We grew LOTS of sugar pumpkins this year. I gave away several and we still have about a dozen left for us to enjoy.
Making your own pumpkin puree for all those fall recipes is great, and you can put left- overs in the freezer for later. With this easy method of baking the pumpkin you don’t need to worry about loosing any body parts when you cut the pumpkin up because you put the whole darn thing in the oven (pre-heated to 375°) and bake it whole…..
I put the pumpkins on a cookie sheet just in case of any drips. It will take 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes to get done. It all depends on how big your pumpkins are. You can use the big pumpkins to make pumpkin puree, but the small sugar pumpkins have a sweeter more pumpkiney flavor. My spell check is telling me that pumpkiney is not a word, but you get my point, right? (pumpkinie, pumpkiny, pumkiney, pumpkinish…..one of these should totally be a word!) These two took about 45 minutes to get done. When you can poke a sharp knife into the pumpkin easily, it’s done.
Let them cool down enough to handle, then peel them.
Cut your peeled pumpkin in half, spoon out the “guts” and separate the seeds.
Take the “meat” of your pumpkin and puree it in a food processor or blender.
Now you can use it in any recipe calling for pumpkin puree and put any leftovers in the freezer.
Now, take the pumpkin seeds, rinse them off and dry them. These two little pumpkins gave me a little more than a cup of seeds, so I added 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning salt and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt. I stirred it all together coating all the seeds and poured them on a cookie sheet, then sprinkled some pepper on them.
Pre-heat the oven to 325° and bake the seeds for 5 to 20 minutes. Check them every 5 minutes and give them a little stir. These took about 17 minutes.
This is just a basic recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds so feel free to add any seasonings you like!
A few tips: One 15oz can is equal to 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree – If you have chickens, feed them the guts and skin from your pumpkin and you will have wasted NONE of your pumpkin! If you don’t have chickens the compost pile is a great place for the “extras”.
Easy Homemade Pumpkin Puree and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
For the pumpkin puree: Put your whole pumpkin(s) in the oven at 375°. Depending on the size of your pumpkin it will take from 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook. When you can easily poke a sharp knife in the pumpkin it's done. Let your pumpkin(s) cool until you can easily handle them. The skin will peal off easily, then cut the pumpkin in half and spoon out the guts and seeds. Place the "meat" of your pumpkin in a food processor or blender and puree.
For the roasted pumpkin seeds: Pre-heat the oven to 325° Separate the seeds from the guts then rinse and dry the pumpkins seeds. Take your dried pumpkin seeds and stir in the olive oil, seasoning salt and garlic salt. Spread the seasoned seeds out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle a little black pepper on them. Bake the seeds for 5 to 20 minutes. They will burn easily so check on them and give them a little stir every 5 minutes.
Here are a couple recipes that call for pumpkin puree:
We harvested 4 wheelbarrow loads of squash and pumpkins out of the garden! We gave away A LOT and still have plenty to eat through the winter.
I’m so happy with our onion harvest this year.
Jo’s puppy, Rebel.
The cutest nephew came to visit!
Jo made shrimp egg rolls for a school project. They were honestly the best I’ve ever tasted….she got an A, I LOVE homeschooling. 🙂
We also finished harvesting the sunflowers. The chickens will love these this winter.
The barn owl came back for a visit.
Warning, scary chicken ahead…..
Poor, poor, poor Tiny….molting season is not being good to her! Last month she won a grand champion ribbon and this month she would definitely win the ugliest chicken award. 🙂
These little ladies out grew the small coop so we moved them to the big one. I keep pointing to the nesting boxes and telling them to get with it! Unfortunately, I still have two months to wait.
Love all the fall colors!
These two have been giggling for days because we are headed to the Oregon Coast on Monday. Their bags have been packed for about a week now. 🙂
I just got an Instagram account and I’m a little obsessed! (it’s so fun!) So come follow along! (the icon is above my picture at the top of this screen) I’ll be sharing photos of our beach trip next week, and any other pics I snap with my phone.
Other than a sinus infection (yuck yuck yuck!) that lasted a couple of weeks, I had a really good September. We’ve been enjoying the lovely fall weather and the garden is STILL giving lots of good stuff!
The cantaloupe is delicious! We’ve eaten seven of them so far and more are coming. I keep praying that the frost doesn’t come for a few more weeks so I can finish harvesting as everything continues to ripen.
The girls are going to have some nice big pumpkins to carve. 🙂
After raising meat chickens over the summer it feels like these little layers are growing slowly, but they ARE growing and will need to be moved to the bigger coop before long.
I think at this point the Golden Laced Wyandottes are my favorites.
We started to harvest the sunflowers that the wind blew over. Most of them aren’t quite ready yet though.
Jo’s puppy grew lots this last month!
Jo got her hair cut and her ears pierced. My little tom boy is starting to care about hair, nails, clothes and jewelry! WHAT happened!?
