Friday, January 16, 2009

Can this greenhouse be saved?

Last week we had a heavy, wet snow, and my greenhouse roof wasn't capable of supporting the snow load. DH went out a few days ago and knocked all the snow off, and although it looked better, he reported that the fiberglass rods were splintered and would have to be replaced if I intend to use the greenhouse next year. I suggested collapsible fiberglass tent poles but he thought I would be better off using fiberglass rods from an industrial hardware supply house like Grainger or MSC.

We had a light snow yesterday, but now even that light snow is bending down the top of the house, this picture was taken a few moments ago. I am NOT going out to do anything about it - it is minus 12 degrees today here in North Central Ohio. Good day for sitting by the wood stove and looking at garden catalogs.

Speaking of catalogs, I have been receiving a few new ones this year. One from John Scheepers "Kitchen Garden Seeds" and another from Spray-N-Grow, in addition to all the ones I mentioned on my post last year and the update. I also got a catalog from Nourse Farms, which was highly recommended by our local Extension agent. I ordered blueberry plants from them last year for this year's planting, I plan to put them in our acid soil at the farm.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Windy day?

We came back from Michigan two days ago, arriving after dark, about seven p.m. My eye caught a couple of shapes frozen at the side of the house as we turned in. Remembering that the neighbor lady had hit a deer just before Christmas just in front of our house, I jumped to the conclusion that they were deer. DH stopped the car and slowly turned his headlights directly on the shapes.

They were not deer. It was my greenhouse, caught in the pines that border our neighbor's property!! My greenhouse, and the contents of my greenhouse, had blown all over the yard.

The next day, Tuesday, I spent going around and picking up plastic flowerpots and metal stakes. I found all but three of the stakes, and I have no idea how many flowerpots will be missing come spring. While looking for the stakes I noticed some of the turnips I had not yet harvested, and remedied that situation. I brought them in, peeled them and parboiled them.
I noticed the ground was frozen only for the top 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I moved the greenhouse to a new location and staked it down again.

For some reason I was inspired by my work outside (and maybe by the successful pierogi-making at Christmas?) to get out the attachments for my Kitchen-Aid mixer and try out the pasta extruders. I spent three hours making a pound of noodles, cutting the noodles off the extruder and individually separating each noodle to lay it on a towel to dry. By the time DH came in, expecting dinner to be ready, I was exhausted! I told him we were going out for Mexican food.

On New Year's eve, I babysat for my three-year-old grandson. Well, the Kitchen-Aid was already out, so I decided to use the meat grinder to make ground ham for ham loaf (first time to use that attachment, too!)

Menu for New Year's Eve

Baked ham loaf
Czechoslovakian-style turnips
Steamed carrots
Buttered noodles with mushroom gravy
Dinner rolls

Here is the recipe for the ham loaf:

5 cups ground ham
1 cup oatmeal
1 small-medium onion, diced
2 eggs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons brown mustard
3/4 cup milk

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. For the last 15 minutes you can use a glaze such as currant or apple jelly, maple syrup, or tomato-apple chutney, depending on your taste.

With the ham I served buttered noodles and made a mushroom gravy. I also made Chzechoslovakian-style turnips, recipe follows:

1 to 2 cups of sliced, boiled turnips
1 cup whole-kernel corn
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup sour cream (reserve 1/2 cup for topping)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix together, spray baking dish with vegetable oil spray and then put in oven with ham for approximately 1/2 hour. Serve with reserved sour cream on top, you may add horseradish if desired.

Today we are having pork and sauerkraut, a German tradition for New Year's Day. I couldn't find any sauerkraut in bags at the supermarket yesterday, and all the Vlasic brand sauerkraut was also sold out. Luckily I did find some in the international foods section, there was some Bavarian-style sauerkraut and also some Polish style.

We'll have mashed potatoes and baked apples for dessert.

P.S. The turnips were not a success with DH.

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