RSS Feed

Daily Archives: October 23, 2013

Confessions of a Leaf Raker

Posted on

In response to HoCoConnect’s post this morning.

I admit. We are leaf rakers. Of course, some of it becomes compost. Some of it is given away to our Rake and Take partners, and some of it (occasionally) goes to the landfill in the pickup truck.

It is easy to say “let it stay on the lawn”. Until it gets to be 4-6 inches deep and it is killing the green stuff that grows in our yard. I hesitate to call it grass, since we have all sorts of unconventional green things growing out there. Like clover, chickweed, buttercups, dandelions, crabgrass, moss, purslane, parsley. Whatever. Oh, and corn, from what the squirrels bury.

We do have resourceful squirrels out here. Smart, too.

Our grass isn’t fertilized, treated, cultivated, manicured. The deer love it.


We do have to deal with it taking off in strange directions, and unless we want mud out there, we have to pick up the leaves. When you have 150+ trees on the property, some of them 50 feet high, and many of them 40+ feet high, you can drown in leaves. They smother the green stuff and make it die.

We do a mulching leaf vacuuming every week. It results in 15-20 bags each time. Our Rake and Take partners take some for their compost piles. We put some out by our shed in our compost pile.

If we didn’t have a Rake and Take partner, we would head off to Alpha Ridge and put it in the yard waste piles that will become compost to sell by the county.

Until we came here, from a town house in Columbia, we had no idea how much work a large property can be. It does keep us in shape, all that raking, leaf blowing, vacuuming, mowing, mulching, snow blowing, tree cutting, pruning, gardening, weeding.

Actually, we like what we have out here. Particularly with sunsets like this.



So Worth It

Posted on

One of the things I like most about being part of the hocoblogs community is the encouragement (and the inspiration) to try new things.

Like canning. Between HowChowBlog, LisaBMrsS, and The Soffrito, I am working my way up and now have conquered tomato sauce.


Before processing in the hot water bath, two quarts of sauce. This took about 20 of the heavy beefy tomatoes from our Larriland visit. I roasted them, after halving them and scooping out the seeds. Pulled off the skins once they cooled a bit. Put them in a pot with gently “sweated” onions, shallots, garlic and olive oil. Added some Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cooked for about 30 minutes. Ladled into the jars, with lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Processed for 45 minutes.


Until I was encouraged by my fellow bloggers, to take that step from freezing to canning, I wouldn’t have done this. HowChow got us interested in picking at Larriland. Lisa encouraged me once I did my first jars of jelly. Victoria at The Soffrito back in our food challenge days showed me meals made from her canned items.

All told, I have made three pints of oven roasted tomatoes, four bags of whole peeled blanched tomatoes and two quarts of tomato sauce. I have enough tomatoes left to make two more quarts of sauce once the last 20 tomatoes get ripe enough.

I figure that if I bought organic sauce, canned tomatoes and roasted tomatoes, it would have cost us at least $40. We got these 24 pounds of tomatoes at Larriland for $16.

I think that’s worth the price. Don’t you?

Didn’t get to pick apples today, but we are heading out there tomorrow. Canned applesauce coming soon to the kitchen near me!