Monday, June 30, 2014

Hanging Out

I did manage to get to the garden this morning and pick some stuff but that's about all before it began raining. As soon as I got in it stopped so I went back out to begin the daily blueberry ritual and then the bottom fell out. I am now at loose ends. Everything that needs to be frozen is frozen and there is nothing to can right now. It's stopped raining for now but the blueberry bushes are so wet you would drown trying to pick. I'll just have to wait.

Everything is coming along nicely in the garden and now it is just wait for the rush of tomatoe and stuff. Looks like we'll have a nice crop this year. I did make one error in my planting this spring. In one bed I put cucumbers down each edge and a new variety of cherry tomato down the center. The tomato has gotten huge and is shading the cukes so production is going to be zilch. I got other cucumbers planted but the ones in that bed are lost. It just seemed like such a waste of bed space with just cucumbers. I learn.

Got the garlic ordered today for planting in September and I am going to order some beans for drying from Seed Savers in a few minutes. I know beans are cheap but you can't get much variety in the stores. Pinto, red, black,. Great Northern, lima, Navy, kidney. I'm going to have quite a few beds needing inhabitants soon and I can only eat so much broccoli, cabbage and spinach. I'll plant all that as well as kale, beets and carrots and I'll still have plenty of room.  Besides I like the names of the heirloom beans.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rainy Day...It's A Good Day to Pickle

Heavy rains last evening and rain off and on today. Managed to get out into the garden and pick but that's as far as it went. Green beans, wax beans, jalapenos, zucchini, yellow squash, small eggplant and a handful of cherry tomatoes along with some herbs.

It is nice to have a day when you don't feel the need to be in the garden. Took this day inside to make a batch of "Dilled Green Beans" or "Dilly Beans" as my mother called them. I wound up with enough beans to make six pints but the recipe below is for 4 pints. I also used to the extra brine to make 2 pints of pickled sliced jalapenos.

Dilly Beans

2 pounds of green or wax beans trimmed and stringed if nececessary
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper (though I used a sliced jalapeno instead of the 1/4 tsp per jar)
4 heads of dill
1/2 cup pickling or Kosher salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar

Prepare 4 pint jars and lids and rings and get them in the hot bath to sterilize.
Mix the salt, vinegar and water in a non reactive pot and bring it to a boil.

Put a clove of garlic, a head of dill and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper(or a sliced jalapeno) into each jar. put the beans on end in the jars packing them as tight as you can. Make sure you leave 1/4 head space. You may have to trim a bean or three to get the lids to go on. Fill each jar with hot brine(don't forget the 1/4 inch head-space), seal and process the jars in the boiling water batch for 10 minutes.

Let the jars cool at room temperature and you are good to go. It's a good idea to let these stand for a couple of weeks before you eat them. They are best chilled.

Stuffed zucchini tonight for dinner...Italian sausage, Vidalia onion,tomato, mozzarella fresh oregano, basil and parsley and Parmesan. Gotta stay ahead of the squash!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

First Full Day of Summer in the Garden

Today is the first full day of summer and from now on until the Winter Solstice the days get shorter. I am celebrating the solstice with a bum left knee which is very tender and feverish. I'm resting it and taking aspirin. We did forage and weed a bit in the garden in the cool of the morning. Green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, green peppers, jalapenos. We even managed 3 cherry tomatoes which were consumed on the spot. The sweet basil (Italian) was getting leggy so we cut it back pretty severely so that means I need to make a big batch of pesto today and freeze it in ice trays for later use. Not a perfect method of preserving the taste of summer but OK.

On my walk down through the natural area to the garden I have been noticing a rather rotten smell for a few weeks. I thought something must have died but I couldn't locate it. The other day I noticed an odd looking fungus growing where I had left some wood chips last year. It is very odd looking and reminds me of crab claws. On a whim I Googled "crab claw fungus" and lo and behold there is such a thing but its more common name is "stinkhorn". That's the source of the rotten smell.

The photo comes from Mary Holland the author of “Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey Through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England” and “Milkweed Visitors.”

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice

Well, we are an hour and change into summer 2014 so Happy Solstice or Glorious Litha if that is your choice. We are fully engaged in summer here and actually did the first canning yesterday so we beat the mark. 12 pints of fresh blueberry jam all put away.

Enjoy your solstice and have a great weekend to boot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Garden Tours This Week

Tomorrow morning and Thursday morning the garden will be open for tours by the garden club. I think I am ready. Everything looks pretty good with only one eggplant looking poorly and one tomato plant that I am removing because of fungus. Most of the weeds are missing and the corn is standing nice and tall. I'll be doing the final touches this morning and early afternoon but since it is supposed to top 90F today I'll probably not spend all day in the garden. I understand I am the only vegetable garden on the tour so that is something.

I'll post a picture later so can see what the the tour will see.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Under The Gun

We are getting at least one thunderstorm a day and the forecast shows the trend continuing for another week. That's making it hard to keep up in the garden. To add to the pressure Madam arranged for the garden club to the tour my little space two days next week. I may be working in rain.

I did manage to get one fairly big thing off the to-do list and that was to add a picnic table. I was going to do a regular 5 foot table but since lumber comes 8 foot minimum I went with a full 8 foot table. The extra length required some changes in design like the extra legs on the benches but it turned out nice. It is a bit heavy though. So I have a table. I wonder if a stone BBQ pit is next?

The next big garden event is removal of some large pines just to East. Some parts of the Eastern garden don't actually get full sun until nearly noon. This will be resolved in the next 2 weeks.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

On Being Wretched

Don't miss Mark Morford.
You can cling to musty dogma, to strict, outdated codes of conduct and belief, all dictated by very scared, very dead old men who lived many hundreds of years ago and in such a state of abject misunderstanding of the world, and God, and sex, and women, and love, and spirit, and life itself, they might as well have written a big, terrible book about it.
Oh wait, they did. Here is the Bible, a numbingly tedious tome written (and re-re-rewritten) by multiple paranoid power-mongers obsessed with genealogy, real estate, women, weird curses, genitalia, shellfish, the blood of sacrificial animals and how to appease a schizophrenic deity who loves you like sunshine one day and covers your body in painful, oozing boils the next.