09 November 2011

What to do with green tomatoes?

Trying to grow tomatoes in a cold climate automatically means that you will end up with a lot of green tomatoes at the end of the season.  Even in this warmer climate, I wound up with many unripe tomatoes.  In the past few years, I've been experimenting with different things to do with these little guys, since I don't want to waste anything that can actually be used. 

Of course, there's the cool sounding fried green tomatoes, which I don't really care for unless they're not truly green.  Even when I do make them, I'm usually the only person that eats them, since they just look funny to everyone else.

In past research, I was surprised to find that the green taco sauce (that my dad has to have) is made from green tomatoes.  I found a few recipes online (this one is complicated.  There are simpler ones) and tried it out.  It turned out too hot for my kids, but the adults liked it.

I have also made green tomato relish, which tastes just like the relish that everybody loves on their hot dogs.  I'll post the recipe at the end of this post.  My mother has been busy canning jars of this all fall after my sister dumped a few boxes of green tomatoes in her lap.

Since the relish is already being covered, I decided that this year, I wanted to make mock raspberry jam with my green tomatoes.  Don't laugh, it really turns out looking and tasting like the real thing.  The texture is right and the tomato seeds look like raspberry seeds.  I couldn't find my recipe though, so I was thrilled to see the recipe posted at a friends blog, Home Maid Simple.  I guess I'd better get busy sorting and washing my tomatoes.

I have also just been informed that you can make a mock apple pie with green  tomatoes, but I don't think I'll try that just yet.

What have you done with your green tomatoes?

Green Tomato Relish

Grind and drain:
13 cucumbers
6 onions
20 large green tomatoes
2 green peppers
2 red peppers (or green or yellow...)

2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cloves
8 cups sugar
4 cups vinegar

Boil 1 hour

Make a paste:
4 Tbs flour
2 Tbs dry mustard
2 Tbs turmeric

Add paste and stir until thick.  Can pints in water bath for 10 minutes (4500 ft elev).  16 minutes above 7000 ft.

31 October 2011

It's getting cold outside!

Happy Halloween!  We're a bit behind in the holiday department.  Finally got most of the pumpkins carved this weekend and roasted the seeds last night.  Of course I left the costume preparation until the last minute and was up late last night altering the vampire cape so it wouldn't drag on the ground.  The witch hat disappeared for a while, but was found again, in the closet of all places.   

Almost a year ago, we wandered through a store and found costumes for almost nothing and thought we were so clever for buying next years costumes when they were cheap. I managed to out-smart myself in all of this however. We purchased a cute little duck costume for the little one, but I had to put it away because the big kids kept trying to squeeze into it.  Now, it's Halloween and I can't seem to remember where I put it away exactly.  Aren't I clever?  Wherever it is, it's safe. 

We enjoyed a very nice October, but the nights have gotten very cold.  I harvested everything I could out of the garden and cleaned it all up.  It felt good to finally get some order to the jungle and be done for the winter.  I had planned on putting in a fall garden, but I just never got to it. 

Growing up, we always had a snow storm on Halloween, but it doesn't look like we'll get a storm tonight.  Hope you have a happy, warm and safe Halloween!

12 October 2011

The October Garden Update

This is the first year that I have still had a garden in October.  Honestly, I've never had a garden survive past August due to early frosts in the mountains, but living in a warmer climate has changed things for me.  While the plants are still alive, things are pretty much finished.  I harvested all the tomatoes that were attempting to turn red this morning and this is what I got.

The North box looks pretty sad since the buttercup squash attacked the tomato trellis and then fell down, pulling most of the tomatoes with it.  There are still many green tomatoes on the plants and I have plans for them, but they will have to wait until I have all my equipment, or until I'm planning a trip back to the ranch. 

I found one more lemon cucumber on the vine, almost ready and a final one ball squash, also nearly ready to be picked.  From three sweet pepper plants I will get a total of three peppers.  One nearly made it to red before my little garden helper proudly picked it for me.  (sigh)  Another is a deep purple color, trying to make it to red and the last is a stubborn green.  I probably won't plant peppers again. It was an impulse buy at the farmer's market anyway.  We just don't use them much and I don't care for the after-taste of green peppers especially.

