Saturday, October 1, 2022

Such A Great Time Of Year

Up before the sun this morning, an hour or so of cross-stitching on the couch, then breakfast and out to make progress on the garden clean-up.
 

Much still green and growin' in the raised beds but it's time to call it quits for anything but the perennials.  Same with what is left in the field garden.  We'll wait to dig the potatoes that are there for a while yet though.
 

I took a peek at the apples ripening and sizing up on the trees secure in their enclosure to discourage the Blue Jays that have been trying to get at them.  Sorry, beautiful birds, we're not into sharing with you.  (No enhanced color added to this picture . . . wow!)
 

Papa Pea came to find me in the garden to entice me with the invitation to go help him stack some more of the wood we had delivered recently.  How could I refuse an offer like that?
 

Then he thought it would be fun to work with the wood splitter making some more kindling for the coming winter months.  (Actually, I think I've finally convinced him that task goes a lot faster with two working at it.)
 

Now I've been sitting at the kitchen table squeezing in a little more cross-stitching time while sipping a warm beverage.  If I procrastinate just a while longer, it will be time for our dish of probiotics for our mid-day meal and I won't have to go back to the garden clean-up until after then.  Garden clean-up may not be as exciting as planting in the spring but the beautiful turning colors, crisp, clean air and very comfortable working temperature (54° right now . . . sweatshirt weather, I love it) make it all enjoyable.
 
It really is an invigorating time of year for me.  Here's hoping you all have a wonderful start to this new month of October. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Another Show & Tell Post

Along with all the "finishing-up" of outside fall tasks yet to be completed, I've been taking down time for myself to indulge my handwork craving.  I'm still stuck in the cross-stitching craze I've been in for a while.  
 
Please remember I've never claimed to be a good photographer.  (That goes without saying!)  Far from it as you will readily notice.
 

 A small knob-hanger for Halloween time.
 

Three happy pumpkins for that time, too.
 

Yep, Happy Thanksgiving!
It will be here soon.
 

Although fall themed, we can remember
this saying year 'round.
 

I'll wait to hang this little piece
until closer to Christmas.
 

 This one is waiting for the
final finish.  The picture on the pattern
had more muted coloring, but 
I'm very happy with mine.
 
There's no doubt this time of year makes me think of spending lots of time on the couch, with a fire crackling in the wood stove, keeping my hands busy and happy as can be.  And we may need that crackling fire sooner than not as our temperature at almost 7 this morning is still 34°.  Cozy time is coming! 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Some of the Last Flowers of the Season

I thought I'd share a few pictures of some of the flowers growing in our new berm boxes.
 

This white hollyhock has taken a bit of a beating in our recent rains, but it sure is purdy.  The tippy-top reaches over seven feet tall!  Not bad for a first year's growth.
 

We have two black hollyhocks that have blossomed profusely.
 

This delphinium is labeled "dark blue" but the color is actually more purple to my eye.   Beautiful!
 

I'm not sure whether to call this astilbe lavender or pink.  It's one of a grouping that was supposed to be either white, pink or lavender.  It seems to be changing color as it grows.  At any rate, it's lovely.
 
In the window boxes, I tried nasturtiums this year and had to replant them twice to get much of a showing.  They turned out okay, but now they're battered by the rain and on their way out.  Time to pull them and decorate the window boxes for fall. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Hello, Mr. Bear


Our trail camera caught this sighting of a big, ol' black bear in our back wood working area a couple of nights ago.
 
I'm happy we haven't seen one this spring or summer during the daytime.  I'm very happy we haven't had one investigating what we might have in our plywood box that holds our recycling bottles and cans.  Or creating any other kind of (destructive) mischief.
 
I'm not planning on any midnight walks around the property though.  That's for sure. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Still Behind

But I'm catching up!  So far, I've gotten only seven quarts of dill pickles made, but that's primarily because my pickling cukes are so s-l-o-w in coming this year.
 
Lots of haskap berries, blueberries and strawberries waiting in the freezer to be made into jam.  I got the one batch of strawberry jam made so Papa Pea is happy for the time being.
 
We've had almost steady rain for the last two days and nights.  This morning we had heavy fog and everything outside is drenched with moisture.  We've needed the rain, though, so no one is complaining about that.
 

I sloshed my way out to check on the garden a short while ago and found several branches broken on the green pepper plants.  I neglected to stake up the plants well enough so the heavy fruit apparently was too much on the outside branches during the rains.  I had to bring in this big bunch of lovely peppers.  Fortunately, I know someone who will take all sixteen of them.  I hope.  (That's a huge, old colander I inherited from my mother-in-law and I'm glad I have it as I use it a lot.)
 

Eureka!  We have pears on our pear tree for the first time ever.  We'd about given up on it.  There are a whopping total of five of them!
 

Two of the three shelves of onions curing are shown here.  I'm very pleased with the size of both the red and yellow ones this year.
 

