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Yes, no, maybe so

What's the best use of garden space? I have lots of yard, but the plowed garden is limited. Now that the growing season is ending, it's time to make some decisions for next year. Under the Reaping and Eating categories of the blog, I give you (drumroll):

The only perfect red pepper I was able to grow this year.
I'm saving the seeds from this baby! The flesh was just the right thickness, the flavor was sweet and I managed to pick it before any bugs, worms, slugs or critters got to it. I used it in a stir-fry for dinner last night (along with the homegrown celery to the right of the pepper).

The entire cranberry bean harvest fits in a one-pint jar.
This photo represents a 25-foot row of cranberry bean plants. To be fair, I lost some of the plants to bean rust, but still. I can buy a one-pound bag of dried cranberry beans for $1.39. I think I paid $2.29 for the seeds. I won't be doing this again.

A dried black-eyed pea pod.
I soaked a few (20, maybe) black-eyed peas in a wet paper towel one night, and threw them in a short (10 feet, maybe) row just to see what would happen. This is a very cool-looking plant, and each pod yields several beans, sometimes as many as 10 per pod.

Several pods' worth of dried black-eyed peas.
I have half a bucket of dried pods left to shell, which is a pleasant and mindless task sitting at the picnic table in our pine grove. I probably will plant these again, because I think it's my good fortune to grow my own black-eyed peas for New Years' Day Hoppin' John.

There are, of course, lots of decisions left to make about next year's crops. It's helpful to start the list when you're still working in the garden. Once the snow flies, it's easy to be tempted by those pretty pictures in the catalogs. You know … the cranberry bean ones.


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Update on the water: the circuit breaker tripped, either due to a power surge when the electricity came back on last night OR when lightning struck in the area. My neighbor's electric fence control box got hit in the same area. He was able to reset the circuit breaker for us and we have WATER! I think I'll go do a load of laundry. Heh.

It's all about the food

The dieting portion of this blog is temporarily suspended. Continue reading at your own risk.

If you’re going to throw a party, be sure to have good food and plenty of it. That’s my daughter’s philosophy, and I think it’s pretty good advice.

The members of the group who will be here Thursday night are middle-aged and older, so I think mostly traditional appetizers are in order. We’ll have Swedish meatballs and those little sausages cooked in a sweet-and-sour sauce, along with artichoke dip, hummus with vegetables and crackers, a bowl of cinnamon-spiced nuts and a fruit pizza.

Cupcakes are on the menu. Cupcakes sure seem to be popular these days – Google Blogsearch came up with 1,181,447 hits and is selling a boatload of cupcake cookbooks.

Mine are plain old chocolate, and will be decorated with the words “Yes We Can” on top. I think some will be iced in blue and some in white, with red lettering.

I’m also making pig candy. I first had this at one of my daughter’s Oscar parties s…

And the winner is …

Kitten with a Whiplash, who left two comments and it was the second (which had nothing to do with the contest) which won the prize. Congratulations, and since the Kitten was the only commenter who expressed any interest in actually winning it, I'm so glad the Universe took care of it. Heh.

What a weekend! But first, how was yours? I hope you did some fun stuff and got some necessary stuff done, as well. It's all about balance.

Saturday was our fun day (but we had to drive, drive, drive to get there and then drive, drive, drive home again, all in one day, boy was I tired). We went to my husband's granddaughter's first birthday party. In addition to a sweet little doll, suitable for ages 0+ (meaning it has no parts that will come loose, and do you know how difficult it is to find dolls for babies when you live in the Middle of Nowhere?), I made her this:

I haven't sewn anything in a month of Sundays, so was a little apprehensive about finishing it on time, but this p…