As soon as I get all those green tomatoes taken care of and the last of the other plants are finished, I'm looking forward to pulling everything out and finally seeing some order in the garden, even if it's just plain dirt.  I may even find another onion under there.  The jungle of tomato and squash plants is looking old and tired and I think it's almost time to put everything to bed.  I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to try to get some spinach out of there before winter hits. 

19 September 2011

Make your own garden fresh salsa!

Here's another drive-by posting!  I keep thinking that things will slow down a bit now that school has been going for a few weeks and my design jobs have finished up, but things still feel crazy around here.

The weather has cooled quite a bit, but the tomatoes are still producing wonderfully.  It is so fun to actually get a harvest from tomato plants.  In the mountains of Wyoming, I would just be getting a few red tomatoes when it would frost and kill everything.  It seems like we would always get a hard frost in August sometime and then another around Labor Day.  In between, we would still have nice summery weather, but squash and tomatoes don't forgive you for a hard frost.

So here I am, getting buried in those wonderful tomatoes and I keep telling myself that I should put together a batch of spaghetti sauce, since we eat a lot of spaghetti and pizza during the year.  But I just can't seem to collect enough tomatoes to make a big enough batch to make the canning effort worthwhile.

Why, you ask?  Because I love fresh salsa!  Every time the counter starts to be overwhelmed with tomatoes, I get a craving for salsa.  I whip up a big batch of the stuff, and then realize that I don't have any corn chips, or that my cilantro is all mushy, so I have made several extra bike trips to the store in my salsa making adventures.  Then I end up eating most of the batch while trying to get the flavors just right, so I have to start over again in order to have some salsa to share with the husband.  There have been many days that I have only had salsa for lunch.  I was hoping to start a new diet trend, but alas, I haven't dropped any inches on my salsa diet.

In case anyone out there is wanting some fresh garden salsa, but isn't quite sure how to get started, let me share my formula with you.  It's not really a recipe because I don't have a single measurement to give you.  Here's what I've got:

Fresh Garden Salsa
-Chop up lots of tomatoes.  Till your bowl is about half to 3/4 full. 
-Chop up the onions.  I like a lot of onion, but you can take it easy here.
-Chop up some cilantro.  I love cilantro, but if you go too crazy here it makes things a bit bitter, so I just do enough that you see a bit of green in every scoop.
-Add some salt and then add some more.
-Pour in a few splashes of lemon or lime juice.  I prefer lemon for some reason.
-Stir and scoop some out on a chip to taste.
-Add salt and lemon as needed to reach your favorite taste.
-Add more tomatoes, onion and cilantro if you taste test too much.
-Eat and repeat.

I guess I'll have to find a farmer before I can any sauce.  I'm not sure how much longer these tomatoes will keep coming.

08 September 2011

Thoughts on boys and dogs

I'm tired today.  My silly husband forgot that he had lots of paperwork to do and went fishing yesterday afternoon.  Late last night, his memory caught up to him and we stayed up very late getting it done.  Very late.  I remember staying up that late without any bad side effects when I was in college.  I guess I'm getting old because I'm stumbling around today in a sleepy haze.  But my grogginess isn't what I want to talk about today.  I want to talk about dogs and boys. 

Those who live in a fairly clean environment may not realize that dogs like to be dirty.  They like to be smelly.  In fact, if they find something particularly disgusting on the ground, they will roll in it until they are completely covered in the nasty stuff.  An environment like a cattle ranch provides ample substances for every dogs pleasure.  We're used to it and our dogs don't come inside much anyway. 

My city cousins on the other hand, were not pleased when their pretty, shiny coated, ride in the car with them dog went straight to a fresh pile of horse manure and adorned herself.  She came up looking like a green zebra and her people were not pleased.  I found it hilarious to watch the city dog, feeling so proud of herself, suddenly become an outcast.  Here she had put on the best perfume she could find and they were unappreciative.  Cruel, even, kicking her out of the tent.  Refusing to pet her.  Pushing her away when she tried to climb into their laps.  She refused to be discouraged though and she re-applied the lovely stuff several times during the family reunion.  I wonder how the 10 hour drive back to civilization was?

