Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Green, Ripening, Ripe

We have staging boxes of tomatoes in the cool basement.  They are sorted by color every few days to make quick work when it's time to process a batch.  Later today I'll can more ketchup.   Since the majority of our tomatoes were picked green, this has given a little bit of lee-way on getting them all canned.

Our two rather small apple trees (McIntosh and Haralson) produced seventy-five pounds of organic worm free apples.  The McIntosh were easy pickings for the birds ... and I wasn't vigilant about protecting the crop as I should have been.  Haralsons are a much harder apple and didn't suffer as much damage.

 Three blemish free boxes have been wrapped and stored in the cool of the basement for later use.   The rest have been divided: un-pecked and slightly pecked (by the birds).  At least one more batch of applesauce .. and I'll call it a day.  The peels are fermenting in a crock and will hopefully turn into raw apple cider vinegar.

The gardens are still hanging on.   Onions, garlic and tomatoes pulled.  Still need to harvest carrots, potatoes, summer squash, celery root, pumpkins, cabbage and our second round of raspberries from the ever bearing plants.  Strawberries have rebounded and provide enough for a yogurt topping every few days.  I've only watered the garden once in the past several weeks.  The plants are hanging on with early morning dew and deep roots.

I'm so enjoying the late warmth of summer!  What's being 'put up' from your summer garden?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer Is A Busy

time, PERIOD.

The weather was a bit iffy last week and all of our tomatoes were picked as night time temps produced a few frosty mornings.  Ninety-seven percent of our crop was still green.  They are in boxes stored in the cool basement ... and are ripening up nicely.  From our 12'x4' raised bed we harvested 120 pounds of assorted heirlooms planted from seeds saved from last year's harvest; that's free tomatoes!

Speaking of seeds, please take the time to watch this movie, Genetic Roulette, while it's available for free through September 22.  If you are still on the fence about the dangers of GMO crops, this will help push you over the edge.  If you live in California, be sure to get out and vote in the coming election on Prop 37, making it the law to have food labels state if it's made with GMO's.  You can bet that a very HIGH percentage of grocery store items and processed foods contain them.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Oh Shucks

This has been a busy few weeks.  Summer is in full swing with vacationing AND gardening.  The calendar may say September, but I'm not in any hurry for the season to change; it took too long for summer to arrive.

Last weekend we drove to Sandpoint, Idaho with the family and stayed at a dude ranch.  There was some cooking involved as we had cabins with kitchens and shared meals.  This cut down on the expense and was actually fun to cook together and eat our meals outside on a picnic table.

Yesterday my pop and I drove to the local farm to pick 70 ears of corn to store away for winter.

shucked corn waiting to get blanched and frozen
 I think he was transported back to his farm boy days as we traversed through the corn field with our satchels.
Pop .... still a mid west farm boy at heart

The corn was shucked, blanched with some left on the cob and some cut to leave more room in the freezer.  Last year I canned corn and still have enough left to last through this winter.
shucks drying in the shed for winter tamales

There's no denying that autumn is just around the bend; our mornings are crisp ... and the day's are slow to heat.  The gardens are winding down.  Apples are filling out and limbs need propping up.  Raspberries are starting to put on a second crop ... tomatoes are turning red (FINALLY).  Lettuce is bolting, onion tops are flopping over.  And .. I've noticed the hummers have gone with the last of the summer breeze.

Soon ducks will fill the sky with their honking ... then I'll be happy for a rest from gardening and farm girl work.

How is your summer or winter winding down?