Ten Gables Cottage

Ten Gables Cottage
Ten Gables Cottage

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

White Radishes

Hi Everyone,
Last night I went to a garden club meeting and received some lovely white radishes from our speaker, who is a Florida master gardener. I thought the radishes would be very hot because they are so big, but surprise, they aren't but a bit "peppery" and are quite delicious! He said they were just an "emergency" crop as his pumpkins got too much water and rotted, so he just threw in radish seeds and got a huge crop of large radishes really quickly.
I learned that the first thing one needs to do when starting a garden is to get the soil tested. You need to know  what the soil may need to make it better, and you may have to adjust the soil pH because it governs how available nutrients are to plants. I realize that my attempts at gardening have been at the hit and miss sort of category, so I am keen on learning a better way. So, after I find out what is in my soil, what it is lacking, I can move on to a plan. In Florida,vegetables can be grown year-round if attention is paid to the appropriate planting dates.Right now, in late December and early January, I am harvesting broccoli that I planted in October. My cabbages are beginning to form heads. In January, I can plant lettuces, onions, English peas, Southern peas, peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, squash, both summer and winter, watermelon, bush beans, pole beans, lima beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, carrots, cauliflower, collards, sweet corn, chinese cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, endive and kale.  Mercy! Would even my 5 acres hold all that!! So I will select a few and try them, but I must go by the Farmer's Almanac as to the correct plants days!
Have you heard of that before? You see, it is recommended by the state, that one plants according to the moon. There are certain times when your garden will do well and other times when it won't. My parents and grandparents always planted by the moon. O.K. So now I must get the soil tested, add what it needs, buy some seeds or plants, study the moons influence on planting, consult the almanac, prepare the soil and plan the garden. Then I can begin. Why do I want to do all this?
Well, vegetable gardening offers much. There is fresh air, sunshine, exercise, mental therapy, fights stress, plus nutritious, tasty and fresh veggies, even economic savings. So, as I make my New Year's resolutions, learning more about gardening is at the top!

            Happy New Year to everyone. May you have good health and happiness in 2014!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Best Dessert.....Pavlova

Hello Everyone,
I hope your Christmas was extra special in every way! My family had a wonderful Christmas! We had some very special meals and lots of rich desserts. Our church had beautiful Advent services and a wonderful
Christmas Eve production. We had family come from afar and family from closer to home. Lots of laughter and fun filled every corner of the house! It is a great time of year and now we can look forward to the new year, make some resolutions to not keep, and look forward to days ahead. One of my very favorite desserts is Pavlova. You never see it here, but in Northern Ireland, I have had it numerous time, when visiting my daughter. Well, we decided to have it for Christmas, and I must say, it was truly spectacular! Egg white made into a meringue that was crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, with a cream cheese topping, real whipped cream and then a strawberry/orange syrup with sliced berries. Oh My! A thousand Yums! It will be in my memory a long, long, time. I will make another one for Valentine's day.....maybe go on a diet until then.
Your comments on Pavlova are welcome!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Getting Ready...

Hi Everyone, just a short pause in all the activity to write a few lines and show some photos of Ten Gables. Maybe the candy canes will show Santa the way to the front door!

I was getting ready for a little dinner party here. I put the silverware in the little stockings...sort of fun. The village in the background was poured and made in ceramics and then I painted all of them It was fun! That was years ago and I put them all out every year.
The tree is up, but it needs lots of wrapped gifts under it and today is gift wrapping day! So soon, it won't look so lonely!  Well, I am off to wrap packages and hope you are having fun preparing for Christmas. I first must put on some Christmas music! More soon. Have a great day, Egretta

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sandhill Cranes

Hi Everyone, I am so thrilled that a pair of big Sandhill Cranes have selected my yard for a place to stand around in, eating bugs, and maybe they will even nest somewhere! Do you remember the previous post I had about a pair who had nested in a drainage pond just off a busy highway? And then in rained so much that the nest was almost covered with water and some people rescued the eggs and moved them up on dry ground. The hen went back to sitting on the eggs and one of them did hatch. That was miles away from where I live, so this is probably not the same pair.

Anyway, I am thrilled and hope they like it here and stay around. They are so regal, standing about 5 or 6 feet tall and with a huge wingspan whenever they stretch them out. 

It was hard to get a photograph of them as they move around and the wind was blowing, so they turned  their backs to me most of the time to get their faces away from the wind. 
Here is a painting I did a couple of years ago of a pair with their chick. It is a huge painting and is just leaned up against the wall in my studio. I need to either sell it or hang it!
   I'm busy working on 4 paintings for a lady that will be Christmas presents. Back to the drawing board...hope you are getting all your Christmas decorating and baking done. I still have much to do!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Yummy Treats and a New Painting!

Hello Everyone on this beautiful December day! At least it is beautiful in Florida. It is in the seventies here and gorgeous with a very blue sky with a few puffy clouds and sunny. It is a good day to be outside and I hope to decorate my porches later this afternoon. I want to share a couple of quick and easy, delicious Christmas treat recipes with you first. The top one is Crock pot Fudge. It can be put in the crock pot and left for 3 hours and you have delicious candy ready to eat. 
Crock Pot Fudge Recipe
Put the following ingredients in the Crock Pot in the order given and let cook on low for 3 hours.
Then stir all together and drop by spoonfuls into tiny Christmas paper cups.
2 jars honey roasted salted peanuts
1 package German Chocolate
1 package semi sweet chocolate chips
1 package of White Almond bark.

Now, the above treats are called Reindeer Noses. You spread pretzels out on a cookie sheet. Put a white chocolate kiss in center and bake in a 275 oven til melted. Add an M and M candy after you take them out of oven. I didn't have the kisses, so I used little squares of white chocolate and turned the heat up a bit, then when soft, I sort of spread the white chocolate out with a knife. Not quite as pretty as the kiss would be, but still yummy.

Here is my latest watercolor painting of pink poinsettia flowers. Hope  you are enjoying a nice weekend wherever you are!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Decorations and Hand Painted Card

Hi Everyone, 
At the craft bazaar, I bought this little glass snowman from a lady. She had glued together two clear class bowls found, I am sure, at a dollar store and then sprayed them with spray snow and after it dried, added the features and made him scarf and hat. Very cute. Got to find a place to put him!

My grandson, Austin, helped me put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and to decorate it. This year I decided to use all the old ornaments that were handmade or those given as gifts or bought on our travels. Every ornament has a story and that really makes it special.

The three caroling dolls were made by my mother in the early 60's. I love their old fashioned faces that she embroidered on. They are very special to me. 
I think I must be in an old fashioned mood altogether! I painted a couple of cards this year and then printed them out on the computer. The colors don't look as bright as in the original, but they have that old fashioned look. They remind me of cards from the 40s or 50s. I never start early enough to get all the things done that I want to do before Christmas, do you? I wonder when one should start in order to get it all done....maybe before Thanksgiving, especially the card making. I did do a lot of ornaments early on. Today I am getting some ornaments and candy packages ready to mail. Got to run.....I hope you are busily enjoying your holiday preparations, too.