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Saturday, August 17, 2013

The little thing that thrilled me this week

Okay, so 2 things thrilled me!

First . . .

I bought this packet of bell pepper seeds at Dollar Tree for 25 cents, in spring. We don't exactly live in a place known for summer heat. So, it was a gamble (but for 25 cents, I thought I could swing that).

Anyways, I planted some of the seeds, and took reasonably good care of the plants. And well, looky here.

I've got about 10 baby bell peppers growing! I was so tickled when I first spotted one. On my morning rounds, I check my babies to see how they've grown. I count each and every one, to make sure I didn't count wrong the first time. I make guesses as to how soon they will be big enough to use. I make plans for how I want to cook them. I don't think I've ever had an organic bell pepper before. I know I've never had one fresh off the plant. I wonder if they are sweeter, tastier, juicier, when home-grown. I wonder if I'll be able to control myself and not eat them right out of the garden, as I've been doing with most of the tomatoes as they ripen. These are my excitement of the garden this year.

We've got 1 more month of good growing weather, here. I'm hoping for lots of sun and warmth, for these babies to reach their maturity.

So, my cost was 25 cents (and I still have half a packet of seeds left for next year). If I do get 10 bell peppers that reach maturity before frost, that will be 10 for 25 cents or the equivalent of 40/$1 pricing! I think my best price on peppers at the farm stand is 5/$1, so this blows those bargains clear out of the water!

Of course, if you live some place where peppers practically fall off the plants, they grow so well, then understanding my thrill may be difficult. I just never expected to be able to grow peppers in my back yard.

And my second thrill . . .

After a couple of days of rain and clouds, the sun popped out yesterday!

Friday is the day that I wash and hang dry all the towels. Having sunshine on the day I do the towels means they can dry in the sun. Which means they have that nice outdoorsy smell. And they actually dry in one day, instead of a day and a half, as when I have to dry them indoors on a rack.

I wasn't expecting sunshine at all. It was gray and cloudy, with a bit of drizzle, when I awoke. I had resigned myself to hanging towels indoors. And just as the wash load was finishing its cycle, the sun began to peek through the clouds. Before I knew it, I had beautiful Seattle summer back in my yard.

My towels did, indeed, dry nicely. I am one of the rare birds who actually likes the board-stiff towels. I have no idea why. But it tickles me to pull them off the rack and have them practically stand up on the deck beside my feet. My husband tells me that he believes air-dried towels dry wet skin better. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but if he's willing to believe that, then I KNOW he's on board with all our little changes around here.

Anyways, that's what thrilled me this week. How about you? What little things thrilled you this week?

p.s. I am told that I am very easily amused.  ;-)  


Live and Learn said...

I can feel the thrill you felt seeing your peppers. It reminds me of when we lived in New Orleans and got bananas one year from a banana tree in our yard. I thought I would never see anything so exotic.

Angela said...

People actually pay money for loofah sponges that do what our towels do- free! Angela

Kris said...

I've rarely had store-bought bell peppers. They grow well here. FYI, they also freeze nicely for winter--we just halve or quarter them, seed them, and stick them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Easy peasy. Good in all sorts of foods for winter. I especially like them in sweet & sour stir fry meals. Enjoy!

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
Wow! Bananas in your own backyard! Were they edible? That would be exciting!

Lili said...

Hi Angela,
Having never used a loofah for more than scrubbing, do people use them to dry off after showering? I didn't realize that they could be used that way. Very interesting!

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
Isn't that funny! You live in the land of plenty of bell peppers, and I have to wait for a good sale! When I do find a deal, I'll buy a lot and chop and freeze them. I hadn't thought to just halve or quarter them. That may be enough incentive to buy even more, if and when I find a great deal. But for now, I'm just hoping to have a lot from our garden. They're a good source of vitamin C.

Can you freeze them in a way that you could stuff them for baking later? Sort of whole, but top cut off and seeds removed, is what I'm thinking.

