7.30.2012

Harvest Monday

Its here! The first tomato! WOOT!!!! And of course we got more peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini. It is time to make zucchini bread for the freezer and more pickles. OH! That reminds me, I wanted to post my recipe for dill pickles. So here it is! This recipe came to me via google and this lovely blog, Wood Ridge.

Crispy Dill Pickles
  • Cucumbers (see above description)
  • 12 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 heads fresh dill
  • 2 hot red peppers or 1 t. crushed hot red pepper flakes
Brine:
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
Prepare canning jars and lids (wash, then sterilize).
Chill the cucumbers in a refrigerator overnight if possible. Remove when you are ready to begin cold-packing the cucumbers in the jars.
Wash the cucumbers to remove any debris or garden soil. Leave the small ones whole; with larger cucumbers, cut in chunks, spears, or slices. Pack the chilled cucumbers into 4 sterilized pint jars. To each pint, add 3 whole, peeled cloves of garlic, 1 head dill, and 1/2 hot red pepper (or 1/4 t. pepper flakes).
Make the brine:  Mix the vinegar, water, and pickling salt in a stainless steel saucepan and heat to the boiling point. Pour hot brine over the cucumbers in the jars. Seal and place in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, marking the time as soon as you put the jars in. If you leave the jars in the boiling water bath longer, they will get soft.
Store processed pickles for several weeks before using.
Makes 4 pints.


So Back to Harvest Monday! I didn't take a picture of the zukes (2 lb 11 oz), peppers (18 oz) and cukes (4 lb 12 oz), because, well, we all know what they look like at this point.
Carflex cabbages from Johnny Seeds, weighing a total of 8 lb 11 oz
Day 4 of previous cabbage becoming sauerkraut
The first tomato! Amish Paste - 6 oz

Annual Total: 57 lb 6 oz
Eggs: 0

Thank You Daphne over at Daphne's Dandelions for hosting Harvest Monday!

7.24.2012

Sick Of Summer

Ok there... I said it and I'll say it again... I am sick of summer!!! Really, I am just sick of this summer. Sick of summer and I haven't even gotten my first tomato yet... The heat is too much, the rain is too little, and for some reason, the humidity is at a crazy stupid level... The chickens are panting, and hell, I am panting...  I am just yearning for the days when I can throw on my sweatpants, hoodie, and socks, and be quite happy...

Is anyone else out there just, over it???

7.23.2012

Harvest Monday

The garden really put out this week! I didn't harvest until the morning after the GardenWalk because I wanted everything to look lush and lovely. Now that the Walk is over, I am heading full swing into harvest. I need to collect all of my herbs and get them frozen, the cabbage needs to be made in sour kraut, and I am sure there will be more... This week I ended up with a crap ton of cucumbers, and was able to make 9 quarts of dill pickles.
Cucumbers this week totaled 11 lbs 5 oz

Eggplants - 1 lb 8 oz
Stuff not pictured:
Zucchini - 4 lb 3 oz
Peppers - 4 oz

Annual total: 40 lb 2 oz
Eggs: 0

Thank You Daphne over at Daphne's Dandelions for hosting Harvest Monday!!!

7.22.2012

Garden Walk Day 2

Today, we sunscreened up and hit the pavement. All I have to say is that I am JEALOUS of people with big lots, arbors, and SHADE! Our yard is pretty much like walking on the sun. But I mean, holy cow! I was soooo surprised when I walked behind some of these houses... There are a lot of pictures here, so take your time!









































7.21.2012

Garden Walk Day 1

Thanks to all the Clevelanders who came out on the GardenWalk today! For everyone that isn't from these parts, the GardenWalk is where everyone who has a garden and wishes to participate, opens up their yards for the public to tour. It is pretty frickin sweet, and is growing like crazy (pardon the pun.)

I will try to take pics tomorrow, and get out and see some gardens. For today, I spent the day talking to people from all over the Cleveland areas (and some neighbors I didn't know I had!) about rain barrels, chickens, and of course our wine bottle border.

We are looking forward to another great day tomorrow!

7.17.2012

My Pest Problems Continue...

Help!!! Ok, so I have been doing research into what kind of bird has invaded the yard. We have House Sparrows. They are in invasive species from Europe, and they will eat EVERYTHING. As evident. Anyhow, there is now way to get rid of them unless you remove their food source (chicken feed) and nesting source (neighbors tree.)

Is it OK to ask your neighbor whom you have never met to cut down his tree? Or ask if I can cut it down? Probably not... And honestly, I kind of like it. It provides some brief shade in the evening and some privacy from his house.

And the chickens. I do NOT want to get rid of the chickens. Although being able to sit in the back yard at the table and admire the garden without being surrounded by chicken poop would be rather nice. Hubby thinks we can go to feeding schedule to try and discourage the sparrows from eating the chicken feed, but I don't think that will work. I am willing to try it though. I also saw a guy online who hung old CD's in his trees and it discouraged the sparrows... I don't have any old movies I am willing to part with though....

And the other thing about these damn sparrows... This morning, I watered with water from the back rain barrels because they need to be emptied (we have to do a human error repair.) And what did I see coming out of my watering can holes? Little red worms! What the hell?!?!?! Not only am I spending a fortune on chicken feed, and cleaning up bird poo every damn day, but now I have worms in my water!!!! Can I put bleach in the rain barrels??? How much would be safe to still water the garden????

UGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

**Update** I have been doing some research and found out that the little worms are midge larvae, and they are harmless. They turn into mayflies, which all the birds around here eat in the spring, which would explain why they are coming from the sparrow poop. However, I do NOT want to give the sparrows yet another reason to stick around, so I will be going outside to add dish soap to my rain barrels. Using bleach freaks me the heck out!!!

7.13.2012

Farm Check

Last weekend (yeah, this post is a little slow coming...) we went down to the farm to check on the progress of our squashes and pumpkins, do some mowing, weeding and tilling, and watering of course. Hubby and his dad installed rain barrels a few weeks ago, but left the valve open, so no water was collected and we then had to steal water from the cemetery. They don't mind though, we always give a donation. Hopefully, we wont have to do that anymore. ANYWAYS, the plants are all doing great! Their size is admirable considering they were started from seeds, and started late. We will go down again in another couple of weeks, and see if everything is still alive...
Hubby's dad, giving a reminder tutorial on how to use the mower....

view from the barn, my FIL's stuff - canteloupe, summer squash, winter squash


Our stuff, getting to be overgrown with weeds - this is after I weeded

pumpkin plant

tilling the grass under yet again

The plants all looked a little pathetic after the tilling, but we watered, and hopefully we didn't kill them all...