Sunday, December 15, 2013

Missing in Action

Hello folks, it has been a long dry spell in blogland but I swear I haven't forgotten about you.  This post is for all of you who have emailed, called and generally wondered what the heck is up with me.  I am still in school and that is continuing to eat up my extra time.  I finished my second course about a week ago and will start a third course beginning in January.  So far so good.

Unfortunately the minute I was finished with school this happened.

The flower garden under the first snow of the season
Our first storm of the season brought 110km an hour winds and a load of snow.  Now a week later we are sitting through yet another storm.  This has the looks of a bad winter ahead.

Snow days mean we must find new ways to entertain ourselves indoors.  I've decided to start training Gino for the circus.  I've managed to get him to stand up on his back legs.


Now I just need him to learn to twirl.  Funnyface is not as cooperative.


He would much rather take a nap in my bed.  Clearly I have my work cut out for me. 

Other fun activities have included attending PEI's first Seedy Saturday.  Seeds of Community is a new group on PEI that is creating a grassroots network that promotes seed sovereignty.  They held their first Seedy Saturday on December 7 and I was delighted to attend.  First some sorting needed to be done though.

All this came out of my fridge
My fridge is overflowing with various packets of seeds so I took some time to do some sorting.  I put aside extras and seeds I was no longer interested in for trading, and sussed out what I would like to add to my collection.  Then off I went.  The event was a big success and I met some wonderful people and took home some fascinating new seeds.  Many more tomatoes are now in my collection, as well as a couple new beans among other things.

Which reminds me, about those tomatoes.  I know I promised you a tomato post and I do intend to write one.  However, we've come up against a roadblock.  As I was sitting down to write this particular post my old macbook ground to a halt.  I tried to reboot but alas, it seems it has bit the proverbial biscuit.  The problem is that all my garden photos from this year are on that computer, including all my tomato pictures. We should be able to retrieve the photos off the hard drive but at this point we have no new computer to move them to.  A new mac was definitely not in the budget so it may take some time before we get this worked out.  So hang in there please.  I have plenty to say about our heirloom tomatoes but seeing a  photo of them - well, a picture is worth a thousand words right?

What I do have pictures of is pumpkins.

Look what I found!!
While out on a weekend walk we discovered a treasure trove of abandoned pumpkins in the woods.  Wee baby ones like the one I'm carrying in the photo, and monster big ones, as well as a variety of colours.  After Halloween they were dumped like a basket full of kittens into the woods, left to fend for themselves.  Don't you people know you can eat those things?

You might recall I grew pumpkins this year.  Very pretty but they taste good too.

Remember these beauties?
This was my first year growing Long Island Cheese Pumpkins so I wasn't sure how they would measure up in the kitchen.  My first experiment was to carve them for Halloween.  I wouldn't try that again.  As pretty as they are, the walls are quite thick and ripply making them an absolute nuisance to carve.  So we chopped them up and cooked them down.  That worked wonderfully.  Slowly cooked down on a stovetop the pumpkin turned into a very thick paste which worked well in breads and cookies.  Then a co-worker suggested we try stuffing them.  What?!?

Did I mention it slices beautifully too?
I have never heard of stuffed pumpkin before but I am glad I know about it now.  The stuffing is a combination of ground beef, onions, mashed potatoes, cinnamon and all spice.  Very easy to make, very filling and very tasty.  I still have a couple pumpkins on standby so my next venture will be a curried pumpkin soup. 

Hoping this post finds you all happy and healthy, and looking forward to a wonderful holiday.  I'll be coming round and visiting your blogs over the next couple weeks and with any luck we'll get a new computer up and running so I can share more garden photos with you soon.

26 comments:

  1. Hellloooo from blogland. Glad to hear that you are well, and keeping out of mischief. Sounds like a very busy few months for you. Stuffed pumpkins sound wonderful. We had unlimited pumpkins this year, since they grew them at my Sister's farm, I've turned mine into puree, but next year will give stuffed a try.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope that you manage to stay warm.

    Jen

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    1. Hi there Jen!! I normally just puree my pumpkins too but since I have so many this year I'm trying out all sorts of new things. I was surprised at how good the stuffed pumpkin was and even hubby liked it!

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  2. Hi Marguerite, good to hear from you ! The seed swap sounds like a great way to try new plants and meet new gardeners !
    My Macbook did JUST what yours did and has died a sudden death . It died transferring our iTunes library to the new Mac (we knew that death was imminent!) Luckily I had transferred all photos but now we only have a - t of iTunes ! I can never play the Zutons again !! Sooo glad I did the garden photos first !!

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    1. Okay Jane, now I'm REALLY curious. Gotta go off and google Zutons ... :) p.s. the seed swap was excellent. Met this man who grows over a thousand varieties of tomatoes, yes you read that right .. a thousand!!! Nice to meet someone as zany about tomatoes as I am.

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  3. How odd to find pumpkins dumped in your forest. You will probably have volunteers next year. That will be fun to find. Your stuffed pumpkin sounds yummy. Good to hear you are well and happy. Study study...

