Monday, July 26, 2021

The Gift That Just Keeps Giving

Well we are starting another week. There are some unbelievable hot temperatures and heat indexes across the country. We are fortunate thus far that our temperatures have stayed in the mid 80's with heat indexes around 90. Those down in the basin below us are not so fortunate and some of their temperatures are stifling. 

Some days there is a haze now. The radio says it is from the wildfires. Hard to believe that smoke has traveled this far. 

My 2 hills of zucchini are definitely over achievers. Geez do I have the zucchini. I have started splitting a couple everyday for the chickens as treats. 

Picking blueberries every other day now. They are going in the freezer in vacuum bags and in my oatmeal in the mornings. 

My blackberries are huge this year. Lots more are still on the vines. I will be picking these all the way into fall. 

Picking, washing and preserving in some way is a daily job right now. Not huge batches of anything but it does not take long to add up. When we lived on the big farm it was larger batches but less often. Now I don't do canning/preserving marathons but small batches more often. 

In the end it evens out though and the freezers and pantry are filling up fast. There is still lots of produce to go. 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


I can also be found at

Friday, July 23, 2021

Yellow Squash & Zucchini Season

 Not sure about in everyone else's garden but every year  about this time my counters are overflowing with yellow squash an zucchini. And inevitably every year I get emails asking what to do with this over abundance. 

 I traditionally make a squash casserole called French Market Squash Casserole with them. This casserole can also be made with frozen squash, canned squash or even dehydrated squash. This casserole is one of my husbands favorites. 

Here are some links to different squash casseroles I have made:

Picadilly Style Squash Casserole

Lady Bird Johnson's Shrimp and Squash Casserole

We also enjoy them brushed with olive oil and grilled to add to our summer meal preps. A great and easy low cal addition. Don't forget sliced and frozen for winter eating smothered with bacon and onions in a big old cast iron skillet. 

I have canned them and before you ask "Yes" they do get mushy. But for recipes like the French Market casserole it requires you slicing and boiling till soft anyway so it just saves you a step. They are already soft and just drain and add to casserole. 

I also cook them down and mash like mashed potatoes  and freeze in containers then remove from containers and while frozen put in vacuum sealed freezer bags. These mashed squash squares are defrosted and added to sautéed onions and garlic, and  homemade chicken broth in a pot. I simmer for a bit and run my immersion blender through it. Then while hot I make a white roux in a separate pan out of butter and flour and then add cream to the room. This I add to the hot squash mixture for a cream of squash soup. You can add cheese or bacon bits to it. This is one of my husbands favorite "cream of" soups. 

I also dehydrate them which is super easy to do. Once dry they can be a cracker substitute with you favorite dip. We like them with a spinach dip.  A great way to cut back on some of those carbs and yet still enjoy dips or even salsas.  They can be dehydrated and ground to a powder also. Then you can add them to smoothies, soups and casseroles for the added vitamin benefits.

One cup of raw, sliced yellow squash contains 18 calories. The carbs in yellow squash amount to 3.8 g per 1-cup serving which provides you with 2.9 percent of the 130 g daily recommendation. 

1 cup of sliced squash  contains 1.2 g. Fiber. Each 1-cup portion contains 19 g or 32 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C  an antioxidant that blocks cellular damage from free radicals, helping to slow aging and possibly decreasing your risk of heart disease, arthritis and cancer. 

A 1-cup serving of yellow squash also supplies you with 32.8 mcg, or 8 percent of the daily recommended value of folate, a B vitamin.

 The nutrition in yellow squash includes beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body. A 1-cup serving of sliced squash contains 136 mcg of this provitamin. Beta-carotene helps ward off certain cancers, as well as heart disease and vision degeneration associated with aging.

And in that same family let's not forget zucchini made to taste like shredded pineapple with the addition of pineapple juice and a bit of sugar. Great in baked goods and cakes. 

And don't forget 

And a recipe for slow cooker pork made with zucchini pineapple chunks

So don't waste that bumper crop of squash and zucchini put it to good use. I replant squash about every 3 weeks. When they get ratty and drop off on production I just pull them. Cuts down lots on squash bugs that way. 

Everyone stay safe in this heat and don't forget the water and sunscreen.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


I can also be found at

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


 Every year I try to start something new and this year it was borage and am I ever in love. It is edible but even more than that the bees and pollinators love it. It does seem to be gangly and tall though but I read that lots of people plant it like every 2 weeks. Since it supposedly  reseeds easily I hope to have lots of it in my future. A great weed to have. I think next year I will plant it throughout my back garden. Anyone else grow it and have tips. 

