Late Summer and Signs of Things to Come!

Hard to believe that so much of the Summer has gone by without a post since mid June! I guess we have been busy! It was a great year for Currants! We moved the currant bushes into the confines of our high security garden, and finally we have Currants. This garden is fenced from deer, but also is covered on the outside with chicken wire, so there are no rabbits or other small critters in there. Additionally, I netted the bushes so that even the birds were unable to get at them. They are so pretty. They will become Currant jelly (when it gets cool enough to dare heating up the kitchen), and I will save some for adding to a special Wild Rice dish, I love, this Winter.

Meet Haddie. She was born in the hottest of weather, but is doing great. Her Mama is our most protective Mama, making vetting the calf trickier but we have only had take care of the calf once so that has helped. Haddie is doing quite well and is darn cute too!

Although it has not been a great tomato or bean year at all, there is enough to eat fresh. I may have to buy beans and tomatoes for bulk processing from a local farmer. If I can’t grow it myself, I rely on the area’s great local organic farmers. My poor Brussels sprouts, got ignored while I needed to help with family matters…but they still tasted good!

Beautiful, beautiful salads. We appreciate them so much. We do get simple spinach salads through most of the Winter and in the earliest of Spring, because it grows well in our double layered mini high tunnel garden. Summer salads though are a totally different ball game! We are, for the most part, seasonal eaters so we enjoy and appreciate these amazing Summer salads for the short time that we have them! Summer food, and Winter food are very different here.

Plants amaze me. How all that info is packed into a small seed, and how it produces so much food from that tiny seed. Then more amazingness when you look at the perfect little packages that Mother Earth has created for her beautiful works of art. I can’t get enough of this picture!

Pickle season has begun in earnest!

The red onions are not ready to harvest yet but they are close. Yesterday I harvested the yellow onions and found these mushrooms had naturally fruited due to some evenings being cooler. This variety of Shiitake is called West Wind. It’s been fun getting to know the different varieties and how they respond at different times of the year.

We had a special occasion here the other day. It was Hub’s parents 61st anniversary and his Dad’s 88th birthday. Lots to celebrate! These bread knots always look so pretty for serving. The buns were made out of some of the dough since we were out of bread, and there wasn’t time to make a loaf with all of the party cooking.

I tried to re-create a cake that the birthday boy had described from his boyhood, and hopefully I came close. It was a lemon cake with lemon curd filling between the layers, topped with a vanilla frosting with lemon zest. The Calendula flowers made it so pretty and summery!

As the work continues on our addition to our home, these trusses (4 of them) finally got finished. They were a TON of work, literally and figuratively! Hub’s worked with people to learn this craft and although it was very, very hard work, in very, very hot weather, he loved learning this skill. He has always wanted to do this! Hats off to these guys for their fine craftsmanship!!

Sunset over construction.

These High Bush Cranberries, are my sign. I watch them from early Spring till late Fall. Their color is an indicator of things to come. As Fall gets more near, they begin to blush with color. October will turn them a brilliant red. I’m a Fall and Winter kind of girl, so the color of these berries make me think about cool weather, hot coffee, soups, stews and cozy warm blankets.

It’s not just opening a jar, it’s so much more…

Today it is time for a garden update!

These tomatoes are growing in abundance! They are a variety I have not tried before called Verona. They are mostly still green, we’ve tried only a couple and they weren’t quite at their peak of ripeness, I confess to not being able to wait, so I can’t make a total judgment on taste at this point, but they sure are prolific!

Garlic was pulled almost 2 weeks ago. It did very well, and we should have loads of good garlic this year. I learned that in order to grow the best and biggest garlic the next year, that you have to set aside some of the best bulbs for breaking up and planting next year. In the past I have usually gone for the nice big ones right away for cooking, but this year I will, a bit sadly, tuck away those huge lovely bulbs for next year, and cook with the more medium sized bulbs I have. This should increase the size and quality of our garlic for next year, eventually after years, we will have all large high quality bulbs.

A pretty sampling from the garden.

Things are starting to really get going, soon the kitchen counter will be mounded with loads of produce for processing and storing for the Winter. The joy of opening a jar of tomato basil soup, or salsa, or pickles or kraut during the Winter is amazing, and thinking of what went into said produce is very gratifying! When I open these jars, I often find myself thinking about how I started the plants on a cold February day and tended to them till they were transplanted into larger pots during a rainy cool April, and then in late May transplanted to the garden with hopes of no late Spring frosts occurring. Then comes Summer and food processing from June to October. Finally, I open those jars in the Winter and taste the Summer inside them. It is more than gratifying, these jars are a living calendar of the seasons, and despite all my convenient kitchen tools that help me process this produce, and prepare it for the future year’s food, it still gives me a reminder of how historically people worked so hard to do what I am doing, they didn’t have the options of eating any other way but seasonally and by working hard to store enough food. My way of doing this surely is easier than their way, but it gives me pause each time, and I am filled with respect and reverence for the incredible work people put in to feeding their families, whether it was our ancients, or our more recent ancestors, everyone worked to put food on the table.┬áThis is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done.

Nope, these are not this year’s potatoes. These slightly less than perfect potatoes are the end of last Summer’s potatoes. I will use them up quickly at this point, because our new potatoes are ready! Making sure things last throughout the year is a bit of a dance. I don’t want to use too much up early in the Winter, and when late Spring comes I also don’t want to be left with too much, this dance has gotten easier each year, as I can now anticipate our needs better.

The only thing here from the garden is the Calendula flowers and the Chamomile. The rest was gathered. Mullein is useful for nagging coughs from colds, while the Elderflower is a soothing tea, Yarrow helps to stop minor bleeding, Chamomile soothes the skin when made into a salve and Catmint (sometimes referred to as Catnip) can be used in a preparation for use as an insect repellent.

I could not be more grateful for this way of life.