Thursday, August 20, 2020

Peaches and Tomatoes...

 Oh boy,  the peaches are coming on strong and the tomatoes are getting going.  Process, process, process!

The tomatoes start with lots of beautiful varieties of cherry and grape tomatoes.  They are oh so delicious, but everyone waits for that big red meaty tomato that you can put on a slice of bread with some mayonnaise and salt.  Yum!

After the nice meaty tomatoes comes the romas and the san marzano tomatoes just begging to be made into delicious spaghetti sauce and salsa.  

Peach trees love the high tunnel and reward me with lots of wonderful juicy peaches.  I don't spray and these are not freestone peaches so I cut off all the best parts (checking for little buggies - you know the joke - "What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?  Finding half a worm in your apple!) and then freeze the chunks.  The chickens get the peach parts that don't go in the freezer and from them they make delicious eggs for us. It's a win-win!

I'm also harvesting corn and basil (frozen pesto!) and grating and freezing zucchini for future zucchini bread.

  It's a busy season!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Getting Pickled, Blueberries, and More

It's all about preserving the harvest these days.  I've pickled, frozen, and made jam.  I have yet to dehydrate, but it's coming!

My favorite pickles are bread and butter pickles.  Not too sweet and not too tart.  

There's a nearby U-pick blueberry patch nearby and I was able to pick six and a half pounds of blueberries in no time.  The bushes were bending over because they were so loaded with ripe berries!

I froze a bunch in vacuum packing and made a few jars of yummy blueberry jam with the rest.  

On the drive out to the blueberry patch I saw this little cutie by the road...

We were burning some brush and apparently one of our cats, Thug (so named because he used to be quite the bully), decided to get a little too close to the fire!

Silly cat!

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A Way To Use Up Zucchini: Zucchini Fritters

A friend posted this recipe on Facebook and it sounded yummy.  I gave it a try and it was yummy!  

And it uses up a lot of zucchini!

I fried my zucchini fritters in olive oil in a skillet, but when I looked up the recipe online, I found that the author, from I Am Homesteader, posts directions for baking the fritters instead of frying them.  I can't wait to try it!

Thank you,  I Am Homesteader.  You can get the recipe for zucchini fritters here.

Be sure to make the sour cream based dipping sauce.  It takes the fritters over the top!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

We Be Jammin' And The Amish Auction

Oh boy, the berries are starting to come on strong and I've begun making jam.  We actually ran out of jam last year so I'll have to be sure to make plenty this year!

The jam I'm making now is a mixture of strawberries, blueberries, and mostly raspberries.  I'm looking forward to getting some elderberry jam made this year. 

Last weekend was the Amish School Benefit Auction.  All proceeds go towards supporting the Ulysses area Amish schools.  

The auction is always held on the third Friday and Saturday of July in North Bingham, Pennsylvania (the same weekend as Coudersport's Eliot Ness Fest!).  Literally all manner of items can be found there!

And this is just a sampling of the varied and interesting items that can be found!

Thursday, July 16, 2020

This Should Keep The Vampires Away!

It didn't seem like the garlic harvest would be very good.  Then I began pulling them up and found I had much more than I anticipated!

The garlic on the left is a hard neck garlic named Music.  I love to grow some hard neck garlic to enjoy grilled garlic scapes in early summer.  

Garlic scapes are the stalks that grow from the bulbs of hardneck garlic plants. If left unharvested, the scapes eventually bloom flowers when the garlic plant fully matures.  I believe that it will affect your garlic bulb size if they're not snapped off.  Plus they're too good to not to eat!  

Toss them with some olive oil and salt.  Throw them on the grill.  Cook until they're fork tender.  Delicious!

The garlic on the the right side is a soft neck garlic named Early Red Italian.  I love the flavor and the bulb size of these fast growing plants.  

Garlic is planted in the fall.  I use some of the biggest and best bulbs from this year's crop for next year's harvest.  I usually plant the pulled apart garlic bulb cloves in rich soil at around Columbus Day.  I mulch them well and wait for spring growth.  Sometimes the mulch needs to be pulled back a little bit to give them a hand.  

Today I will cut off the garlic plant's green tops and put them on a mesh table top in the shade to cure for a couple of days.  I then store them in the cool basement in a paper bag that has holes punched in it.  

Last year's garlic lasted almost right up until this batch was ready. 

Vampires Beware!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Growing Season 2020

Many people were concerned about my bees and thought that they had died.  That wasn't the case.  I worry that the cumulative loads of poisons introduced into the hive can eventually kill it.  So far they are hanging on. 

It's so fun when you finally begin harvesting from your own garden.  We've eaten farm fresh eggs, garlic scapes, sugar snap peas, strawberries, and cherries, as fresh as can be.  

We have so many eggs that I've set up a self-serve cooler at the end of my driveway!

And we're practically minutes from summer squash and cucumbers making their way to our plates!

But the growing season is not only about a feast for the stomach... it is also about a feast for the eyes!

Oh, How I Love Summer
by Susan M. Gilbert

Though May did bring her deepest grey 
And June did bring her gloom,
I woke this morn in a glorious way
To Sunshine in my room.

Quick, get up,
It's time to rise.
Greet the day.
I started to cry.

For today,
It has begun.
It's finally here,
The summer sun!

Feel her warmth,
See my garden grow,
Taste the sweetest fruits,
Watch the butterflies flow.

Hear the squirrels chatter
And my orioles swoon
Till the evening comes
With the summer moon.

It seems like I've waited
Such a very long time,
Longing for the light of
Your rays of sunshine.

So please stay a while.
Bring your long, lazy days.
I'll cherish each blue sky
And ride every wave.

Oh, how I love summer
And all of her songs,
Happy summer to all,
And may it be long!


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Crop Dusters

As I sit here I can hear the cropdusting helicopters going back and forth over fields nearby.  

As a state registered Apiary, you would think that I would receive a courtesy call so that I could keep my bees in for the day.  

Not a word.  

I believe that this is the "it" that breaks the camel's back.  I've struggled for years and years and sunk who knows how much money into my bees and there are just too many variants against them.  

I will do my best to keep my bees alive and healthy and will hopefully be able to collect honey from them.  Who know?  Maybe the apiary will be successful and expand?  

But, if the hives die, they will not be replaced.  

It has just become too heartbreaking. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A Little Warrior

Check out this little warrior.  

I've been incubating eggs.  One hatched early and somehow this little girl (I hope it's a girl) got a hole in her egg shell.  

I did the unthinkable and helped her out because the inner coating had obviously dried out and she wasn't going to do it herself.  

I though I had killed her because she just lay on the bottom of the incubator curled, panting, and barely moving.  

I thought this morning I would have to dispose of her little body.  

She surprised me!  

She is feisty and and pecking at the wall and today will be moved out under the heat lamp with  (I hope) her sister!  

Her name is "Warrior"!