Midweek in the garden and started another hot compost pile from the trimmings of a giant zucchini plant, some borage trimmings, green grass from the lawn, sawdust and straw and manure from the duck house. Another pile to turn daily. 

Picking daily blueberries, blackberries, cucumbers, squash and zucchini.

 I think the birds picked the few mulberries there were for me. 

I did pick the beets and they are on the stove this morning cooking so I can pickle. 

Pulled up a zucchini that was getting ratty and will plant one to replace it today. 

Set out 9 baby cabbage plants for the fall. Cabbage is a crop here that will grow late into fall. The late cabbage becomes my winter refrigerator kraut fermented and stored in the fridge. 

The purple hulls are blooming to beat the band. 

I also set out some late petunias, hyssop and zinnias. I noticed some volunteer petunias that have popped up also from last year. 

Temperatures are running in the mid to high eighties here and we got a 2 inch rain just a couple days ago. This is the traditional "dry" season for this area though. I did notice down in Knoxville they have about a week of 90's predicted. Even though it is hot and humid we are thankful because it seems half the country is suffering from drought or burning up in fires. So we are counting our own blessings and praying for those not so fortunate. 

Just another hot summer here in Hickery Holler with the old people, the garden, the chickens and ducks, three old dogs and one fuzzy duckling. Lots of birds, bees and butterflies and too many Japanese beetles. Sure wish I could find something to eat those beetles. Those ducks won't touch them. They will eat them slimy snails like they are chocolate but won't touch the beetles. Crazy ducks!!

Stay cool everyone. 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

I can also be found at 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Deadheading & Summer Cleanup

The Daylilies were beautiful this year along beside the blue blooms of the large hosta. With the summer heat and a 2 inch rain last night to beat everything down not so much now. Limbs are on the ground from the storm also. I think my project for the week will be deadheading all the spent blooms from the hosta and daylilies and building a new compost pile with them. I have some additions from the chicken pen cleanout last week that I will add to it also. All that chicken poo should make for a good hot compost pile.

I planted Stella D Oro daylilies along the front of the big asparagus bed. I had some daylilies that needed thinning and thought that would make a pretty bed once the asparagus leafs out every year. I noticed last week that I have asparagus coming up in other beds that needs to be dug where the birds have planted it also. 

The hedge row is coming along nicely on the west fence. The plums are pretty well gone now and after I rake the mulch under the trees and get up any residual fruit pits or fruit and clean up the plums will be officially finished for the year. 

Sounds like a full week along with canning another batch of beets that looks to be ready. 

Floating in zucchini and squash but enjoying having it fresh. 

Just another busy summer week in the garden. 

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


I can also be found at 


Friday, July 16, 2021

Black Currants

 Anyone out there have black currants. My bushes are bearing for the first time and am curious how people use them.

Notice the bushes at the front of the elderberries in the picture. 

Now about 4 foot high they are healthy and green. No thorns and thus far I have not had to prune in any way. The greatest plus is that I have never had to spray these berries in any way. They have continued to be reliably disease and pest free. The other plus is that the birds tend to leave them alone. I am contemplating buying some of the red ones next year but for now all of my currants are black. 

I read that they root easily as well. 

I like having different berries because if one crop of something fails I always have back up. If the birds take one crop I always have backup. Sometimes I have to get a little creative in how I use them because a person can only eat so much jelly and pie. But I like always having fresh fruit for my oatmeal and eating out of hand.  If all else fails I can always make wine! 

For me breaking away from the traditional apple/pear/cherry/peach hybrids was one of the better things I ever did. Going with nontraditional fruits such as gooseberries, currants, native plums, blueberry, blackberry, elderberry and strawberry has been much more reliable. 

The other plus is with a new apple tree costing $40 to $50 most of these fruits I can easily propagate myself. 

Not bearing yet are my juneberry(serviceberry), highbush cranberry, pawpaw, nanking cherry and  cornelian cherry. The mulberry tree also has it's first fruits this year although only a hand full. 

So for my new mountain home I will stick with mostly natives although I did add 2 heirloom pears this year that I have noticed grow well in this area and a supposedly hardy wild apricot.  Time will tell how successful these are. 

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago but the second best time to plant a tree is now.
Chines Proverb

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

I can also be found at 
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