Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So Far This Week . . .

It appears I planted too many beans.

We're having some heavy
weather and rain.

It's not helping the continuing 
roofing project.

But I get a rest from preserving.

Raspberries are dropping off the canes
like flies though.

Two little adorable munchkins
(of the human variety) 
are creating enchanting havoc in our
house for a couple of days.

We're having to admit which summer projects are
 NOT going to get done this summer.

There's a marauding black bear
back up on our hillside.

A timber wolf has been checking out 
our chickens.
(Fence between thankfully.)

I have a real longing for dark winter
mornings and sleeping late.

I am reminding myself this super-busy time
of year doesn't
last forever.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Still Blown Away

I'm still in awe of how well the ol' garden is producing after the terrible, awful, very bad start it got this year.

I wanted some green pepper as an ingredient in our dinner last night so went out and picked this beauty I've been eyeing for some time.  As many of you know, a sweet green pepper this fresh tastes nothing like one purchased in the grocery store!

When I was outside, I yelled to Papa Pea to please come take a picture of me standing next to the corn.  This variety is supposed to grow to be 4' tall.  I'm 5'3" and, as you can see, it's well over my head.  And this in a year when we haven't had that much warm weather.

There's no way to figure it out, folks, no way.  Happy weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2014

I Couldn't Stop Myself!

We haven't had any taters in this house since we consumed the last way too sprouted ones from last year's garden harvest early this spring.

When I've been trying to think of meals to make, a little voice in my head (or is it coming from my stomach?) has been chanting, "Potato Pancakes, hash browns, potato soup, mashed potatoes, potato salad," over and over again.

So the other day I grabbed my trusty garden trowel, put on my dirt-caked gloves and marched on out to the four long rows of potatoes growing in the garden.

Bonanza!  I struck it rich on my first dig!  (And, yes, I did manage to chop that one spud right in two with my trusty garden trowel.)

I was good to my meat and potatoes loving hubby who has been existing on salads and other fresh fodder from the garden and made him a meal of meat and potatoes and gravy.  (And a side of veggies fresh from the garden, of course.)  

He was very happy.  The potatoes tasted wonderful.  We are looking forward to a grand harvest of them this year.

The end.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watch Out, The Compost Is Flying!

Papa Pea got a bee in his bonnet regarding rearranging our compost bins, and he's been tearing into it for a couple of days now.

He's cleaning out the chicken house, dropping pit included, of course, and the birds' solarium.  All this goodness is being distributed in a couple of different spots along with weeds and vegetation I've been tearing out of the garden.  There's a patch of black dirt he's also using for layering all this bounty.

Like I say, beware when out in the yard or you'll get run down by a madman on a mission wielding a wheelbarrow and shovel!

I don't usually have much luck with any "fall" planting because we get zapped with a killing frost before anything matures.  Hasn't stopped me yet from putting seeds into bare spots in the garden though.  Where there is a gardener, there is hope!

We've actually been having some warm (HOT for us!) weather the past couple of weeks.  Temps way up in the 80s during the day.  Lots of humidity, too, but we're trying to deal with that without getting too cranky.  It's been just wonderful for the garden.  The one thing I always miss is being able to use the oven to bake in the warmest of our summer weather.  Our house does stay remarkably cool even on the hottest days, but I don't want to take the chance on heating up our naturally air-conditioned dwelling.  We haven't had one single night this summer that has been uncomfortable for good sleeping, and we'd both just as soon keep it that way.

Don't look now, folks, but I may actually get some flowers to bloom yet this season.  The sweet peas are letting me have a peek at a couple of flower stalks.

I have a few zinnias with nice blossom heads on them.  (These are the seeds you sent me, Sue.)

Buds, actual BUDS, on my cosmos!

And will you look at these nasturtiums that I was afraid were going to be all foliage?  What a plethora of lovely blooms!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm Pedaling as Fast as I Can

But aren't we all at this time of year!?

One disadvantage (oh, let me count the ways) of our short growing season up here near the Arctic Circle is that nearly everything in the garden gets "ripe for the pickin'" at once.

