We’ve been quiet around Burbex recently. Rachel had nasal surgery last week, so we haven’t been up to any large projects. To keep you entertained if you’re bored in the mean time, here are a few fun pictures and small projects to keep you going:

Here you can see two of our syrups we made for soda. The brown color is the pineapple mint, which we talked about in another post, and is from the really fun cookbook, “Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it”. The pink syrup (which is almost gone!) is strawberry. This was an adaptation of the Strawberry Black Pepper syrup from the same cookbook.

We also made a small batch of mulberry jam last night, which can also be seen in the picture above. We have a mulberry tree in our back yard, but this is the first year we’ve been proactive enough to actually harvest some of the berries before the birds ate them all. Mulberries look and taste a little like blackberries, except instead of growing on an uncontrollable vine, they grow on a funny looking tree:

 

 

We’re also in the middle of a big project that is a part of our long, ongoing yard renovation:

Eventually all of the sod will be removed, and we will have a garden here under the cottonwood tree. You can also see from the state of our grass (dead!) how hot and dry it has been here in Colorado. You can also see were we have previously started the sod removal in this garden and never finished…

And last, but not least, we welcomed a new member of our menagerie here at Burbex:

 

This is Kazumi. He’s a nearly 2 year old retired Bengal. He’s settling in and bringing a little equilibrium to our wild household by giving Sora someone to chase around.

 

 

Garden Update

April 20, 2012

The sun is shining and it’s already been over 80 degrees here in lovely, sunny Denver. While that is bad for our water supply, it’s been great for the garden so far. We’ve been spending a lot of time outside, trying to get the garden spruced up and ready for spring. We cleaned out the weeds from the veggie garden and we have lots of sprouts going in the garage, waiting to make sure there’s not going to be one more freak snowstorm.

Our decorative gardens don’t want to wait, and they’re already having a heyday. We had almost everything come back from last year, and we went in and did a little early-season intervention for the things that didn’t. One of those things in particular were the yews that are supposed to grow along the front of the house. Now, we had put these in once before, and they hung on for maybe a month or two before they all turned brown and died. Come to find out that our sprinklers don’t reach that part of the garden. Couple that with the extra heat that part of the garden gets reflecting off of the house, and it’s a recipe for disaster. The old bushes have now been ripped up and replaced, and we have been watering religiously, and looking into getting a soaker hose in that part of the garden.

We also filled in at least a few of the more barren spaces with a few coleus, and we got some ornamental thyme and a couple other kinds of ground cover to give us more overall green, and hopefully keep down some of the weeds.

 

 

So, definitely a few bare spots still, but it’s coming along!

Yardening

April 3, 2012

This weekend Katie and I put a lot of backbreaking work in to our gardens, to get them up to speed for the new seasons. Of particular pleasure is the fact that we planted two trees end of season and they both survived and are starting to leaf out. That’s a big deal.

So we weeded, we raked, we picked up sticks, we trimmed and primped and planted. We started our seedlings the other week for our veggies. All in all it was a good weekend.

Katie and I are currently discussing our goals for this season. We definitely have a garden we’d like to finish, as well as the veggies, and we’ve even started talking about a chicken coop. At 18 eggs a week, we could use the help.

So my question to you is, what are you doing to get ready for the new season? Cleaning? Gardening? Mowing? Cooking? Tell us in the comments!

Seedlings Approacheth

March 20, 2012

So last year our garden did alright- it kept us stocked in produce for a large portion of the year. But it would have been totally KICK BUTT if I had started seedlings. Which I didn’t. However, this year I got on top of it and started all of them. I’m hoping to get some good starts in pots so that I can plunk them in and get a ways ahead this year.

Our starting lineup includes:

Cherry tomatoes

Um..red tomatoes

Yellow tomatoes

Banana peppers

Bell pepers

Cantaloupe

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Arugula

Rosemary

Basil

Dill

Zucchini

Radishes

Carrots

Beans

Other beans

We used a combination of peat pots and egg cartons. The plan is to get shoots and replant them in to pots once big enough. They’re living out in our garage until I’m a little more certain it will stay nice out. Colorado “winter” is weird that way.

