpkins.  They are doing well too.  They have a lot flowers as well.

Here's the lemon tree freshly potted and cleaned up.  The tree loves to be in the full sun so the back deck is perfect for it.  It the temp gets below 40 degrees it will need to come inside.  I won't need to worry about that until late fall.

The gerbera daisies all tucked into their new home.

So simple yet, so pretty.  :)

Potato Plants

I took the tomato stalk and dumped it in my little compost pile or what I call a compost pile.  It's just where I put dead things and let them finish dying off.  This is where I eventually want to build my green house.  :)