Sunday, July 5, 2020

If I Thought I Was Busy Before . . .

One would think that not being able to do any socializing (or very little of it) and staying at home close to 24/7, the days would be long and quiet, I'd be napping in the hammock regularly and the livin' would be easy.

Not so when full-time summer arrives.  The garden is starting to produce the hoped for goodies which means they have to be harvested and processed.

We got our first two six-inch long zucchini squashes this past week.  Sliced, sauteed with onions, mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes?  Mmmm, good.  As Papa Pea said, "Now that's the way to make a zucchini taste good!"

Our strawberries are proving to be big and plentiful.  We're been eating them fresh, of course, and my picking a couple of days ago yielded ten and a half pounds.  That was enough, plus ample extra, to make a double batch of jam.  If I can get enough this morning to make two more cups of mashed berries to add to what I harvested yesterday, I'll be making more jam.  Have you experienced the aroma of strawberry jam cooking?  It makes the whole house smell delicious.

Today we'll also uncover the haskap berry bushes to see if they might be ripe for the picking.  Grape jam used to be my favorite until I made haskap jam.  Papa Pea is happy if he has his strawberry jam while my jars of haskap jam more than tickle my fancy.  I also want to make haskap syrup again this year as I did two years ago.  It was wonderful on pancakes and waffles during the winter months.

I have nearly a whole bed of spinach I'll harvest today and get in the freezer.  I planted Samish and Space varieties.  The Samish is bolting, but the Space is not.  Wouldn't ya know it.  Space is a hybrid and I'd rather stay with the old heirloom varieties if I can.  But I seem to regularly have trouble with spinach bolting so I may stick with Space for a while now.  The leaves are flat and slightly savoyed and we've never tasted a spinach with such good, crunchy, yet tender, flavor.

More asparagus was blanched and frozen yesterday.  Although it seems as though this year's crop has been lighter than in previous years, by checking my records from last year, I currently have only three servings less in the freezer than my total for last year.  And the patch is still producing.  I guess that's where our minds can't hold all the information so actual record keeping pays off.

Oh, how I wish I had the time to be in the kitchen experimenting with all those yummy sounding recipes I've clipped and saved to use with the fresh produce coming in.  If I have time to toss together a big salad and defrost some soup from the freezer, that's about all I can currently manage.

Where's my clone when I need her?  Or a full-time, hired cook who would create wonderful new dishes with the fresh produce I bring in to her from the garden?

Summer time, when the livin' is easy.  Pant-pant, keep moving, take advantage of this wonderful time of year and the true rewards of the hard work that goes into gardening.  I will.  I do.  And I'm grateful for all of it.


Susie said...

I truly admire your pioneer spirit. I am not into that much work any more. Time is a precious thing, to be used and enjoyed also. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

Mama Pea said...

Susie - I hear and appreciate what you're saying. I do enjoy the way I'm spending my time, yet also realize I try to (perhaps) do too much. There's a balance in my life for which I still strive. I just need more hours in each day. (But do realize that's not an option . . . or realistic solution!) ;o)

Leigh said...

Oh, those firsts of the season's harvest are like winning a prize, aren't they? Lots of long, busy days to go with it. but you are so right it's something to be grateful for. Enjoy your busy harvest!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Although it can seem daunting at the time, I have to remember that this period of "must be done now!" doesn't last forever. Plus, there certainly is the sense of satisfaction at the end of the day and we can look upon the bounty and be mighty appreciative of it.

Hummingbird said...

How do you freeze asparagus so it is still edible? I blanched and froze some and it was awful and mushy. You must have a secret if yours is still edible.

Michelle said...

That reminds me; I'd better go check the strawberry patch for any stragglers! And see if that ONE little tomato that's turning color is ready yet.... 😉

Granny Sue said...

We struggle with some of the things that seem to thrive for you--strawberries and spinach in particular. Our weather here in the mid-Ohio valley is so unpredictable, with huge temperature variations that either kill susceptible plants, or make things bolt too soon.

All your harvest sounds so heavenly. I know that any people don't understand the satisfaction of providing your own food, but it is one of the very basic parts of my life, and sounds like you're the same.

Tigger said...

How do you do all that and find time to keep blogging?

tpals said...

Mmmmm, all that jam sounds delightful. And now I wish I had found room for spinach. So much to grow... said...

It's wonderful to have all those fruit and vegetable thru the winter month, and the taste of them is so much better than what you buy ,also healthier!! I think that sometimes it's more important than the money you save. Altho I not sure you save much if you add up the physical labor. I do remember the smell of strawberry jam cooking. The kids couldn't wait til it was done !! take care !!

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mama Pea said...

Hummingbird - I'll do a post in the next day or two on how I prep my asparagus for the freezer and then heat it up to serve.

Michelle - Despite the lack of moisture our strawberries are coming on strong in this heat. Good luck with your one tomato that's turning color already. I have only one cherry tomato plant this year and it has blossoms on it, but no sign of fruit yet.

Granny Sue - I know many folks do have trouble growing strawberries but they're quite easy up here in northern Minnesota. Matter of fact, we have lots of wild strawberries growing all over the place. If only those wild berries were bigger than 1/4" across! Growing as much of your own food as you can insures knowing just how it was grown . . . without use of insecticides, toxins and other substances that are dangerous to human health. There are even sources that maintain that food grown in or near your own locality provides more usable nutrients for your body than that grown a continent (or country!) away and trucked in. And then we've all been recently privy to shortages in grocery stores or the inability to get into grocery stores and if the next time it happens, what if it's longer in duration than this recent one? Having food put by that you know is healthy means more than I can say.

Tigger - Well, I keep moving all day long. And I truly believe that staying physically active enables me to keep doing all that I do. Better to wear out than to rust out! ;o) Now if I could just find a good exercise for my mind that seems to be functioning on less than all cylinders these days . . .

tpals - Isn't that the vexing problem with finding enough space in the garden for all the things you'd like to plant?!

linnellnickerson - No, you can't count your labor in when you consider the cost of raising your own food! (Although, recently I've notice when I do shop at our local co-op, the prices are climbing every single week so maybe I'm not losing ground by gardening!) But I consider the physical work I do in the garden life insurance. It keeps me limber and strong. If I didn't keep bending, pushing, pulling, stretching, carrying weight, crawling along the ground, etc. I would soon lose muscle mass and become weak. My dear mom never exercised and in later years didn't even walk much because of her "bad knees." She died at the same age I am now because her body just gave out.

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Sounds like you do have a garden of plenty! Good for you. My grandmother used to make the most amazing concord grape jamz, juices, and pies. I was bummed out when I found out you can't really grow concord grapes in Boise too cold of winters. I guess good luck with all your produce!

Retired Knitter said...

Well I don't garden being in a condo, but it is my favorite time of the year. I could live on fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob - exclusively! Going to the farmer's markets is a joy.

Mama Pea said...

Nancy - In our last place in Illinois before moving up here to MN, we had three grape harbors (planted by the lady we purchased the property from) and one of them was Concord grapes. That's when I learned to make grape jam and fell in love with it! There are some people in our town here now that have successfully grown grapes and we've read there are varieties that will make it in our colder climate, but have yet to try them. Maybe someday . . . ?

Retired Knitter - I think that going to a farmer's market is the best shopping you can do! Unfortunately, our county has decided that because of COVID, the few we have are not allowed to open this year. :o(

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