Thursday, October 11, 2018

Saving Zinnia Seeds

This summer and now in autumn we've been enjoying the colorful, abundant Zinnia blossoms in our gardens.  Shades of pink, yellow, orange and white blossoms were admired day after day.  Now that October is here it is only a matter of time when a frost will end the Zinnia season!  It has not happened yet, but that is in the near future.

For that reason I've been snipping off the colorful blossoms to save.  Then, they are dried.  Cut down tissue boxes make great storage boxes for the blossoms to dry out.

Looking at the first box of my collected colorful blossoms, I noticed that there were no white ones.  Another trip to the garden and a few more blossoms were snipped- this time only white ones.

The flowers are now dried, so next week the seeds will be harvested from the dried blossoms.   To do this:  Pull the dried petals off the flower and "tear drop" shaped seeds will be found.  These are the seeds to plant for next year.  I will store them in a labelled sealed envelope.  Next spring they will be planted in our gardens. 

This has become a tradition with me- saving the Zinnia seeds.  After saving and then planting the saved seeds for about 5 years, the flower blossoms will become smaller.  That is my clue to purchase new seed packets to plant the next year.  Then, the saving and replanting starts again.

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sights in Autumn!

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!
Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day!  Today is too!  The end of September is here, so it's the perfect time for the annual visit to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow (MA) for the bushel of Butternut Squash.  Nothing like purchasing the delicious orange veggie direct from the farm where it is grown.  It's a tradition to take the short drive and make the purchase.

The greenhouses are filled with assortments of pumpkins, too.

Inside a greenhouse.

Sights of  the Fall season are everywhere.

Another collection!
The cornstalks show us that the fresh native corn season has - ended.

More decorations for Autumn!

The bushel of Butternut is now in our garage.  It just would not be autumn if we did not make this purchase.  A few at a time the squash will be prepped.  The mashed yummy vegetable will be placed in freezer bags to enjoy during the other months of the year.  There's always a special place for it on our Thanksgiving Day dinner table.

Is Butternut Squash Bread in my future, maybe, also??  Sure is! 

These are some of the sights of Autumn in Massachusetts!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Freezing Green Pepper Strips

Last September when fresh local Green Peppers were available to purchase at roadside stands or in the grocery stores, I did not purchase any to freeze.  Every year I do, but it just never happened.  Oh, did I ever miss them this past winter whenever a recipe called for chopped Green Pepper!  I always like to freeze the pepper strips and use them in entrees whenever that veggie is an ingredient in a recipe.  No, I don't like to purchase that veggie in the cold winter months.  They just never look that good in the grocery stores.  Because I did not have them, it seemed that I needed them!  Well, this past week I took some action!  The first 5 Green Peppers were purchased/ prepped and found their way into our freezer.  Three days later 5 more were purchased and 5 more little bags of pepper strips were prepped and frozen.    

It's quite a simple process.  After cutting the Peppers into strips, the strips are placed in sandwich bags and then in a large freezer bag.  Whenever one package is needed, it is at my fingertips.

* * * For me 1 fresh Green Pepper = 1 little sandwich bag of ready to use Green Pepper strips.

Freezing Green Pepper Strips
  1.  The Green Peppers are rinsed under cool running water.
  2.  Then, dried.
  3.  Using a cutting board, the tops are cut off and discarded.
  4.  Then, cut the Green Peppers into large pieces.  Discard seeds and inner pulp.
  5.  Cut the large pieces into strips.
  6.  Place Pepper strips into sandwich bags and close.
  7.  The filled/ closed bags are placed in a Gallon sized freezer bag, labelled and sealed.
  8.  Store in the freezer. 
Reaching into my freezer and taking out a bag of Green Pepper strips to use will be a great find this coming winter!  Ten bags should be enough.  This is definitely the time of year to purchase the fresh local Peppers to freeze.  If you have the opportunity to do this, it is worth the small effort!


    Tuesday, September 18, 2018


    What a great surprise!  The Monarch Butterfly returned to visit our Zinnias in our side garden.  It challenged me to take a photo as it circled around me.  Then, it landed!  Snap!!!


    Wednesday, August 29, 2018

    Thinking Back!

    Today, just remembering an earlier view of our backyard.  It sure does look

                                            R E F R E S H I N G!!!


    Monday, August 20, 2018

    ~ Peach Freezer Jam ~

    Peach Freezer Jam
    After enjoying a great week at the Cape (Cape Cod) it's time to finish preparing the Freezer Jams to enjoy during the other months of the year.  Now, it is peach season!  The local crop is so sweet, juicy and just plain yummy.  This past Thursday at our Farmers' Market, I purchased enough of this fresh fruit to make a batch of Peach Freezer Jam and also more that we could enjoy now.

    They were not quite ripe, so 3 peaches were placed inside a brown paper lunch bag and the top closed.  In 2 days they riped, so the fresh peaches were placed in the fridge.

    Ripening Peaches
    (File Photo)
    Yesterday, 7  peaches were used to prepare the delicious jam!  The sugar, lemon juice and Certo (liquid pectin) were all placed in their places on my kitchen counter.  The mixing bowls, spoons and measuring cups were added, along with the clean containers & lids.  I was getting down to business!  It was time to prepare the Peach Freezer Jam!!

    After rinsing the peaches under cool water, the skins were removed.  It is easier to remove the skins if you place each peach in a pot of simmering water for about 60 seconds.  A slotted spoon comes in handy here to place it in the water and also to remove it.  Let the peaches cool a little on a plate lined with a paper towel.

    Use a sharp knife and peel the skin.  Cut peach into slices.  Then, it's mashing time!  Mash the slices (a few at a time) with a (potato) masher.  Measure out needed amount and add to the required sugar in a large bowl.  Then, I was on my way to follow the rest of the directions that are included in the package of Certo.

    ~My Hints~  are handy to read!

    Freezer Jam is just so delicious!  I am not a fan of commercial brands.  While growing up, my mom, sister & I always prepared jam the "cook over the stove" method.  For years now, I've been making Freezer Jams.  Yes, they are that good!!

    ***After following the directions, exactly (that are located in the Certo box) the jam containers then sit undisturbed for 24 hours.  After that time they are placed in the freezer.

    Yes, I was daydreaming about the surf crashing on the shore two weeks ago at Nauset Light Beach while making jam yesterday.  We did see seals swimming at Nauset Beach, Coast Guard Beach and Nauset Light Beach.  It has been the summer of sharks looking for seals in the waters at the Cape.

    Nauset Light Beach
    at the Cape
    (Cape Cod)
    My Peach Freezer Jam is now in our large freezer.  We'll enjoy it along with the Strawberry & Blueberry Jams in the coming year.  Hopefully, again, there is enough to last until next June!


    Saturday, August 18, 2018


    This month has brought hot days, rainfall and also vacation.  A garden of Zinnias always welcomes us when we drive up our driveway.  These colorful flowers were planted from seed in May.  It's a beautiful sight!