This has been my VERY best year for growing tomatoes!! We are still getting an insane amount every day and it’s the end of September. I love how this recipe helps to use some of our abundance of grape tomatoes.
They are so fresh, sweet and absolutely delicious and they make this dish soooo very yummy. I may have even eaten the left overs for breakfast the next morning.
It doesn’t take much time at all to whip up this super tasty dinner. Start by halving 4 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes and putting them in a greased 8″x8″ baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil on with some salt and pepper, stir that up then poor 1/2 a cup of Italian bread crumbs over the top.
Place the tomatoes in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. While that is in the oven, brown 1 pound of Italian sausage (I used my Italian sausage seasoning recipe) and cook the pasta. Drain the sausage and pasta then put everything into a big serving bowl with 1&1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese. Give it a good stir and taste it to see if it needs more salt or pepper.
I know this isn’t the most eye appealing dish you’ve ever seen, but it makes up for it in taste…..I promise!!
What an crazy week! 4-H stuff, birthday celebrations, new chicks, and trying to freeze the insane amount of zucchini and green beans coming from the garden are the things that took up most of my time. We ordered homeschool curriculum for the girls as well, and that got me very excited to start school in a few weeks!
We ended the week with Jo’s 11th birthday party, and she is over the top excited about her present. We told her she could find and adopt a puppy. She has been wanting one of her own for YEARS, and being the responsible young lady that she is we figure it’s a good time for a potentially life changing new addition. Now, the task of finding the RIGHT puppy!
Here is our week in photos….
Jo made a poster for the Cornish Cross chicken she is taking to the fair. She took it to the 4-H meeting and did a demonstration about these chickens. This was all her idea!
Mary did her 4-H demonstration on chocolate covered fruit. The strawberries were the most popular!
More beautiful sunsets this week!
4 Golden Buff, 4 White Leghorn, and 4 Golden Laced Wyandotte arrived on Wednesday morning. All healthy and happy and cute, cute, cute! I always forget how ever so tiny they are.
I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of baking all our bread again.
I’m going to start grating zucchini in my sleep….
I became very impatient and HAD to pick one of my watermelon. It has got to be ripe by now, right?
NOPE……darn it! (the chickens enjoyed it very much though)
So excited to see hundreds of busy honey bees in my corn rows!
We had a WONDERFUL last week of July. 🙂 The summer is just flying by!! The wind stopped blowing and the temps went up again. My husband and I are LOVING the warm summer nights and we’ve had some gorgeous sunsets! We’ve also been enjoying lots of garden produce.
Hope you enjoy some photos from our week.
My biggest pumpkin so far.
Odie turned 11 this month (77 dog years!)
Just about ready to harvest a couple watermelons with several more on the way!!
Uuug! I have never had this much trouble with nasty little insects devouring my garden! At first I thought it was due to my deep straw mulch. My husband warned me before I put the straw in the garden that it would create the perfect environment for earwigs. He was absolutely correct! The little buggers love to hide in the dark, moist straw during the day and then come out and graze on my veggie plants all night!! But I can’t blame the whole problem on the mulch. We have earwigs and ants EVERYWHERE this year. It’s just simply a bad year for bugs. (Darn it!) It’s so frustrating to watch all your hard work slowly disappearing!
They seemed to like the squash, cabbage and kale the best! I think most of the damage was done by earwigs, but I have also seen aphids and grasshoppers.
I got on-line and looked up MANY different natural and organic bug sprays. I came up with my own simple spray that REALLY works! My plants are looking MUCH better!
This is an early morning picture and has lots of shadows, but I hope you can see the very bug eaten leaves and then the new growth in the center after I sprayed them! I still lost some of the little plants that were just to far gone by the time I sprayed them but the bigger plants are recovering nicely.
Start by chopping the cloves from one head of garlic and 1 onion into tiny pieces. You can use a food processor if you have one. When you have them all chopped up put them in a pot with 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder. Bring your concoction to a boil then remove it from the heat and let it cool completely. Strain the liquid into a squirt bottle and add 2 tablespoons of peppermint castile soap and 5 drops of peppermint oil. Shake it up and you’re ready to spray those nasty pests away.
Spray early in the morning before the hot sun is out or just before dark. Be sure to shake well before each use and spray the top and bottom of each leaf. If you have any left over, store it in the fridge for up to a week.
Chop up all the garlic cloves and onion into small pieces.
Put the cayenne pepper, water, chopped onions and garlic into a pot and bring it to a boil.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool completely.(over night is good)
Strain cooled liquid into a squirt bottle and add the castile soap and peppermint oil.
I’ve only had to spray my garden twice, but we only had rain once and we don’t water with sprinklers, so you may have to spray more often if the leaves are getting washed off. Try to avoid spraying directly on the part of the plant you are going to eat.