Reginas Cottage said...

hello lili
i have bell peppers too. i do the same with my peppers like kris. it's really easy and so good for the winter. it's true what your husband says about air dried towls.
wish you a nice weekend,
hugs regina

Lili said...

Hi Regina,
So you probably have lots of peppers every summer! If I don't gobble all mine up, I will freeze some. And I'll tell my husband that his theory on air-dried towels drying better is true! He'll be pleased to know he's been right!
Have a wonderful weekend, Regina!

Kris said...

Hmm, I've never tried it. It would take up a lot of freezer room so that would be a problem for us, but as I recall, you have more freezer space than we do. I like ours quartered for stir fry-I prefer bigger chunks in my stir fry rather than diced. Our kids don't like bell peppers so we don't usually eat them stuffed, although I love them that way.

Lili said...

Oh, yes. Space would be an issue. It is for us, as well, since i unplugged the garage fridge/freezer. I am finding that I really miss all the storage space I had. Bell peppers seem to be one of those veggies that a lot of kids don't care for. I think it's the strong flavor. My son wouldn't eat them, and would pick all the bits out of whatever I prepared (chili, sweet and sour, refried beans). But they do grow up and then enjoy a larger variety. ;-)

The Prudent Homemaker said...

Here it's too hot to grow bell peppers. They burn in the sun and they ripen when 1" long or shorter, if they flower at all.

Because of the strange cooler weather we had last week, my cucumbers actually put forth some female flowers, which made me very excited! I hand-pollinated them and today I went out and I have cucumbers growing! I LOVE cucumbers and it is such a challenge to grow them here.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I slice them and freeze them on a silicone baking mat on top of a cookie sheet. When they are frozen I bag them up and then I can take out just what I need.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

My grandmother used to grow her own loofahs.

EcoCatLady said...

I have mixed results with peppers... the seedlings always seem to die on me before they get big enough to transplant, and I'm too cheap to go to a nursery and pay for a plant that someone else started. But, this year 8 of the 12 I planted have survived, but they're just now starting to set on tiny fruit. The whole garden is behind since we had snow into late May.

I'm not sure if this holds true with all varieties, but I believe green bell peppers are simply unripe versions of red, yellow or orange sweet peppers. I've found that if I leave them on the plant a bit longer they do get sweeter and turn color... but they also tend to thin out in terms of how thick the flesh is. Might not be an issue this year as I'll be lucky to harvest anything before the snows come! I'm hoping for a loooonnng Indian Summer! :-) Anyhow, congrats on your peppers!

I love line dried towels too... the crunch is wonderful! Unfortunately this year we seem to be alternating between rain and forest fires. So on the days when it's been dry and sunny, it's also been too smoky to hang things outside. Sigh.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

So happy that your seeds grew so beautifully and you have bell peppers! I grow them too, along with jalapeno's-
Happy Hugs!

Live and Learn said...

Yes, they were edible. A little different from store bananas, but they were sweet, not like plantains.

Lili said...

Hi Brandy,
For the most part, I dice them and freeze in ziplocs. Then as I need some I can break off a chunk. But I do like the idea of having some as slices, for stir fries and such.

Lili said...

Brandy, we have the entire opposite problem with cucumbers. It's too cool here! I have one baby one, that I am just hoping will grow before the slugs find it. There's still time, though. Any new set cucumbers have until mid-September to grow here.

Great job on pollinating yours by hand!

Lili said...

Hi Cat,
I have the same cheapness about me. I always figure that there will be plenty of other vegetables, without needing to go buy some plants to replace my botched attempts at starting from seeds. My one exception is herbs. I bought an oregano plant this year in late June, as my oregano in the garden didn't look well, and wouldn't produce enough for our needs in winter. I figured that I could probably harvest enough oregano to pay for itself this year. Then next year, this plant is insurance in case my other one is just in the process of dying out.

Great job on keeping so many pepper plants alive! You'll get several, I'm sure. It's only mid-August.