Oh, and update on last year’s garden — despite snow, sleet, COLD…we STILL have parsley. Send me your address if you want some. Seriously.

Late Summer Update

September 14, 2011

As we wind down in to fall, Katie and I are finally getting back to our plan of working on the yard. Earlier in the year we had a decent wind storm that took a big branch out of our cotton tree.

So we did what any rational person would do, and ignored it for the next several months while we worked on other projects. The yard got bumped this year after our vegetable garden went in, and really, who wants to take apart a giant branch when it’s 104 degrees out.

So as it has cooled down, we decided to attend to the most neglected part of our yard, including taking the branch apart, weeding the gravel pit, as we so fondly call it, and “recreationally burn” our firepit. With kindling. From our yard. Yeah.

So we broke the branch down

And we burned.

And weeded

It’s nice to get our yard and our space back. We’ve also been tucking in our plants and preparing for cold weather, harvesting in our garden (home grown tomatoes are the BEST), and we’re hoping to squeeze out one garden before the end of the season. Of course we’ll keep you posted about that.

Finally, Katie is hard at work on the little table, which is coming along nicely.

Happy fall!

 

 

 

 

 

Bounty abound

August 7, 2011

Here at BurbEx, we’ve posted a lot about our vegetable garden While it’s had some ups and downs, it is finally starting to produce en masse. Today’s post features two of our most bountiful producers – yellow wax beans and flat-leaf parsley.

Parsley is a great herb that can be used for a large range of foods. For whatever reason, our parsley has grown as if it was the last plant holding the earth together. We dried the first crop, but the second we decided to try making a parsley pesto. The basics of pesto include herbs (typically basil), pine nuts, salt, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.

Start by collecting your herb and pulse it in your processor to break down the parsley.

Once the herbs are broken down a bit, add the rest of your ingredients except for the olive oil.

Then, slowly drizzle in your olive oil until the pesto pulls together in to a creamy consistency.

 

Yum!

The other project we took on was to process our yellow wax beans. While there is a lot you can do with beans, we opted to can them in to dilly beans. Canning is a relatively simple, but it requires some finicky steps. The first step is to boil your jars, rings, lids, and tools. Once your tools are sterilized, you can begin preparing your jars for canning.

While you stuff your jars, prepare your brine. We had approximately 1.25 lbs of beans (topped and chopped to be 1″ shorter than the jar), so we prepared a brine of 1 cup vinegar (white distilled), 1/2 c water, salt, and 4 tbsp of sugar. Bring the brine to a boil while stuffing the jars.

 

In the jars, stuff the beans in tightly. Add in fresh dill, dill seed, peppercorns and garlic.

 

 

After the jars are stuffed and the brine comes up to a boil, ladle the brine in to the jars until it covers the beans by a 1/2 inch, being sure to leave a 1/2 inch of space at the top. The space allows the air to come out and seal the jar when heated.

Place the lids on the jars, tighten the rings, and place the jars in your water bath. We boiled our jars for 15 minutes, plus an additional ten minutes adjusting for altitude. Once boiled, let the jars rest in the bath for five minutes, and then place on a towel for 24 hours. During this time the jars will cool and seal. Check the seals after the 24 hours are up and you have your canned dilly beans!

Here are just a few more garden pictures. These show everything planted and the different sections separated out with stakes and yarn. We’re missing a few signs still, but everything is done. Also, we have awesome homemade pea trellis from a couple of redwood stakes, some yarn and the staple gun ;). Now here’s hoping it grows!

Veggies Redux

May 8, 2011

Not much to add to today’s post, just pictures of our veggie gardens coming along.

Small box 

 

 

 

 

The total list includes beans, peas, radish, carrot, onion, basil, rosemary, chives, herbal mix, cayanne peppers, habaneros, cherry and grape tomatoes, bistro tomatos, pumpkins, watermelon, and cucumbers. Pending are zucchini, bibb lettuce, and spinach.

In other news, our front gardens are starting to go for it!