It has been a while since I feel like I have payed attention to the actual gardening aspect of farming and food. I am not apologizing for talking about chickens because there is more to chickens than most people know, and rest assured that what I have shared with you has been carefully filtered and worded so that you may still be able to enjoy what you put on your plate. I do feel like chickens are invaluable to our food supply, and if you look at the egg alone, it is almost a perfect food. If you have the luxury of eating fresh eggs, you also know that they can have a great flavor.
Luckily for the farmer, we have more to offer than chicken or eggs, and I almost forgot how much I enjoy the other parts until the cooler weather brought it back to my attention.
The last week in October brought our first Frost Warning of the year, and it caught me unprepared.
I know it is a shock and it was to me also. For some reason on that very night I had to make a trip into civilization for something, and when I came home it was a mad dash to get things done around here.
1. I had baby chicks that were living in their new home, and I had to make sure that they had plenty of bedding to insulate them and that they were in general - ready for the cold weather.
2. I had to dig the horse blankets out of their storage boxes in the barn, and then actually get the blankets wrestled onto the horses.
P.S.A.: If this is something that you have to do, you should know that one time I actually got a blanket stuck on my horse's head and she couldn't see, and she freaked out and started spinning blindly in a circle in her stall - FAST - like a Reining Horse. This is a 12X12 area and all I could do was make myself as small as I could in the corner and wait for her to stop. It was one of the scariest moments that we have spent together and every winter I remind her of that moment and I tell her how sorry I am that it ever happened and I plead with her to just stand still so it won't happen again, then we hold our breath until I get her blanket over her head successfully.
3. I had to dig through the storage boxes in the garage and find my frost blankets and cover my herb garden that I planted outside the kitchen.
4. I had to get the rabbit cage set up in the house so that I could bring the rabbit in. Have I told you that I have a rabbit? Her name is Bodacious, like the Rodeo Bull. I will have to introduce you someday.
5. I don't know if you remember, but in the garden area that I expanded, there were some pepper plants and chive plants that I had left and worked around...
Well, I have completely neglected these pepper plants. I knew that when I took this picture that there were some peppers on this plant, and there were some blooms on this plant, but I have not checked on it since then. I have not watered it. I have not weeded around it. I have done nothing.
Well, in my haste, running around in the dark after 10:00 pm, trying to get everything winterized, it dawned on me that we better check these plants. I say we, not because I have a mouse in my pocket, but because I have a real trooper of a helper, and she braves most of my craziness right along side me. So here we are, it is late, we are in the dark with flashlights, picking peppers. A lot of peppers. We couldn't believe how many peppers...
This is about 3 lbs. of peppers. Now, we go through our fair share of jalapeno peppers in a year, but I really didn't plant any jalapeno plants this past year. I know that may not make any sense, but the truth is that I had tried to start some jalapeno plants from seed in a seedling tray along with some other things, but they didn't really work so well. They germinated just fine, and they grew to about 2 inches, and that was it. So, when I eventually got tired of watering these little scraggly sprouts, I took that dirt and dumped it into my garden area in between tilling just to get rid of it. There is no telling how many seeds I started, but look what happened. I somehow managed to have these two plants growing. I didn't know what they were at first, but I thought that they looked like peppers so I just left them. The more amazing part is that I then totally ignored them and they gave me this - 3 lbs. of peppers. Go figure, right?
I had to let them sit for a week before I could get to them, but this is what I made...
The red peppers made a prettier sauce, but the green sauce is very good also. We make a lot of this sauce; it is a special recipe of my husband's and we use it to season other dishes. We use it like a hot sauce on Mexican dishes or on red beans, our list is endless for this recipe. The temperature always varies by the peppers, but it has a great flavor and if it ends up hot, it will set your mouth on fire if you are not careful. We were not able to really find any hot jalapeno peppers this past year. They all just seemed really mild to us, so I am hopeful that these will be on the warmer side. They were very toxic when I was cooking them, so that is a good sign. It was not so good for everyone else as they were trying to vacate the premises, even the dogs left the kitchen while these babies were cooking.
So to wrap things up, even in the craziness of life, something can surprise you. Sometimes it is not the things that we spend most of our time doing that reward us, and there is always room for a miracle every now and then.