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    1. Never even thought of that. We'll have to go back in the spring and check for baby pumpkins. It really was a strange sight but I guess someone thought they would just decompose so why not?

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  4. Hi Marguerite,
    I've been thinking about you in all this snow we got yesterday. How have you been? I haven't seen you around the Hatn'N Hospitalitea http://besidethetrail.ca/hatsnhospitalitea/ lately. I see you have may be between courses, what are you taking? It sounds like the Long Island pumpkins are a better stuffed than they are carved. You have to try someone once to find out.
    I can't imagine dumping pumpkins in the woods, better than on the roads though where I saw a few. The seed group is it only in a certain community of PEI? I think it is a good idea and I collect a lot of seeds each year, might as well have a reason to collect. Love your indoor hobby. Take care, hugs

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    1. Cindy, the seed group is being run by the Cooper Institute. You can check out their website for further info but the idea is that they will be setting up seed libraries in all the branches across PEI. Open meetings have been conducted across island I believe. They are looking for people to donate seed so you should get in touch as I'm sure they would love to take some seed off your hands!

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  5. So sorry about your computer, Marguerite. Every time mine starts acting strangely, I think this might be its last day. I keep backing up photos--that would be the biggest tragedy if I lost those.

    I always wondered what the pumpkin sellers did with leftover pumpkins. You might have your own field of wild pumpkins next year! Good luck with your classes and training those cats:)

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    1. Rose, you are much smarter than us by backing up consistently. Unfortunately we weren't very good at doing that but from what we understand we can still pull data off our hard drive so I have my fingers crossed. Training the cats might be harder than getting my photos back ;-)

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  6. So glad to see you here!! I've missed your posts tremendously. I have never seen or heard of a stuffed pumpkin either but now I am very intrigued :)

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    1. Missed you too Keith! Apparently stuffed pumpkin is a big tradition in some parts - or so I'm told. I've never heard of it before but it was a hit in our house.

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  7. Your lovely tomato seeds arrived, Thank you so so much, and honestly, my fav tomato and the first heirloom I ever grew over then years ago. Big big thank you.

    Curried pumpkin soup is awesome! Your pumpkins will last a long time in a cool place.

    Catch up soon. B.

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    1. Merry Christmas Brenda. so glad to hear the card arrived, what luck that I picked those particular seeds! Jody says we have to expand the garden this year to fit in all the tomatoes I've collected.

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    2. I am with Jody! Hoping for a good growing year in 2014!

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  8. How lovely to hear from you, I was wondering what was going on! Sorry about your computer trouble, such a pain, and things like that always seem to happen at the most inopportune moment, financially and practically. Your seedy swap sounds great fun!

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    1. The timing of the computer dying is utterly ironic. I've been meaning to go through photos for months now and finally, the first day I sit down to do it the computer dies.

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  9. So glad to hear from you! I can relate all too well how life gets busy and blogging gets put on the side burner. That pumpkin looks delicious...I will have to try that this winter. Love those healthy comfort foods! Your cats are hilarious! I bet they offer a lot of entertainment between gardening and hitting the books! Merry Christmas and all the best for a healthy and happy new year~

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    1. Karin, that was my favourite thing about the stuffed pumpkin - really simple, good for you ingredients. I tend to use extra lean meat so there's little fat and the rest is homegrown. can't get better than that!

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  10. Nice to have you back! Sorry to hear about your computer trouble, I can only echo what other people have said: Back-up your photos and files regularly, just in case – you never know when something will happen to the computer. Good luck with the aspiring circus member, I have trained several cats in the past to do various things, it takes time and dedication – and the cats will only do what they want to do, they are not dogs that lives to please their masters! But it is fun when it works, my training has been more practical things than circus acts, but they require just as much work :-)
    Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

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    1. too late for back ups now! oh well, learning my lessons the hard way. My one cat seems happy to participate in my silly plots to train him, the other - not so much. We may not ever be circus quality but we're having fun. :)

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  11. I figured you must be busy with classes. They can take an amazing amount of time. Sorry to here about the computer! They are expensive to replace, but hard to do without. Your stuffed pumpkin sounds delicious! Happy holidays and all the best to you and Jodi for the new year. P.S. The boys send their regards to Gino the circus cat and the Happyface who looks very cozy on your bed.

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    1. Merry Christmas to you too Jennifer! I've been quite surprised by how much time school has taken up. I really wasn't expecting to be grinding it out like this but I'm pretty sure the end result will be worthwhile.

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  12. Marguerite, I'm catching up on blogs after a period of being MIA myself. That stuffed pumpkin looks yummy. When we were children, I was always frustrated by the little puny pumpkins our parents got us to carve for Halloween. Now I realize that those small pumpkins were chosen for their eating qualities; they were New England pie pumpkins, and every year on Nov. 1 they got turned into pumpkin pie. -Jean

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    1. Jean, I tried growing sugar pie pumpkins as well this year. I know what you mean by small! they were teeny things. Despite the difficulties in carving I think I'll be sticking with these long island pumpkins as they are incredibly tasty.

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