Perhaps it is the tired haze I'm in, but suddenly today, as I walk into the disgusting place that is my son's bedroom and hear him whine about having to shower or brush his teeth or wash his hands or do anything that could count as clean, I suddenly had the picture of that dog pop into my head.  Not only does my six year old boy enjoy being filthy, I think he would like to roll in it.  It can't just be my fault because my other kids will actually brush their teeth, with toothpaste on the brush.  It just seems to be the little boy factor going on here.  I really hope that this is a passing phase because if it stays like this for the next 12 years, he just may end up living in the doghouse.

01 September 2011

My late August garden update

Okay, so it's a week later than promised.  The school thing has thrown me for a loop.  Plus the job thing takes time.  Plus, I ran out of planner pages and I'm just floating from task to task, not really knowing if I'm getting the important stuff done or not. 

What was a jungle of green has kind of cleared out a bit.  The landlady cut back the sprinklers a lot and I didn't notice for a while, so I've had a few issues from that.  The buttercup squash vine that attacked the tomato trellis suddenly got too heavy and yanked a bunch of tomatoes down, so things don't look very orderly right now.  In fact it looks pretty messy. 

All of the squash plants have come down with a case of powdery mildew, so after this picture was taken, I went a little crazy pruning out the affected leaves.  In thanks, the zucchini plant spit out four more squashes.  I thought it had given up, but here it comes again!  Hopefully, the plants can get a little more air circulation in there now.  The neighbor lady said that all of her squash got it too and then she shared some of her pear tomatoes with me.

The tomatoes just keep coming, and I love it.  It's kind of funny to have so many, since I'm really the only tomato lover in the house.  My husband did help me clean up two big bowls of fresh salsa though.  I forgot to buy more corn chips at the store, or I would probably be having salsa for lunch again today.

The regular cucumbers have been a disappointment.  Two strangely shaped cukes is all I got from those two plants.  I have harvested several lemon cucumbers and those plants seem to be making some more.  The beans are done.  They won't forgive my not noticing the water situation, but a neighbor says that she has some for me.

My counter is covered with tomatoes and I have a few summer squash sitting in the fridge, waiting for me to get more inspiration on how to prepare them.  And that's my August garden update.  I'm waiting for the weather to cool a bit so I can try again for peas and spinach in the fall.  I love how this hot weather makes those tomatoes turn red, but I'm about ready for some crisp days to come along.

23 August 2011

End of Summer Cramming

Phew!  We've been busy, busy!  Mostly traveling, but I also started a new job doing graphic design.  It's a nice, stay at home type job, but I am out of practice.  It's kind of like stretching a muscle you haven't used in a while, so that has been taking up lots of time.  Actually, I should be working right now, since the kiddos are asleep and the husband is doing husband things, but my brain seems to have reached capacity for today.  I realized as I was cleaning out the fridge and dumping out moldy, forgotten food, that I must be avoiding my work if I was actually cleaning out the fridge.  I never clean out the fridge if I can help it.

So, I figured I'd take advantage of my shirking of work to post a quick thought here on my blog.  I have been trying to check in with the blogs on my reading list, but I know I've missed some good stuff.  I was all set to post a garden update, but then I lost the camera for about a week.  I found it again, at my mom's house, so hopefully tomorrow I'll share some pictures of what's going on there.  Or maybe it will be the next day after that.  I'm hoping to cram one more activity in tomorrow before school officially starts.

About two weeks ago, we suddenly realized that school was upon us and we hadn't accomplished a fraction of the things on our list that we wanted to do this summer.  I hate how school abruptly ends summer like that.  Can I homeschool my kids until October and then send them to public school?  I'm not ready to be tied down like this.  There's still so much nice weather ahead.  Trails to be hiked, marshmallows to roast, creeks to swim in, fish to catch!  It's a panicky feeling knowing that the freedom of summer is nearly over.

Anyway, we tried to cram as much in as we could.  We've been fishing and hiking and camping and museum exploring and grandma visiting and I think some fun memories have been made.  We did discover that the baby is not yet responsible enough to sleep in a sleeping bag, or anywhere else that allows too much freedom of movement.  We did not sleep well because she did not sleep well... that and we forgot any padding to sleep on.  I am amazed at how uncomfortable the ground is now that I'm past 30.  I used to camp all the time as a younger person.  We would sleep right on the ground without a tent.  I don't remember ever being uncomfortable.  I am  now joining the -camping with an air mattress- club.  My 16-year-old self is ashamed, but my back insists.