Happy June everyone! The weather is so summer like here (96 today) but, we are still a week and a half away from finishing up the school year. I’m to the point that I’m counting down the hours instead of the days….bring on summer vacation! The weather has been so warm that we have been able to get tons of stuff done outside this spring. My garden is planted and everything is up!! I think that’s a record for us, I’m usually still trying to get things in the ground towards the end of June.
Here is a few pics of what’s been going on around here the last couple of months.Digger tilled the garden at the beginning of April.
Best buddies keeping an eye on everything.
Maple tree in the spring.
My sisters ewes lambed in early April. These cuties will be her 4-H lambs. I love me some baby lambs…..I just don’t want them at my house. 🙂
Oh how I LOVE spring time!
I love this guy too….even more than spring time. 😉
I decided to try the deep mulch method this year in my garden. Digger dumped a bunch of straw bails in the garden for me.
The girls helped me spread the straw.
Jo’s favorite part of spring is barn kittens.
Some friends gave us an abundance of onions. Homemade beer battered onion rings are AMAZING!
More pics of my growing garden and maybe the recipe for the onion rings will be coming soon! 😉
Have a great June and may our great God bless you abundantly!
My chickens egg yolks went from yellow to dark orange as soon as the new grass popped up and the bugs came out!
Uncle Tom came over and dumped the compost pile into the garden. Hopefully this will help amend our poor soil on the east side of the garden. Why do we have poor soil only on the east side of the garden? Well, it has something to do with a retired go-cart track. Read more about that here.
Another great thing about spring is CHICKS! This came in the mail today, so we are off to pick up some chicks tomorrow!! Today is also the first day of our spring break and I’m looking forward to getting LOTS done in and out of the house this week.
I like how the women folk are always rambling on about how enchanting their little homestead is. Weather it’s half an acre in the burbs, or five hundred in cowboy country, its always the same. Pretty pictures of flowers, kids playing, home cookin’, and cute baby critters… Uhg! Where’s all the mud, dust, blood, sweat, and crappy weather. Anybody want to know what REALLY keeps a homestead steady? Attitude!
I’m not saying this to discourage anyone,… not at all; I’m just saying it’s not always peach fuzz and baby giggles… For example; the Queen and Little Chef are always experimenting with new meals prepared from scratch using all natural ingredients. These ladies know that there are few things finer than a full spread meal that’s been grown and raised on your own land, and most of the time their efforts result in something amazing! When it’s especially brilliant, I’m always amused by the girls grumblings while they have to wait for mom to take a few pics for the blog before they can eat it. I try to explain to them that excellence always comes at a cost, but the consolation is always met with a despondent glare that says “Yea,… whatever dad”. As for me; I’m proud of the accomplishments my ladies make in the kitchen (mostly because I get to eat their achievements!), but once in awhile however,… Well,… let’s just say that not every experiment is blog worthy. I would like to elaborate more on the specific details concerning some of the failed experiments in the kitchen (they always sound dramatic), but I rarely understand what they’re talking about.
Where the kitchen is Grace and Little Chef’s domain, Jo and I spend allot of time in the shop. I suppose I should say that Jo spends most of her time outside, and the shop is the next best thing when the weather turns lousy. When she’s not reading a book, (usually outdoors at the risk of moms’ admonishment) she’s out there building something. It’s like an addiction for her, and I can genuinely appreciate that. Since diapers she’s been manipulating whatever materials she can get her hands on into whatever her mind can conjure. For the most part I’ve always encouraged this ambition, but when she gets into the stocks of materials I need for work and drags them to all corners of the property to build a… a… well,… whatever it is she feels compelled to build right then, I have to reign her in.