Our garlic harvest is looking good.  This shows a portion of them hanging to dry.  There are 96 bulbs total.  More than we will use over the year, but after they're done curing I'll save the biggest cloves from the biggest bulbs to plant for next year's crop.
 
All in all, everything is going well as we move into our fall season.  The forecast for the next week is temps back up into the 70s so the growing season isn't quite over yet. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Harvesting and Preserving Continues

Seems as though more harvesting from the garden goes on every day.  And it's a good thing because although our days are filled with sunshine, the temperature is dropping especially at night.  For the last few nights we've gone down into the 40s which makes me think the time for ripening garden produce is drawing nigh.
 


In the last day or so, I've made my last batch of Bread & Butter Pickles.  That will last us for possibly two years.
 

And a first batch of Strawberry Jam from berries I froze earlier in the season.  This amount wouldn't begin to last us two years!
 

The vines of pickling cucumbers have oodles of blossoms which should mean lots of cukes to come.  But with our dropping temperatures I'm getting a little nervous thinking I may not get enough to make as many quarts of Dill Pickles as I'd like.
 

I brought in this huge bowl of parsley to dehydrate and add to the stash for winter's use.  (Sorry for the blurry picture.)
 

After getting more blueberries this year than I anticipated, the ripening of the green berries still on the bushes if definitely slowly down.  While I was working on making Stuffed Green Peppers for the freezer this morning, Papa Pea picked these berries from the bushes.  Only about two cups but we're happy to have them.  I'm going to miss my bowl of fresh blueberries with a little cream and milk for breakfast when they're done for the season.
 
How about you?  What preserving are you doing right now?  All pictures enjoyed and appreciated! 

Saturday, September 3, 2022

First Canning of the Season

 Our weather has taken a turn cooler.  That means I can do some canning in the kitchen without boosting the temperature up above 75°.

I didn't think I had any pickling cucumbers ready but, much to my surprise, this morning I found some big ones.


Either I'm going blind or they exploded into this size overnight!  No problem.  Even though they're too big for Dill Pickles, they are just the perfect size for my Bread & Butter Pickles.


Here they are all scrubbed and ready to be sliced.


The end product on the counter right now:  Eight pints.  I'll plan on doing one more batch like this which should be a two-year supply for us.  I try to plan it so I have to plant and grow pickling cucumbers only every other year.

Tomorrow what will the canner hold?  My first batch of strawberry jam.  (Oh, Papa Pea will be so happy.)  In July I froze berries to make into jam when the weather cooled a bit.  The next ten days for us are to have highs in only the 60s so I'm planning on getting as much canning done as I can.  Sure, it's a bit of work, but I enjoy it so much that I don't mind at all and get a big bunch of satisfaction in seeing all those full jars on my pantry shelves.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

It's Harvest Time . . . Help!

I know all of us with gardens are in the same boat right now what with our harvests coming in lickety-split.  It's what we all plan and wait for all season, but wouldn't it be better if we had a few more hours in each day and perhaps two more people to help?
 
Not to complain, that's for sure, but good-golly-Miss Molly, is it a busy time!
 

Yesterday I picked these green peppers that I'll use to make Stuffed Green Peppers for the freezer.  Not good timing as my To Do List is already out of control, but the plants are bearing so heavily that several of them are listing at a 45° angle with the weight of the fruit.  These will have to wait a couple of days in my spare refrigerator before being processed.
 
Papa Pea helped me pick the last of the green and yellow beans yesterday.  There are still beans growing on the vines, but with this last picking I'll have an ample quota already put by.  Why is it that everybody is eager to accept extra strawberries or blueberries, but not so much beans?
 

Speaking of berries, we're getting more blueberries this year than we expected.  We're in the blueberry patch filling our bowls nearly every other day now.  And there are still lots of green and pink developing berries on the bushes that, hopefully, will turn deep, dark blue yet.
 

In my notes from last year, on August 1st I wrote that our slicing cucumbers were producing like crazy.  This year, all we currently see are some developing flowers.  How different the seasons can be.
 

Yesterday while checking out my Asian Lilies, dear daughter spotted this teeny-tiny frog (I didn't know they came this small!) perched on a lily petal.  She snapped this photo before the little creature moved on to further adventures.
 
I wonder what month it will be when I finally get around to processing all those strawberries, blueberries and haskap berries waiting in the freezer?  No doubt after the apple harvest and all the planned on jars of applesauce are lined up on the pantry shelf! 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Good Lookin' Guy


We caught a picture of this buck with a beautiful and growing rack of antlers on our trail camera last week.
 
Also, the camera picked up a couple of shots of a good-sized black bear lumbering along back by our wood pile of logs to be worked up.  It was our first sighting of a bear this summer.  Unfortunately (darn), we neglected to save those pictures.  (Double darn.) 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Weeds

I have a little book entitled, Simple Pleasures - Soothing Suggestions & Small Comforts for Living Well Year Round, written by a trio of authors, Robert Taylor, Susannah Seton, and David Greer.  It's a compilation of quotes gathered from their various friends and acquaintances.
 



