Monday, August 21, 2017

It's That Time of Year . . .

. . . when gardeners want to either run away from home or hire someone to be in the kitchen 24/7 helping with the harvest.

But it is, after all, what we work for all gardening season.  That time of year when the garden is producing bountiful quantities of produce . . . and there seems to be no end of it.  Nor a way to keep the kitchen cool.  Nor a way to get enough sleep.  (How in the world did those mothers of families of eight or more, in times gone by, ever manage to put by enough food?!  Food that was depended upon to keep their families fed all year long.) 

Our blueberries are in full ripening mode.  Papa Pea has been great about going out to pick them with me.


Most of them get stashed in the freezer, but I always keep out enough for fresh eating.  And a blueberry dessert now and then.  I still need to make a batch of jam for giving and eating this winter.  We're having to pick about every 2nd or 3rd day right now and, yes, . . . 


. . . we're still keeping the bushes covered as protection from the birds.  This makes harvesting more of a hassle, of course, what with taking off the coverings before being able to pick and then putting them back on again.  But it's worth it.  We're getting about four quarts each picking.


I've given up hope for any kind of a Brussels sprout harvest this year.  Instead of forming tight little heads, the sprouts are exploding as seen in the above picture.  (Kinda looks like my hair when I get up.)  Anybody know what cases this condition?

Even though the temp was up near 90 degrees yesterday in the garden, I did quite a bit of cleaning.


This is the garlic bed that got pulled a few days ago.  I planted two varieties that I've kept going for a couple of years, Blanak and Siberian.  Almost half of the Siberian failed to come up this spring, and then a few of those never made decent bulbs.  The Blanak did very well (thankfully!) and all told we have 60 bulbs drying.  I've already ordered a new supply for planting in October because we won't have enough from this harvest to plant and still have an adequate supply for cooking this coming year.


A bed of salad greens that was overgrown and bitter got bagged up for Chicken Mama to take to her chickens.  The Swiss chard left in the bed is still doing great.

A bit more pruning of the tomato plants was on the agenda along with snipping off the wandering tendrils of the pumpkins and gourds.  It's time for them to put all their energy into developing the fruits already forming rather than into new growth.


With various other clean-up jobs, I managed to fill the compost bins right up to the tippy-top with my gleanings.  Don't know if Papa Pea (Manager of Ye Ol' Compost Production) will be too happy about that or not.

Add the cleaning up of the garden as it becomes possible to the harvesting and processing of food for storage and the days are full.  I really don't want to run away from home and no one has answered my ad (ha-ha) to be an unpaid full-time scullery maid in the kitchen so I'll just keep trucking along and being truly-duly grateful and appreciative of this wonderful harvest time of year.

17 comments:

Michelle said...

In times gone by, the children in those big families WORKED – like your Chicken Mama helps you now. (Just think if you have seven more of her!) Many in the two generations before me that I know all helped in various ways, and some left home to support themselves in their teens. IMHO society has suffered because some of those people who had to work hard wanted "a better life" (read easier, with less labor) for their children. The results aren't good. For instance, farmers can't find teenagers willing to work in the summers (or any other time)....

Susan said...

It's a frustrating thing, realizing that you have only 24 hours in your day with 78 hours worth of things to do. I just discovered (this morning) a large bag of green beans that got shoved to the back and need blanching and freezing. But, as you said, it is a blessing to be faced with these dilemmas. When Chicken Mama is done, can you send her south?

Rain said...

Oh I wish I had that problem! I have pretty much a zero harvest as yet! Mind you, I don't have a big garden like you do. Your blueberries look great! Weird about the sprouts. I have seeds, but I didn't plant them. I might plant them at the end of the month and see how they do in the fall and early winter.

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - You make very good points about the kids of large families having to work 'bout as hard as their parents. I know a gal who was raised on a farm along with six siblings and they all had to work helping at home for most of the summer. She says it was a relief to go back to school in the fall. And she doesn't even want to have a garden now because of the time she spent in her family's garden and fields all her growing up years.

I wish I could have had seven more Chicken Mamas (well, maybe not that many) but 'twasn't in the cards. She's always willing to jump in and help in a time of need, but her own work schedule is one I don't envy!

Also, thinking of the large families way back when, they often had a maiden aunt or grandma living with them who could help out in busy times. 'Course, that was another mouth to feed, wasn't it!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I have no complaints compared to the time you don't have at home, m'dear!

Besides all of Chicken Mama's regular jobs nannying 6 days a week and managing and cleaning the rental cabin, she and Gilligan are managing the campground this summer where they have their little trailer home. She'd probably love to be sent to your place . . . for a vacation!!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Your day will come, dear girl! And you will revel in it, I'm sure. When planting Brussels sprouts, remember they have a long period to maturity . . . can be up to 90 days depending on the variety. Although once they are mature, they can take (and even get more flavorful) several frosts.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Such hard work but oh the joy of the reward! It was hard graft back in the day and you worked from before the sun rose to well after it had gone to bed.

My gardens this year were so-so. LOTS of raspberries, I was picking every day. Sharing with my neighbor. My zucchinis grew to about 3 inches and then turned yellow and died. Weird. Beets, parsnips and leeks are still growing towards maturity. My kale was incredibly disappointing too. Too much sun and not enough moisture. But of course today it was pouring. And no glimpse of the eclipse. Bah.

Marie said...

I have to admit -- since I "retired" from my gardening gig -- I really don't miss the work -- the bugs, the deer the worrying over the weather --
I do miss the Market and my customers ... but I have a bit more time for myself and the other projects that seem to consume every minute of the day -- life ... so much living and so little time to live it...

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - I have a couple zucchinis every year that do that 3" and dead thing, too. But also get a good crop of as many full-sized ones as I want. (Or need!) Our raspberries were a bust because of those fruit fly larvae (shudder!), but strawberries were good and now blueberries are in full swing. My beets are looking lovely especially compared to last year when they were puny. Kale is lush, but I have to check it for little green worms very carefully. Always some challenge, eh?

Mama Pea said...

Marie - So no more gardening to take every spare waking minute, but you still have a full life, eh? Sounds like a good, interesting, never dull or boring, wonderful life. You go, girl!

Marie said...

between the County Commissioner gig and the CPA gig ... the free moments have been fleeting!

Mama Pea said...

Marie - I know what you mean. When you have "free time" you have to be careful what you get involved with!

Kristina said...

You don't cover your compost? We have to put a lid on ours to keep the wild animals out of it. I have to admit, ours has very little in it, but I'm not complaining, ha ha!

Leigh said...

I know what you mean about this time of year! I am so tired of picking and processing especially figs, green beans, and okra. But I can't stop myself! LOL

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - No, we don't cover our compost. It needs the moisture from the rain to aid in the decomposing process. Saves us from having to water it with a hose. It's inside our 7' tall fenced in area so the only creatures able to get into it are the birds. Every now and then we see a crow or two scavenging for what they can find, but that's about all.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Doesn't seem right that we work and wait for the harvest all year long . . . and then it's almost too much of a good thing! I picked and processed the last of our beans yesterday and I'm glad! The vines, that still have lots of beans on them, will get tossed into the poultry pasture today. As usual, I'm tempted to keep socking more beans away for future use, but this year I've made myself say "enough is enough!"

koi seo said...

I just discovered (this morning) a large bag of green beans that got shoved to the back and need blanching and freezing. thanks

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