The other day Jo came through the shop and left with one of my small hand saws. At the time I was a little distracted helping Uncle Chris put a new timing belt in his pickup. (By helping I mean leaning on the fender and sharing words of encouragement, like: “I think you’re insane for trying to attempt this on your own. You sure you know what you’re doing?” You know,… big brotherly advice. And by the way; thank you youtube!) Anyway,… as I watched Jo depart with my saw I thought, “wait a minute…” and followed her. I found her with several pieces of one inch pvc pipe I keep stockpiled in the barn. (She had in her possession many more short pieces than I’d remembered having) She was busy cutting a piece off when I asked her what she was doing. “I’m making an automatic dog food dispenser.” (Feeding the dogs is one of the chores she shares with Little Chef) She said this as she lifted the piece up to her eye to peer through it. “I’m not sure it’ll work tho’, it might be too small.” I kept my composure long enough to remind her that she needs to ask me before robbing materials from the barn. Yea,… It was a little disappointing for her, but this particular girls’ attitude is rarely defeated, so after returning the supplies as I’d asked she moved on to her next project full stride! Something about the “cat crusaders” (her club) needing a new, secret meeting place I think. (I didn’t want to know what that might entail, so I didn’t ask…)
I suspect Jo sets a better example in regards to attitude than most of us. Setbacks happen all the time, but are usually a minor thing we quickly move on from a little wiser. On occasion however, the good Lord seems compelled to remind us of what genuine humility is all about. A couple of years ago Grace decided she wanted her garden to be even bigger (Have you seen her garden?!). It was already put near 4,000 square feet, but I didn’t complain while I extended it another 20′ to the east, and full length north to south. This addition roughly added another 2,000. Now,… take a moment to consider just how big your house is. I remember way back when I was a little shaver what my Ma would say every time she’d finish with the vacuum cleaner,… “I’m so glad we can’t afford a bigger house!” She’d let out a tired sigh as she wiped sweat from her brow, (sorry Ma, I meant perspiration) and share her views on how silly it is for rich people to hire servants to maintain a ridiculously vast and expensive home. This concept kinda stuck with me all these years, and while I was tilling the ground far beyond the original footprint of our garden it was on my mind. I gave some thought to the countless hours we (Okay, mostly Grace) spent on hands and knees pulling weeds last year. Where few would care to vacuum 6,000 square feet of carpet, try to imagine weeding that much area! The point and purpose of all this extra space was to provide a greater surplus of vegetables for canning. I get that,… but since this expansion, the only thing Grace managed to can was green beans. ALLOT of green beans… Guess which vegetable of all the vegetables we could ever possibly grow in the garden do I care the least for? Yup! Green beans!!!
Oh well,… I really can’t say much. Once the irrigation is installed, Grace pretty much takes over maintenance of the garden. I do have to admit tho’; her diligence this year paid off. (that is to say, she worked her butt off!) That was until the late spring rains came… Right up until that point Grace had somehow managed to single-handedly conquer most of the weeds across this generous space, and just a few more days of battle would have enabled the “Queen” to declare ultimate supremacy over the land (well,… this bit of it anyway). I should share some things to consider right about now concerning the value such an arduous conquest would have ordinarily meant. We drip irrigate the rows on 4′ centers allowing us to easily measure and offset each row to ground that had rested the year before. It also gives us more room to weed and harvest, and it usually saves allot of water (we were plagued with irrigation failures this year). Another great advantage to this system is that MOST years, once the moisture comes out of the ground the weeds don’t come back between the rows. We typically just don’t see enough rain again until late fall. You can imagine her dismay when after nearly two weeks of unexpected showers her whole garden turned green with weed sprouts (making all that effort lost and pointless…) Grace bravely redoubled her commitment to purge this particular piece of land from the invasive onslaught of subversive flora as long as she could, but ultimately the allergies she always suffers this late in the season finally won out. (I’m thinking hydroponics may be the way to go, or better yet, aquaponics! Yea,… I like fish.)
To add insult to injury, the area I’d extended the garden into wound up primarily dedicated to melons, squash and gourds, but nothing grew! I don’t mean that the harvest was slight, I mean there was no harvest! The plants were lanky, yellow, and in most cases didn’t even grow beyond the noon shadow of a goat. By late July we knew something was very wrong, (even the weeds struggled) but it took a few more weeks for me to remember what I’d done… (Yup… My fault.) Oh c’mon! If the ground had looked any different from the rest of the garden when I tilled it, it might have occurred to me then; but it looked great! (it still had moisture) As I stood there thinking about what might possibly be the problem, I remembered the go-kart track (Picture a small light bulb briefly illuminating over my head, replaced shortly by a dark storm cloud as I realized what an idiot I am). Years ago I’d stripped the topsoil off this area with a dozer when I was building our first go-kart track. (For the boy’s,… of course.) I’d completely forgotten! Yea,… Ooops!
Things tend not to grow so well in subsoil even if it does look good. I’ve been cooking down a large pile of old hay bales into compost all summer, and I’ll till it into the new garden space next spring. That should help…
By chance the potato bin I built wound up on this same piece of ground as well. Given that the bin was filled with good soil mixed with red sand a few inches at a time over several weeks excludes the poor soil from the lousy ‘tater harvest in this case. Even our best soil is still pretty heavy with clay, so despite the liberal application of sand (well over 50%) the lower half of the bin stayed too wet. Another disappointment, but another lesson learned. Next year we’ll use straw with a bit of cured compost, and raise the bin off the ground enough to let it drain better. That should help. The ground we’ve expanded into (the old go-kart track) should improve greatly with liberal amounts of compost tilled in, and I’m also planning on a much improved irrigation system for the whole works.
Yea, we’ve had some setbacks over the years, but despite all the headaches our accomplishments far outweigh the disappointments. Too often the difference between lost time and effort vs. education is attitude. Personally, I’d rather spend a few days every year learning the wrong way to do a thing than spend the thousands it would take to have some professor tell me how to do it their way… How about you?