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Monday, June 22, 2015

Neighborhood Halloween Decorating Contest

My husband is one to compete with our neighborhood for the BEST decorated Halloween house and today he came home from shopping and said that he saw Halloween products on the shelves at Hobby Lobby. This of course made him think that we should start planning for October festivities. I like the Halloween season also but think we need to enjoy the summer season and NOT start getting ready for Halloween.
Photograph of Decorated house for Halloween 

In the past, Husband would start getting ready in August and I was okay with this since his projects were self-contained; in the garage and not on display in the yard...BUT June no way will I agree with him that it is time to get ready for the Halloween season.

Know that our neighborhood has an annual contest for the best-decorated yard for Halloween and every year my husband tries to win. He has been competing since 2007 but thus far has not won anything but has made kids smile and that means more than a prize plaque for the lawn

When getting ready for Halloween we make our yard decorations and buy pumpkins and corn stalks but this year husband has added inflatables; Halloween props and scenery to our yard. I think the kids will really like it and that the lighted props will make our  home at the bottom of the hill more noticeable to trick or treaters in the neighborhood.

Do you decorate outdoors for Halloween?

Here are my designs for Halloween home decorations and more

See other gifts available on Zazzle.

Autumn Leaves Covered in Snow

Today while looking at my photographs from last fall I came across the images that I took after the snow had fallen all day onto trees that had leaves. Yes it was a very early in season snow storm that had occurred before the leaves had fallen to the ground.

I went out at night to photograph the trees. They looked gorgeous covered in the white glistening snow but when the temperature changed the wet snow turned to ice and that is when there were problems. The branches that were on the trees that were not mature started drooping toward the ground, some trees and shrubs bent all the way over and were becoming uprooted. The snow, ice and leavers were too heavy for the branches and large branches from the mature trees were breaking and falling to the ground.

We could hear the crack and then hear the thud on the forest floor followed by a rumble. When it snows in early autumn while leaves are on the trees it creates a really dangerous situation. As I recall I took photographs of the trees from my patio, as I was fearful to walk into the yard due to the branches breaking.

Here is another photograph of mature oak tree that has leaves.  This photo I took at night when the ice had formed around the leaves.  what you are seeing in this photo is a combination of leaves, snow and ice. Taking photographs of nature in the fall season is fun, but it this situation I needed to be very careful.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Putting Up Fresh Cherries For Fall Season

Last week I harvested the ripe cherries from my tree and my harvest was great. So I spent the entire day pitting the cherries for pie and freezing the leftover cherries for fall season pies, muffins and cobblers.  In the past my harvest has been small and there were never enough cherries left over for putting up. But this year I thought it would be really nice to have cherries on hand for pie in the fall.  

I wasn't certain as to how to put up fresh cherries so I asked my husband, the chef, and he told me to wash the cherries in cold water, remove the stems, cut in half and take out the pit.   Next get out your cookie sheets and line them with wax paper or parchment paper, I had parchment paper so that is what I used.

Set the half side up on the wax paper, the cherries are a single layer and they should not touch each other because they will freeze together.  Freeze the cherries. When the cherries are completely frozen, in approximately 5 to 6 hours to be fully frozen, Remove the cherries from the freezer, then transfer them into freezer zip lock bags, or other product that has air tight seal.  Then freeze the bagged cherries until they are needed for your fall recipes.

Know that getting fresh cherries ready for freezing, freezing them and then transferring them into freezer bags is not hard to do. BUT if you harvest the cherries in the morning and then follow all of these steps, you will be spending the entire day putting up your cherries. So why not make a fresh cherry pie on the same day that your prep cherries for freezing.

Personally while those cherries are freezing it sure would be nice to have a slice of pie.