Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Looking back at this years garden

One of my goals this season, was to improve the vegetable garden.
Looking back now, I think it was a success!

I had wonderful harvests from every crop planted, and spent a good part of my weekends canning.


This winter I know I will eat well, and I will know exactly what is in every single jar I open - good, organic, home grown goodness!
Totally worth it!
Now on to planning next years garden...

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! ;)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June is flying past!

Sometimes things don't work out as planned.
My 'quiet' country life has been anything BUT quiet these days!
I'm back to work full time, Little Country Girl has just finished a session of Spring Skate and is now playing soccer. I am busy at the soccer field 2-4 days a week.
Country Boy is working lots of shifts at a local fast food restaurant, as well as getting ready for a summer job with the Pan Am Games coming soon. He is saving for a car and that will surely help loosen the load on Big Country Girl and I, who have been driving him around.
Father has started a new job, and so this means more time away from home.
There has been so much to do around the yard!
The grass hasn't stopped growing, nor have the weeds.
The veggie garden is now planted, and the pool opened.
2 more weeks and Little Country Girl will be on summer holidays.
It might almost be time to slow down a bit!
We had a very wet week, and so yesterday was spent cutting grass, weeding, and planting.
Today was another rainy day and so the housework was done, and I even had a chance to sit down!
I have been snapping photos for weeks, and finally I can post a few of what is going on in my yard.
I finally got the veggie tomatoes, peppers and zucchini's planted, and Little Country Girl talked me into trying watermelon one more time. Now the hard part ... keeping ahead of the weeds!

Our Asparagus patch was bountiful this year and I think we can all say that we had our fill.
Planted a whole lot of spinach and salad greens that should be ready to eat any time now.
I thought this Red Romaine looked good, but so far it just tastes bitter.
The first big weeding out there took almost all day, and filled the wheelbarrow!
Have you ever seen such a HUGE Rhubarb plant?
 I found a new recipe for Rhubarb Cinnamon muffins that everyone seems to like, and we have had stewed rhubarb and rhubarb strawberry crisp. I have also frozen some and given lots to friends. I think this plant really likes the yearly topdressing of manure!
I've been trying to get the back flower beds cleaned and planted up too.
Thank goodness for the perennials, or there would be no color out there. I just haven't had the time to get all the annuals in yet! There are some pretties out there...
Snow in Summer
Garden Loosestrife
 Maiden Pinks
 Flag Iris
The Hosta beds are coming to life, some are getting split 

 The Peony's are starting to bloom 

This week things should slow down for me a little.
Hopefully the weeds don't get away from me before then.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Spring is in the air!

Oh my goodness, it has been a long time coming!
After a long, snowy, cold winter, spring is finally here!
Winter technically ended for us with the Skating Pot Luck Luncheon and awards ceremony, at which Little Country Girl was awarded Top Junior Skater! Way to go!!
Time to hang up those skates for the summer and lace up those soccer shoes!
So the long winter allowed me to plan out my veggie gardens and one of the top items was to improve the soil out in the plots. I took advantage of our towns compost giveaway as well as neighbors manure pile and spent a weekend working it in. I am now convinced the soil is in top condition for my crops.
I am happy to see that last years new apple tree survived the winter and is doing well.
I added a Plum tree this spring too, I hope it 'takes'. It didn't have too much root.
The last old apple tree had all the dead wood trimmed out this spring and we are being rewarded for our efforts. I do hope there are enough pollinators out and we get a heavy crop this fall.

The old apple tree we lost 3 years ago has sprouted.  A few new 'trees' have grown and been pruned. I will eventually have to decide which one I want to keep and cut the other out. I do hope it grows and produces Apples one day!

Mother Nature is rewarding us for the long winter with fragrance from the Lilac's. They are just loaded with blooms this year!

 I wish I could remember the name of these beauties

These were added last fall - 'China Town'

This is the second season for the Frittilaria Imperialis

Some other pretties

The cold weather crops have been planted and are coming up.We had a frost this week, and there is another predicted for this week. I wont be able to put my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini in just yet.
I am just so glad I can be out in my gardens again!