Aerospace Museum
Tomorrow, I hope to go for one last hiking/fishing expedition before I admit defeat and surrender to the inevitable start of school on Thursday.  Who starts on Thursday anyway?  Who starts before Labor Day, for that matter?  Obviously, nobody asked my opinion on this matter.

09 August 2011

Canning rhubarb

It was just one of those days yesterday.  One of those days that I actually accomplish things.  I love those days.  In spite of sleeping in a bit and dinking around on the computer for a while and then looking up at the clock to see that it was already 11:30(!) I still got some things done.  Or maybe it just felt like it.

Two loads of dishes in the dishwasher and two loads of laundry were washed (but not yet put away).  A double batch of bread was baked.  Two summer squashes were cut up and dehydrated (an experiment).  And two jars of rhubarb were canned.  There was a little trip to the grocery store in there somewhere and then the evening was spent transcribing a couple of interviews that my husband needed for a school project.  He still owes me a massage.  I was too tired last night to collect it.

The rhubarb came from a neighbor.  He swore that they didn't want it and they were leaving on a trip anyway, so I just needed to take it.  I have this rule of never turning things like that down, even though I had no plans for rhubarb anywhere in my head, yet.  My girls decided that the rhubarb stocks looked good enough to chew on, so thinking I'd get a fun show, I let them have some.  The baby was hilarious with her little sour-face spasms and then going right back at it.  They stuck with it for a lot longer than I expected. 

I decided to make a few pies, even though my husband is not a big fan of pie.  He says the crust is too much.  Plus, he's a bit wary of rhubarb tainting the fruit.  So I generally save the pie making for when I'm at my parent's house.  However, there was a neighborhood cookie social coming up and since I didn't have all the ingredients for cookies, but I did have the ingredients for a pie, I made some strawberry rhubarb pie.  The kids and I made mini pies out of the extra stuff in the muffin tin.  Those disappeared quickly.

To my surprise, my husband bravely ate some and liked it!  This is a momentous occasion in our marriage.  He even had some for breakfast this morning.  I always eat pie for breakfast if there is any.  It just tastes so good! 

After the pie making, I still had some rhubarb left over, so yesterday, I canned it.  I'll probably give it to my mom, since she makes pies much more often than I do. 

To can rhubarb, cut stocks into about 1" pieces. 
Add 1/2-1 cup of sugar per quart of cut rhubarb.
Heat up a bit so the sugar becomes a syrup.
Put into sterilized jars and can in a water bath canner.
The starting time is 10 minutes and then you add 1 minute for every thousand feet above 1000 feet.  So here near 5,000 feet, it was for 14 minutes.

Now you'll have rhubarb ready for your desserts all year long!

Well, look at that.  It's 11:30 again.  Guess I'd better get something done today too!

03 August 2011

It can't be August already!

Did you know it's August already?  It kind of snuck up on me.  Now school's right around the corner and we still haven't even scratched the surface of all the things we were going to do with the kids this summer.  We started out with such a good schedule, but inevitably chaos overcame my best of intentions.  Now, we sleep in as long as the baby will let us, eat a late breakfast, try to clean some area of the house (to the harmony of two whining children), eat a little lunch and kick the kids out of the house so I don't lose my sanity.  Then I track them down for a late supper and send them to bed with nasty threats of big spankings if they don't settle down and go to sleep.  Yep, that's my day in a nutshell.

Of course, there are family reunions and last minute get togethers peppered in there, so we are in a constant state of either packing or unpacking, with loads of laundry on both sides.  Oh, and the A/C quit in our van, so we're stuffing ourselves into the little Mazda to get from here to there and back again.  Then I get involved in three projects all at once and the whole house seems to fall apart... and the next thing I know, it's August already! 

I enjoyed my first red tomato last weekend.  It was a tiny little thing from the Stupice tomato plant.  I would have had a few more by now, but the baby decided to pick all the pinkish tomatoes from one plant.  They did ripen up, but they just didn't look that great after being played with by an 18 month old.  Little stinker.  The other tomatoes are slowly, but surely turning red and making me very happy.

That's about all the news from our corner of the world, except that the little man caught his first fish.  Much excitement around that event.  And at least one thing accomplished off of that long list of summer activities. 

I'm off to get working on one of those projects.  Hopefully I'll come up to the surface before September!

26 July 2011

Travelin' Tuesday!