Today I have shell peas, sugar snap peas, raspberries, blueberries and bush beans that are all yelling to be harvested and processed.  Forget about the beets, radishes, lettuce, cucumbers, herbs, cabbage and all sorts of salad greens that are getting away from me.

All of this to do besides the every day, usual stuff that seems to keep me occupied from dawn to dusk during the "down time" (ha!) of winter when I don't have the garden to consider.

We had gone several days without rain (somewhat of a miracle this summer) before getting another good soaking Sunday night/Monday morning.  Did I ever squeak by with getting the garlic harvested on Sunday while it was still dry!  Looks like it will be a really good crop, if it cures well.

Not complaining.  Lawdy, lawdy, this is what we work and plan for nearly all year.  Homegrown, nutritious, delicious food that's better than we can purchase anywhere else.  Just using the busyness as the reason (hoping to get an excused absence) that I've been a mighty poor blogger both in getting up posts and answering your (always appreciated) comments to me and making comments on your (always interesting) posts on your blogs.

Now I must run.  Need to take hubby a couple/few miles up the road to pick up one of the vehicles that needed work and is now back in good shape.  We hope.

See ya in the bean patch!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Loose Ends

Last night we taste tested the garlic scapes I fermented a couple of weeks ago.  So how were they?

Blech!  Awful!  Terrible!  Inedible!

They had turned into garlicky, green twigs.  No matter how much we chewed and chewed, we were left with a fibrous lump that we really didn't want to swallow.  (Aren't you glad you asked?)

Might have been my fault in not cutting them soon enough after they appeared on the garlic stems.  But I was regularly cutting the scapes, chopping them and sauteing them in various dishes I cooked and they were fine.  Back to the drawing board on that one, I guess.

Remember the damage I had on those miscellaneous brassicas I stuck in at one end of a garden bed?  Before we got any footage on the trail cam we set up, Papa Pea and I had just about decided it had to be crows.

Every morning just after dawn, we have 3 or 4 big, black crows that have been visiting the garden.  This year they've acted like robins, feasting on worms they find in the grass.  I suppose all our moisture has brought lots of worms to the surface.  We see them (the crows, not the worms) hopping around in various spots in the garden but had never actually seen them go after any vegetable plants.

We never did see them taking a peck on the brassicas, but the trail cam did show them in and around the raised bed.  So we're fairly certain they are the culprits.  Thus far, no further damage has been done.

However, just this morning we noticed them in the blueberry patch helping themselves to our ripening blueberries!  Our bushes are loaded with berries as they never have been before so we're really looking forward to having a bumper crop.  Fortunately, we have a good supply of netting that is now spread over all the bushes.  Let's hope that will keep the black bandits foiled.  If not, the term "eating crow" is gonna take on a new meaning.  They just may find themselves baked into a pie yet.

Do you know what I'm missing in the garden this year?  Flowers.  I've planted my usual mainstays -- Sweet Peas, zinnias and cosmos but not a single one of them is blooming yet.  I always keep vases of cut flowers in the house and so far nothing has been available except whatever wildflowers I can find.  I'm feeling downright blossom deprived.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fiddling with Kindling

Our wood sheds may be full, but our kindling bin is not.

At least it's not totally empty . . . but I won't feel comfortable until it's filled up to the tippy-top before the start of the fall heating season.

Yesterday Papa Pea and I hauled the wood cutting cradle over by our stack of slabwood that I use for kindling.  This wood is sitting out in the open and with all the rain we've had this summer, it is W-E-T!

We knew we had to get some bundles made and put under cover so they would dry out in order for me to split them into the right sized pieces for kindling.

We fill the cradle, cut the wood, tie it into bundles with baling twine, and then take them to a sunny, covered spot that's protected from the rain.  I'll leave them there for about a month.  Then they'll be ready to be split into kindling and tossed into the kindling bin.

I'm curious to know . . . those of you who have a wood burning stove, how do you handle your kindling situation?  Do you need it for starting fires?  If not, how do you get your fires started?  If you use kindling, do you store a ready supply (and where) or do you make it as you need it?  What kind of wood do you use for your kindling?  Inquiring minds (or at least mine does) want to know.