In this book, I recently came across a piece (written by an anonymous author) that made me realize there are others who feel the same as I do about weeding.
 
For Love of Weeds

I have a confession to make that I hope my father
never hears -- I love weeding.  During the
summers when I was small, my father 
used to pay me fifty cents an hour to 
pull weeds from our extensive gardens.
I suppose, looking back on my wage scale,
it was a great deal for him,
but it was even better for me.
It was such a feeling of accomplishment
to finish a square area and look down at all that
sweet-smelling moist dirt and
not see a single little invader.


Exactly!  Remember the picture I recently posted of a portion of our blueberry patch that had been sadly neglected?


Same patch after I spent some quality time in it happily pulling and digging out the rasty weeds.

And nobody even had to pay me to do it.
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tritzing Through My Garden - Again

But before we go out into the garden, here are pictures of a couple of our landscaping berm boxes.
 

Those gargantuan plants are hollyhocks (oh, how I do love hollyhocks) which look as though they will burst into bloom shortly.  I'm going to wait a year to decide what paint or stain to use on the berm boxes.  At the moment, I'm thinking I'll stain them a medium-dark brown.  In the picture you can also see the one and only window trim that I've gotten done so far this summer.  Sigh.  Oh boy, do I need a crew!
 

These boxes span the front width of the deck.  The one on the right is in position and leveled but not filled with dirt yet.  The lefthand one still needs leveling.  Those plants in pots in front are ones that will go in the berm boxes when they're ready.  The construction of the boxes has been done completely by our daughter.
 

Here's the much neglected weeding of part of the blueberry patch.  Even with my continuing fight with the invasive Witch's Broom, we're getting more blueberries than we did last year.  And there are lots more on the bushes to come.  Thank you, tough blueberry plants.
 

This is my tepee trellis with Scarlet Runner Beans climbing up it.  Doesn't it look like Mother Nature's Christmas tree?
 

The Brussels sprouts are doing . . . just okay.  Not many of them are forming nice look sprouts.  Why?  Wish I knew.
 

I'm always amazed at how lovely the potato plant flowers are.  Who knew the lowly potato would produce such delicate blossoms. 
 

The row of potatoes on the left (the Carola white tater variety) is much bushier and taller than the two rows of Red Norlands on the right.  I just went out an hour or so ago to see if I could find some "new" potatoes for dinner tonight under one of the plants of the Red Norlands.  They bloomed first so I thought they'd have bigger potatoes.
 

Wowzer!  Will you look at these that I took from under one plant?   The four of them weigh in at just over 2-1/2 pounds.   Methinks we're gonna have a mighty good potato harvest this year. 

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Another Stroll Through The Garden

We've been having to water the garden with either the sprinkler or hand- held hose a couple/few times a week.  So the 1/2" of rain we got last night was very welcome.  
 
Some of the vegetables are starting to mature while some cause me to wonder if they will make it.
 

I planted two varieties of garlic last fall.  Most of the bed was taken up with Chesnok Red and a small portion was given to Northern White.  I dug and tied up to cure all the Northern White this past week which matured quite a bit faster than the Chesnok Red that is still a ways from being ready.
 

Papa Pea mowed the grass yesterday and with the bag on the mower, collected the cuttings to use as mulch and a bit of natural fertilizer for the bare areas of the garden I didn't get planted this year.  (You can see how brown the grass is that was taken from an area that gets baked in the sun all day.)
 

My pickling cucumbers are finally showing some growth.  I need to make both Bread & Butter pickles and dills this year.  For the dill pickles I need . . . well, dill.
 

I think I mentioned I had to plant the dill seeds three or four times to get anything to germinate.  They are finally growing but the plants are still only about 3" high.  I think I need to regularly give pep talks to the little guys to try to encourage them to grow big enough to use when the pickling cukes are ready.
 

Something is dining well on both my yellow and green beans.  I've never had this happen before and am hoping the plants will remain strong enough to give us the beans we need.  We've been dusting with DE in the mornings while the dew is still present.
 

The green pepper plants are tall and healthy producing lots of peppers in various stages.  We haven't even had an especially hot summer (lots of nights down into the 50s) yet they look as good as they ever have.  Makes me wonder why I've always gone to the trouble in the past of putting them under protection to hold in the heat.
 

Peas will have to be picked again tomorrow.  (They're still soak-y wet from last night's rain.)  We've taken two harvests from the vines thus far and by the looks of them today, tomorrow will give us more than from the previous two pickings.  Love those fresh frozen garden peas! 
 
I have a dehydrator full of parsley, sage and rosemary as we speak.  (All on separate trays, of course.)  Do any of you grow and dry your own herbs?