We don’t live close to an Einstein Brother’s Bagels. We don’t live close to a Panera bread. But we don’t miss them. Because our lovely daughter/sister keeps us supplied with yummy baked goods to fill our cravings for carbs. Everything Bagels!!
Hot. It is sooo hot here. Heat index over 100 today. Who wants to be in the garden? If I was an early riser, I suppose it might be tolerable in the wee hours of the morning. But I’m not. So I watch my corn growing higher by looking out the window. I dash out to the garden in the evening to grab some tomatoes and cucumbers. We did pick beans again this week, but I’ve been sorely disappointed by them. After picking off hornworms last week, we don’t seem to be having any more trouble…as of yet. Mia just loves these little beauties right off the vine. Sun-warmed. Better than candy.
I finally got my garlic harvested. I have waited for months and then, when it was ready, I was busy and then it was rainy and well, life got in the way. I should have harvested this weeks ago. The ground was still a bit moist from the recent showers, so I will have quite a time of it, brushing the dirt off the cloves when it dries. Still, I was thrilled to get so many heads and there are some really monstrous ones in there. All the stems are too dried and brittle to braid it for storage, but I have been saving netted bags to store it in. I have already stolen a couple heads from the garden, before this main harvest, for dill pickles. Here’s our favorite refrigerator dill pickle recipe.
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
2Tbs pickling spice
6Tbs of salt
2 bunches of dill
add cukes and keep in the fridge. Ours are usually ready after about 2-3 days. I then refill the jar with cucumbers a few more times before mixing another batch of brine.Look whose helping weed in the garden! He volunteered to tackle the asparagus bed, which was filled with asparagus ferns (so itchy!) and huge johnson grass. It looked beautiful once Jeremie got done with it and we are so thankful for his willing help!We’ve been stealing potatoes also, while we have weeded the potato bed. It is time to harvest them all, but I am waiting for the soil to dry out a bit.Mia and Susie have been keeping the kitchen cheery with fresh zinnias almost daily! They make me smile, lined up in blue ball mason jars on my sink window.Jimmy has been harvesting lots of white pumpkins from his garden. It is so thrilling for him to find these treasures under the huge leaves of the pumpkin plant. It is getting time for him to pull up the plant and put something else in for the late summer/fall. He is deciding what else he wants to grow.The tomatoes are starting to get red! But the kids and I noticed this black insect poop on the plants. Hornworms! So we went on a hunt today and found over 15 huge hornworms. They were disgustingly fascinating to catch. Charlotte is making a home for them to keep them captive and feed them old tomatoes.Does anyone know what kind of squash or pumpkin this might be? It is a volunteer plant and I’m guessing maybe spaghetti squash? What do you think?And lastly, here are some cucumbers, second planting, and beans, second planting. The vines are going to be creeping into the beans like crazy. They insist on it. And even though I try to keep them climbing the trellis, they prefer to creep along the ground.
We have this ugly area around the house that is always overgrown with weeds. Someday I hope to plant this area with lavender and comfrey. But that will have to wait. It’s not high up on the priority list. Some friends of ours have a landscaping business and were clearing this rock out of a client’s yard. Since they had no need of it, we get to use it to mulch the area around the house. It was a lot of work, weeding the area, raking it level, rinsing the rocks off, laying down landscape fabric. A lot of work for Jeremie and the kids. I can’t say that I did any part of it. What do you think? An improvement or just as ugly?
This past week saw us traveling up north to visit with friends and relatives. We had beautiful weather while we camped in East Troy, Wi. The kids got to re-connect with all their cousins, some of whom they haven’t seen in a couple years. Surprisingly, there was no shyness, bickering, drama. Only sweet fun, hugs, and a blessed time together. There were so many things to do at the campground! The kids and their grandparents, aunts and uncles enjoyed canoeing, zip lining, rock climbing, the leather shop, swimming, volleyball, and horseback riding and water slides. There was not enough time in each day for all the fun they had. Relatives came from New Mexico, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee (of course!) and some from just 15 minutes away. We are blessed to enjoy an extended family where everyone one is a believer, we all put a high importance on family relationships, where children are welcomed as blessings, and we are all striving to pass on the faith to the next generation. Night-time saw parents gathered around fires sharing memories and stories, viewpoints and opinions. Well, after the rousing games of capture the flag and jailbreak, of course. Smores, family, ga-ga ball… it is sure to be the highlight of our summer.
The bermuda grass has crept in little by little along the south fence line. So, this week we are reclaiming the south side of the garden. Little by little. It is sweaty work, in this summer heat. But with each of us taking a fence section working for 1/2 hour before the mid-day heat, it’s not too bad.
We have been harvesting beans. Last year I froze all of my excess beans. This year I hope to can them. Canned beans, heated with bacon bits are so delicious! And pickles!! The cucumbers have started producing. Not a ton, yet. But enough to start one batch of refrigerator pickles. I’ll have to dig out our favorite recipe and share it with you all. Peppers. We should have waited til these turned color because I didn’t plant any green peppers. Only purple, white, chocolate and orange. But little gardeners were anxious to pick something. Tomatoes should be ready soon. The plants are loaded with fruit and some are showing signs of pink. We have picked a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes. A favorite summertime snack for Mom and Mia.
I always knew we were a bit strange. I have heard rumors that we are considered eccentric. I joke that we are crazy famers who don’t know what we’re doing. But today, we entered the world of bone fide lunatics. Yes, this family with soon to be 10 children, has welcomed a bull to the farm. A BULL, not a bowl as some people like to call him. He supposedly is very gentle and worth every penny we paid for him. Which was quite a few. But he is a handsome fella isn’t he? And the girls all love him. We like to raise our herd of cattle as naturally as possible and artificial hormones and AI’ing just didn’t seem like a good fit. So, the only other option was borrowing a bull or keeping one on the farm. There are no South Poll bulls available in the area, so we purchased one from the same farm that we got our girls from 2 years ago. The kids want to name him Solomon, since he as so many wives. Our Clover will be his concubine, visiting only once a year. Jeremie hopes for spring calves so the bull is in with the girls as we speak. Clover will come for a visit next month because I want her to calve a little later in the spring, because Jersey calves are not as hearty as South Polls. I don’t want to take the chance of losing a calf on late spring icy ground. The man who brought us the bull from Missouri, said he would buy him back in a heartbeat for more than we paid for him. In the last month since we committed to buying him, he seems to have filled out well and is very impressive in size. I just hope he is as gentle as the reputation that precedes him claims.
This is my husband. He’s a dear thing. Always willing to help out. Always willing to be interrupted. Always looking for a deal. He was at our local bargain center when he found these flavored organic lemonades on sale for 50 cents. So he asked the manager if he bought them all, could they be marked down to 25 cents. 185 bottles later….:)