Tuesday, August 27, 2013

AV Fair Wrap-up

The AV Fair has come and gone, here is a wrap-up of what was entered.

Vegetables - It was a bad year all over the AV and this was clear by the entries. We did not submit nearly as much as we had planned and the total turn out was really low. Here is what we entered and how they placed: 

Japanese Eggplant 1st Place
Banana Squash 1st Place
Hubbard Squash 3rd Place
Tomatillo 3rd Place
Pumpkin 1st Place

Canning - We entered the most in canning

Carrots 3rd Place

Bread and Butter Pickles 2nd Place

Cucumber Pickles 1st Place

Blackberry Jam 1st Place

Strawberry Jam

Apple Preserves Honorable Mention

Apple Jelly 2nd Place

Jalapeno Jelly 1st Place

Lemon Jelly 3rd Place

Mint Jelly Honorable Mention

Blueberry Chutney 2nd Place

Golden Gossip Chutney 2nd Place

Dried Zucchini 3rd Place

Quilting - I entered two quilts and actually did well with one, I have never placed at all in quilting

All Framed Up Quilt 1st place and Best of Division

It took first for its category, machine pieced and machine quilted and best of division. All quilts are split into two divisions based on size so it took the top ribbon for all quilts 42" and under. I was pretty excited about this!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Canning progress

Time to update what has been canned but I will start with dried. When we had an abundance of zucchini we made zucchini chips. They were slices and then mixed with onion soup mix then dried, pretty tasty. 

Blueberry Chutney You Can Can

Sweet and Tangy Gerkin Slices The Complete Book of Pickling

Sweet and Tangy Zucchini Pickles The Complete Book of Pickling

Strawberry Jam from the pectin box

Zucchini Fennel Seed Relish The Complete Book of Pickling

Saturday, August 17, 2013


This years garden has turned out to be the least productive since we began the garden. We have had a rash of pests that have turned the usual green garden into a mostly dead mass of formally green plants. 

The main pest is these squash bugs, the grey ones are the adolescents. They swarm the plants and kill them off and cause the vegetables to rot on the vine. These attacked the squash and melons first but have now moved on to the cucumbers and almost everything but the tomatoes.

They attack the plant is such a way that they are very hard to remove, the recommendation is to smash them and physically remove them from the plant. We have them is such numbers that this was not an option. There are chemical options but I am trying to avoid the use of chemicals to keep what comes out of my garden as healthy as possible. I would prefer no vegetables to pesticides. 

Here is another view of the garden from two weeks ago, it has gotten worse since.

Another issue is the aphids, they are attacking like crazy.

Our pumpkins were looking good but due to the pests they almost all rotted on the vines. All that the garden is producing at this point is the tomatoes, the corn isnt looking good either. When dropping our veggies off at the fair this week we were told that it was a bad year for gardens across the valley and the number of submissions was way down.

Another factor that is negatively affecting the gardens is the weather. Our valley should normally have about 14 inches of rain in a year, so far we are at 2. Also the weather has been really unusual, we have periods of unusually hot followed by unusually cool temperatures. This cut most growing season short and may also have helped the pest problem along.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Pineapple Princess

Katie has been taking a dance class at a local park for awhile now. They had their first recital this last weekend. 

Here is Katie ready for her dress rehearsal. 

We could not take pictures of the actual show but could at the rehearsal. They did a tap dance to Pineapple Princess.

They did a ballet dance to Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Here is Katie ready for the performance.

And here she is after the show posing for momma in her costume.

I was so proud of Katie. My shy and quiet girl loves to dance and loves being on stage. As long as she enjoys it we will keep dancing. She will be preforming these dances one more time at the Antelope Valley Fair on August 16th, just in case anyone is interested in attending! There are professional pictures and video coming, I will post them when they arrive.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


For vacation this year Katie and I met up with my AmeriCorps team and went camping at Hendy Woods State Park. Our first night there we purchased fire wood, Katie got to help carry some back to our campsite.

Katie has been so excited to go camping that she could hardly wait. When we had out tent set up she couldn't wait to sleep in it and play in it.

We had a lot of trees around our campsite and Katie loved playing in them.

We took a hike in the woods and discovered there was tons of poison oak so Katie was instructed to not touch anything green so she would not get what she called "poison joke".

We also made a trip to a nearby stream. Katie and Cosmo had fun throwing rocks into the water.

We also spent a day in Mendocino and Ft Bragg where we ate some awesome ice cream.

Katie also fell...twice skinning the same spot. She is not one to often have skinned knees.

In Ft Bragg we visited the glass beach and found some lovely flowers on the path to the water.

Then we found the water.

Then we found the glass. I did not learn the history of the beach until we got home.

Back at the campsite we built daily fires which Katie loved.

If Katie could still be sleeping in her tent she probably would.

On our trip back we stopped for a night in Morro Bay, Katie really wanted to visit the beach. We found a lot of sand dollars and various other shells.

We also spent time in the hotel relaxing and enjoying our return to modern conveniences. 

It was a great trip and an excellent chance to unplug (no cell service while camping!). We are already planning our next camping trip!