Captured Moments – Succulent Treasures

Good morning,

I love gardening.  All types of gardening, whether it’s flowers, vegetables, water gardens or cacti and succulents.    My succulent collection has been steadily growing over the last few years.  I keep telling myself to say no to friends offering starts from their succulents, or those “too cool to leave at the garden center” plants I keep bringing home.  So of course, I found an Etsy shop this week called Succulent Treasures.

They sell succulents and cacti and even have gift boxes.

These are wonderful!  Click on the images above or here: Succulent Treasures

I will definitely be dropping some hints about this shop for the holidays. 🙂

 

Captured Moments – Homemade Flock Blocks

I have chickens.  You may have seen post about them before. Here, here, here and here.  😉  The last group of hens we raised are not happy being “cooped” up even with a large run and placement items for them to climb on.  I started looking at flock block recipes after seeing them in the feed store.  I found this one 

DIY Homemade Flock Blocks For Chickens

It is on the blog  Mavis Butterfield’s One hundred Dollars a Month

I had most of the ingredients on hand and it was fairly easy to make.  I added dried meal worms to our recipe, just because.  

I used the small pans as suggested in the article.  I also let them cool overnight.  The author mentioned that she had some crumble apart when taken out of the pans warm.

The hens were wary of this as they are with anything new.  We had one brave hen who decided to go first and was well rewarded for her bravery.

What is this thing?

Let’s take a closer look.

Maybe it will look better from this angle.

Going in for a taste.

Once she tasted it, she went at it with gusto and broke the string that was holding it to the log.  It took the other hens a few moments to catch on that there was a treat. 

It proved to be an easy, inexpensive way to give the hens a treat and distract them for a little while.  Definitely a recipe to keep.  Venture over to Mavis Butterfield’s blog for more chicken, gardening and money saving ideas.

 

Captured Moments – Garden harvest – Peppers

I had a bumper crop of hot peppers this year.  I planted several sweet pepper varieties including green, brown and yellow bell peppers and Cubanelles.  The Cubanelles did very well and produced all summer.  The bell pepper not so much.

This photo is from the end of the season.  The dragon cayenne is prolific.  The small orange pepper in the bottom left are the habanero pepper.  

Here is one of the Cubanelle plants early in the season.

The Cubanelles are great for making stuffed peppers.  Large, although thin walled, they have a mild flavor.  This is a chorizo stuffed pepper recipe I got from Chili Pepper Madness website.  They were so tasty.  The Cubanelles change color as they ripen, here I used them at the yellow stage.  They also turn a gorgeous red color.

I only planted one jalapeño plant, one habanero plant, one Tabasco pepper plant, and one chili pequin.  It was more than enough.

I made pepper sauce with some of the peppers and froze some of the sweet peppers.  I also decided to dry some peppers.  This has turned out to be the easiest preservation method so far.

I use a dehydrator that was given to me about 25 years ago.  It is American Harvest Snack Master Pro Dehydrator by Nesco.  They do not make the exact model I have anymore.  Mine works just fine and I have extra trays for it too.

I split some of the peppers – the jalapeños and habaneros, and left the others whole.

It took about twelve hours to dry the peppers.

I then stored them in glass canning jars.

Dried Dragon cayenne peppers

Ground, dried cayenne peppers.

Dried Tabasco peppers

 

Dried red jalapeños

Dried habanero peppers.

Dried Chili Pequin peppers

I also dried some herbs.  They dry at a lower temperature and took longer.  The oregano dried nicely, the basil did not.  I ended up freezing the rest of my basil in olive oil or making it  into pesto, which I also froze (minus the cheese).

Dried oregano

I am sure there are many variables that determine the success and length of time when drying vegetables and herbs.  It was fun and I am looking forward to discovering uses for all of this dried pepper. 🙂

Captured Moments- Fall caterpillars

The summer garden is coming to an end.  I have been pulling out dead plants, turning the compost and  taking up the soaker hoses.  There are a few flowers still blooming and the the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars are everywhere.  They are taking care of removing the passion vine that invaded the vegetable garden for me.

Passion fruit

Butterflies enjoying the blue mist flowers.

Fuzzy black caterpillar munching on oregano.

 

Not sure what this caterpillar will turn into either.  It was on the dead cypress vines.  

Captured Moments – Garden of the Gods – part 3

There are many trails and places to hike in the Garden of the Gods park.  We started at the Perkins Central Garden Trail.  From there we drove to the Siamese Twins trail.  (Click on the park info tab to get a map of the trails and formations, and more great information)

So we begin.

I love the texture of the tree roots.  There were many trees with exposed roots along the rocky trails.

This is a panoramic shot from the trail on our way to the Siamese Twins formation.

Coming up to the  Siamese Twin rock formation.

Window looking towards Pikes Peak.

Gorgeous views from the trails.

Balanced Rock

As you can tell, I loved this day trip to the Garden of the Gods.  There was so much more there to explore and I would love to come back.  I hope you have enjoyed visiting the park with me.  

Captured Moments – Garden of the Gods – the white cottony plant edition.

My friend Tim teases me, saying that I have to stop and take photos of all the cottony plants.  I guess he’s right.  When we were at the Garden of the Gods I was definitely stopping to take photos of the fluffy, fuzzy, cottony  plants. 😉

The photo below was edited in Topaz Studio.  The effect is called Degas Dancers 1.

 

 

 

Captured Moments – Garden of the Gods – part 2

Good morning,

When I think of the Garden of the Gods, I think of the huge beautiful red rocks with names like Cathedral Spires, or Sleeping Giant.  Of course, there is so much more to see there and one of those is another rock formation they simply refer to as White Rock.

 

See the rock formation on the top to the left?

 

We decided it looked like a buffalo.  What do you think?

This was a fun day trip and there are more photos to go through and hopefully share.  If you are in Colorado Springs and I would highly recommend visiting Garden of the Gods.

Happy Halloween

Trick or Treating has come to an end at our house.  It is now parties or getting together with friends.  There will still be candy and cupcakes, decorations and some reminiscing – at least on my part.

We used to carve pumpkins, but this year slipped past without so much as buying one.  The pumpkin patch did yield a few good ones for baking. Those have been cooked and put in the freezer for later use.

Here are a few jack -o-lanterns from our past celebrations.

Wishing your a fun filled spooky Halloween.

 

Captured Moments – Lions and Tigers and Bears…

Oh my!

Sorry.

I couldn’t resist.

More from the Denver Zoo

Photos edited using Topaz Studio

We arrived at the lion area as they were setting out their..dinner.

I liked the black and white effect. 

 

This effect is called Faded Glory (below)

There were two bears and both were sound asleep.  The rock pillow doesn’t look very comfortable.

Expressionism effect (below)

 

Captured Moments – Blue bird of happiness?

Good morning!

I saw this beautiful bird at the Denver Zoo.  I forgot to take a photo of the name so, I have no idea what kind of bird this is.  (If anyone knows the name, please share in the comments) These were taken through the glass  of the enclosure. They came out better than I expected.

I am not sure the look on it’s face would qualify as happiness (below).  Maybe it’s doing an angry blue bird impression.