Hoping for a long Indian summer, here, too! the longer everything keeps growing, the longer we can keep eating from the garden. This year's garden is really a blessing for us. I look down at my plate every night and so much of it grew right in my own little patch of dirt.

Lili said...

Hi Jemma,
Thank you! I'm quite glad about it myself. Jalapenos -- what fun! With them and the bell peppers, you could grown a nice little garden of salsa!
I hope that you're enjoying summer, Jemma!

Lili said...

Growing loofahs -- I have heard of people growing them to sell at street markets/fairs. It would be so interesting to hear what the most unusual thing everyone has grown. Live and learn had bananas. I think the most unusual thing we've grown, for our area, is artichokes.

Anonymous said...

My husband says I am easily amused, too. I think that is a good way to go through life.

A little victory for me this week is how efficient I have been using our zucchini. I have posted up a Crock-Pot minestrone recipe that is taking advantage of everything in our garden. This year, my heart has been really changed to see our garden as a valuable source of food. In past years I hate to say but we spent a lot and wasted a lot. Not this year!!

Lili said...

HI Jen,
I saw that, and it sounded delicious! Were the red peppers from your garden, too? Your garden is so far ahead of ours. Oh well, we do what we can!

I feel so incredibly blessed with a productive garden this summer. Every meal, I look down at my plate or bowl and see so much that grew here. And it's pesticide-free, fresh picked and bursting with flavor.

Good for you for really making the most of your garden!

EcoCatLady said...

Ha! I planted an oregano plant about 10 years ago, and the thing has taken over a significant chunk of my garden, and has now moved into the lawn... it even comes up in the cracks in the driveway! I've been trying to dig up chunks of it and move it to the xeriscape in the front yard... I figure if it can thrive in the cracks in the driveway it will surely be able to survive the neglect it will encounter in my front yard!

Anyhow, too bad I can't email you some, because there is NO shortage of oregano here! :-) Seriously though, if you want some seeds, I'd be happy to mail you some after it goes to seed this fall.

Jessica said...

Air dried towels definitely dry *waaaay* better. Also, using vinegar as a rinse aid rather than conditioner makes a huge difference. I find soft fluffy towels (and tea towels too) just move the moisture round. Also, as a previous commenter said, they have a wonderful exfoliating effect.

Economies of Kale said...

Congrats on the peppers - they will be a great addition to salads :) My mum has had a lemon tree for several years now, but this year was the first year it actually produced one lemon, so she was very excited!

My kale is not doing too well in my garden. I think I need to replace the potting mix, or at least mix in some compost and fertiliser. And the weather is warming up already, so the bugs have been eating it alive.

Also, I don't find line-dried towels hard at all, but maybe that's because I'm used to them :)

Anonymous said...

No home-grown peppers for us. We have never had great luck, except with jalapeƱos , which we really don't use up too well.

I am with you in solidarity every morning when I unplug my coffee pot before the electricity rate goes up! Usually I have leftover coffee for the next day, too, so I am only using it every other day. I can't believe I just left it plugged in all that time, and with the wrong time on it to boot!

Lili said...

Thanks, Cat! I'll see how mine end up in a few weeks. But you gave me some clues as to why mine died out this spring. I think it is too wet where they are, and they need drier soil. I'll work on that area, maybe add a bit of sand to the soil so it can drain better.

Lili said...

Mmmm, I love jalapenos. I could use quite a few, as I make all the salsa that we eat in a year, each fall.

Lili said...

Hi Jessica,
I'll have to pay closer attention to how well our air-dried towels and rags are doing at drying/soaking up liquids.

Lili said...

Hi Economies,
Growing lemons would be exciting. I hope your mom's tree is just beginning,and produces many lemons in the near future.

My soil in my raised beds is in desperate need of some compost. I can see the dirt just isn't holding moisture very well, and some of my tomato plants don't look as good as they usually do. Your planters could probably use some compost, especially if you've been growing in them for a couple of years, without any amendments.

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