Growing Gifts by Valerie

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Apple butter October 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — txcrazy426 @ 12:37 am

I’ve finished my last batch of Apple Butter for the fall. I so want to do more but I need to set boundaries. I am swamped with garden planning- but I’m so much into the producing. I really enjoy making it with my children but the cooking, mixing, canning- I do It all. I am allergic to raw apples so they help with the washing, coring and slicing. I use a recipe that involves the crock pot- and it can take up to 24 hours to reduce by half. The house smells divine while it cooks. 

This year I will be selling the apple butter at my co-ops and out of the trunk at church. I advertised on the homemade goodies BST Facebook group and got asked to sell at the local Fall Farmer’s Market. I’m kinda excited. 

We had several “incidents” so my 80 lbs of apples produced 3 quarts less- and can I Imagesay it was painful to throw it all away.  I guess I was praying for patience. How silly of me.  

The knitting of the scarves has commenced and that activity will fill my spare time – as long as I get this new garden planned and planted. 

Hope you would like some Fresh NC Apple Butter!



Filed under: Uncategorized — txcrazy426 @ 12:01 am


Saturday, October 26, 2013
9:00 am- 12 pm
Come out and see us!
Free samples of Apple Butter


Backyard Garden (produce) Tour, July 4th, 2012 July 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — txcrazy426 @ 5:29 pm

pie pumpkin. Thinking we’re making pumpkin muffins soon!

Pumpkin vine is dead (scorched is a better description) on one side, wilted from the heat on the other. Thinking it is just this 100+ degree heat and not squash bugs.


Winter squash from the compost pile.

Winter squash that 1) I did not plant nor eat and 2) came from the compost pile so it had a hybrid in whatever food I put in there and now the true seed is coming out.  Which squash is bred with winter squash??? Need to research that.

cantaloupe, again in the compost pile.

This is from a farmer’s market cantaloupe. They look good!

Yellow pear tomato

All of the tomatoes I have planted have been near death, or I would have sold them. So if they are green, it is a miracle.  This is the yellow pear. It’s produced 5 fruits so far. Needs to get a bit healthier but I think it will do fine.

Principie Bourgese, a large grape tomato.

A grouping of 4 tomatoes that have given my 9 yo pure satisfaction.

sweet basil

Basil anyone? This plant is doing great. Always plant your basil near your tomatoes. Adds to the flavor of the tomatoes.

Peacevine Cherry. Starting to turn red this week.

This is gonna be one LARGE vine. Probably 50+ green tomatoes right now. This will be my best producer.


That’s it for the backyard produce garden tour. Tune in for the flower tour at our next installment. See ya!





Moon and Stars! July 3, 2012

Filed under: gardening — txcrazy426 @ 3:07 pm

Moon and Stars Watermelon, immature.

We are getting so much from the community garden. The girls (my son detests watermelon) love watermelon, and since it was July 3rd, I conceded. It is really sweet. Just imagine what a mature melon would taste like. Yum!


well, umm. Nothing. June 25, 2012

Filed under: gardening — txcrazy426 @ 5:48 am

Here I am. I am a bit busy. With all these things. So, so many things.


I have several herb baskets still to sell. What to do? I don’t really want to invest any time or money into the project. I need a quick fix. Uh-hello. Inspiration is more like it.


I so enjoyed growing all the herbs. I so enjoyed helping everyone know about growing herbs. But now, it is hot. H.O.T. And well, I’d rather be at the pool, or inside sewing, or sweating at the Y. Yeah, even that.

Oh, I just got an idea. Thank you ,God. I’ll take them with me to the Community garden. Yes! It’s a win-win. I’ll benefit from the plants at the garden and my patio will be cleared off. Okay, I’ll work on it all week and get back with you.



Some pictures…

Filed under: gardening,plants in yard — txcrazy426 @ 5:42 am

Our water lily. Isn’t it pretty?

I came out to water the tomatoes and found our water lily had bloomed. It is so beautiful.

The flowers my 9 yo arranged for the librarians.

My 9 yo girl watched all the flower arrangement videos on you-tube and ran around and cut these flowers from the yard. I like the sunflowers best. She arranged them. And she did a pretty good job.

Inside of the bluebird nest box

The bluebirds fledged. I was able to get them on video. go here to see the videos. They are awesome. Chris took some photos while cleaning out the nest. Second brood, 5 fledged in first brood, 3 fledged in second, one egg didn’t make it.

A happy, happy lizard.

We love seeing our lizards happy. Especially when they are close to the plastic tomato ties we have. It is Fun-ny.





Oops. June 4, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — txcrazy426 @ 5:07 am

Sorry if you guys got a post about Jesse Tree. I put it on this blog by accident. I’ve erased it, but if you are following me, I so apologize, as it has not much to do with growing things. Or does it? Hmmm.


Anyways, for a quick update, I have been active in my backyard garden as well as the community garden. I’ve helped 4 gals start their flower/ veggie gardens at their home and that makes me feel good as a garden coach. I’ve sold almost 2/3’s of my supply of tomato starts and herb collections, and I think I’m gonna try craigslist. Gotta get these beauties sold!


I have a pumpkin that has been fertilized and my garlic is almost ready to flower. It is time to plant my bush beans and corn. I’m gonna be doing a three sisters arrangement in my one raised bed. I’ll do a photo essay on it’s progress. 

All my flowers are doing great. Hydrangeas are beautiful. Gardenias are slowly fading, making me quite sad. The day lilies are bursting with color to my front bed. I have one call lilly and one hardy lilly ready to bloom. The glads are blooming as the volunteers from last year’s zinnias are taking off and getting established. I love being in the garden. I don’t even mind the swarms of bees around the bee balm or the hollyhocks. Its all good.

Keep gardening folks!