Sunday, September 6, 2015

Garden bounty and canning

The garden has been producing lots of veggies for me this year.
I've been filling this basket with fresh, organic veggies almost every day!

The beans, cucumber and tomatoes seem to be the best crops this year, giving us seemingly endless supply. The tomato crop this year has been amazing! There is nothing like a fresh sliced tomato, still warm from the garden! You just can't buy this taste!

We have eaten our fill, shared with friends, and canned a lot.
I even had my first pressure canning mishap! While canning some tomatoes, I heard a funny sound from the inside to the canner. I can only assume the lid was on too tightly and the pressure finally blew the lid off. The jar was fine, but what a MESS!

Our pickling cucumbers were a little slow, so I bought some from the farmers market and made some garlic dill pickles and bread and butter pickles.

A winters worth of green beans and dilly beans has been canned up as well.
Onions will be ready soon, and cabbage and carrots will be harvested and canned for winter use.
The Cucamelons have been very prolific this year as well. Most have been eaten straight off the vine, but I am hoping to try a cucamelon mint pickle. I'll let you know how that works out.
While the veggie garden is still winding down, I am already planning for next years garden. My main goal this fall is to improve the soil in a few sections of the garden with leaves, compost and manure.
Yes, I said FALL. It sure is feeling like fall in the mornings.
And with the kids going back to school in a few days, fall isn't far behind!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Big news!

Anyone who has kids that are old enough to date, know that not everyone 'fits' into the family unit.
Big Country Girl, as well as Country Boy have dated, and brought home boys/girls.
While most were nice, pleasant people, something about them didn't quite click with the family.
Until August 2013.
Big Country Girl met a boy - lets just call him Country Fellow.
He was a happy, kind, friendly fellow.
He treated Big Country Girl with kindness and respect, and made her very happy.
Country Fellow also got along well with the rest of the family - even FATHER liked Country Fellow!
Country Fellow just seemed to 'fit' into our crazy family. I thought that maybe he was 'the one' for Big Country Girl, and I had even mentioned that to a few people in conversation.They just seemed to bring out the best in each other, and those around them.
A few weeks ago, Country Fellow asked for approval ... Country Fellow wanted to propose to Big Country Girl! And guess what  ...  she said YES!

No date set just yet, but we are all thrilled to make him part of our crazy family.
Sometimes Mom's just know!

Nothing beats home grown!

Mid way through the month of July already!
The garden is doing well and the harvest has begun!
I am thankful that I am able to do a quick clean up around the patches with the lawn mower, 
however the new problem seems to be the grass/weeds creeping into the patch.
I just don't have the time to pull weeds this time of year and so I have discovered that my string trimmer does a great job. Not exactly environmentally friendly so I will have to come up with another plan of attack. I am thinking raised beds maybe the way to go next year - IF it's in the budget!
From the 3 Black Current bushes I was able to harvest 7 pounds of currents!
I have also been keeping ahead of the birds this year and been able to pick a bowl of Black Berries every day. Some get eaten right away, the rest are frozen.
Tomatoes are doing well and I have been able to pick about 6 ripe cherry tomatoes so far.
They never seem to make it back to the house ... I crave home grown tomatoes most of the year. When it is finally time to harvest one, I just can't seem to control myself!

The Zucchini are coming alone too ... in just a few days I should be able to harvest the first one

The peas are doing amazing this year. I discovered that I need a better trellis for them ... a 3 foot chicken wire fence isn't tall or strong enough! Next year this shall be resolved, but for now the peas are strung up with twine, happily producing many MANY peas

The beans are being harvested every 2 days or so. This year we planted 'Royal Burgundy' and 'Blue Lake Bush'. I am please with both so far. I also planted 2 'Scarlett Runner' plants for my Hummingbirds late this spring and they are blooming well but I have only picked 1 bean so far. That is fine with me ... they are a tough, sort of fuzzy bean that I am not very fond of.
This was yesterdays pick of beans and peas.

Friday, before the heat, I decided to make the first dilly beans. I had also purchased some baby english cucumbers at the market and did the first jars of pickles. I love how the 'Royal Burgundy' made a lovely purple brine in the jar after processing.

My own cucumber plants are just starting to fruit, and my 5 pots of experimental pickles in a pot are doing well now ... hopefully some to pick soon. I hope they start to climb the fence, but it looks like I'm going to have to teach them how.

I harvested the heritage garlic yesterday. It was my first time, and they did produce scapes (which we glady ate YUM!) and small, very strong bulbs. I will replant most of these and purchase more bulbs and have a large garlic patch next year. We use a LOT of garlic around here!
Lots of kale in the garden, the dinosaur Kale seems to be doing the best. It is such a beautiful plant that I am reluctant to cut it!

We ate our share of spinach, leaf lettuce and romaine. I will definitely grow 'Little Gem' romaine again next year! Swiss Chard is looking good, but sadly we aren't fond of it. I will harvest it for my Mom and a work mate to eat. It sure looks pretty though!

I am looking forward to the rest of the harvest, and I am taking notes this year and already planning next years garden. You know what they say ... there is no garden so great as next years garden! ;)