It's late, but it's still Tuesday!  I forgot to get this up this morning since we were headed out the door on a family excursion, so here it is now.

Our next stop on our Germany trip was the well known, touristy town of Rothenburg. 
 It's a big tourist spot for a reason.  

Every street is like a postcard.  
 It's just beautiful.  
It has the stone wall running around the old part of town and so much history packed inside. 
 We took the night watchman's tour and learned quite a bit.
 We watched the sun go down and shine beautifully on the town.
Watching the light fade over this pretty town was definitely a high point of the trip.

 See the doors at the top of this big building?  I found out that they were for food storage way back in the day.  It was a law that you had to have a year's supply of food put away to feed your entire household and the attic was the only dry place to put it.  They would use a pulley system to hoist it up there.  As a food storage lover, I found that interesting.
Here I am, trespassing to get a shot of the garden gate.
 This is a stinkin awesome water wheel that we stopped to take pictures of on our way to Rothenburg.
Even though I kind of frown at being the typical tourist, I have to say that I loved my visit to Rothenburg, Germany.

25 July 2011

Food from the garden and bugs

While we would still probably starve if we were depending on the garden, we finally harvested some actual food this week!  Other than the many salads we've harvested, we have now enjoyed two zucchini, two one ball squash, 16 green beans and five little strawberries.  The strawberries were a fun surprise.  I had forgotten about them completely.  I was walking into the house with a squash when I noticed some red in that pot.  We enjoyed them on our ice cream after dinner.

 There is a lemon cucumber almost ready and one little tomato that is turning red.
 That one is on the heirloom plant called Stupice.  It beat the early girl plants by a long way and they had a huge head start.  I would write this down in my garden journal, but I can't find it.  If you could see my desk, you would know why.  My desk looks like this because I have an 18 month old monster that can now reach on top of tables and desks, pulling anything and everything down onto her silly little head.  So we've had a few desk avalanches and the result is not pretty. 

For fun and because I had a packet for some reason, I planted buttercup squash.  I know nothing about them except that the seed packet said to let them climb up a tomato trellis.  They are up and out of the tomato trellis and fighting the tomatoes for their trellis.  Those vines crack me up, how they twist around anything and coil up so tight. 

The one ball squash are making a comeback.  This one will be ready to eat in the next few days.  These squash seem to be attacking the tomatoes too.  Instead of hanging out from the garden box like I thought they would, they are leaning back into the tomatoes and making quite a jungle.  Their prickly leaves have helped keep the little monster from getting too friendly, so I guess the jungle is a good thing.

 Here's that buttercup squash that is trying to take over the world.  You can't see the cucumbers next to them.  The bees have really loved these flowers, so maybe I have this plant to thank for my one ball and zucchini finally coming around.
 My neighbor found a horn worm on one of her tomatoes, so we're now on high alert.  I informed my kids that I will pay a penny for every caterpillar and grasshopper that they kill and bring to me.  That resulted in a bull-like six year old tearing through my plants and breaking a few things.  Maybe I'll take the horn worms over the six year old...
 I did find a grasshopper tonight and I squished it with my bare hands.  It was gross, but I didn't want it to get away.  I have given my son two chances to catch grasshoppers I found and he's 0 for 2, so I did it myself.  And then I found two earwigs hanging out on my lemon cucumber plant.  Even though I hate them with all my being, they are way too creepy to squish with my bare hands.  I moved one to the sidewalk, where I stepped on him and the other one got away.  Yuck.  Earwigs give me the shivers.

We are having a problem with the sprinklers.  These big beautiful blossoms catch so much water and then can't be pollinated.  I went out this morning to drain the blossoms and found a dead bee in one.  I need those bees, darn it!  We don't have control over the sprinklers, but we did try to figure out how to change the schedule.  The little timer thing says they are all off, so that's a little confusing.  I'll keep my husband on that one.  Maybe if we get the sprinklers to come on earlier, the blossoms won't be open yet.  Worth a try, I guess.

I'm linking up with the barn hop!

20 July 2011

The view from my window

I think I've mentioned before that I live in a basement, without many windows.  The one big window we have is in my bedroom and it looks out to the patio in back.  This morning, as I was trying to wake up fully, my husband zipped open the blinds and, um, blinded me.  As soon as my eyes adjusted, this is what I saw.  I had to go outside for a picture, what with the screen and window being in the way.

