Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Catching Up

Sorry I haven't posted more often.  Busy, busy, busy!!!  :-)

Aside from normal everyday stuff, I am working to preserve the veggies that have survived the horrible, killing heat.  I recently canned 15 pints of the best salsa I ever tasted!!  You can find out how to do it here.  And my latest project was "gummy worms" made from zucchini which you can learn about here.  None of my own pictures since I've just been too rushed. 

Our tomato plants are in a lull.  There are a few tomatoes that we have left to ripen and we have many new blooms but the tsunami of tomatoes is over for now.  I'm hoping for another go around in a few weeks or so.  I still haven't come close to meeting my quota of diced tomatoes that I had hoped for (100 pints and 50 quarts).  I managed, give or take, 25 quarts and 15 pints so far.  We eat them sliced for meals or for mid-day snacks too (and we do share with extended family and friends).  Plus there was the salsa mentioned above.  Not too bad, all things considered.  Sadly, I let a big batch get away from me when I couldn't find the time to process them and they ended up in the compost pile.  :-(  Ripe vegetables wait for no man (or woman!).

I've replanted cucumber seeds since the heat killed the others.  I did put up about 5 gallons of pickles and 30 smaller jars of relish.  I'm hoping to be able to process many more jars of pickles to get us through the winter--the ones that I made are already pretty much gone  The relish is from my all time favorite recipe found here.  I LOVE it!!

I bought some new green bean seeds to replant as well since I only ended up getting a meal's worth from ours (the heat burned the bush beans up and my pole beans got a mosaic virus so I pulled them up).  Gonna try to get those planted today.  Unless something weird happens weather-wise I should get a nice harvest before the cold weather truly hits.  I'm hoping for the best but considering how this year has went so far, I'm not holding my breath.  :-) 

My garlic harvest was disappointing.  The heads/cloves all turned out pretty small but I guess that I should be thankful that they survived at all.

It's time to be getting ready for a winter garden.  I'm hoping to make some coldframes like we did here.  I'd love to try winter cabbage and carrots especially.

And like most gardeners, I am already thinking about next year's garden and how to improve things.  We would really love to have all of the garden area close by and since our front yard was decimated by the chickens last fall/winter we're thinking about building a bunch of raised beds there for everything.  Thankfully we don't have neighbors or any home owners associations to throw a fit and we are rural enough that we don't have to worry about any city officials coming to demand we tear it all out since "front yards are for grass only".  Didn't you know?  Grrrrrrr!!

(click on the picture to read about the "war on gardens"!)
I mean honestly, this is an enviable work of art!!!

The other day I was walking around outside and saw this enormous wasp kind of thing buzzing clumsily about and wondered what in the world it was.  I had seen them before but never could keep it close long enough to identify it.  Then yesterday the kiddos skimmed this creature out of our pool...
Can you see the size of that stinger?  Ouch!

I finally got a chance to identify it at my leisure and discovered that it is a Cicada Killer.  I know that Cicadas do a lot of damage to the trees and such but I do love their buzzing in the dry days of summer.  In fact I can even tell you when I heard my first one this year... June 20th.  :-)  We have a lot of fun finding the empty Cicada shells (exoskeletons that they outgrow) and "playing" with them (putting them on our clothes or in our hair--the brave children put them on their faces.  :-P)

Son #3 in 2000 while we were in Michigan for the
birth of Son #5 (who was diagnosed with Hypoplastic
Left Heart Syndrome but was healed in the womb).
Excuse the bad exposure of this scanned photo!  ;-)

Daughter #1 with her Cicada "skins". 
Apparently she doesn't like them on her face like her
brother did!  :-)

I hope that everyone is enjoying their last few days of summer before Memorial Day hits and we have to truly start thinking about fall.  :-)

1 comment:

Kerrie Laws said...

Fall my favorite season! It's going to be an odd one-like all seasons this year. The trees are already changing colors here, and not enough nuts on the trees for wild life:-( everything scorched. My mind says prepare! But the pocket book say Ha! Ha!.
Loved the pics and I'll pray for good fall/winter harvests.
Love yas!
Thanks for the goodies we got from your bounty! :-)