I've decided I like pole beans, even though these ones haven't even put out a single blossom.  I like how the leaves are heart shaped and fill the space.  I like how daring the vine is, seeking out for something to climb and how it twists around things so quickly.  I've tried pole beans before, but didn't have any success.  Actually, the twigs I put in the ground for them to climb did better than the beans did. 

In other areas of the garden, there is one zucchini almost ready to pick and a one ball squash that is getting close.  Now I've got to decide what I'm going to fix with our first zucchini.  Should I fry it as a side dish?  Chop it into a casserole?  Mix up a pasta salad?  Maybe grill it next to some burgers?  I know I'll have plenty of opportunities to do all of the above many times over in the next month, but what to do right now? 

I've been discouraged by the summer squash this year.  The plants are big and healthy and there are plenty of blossoms, but the fruit are not growing.  They just rot right there on the vine.  We should have had at least ten of the one ball squash by now, but we're finally getting one.  I've been taking matters into my own hands lately, carrying a paintbrush out with me to make sure those flowers get a chance to produce.  It's a good thing we aren't dependent on our garden to feed us, because the lettuce is giving up, only one pea plant survived, and the radishes and turnips didn't do well at all.  I'm hoping all those green tomatoes will ripen someday soon.  I'm getting anxious for a tomato!

19 July 2011

I survived the princess party

It's over, and I'm alive.  Okay, actually, there were almost as many parents there as children, so my stress level was very low.  My dear husband hauled bags and baskets of food and gifts and then cooked up lunch, a mother helped me round kids up when we needed some structured fun, and another mother took my camera and snapped pictures for me, since she knew that the birthday mother has her hands full everywhere else.  That's the great thing about other mothers... they know.
Ever see a princess on a tire swing?

We decorated crowns with jewel stickers, markers and glitter glue, which takes forever to dry and magically ends up on everyone's arms and hands.  Next time I'll stick with the stickers.  (Ha! next time... I'm so funny)  We blew bubbles and played a few games.  We ate lunch and then we opened presents.  Do we leave that at the end to build up suspense?  I found myself having to explain often during the day that it wasn't time for presents yet and I couldn't really answer why.  She survived anyway and was soon in that present opening zone that makes their eyes glaze over and they start tossing presents already opened out of the way to make way for presents not yet opened. 
After the cupcakes, and party favors were passed out, I snatched the birthday girl (which is what she made her brother call her all day) and made her pose for a few pictures.  I had to commandeer this bridge from a few kids to get this one.  Unfortunately, while they were happy to loan me the bridge, they seemed to not be able to stay out of the camera lens.   Guess I have some cropping to do.

Oh, I made that ribbon crown the night before.  I thought it would be a quick project, but it took me a while.  Here she is showing the ribbons in back.  I think it tops off the ensemble nicely.  I guess my late night was worth it.
We had the dress sitting out on a chair for her to find when she woke up this morning.  It's not often that she is speechless, but we achieved it this morning.  The dress is too big and would fall off of her shoulders, but it was nothing a few safety pins couldn't fix.  I'm just glad it wasn't too small!

So now I heave a big sigh and listen to the noise makers that my husband insisted on buying.  That is, until they get "lost"...  Happy Birthday, Birthday Girl!

Now go to sleep!

Travel Tuesday

Pretty church in Kitzingen, Germany
 We visited a pretty little town near Wuerzburg, called Kitzingen.  The main trademark of this town is this leaning tower.  The story that I was told was that there was an evil man--the man that inspired the Dracula story- that lived nearby.  He did bad and scary things, and when the villagers finally caught him and killed him, they put his heart into the top of the tower.
 On the other side of the street, is the cemetery where his body was buried.  This is me looking at the grave.  Lots of skulls and scary things on it.
 The story says that if he and his heart ever come back together, he will come back to life.  The tower is leaning that way because he is calling it back to him.... Ooooooh.
 Probably just some story for the tourists, but it is kind of cool how the tower is leaning toward the cemetery and if it fell, it looks like it would land on that grave.
This is the palace in Wuerzburg, not to be confused with the fortress that we walked up to.  This is right in the city and has beautiful gardens.  We walked around forever, just enjoying the flowers and trees, the sculptures and the little garden hidy-holes.