Saturday, July 30, 2016

End of July harvest

Cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, a teaser of raspberries, and three blueberries (those went straight in the tummy file).

The stupice tomatoes are definitely early producers! They're really juicy, bordering on watery, but they at least have flavor - more than early girl!

Starting to get paste/sauce tomatoes. Also got more chefs choice orange tomatoes this week.

The cukes and zukes are nuts this year! So many of them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

First BLT of the season!

Featuring Stupice (red) and Chef's Choice Orange (yellowy-orange) tomatoes.  MMMM - that was good!  And tall.  And messy.  I really could've used a bib to eat that thing, and needed some serious wiping up after!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Bees

I was mowing the lawn this past weekend, and realized I was finally seeing more bees flying around, dipping into the clover blossoms, etc.  I'd been worried because I really hadn't seen many bees yet this year....  Now we seem to be making up for it because they're all over the place - good!!


Since I don't have a ton of blooms in the flower beds at the moment, and because they were clearly enjoying the clover (had to keep stopping and waiting for one to fly away while I was mowing), I decided to leave a small patch of blooms for them near the back of the yard....

They're not just loving the clover.  The onions are in bloom - and they looooove allium blooms.  I remove the garlic scapes, which would bloom and take energy from the developing parts underground.  You'd think you use the same plans with onions, but I don't think I've ever heard of anyone removing the onion flowers, so I don't... 


Can you imagine what honey must taste like near onion farms?!?  I bet it's pungent stuff!?

What's coming out of the garden

Wow, the garden is REALLY cranking out the goodies this summer!!  We went from kinda sparse to "uh oh, what am I going to do with all of this" in the blink of an eye....

Having said that, the raspberries aren't producing crazy amounts all at one time like they can in some years, but I figure there's a few factors here.  I didn't heavily fertilize the plants during their development, and I feel like my dad has always said they love to be fertilized.  I just went through a 50 lb bag of fertilizer from Ohio Earth Food the other day, and only after I emptied the last little trickle around the base of a peach tree did I realize I forgot to give any to the raspberries.  Also, it's been reeeeeally dry.  I've actually watered the raspberries a few times - not something I normally have to do!  And finally - the lower quantity of raspberries right now SHOULD be a good thing that I forced to happen!  I pruned the raspberries this spring into three different heights.  The third of the bed closest to the house was pruned down to maybe 8" or so, the middle third was given maybe a couple feet of height, and the last third (which is producing right now) just got the dead ends pruned off.  So HOPEFULLY I'll get a longer harvest, which more manageable quantities at any one time.  Most will go to the freezer for jelly making later, but I can have small snackable portions as I want them, and hopefully over a longer stretch of time!


The basil is also going gangbusters!  I've been pinching out blooming tips, but we haven't really used a ton of it yet.  This time I decided to pick a big boquet of it, and then pick all the leaves off to load up the dehydrator trays.  Even after about 5 hrs the leaves still weren't fully dry, so they're getting a little more time even as I type this.  They don't look as attractive as storebought dried basil - we'll see how it turns out.


Oh yeah, and some went on caprese pizza.  MMMM!


Then there's the beans.  OMG the beans.  With the picking you see here, I had almost 7lbs worth stashed in the fridge from just the last week!!  I ended out taking the oldest bag, cutting them to about 2" pieces, blanching for 3 minutes, drying, and then bagging/freezing into several quart freezer bags.  We haven't been fond of home canned or frozen beans before - at least not as a side dish - but at this size they should be great for adding to soups later.


Also a heavy producer this year?  Zucchini/summer squash.  This is just one afternoon's picking.  Just the day before I'd unloaded about this many on coworkers.  I now feel like I've picked as many squash in the last week that I picked all last year!!  (Last year was not a good squash year for me if I remember right)


Annnnd the cucumbers are starting up.  There are more blooms on the cukes this year than I think I've ever seen on cuke vines before.  They're NUTS!  As you can see, even though I've been checking their growth, a couple snuck past me....oops.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Green beans to the freezer

With 6 3/4 lbs of green beans now sitting in the freezer, we've decided to give blanching and freezing another try. I'm just doing a portion of the beans at this time... We'll need to plan to use them, even if just in soups.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Crocosmia

The crocosmia are blooming in full effect!  I really need to do a better job of providing support for these guys before they get so big each summer...  I love how they look at all different stages - from looking like a weird ladder as they start to extend their buds, to bigger and more attention getting when in full bloom.  Here's different flowers, at various stages of opening up.











Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Sister's Yarn Shop - Going out of business

The first yarn store I set foot in was My Sister's Yarn Shop out in Green...  I was a nervous, probably very sweaty, wreck - a guy in a yarn store!?  Ugh!  What?!?!

Turns out I shouldn't have been so nervous.  I was treated just like any other customer, with very friendly and helpful service.  I ended out taking a fair isle class there where I learned how to knit with two colors at the same time.  Sure, my project for the class had seriously bad tension for the stranded work (a hat should not have an hourglass shape to it!), but thanks to that class I became very comfortable with fair isle/stranded knitting!

I received an email a couple months ago announcing it was time to close up shop....the owner decided to retire, and she was going to start increasing the discount on all items in the store.  Each week the discount would go up another 10%!  Woo hoo!  Only it's a long drive out there - the main reason I don't really hit local yarn stores (none are particularly local to me!).

Brett had an MS treatment yesterday, getting his Tysabri infusion at The Oak Clinic, which is just down the street from My Sister's Yarn Shop.  Coincidentally, I needed to take some time off to get the car in the shop.  So I took the day off, got the car taken care of in the morning, then later in the afternoon I dropped Brett off for his treatment (it's about 2 hours total), ran down to the yarn store for a half hour, and then came back to hang out with Brett.

I got a mix of "fun" and "functional".  I told the lady working (the "sister" the store is named after, actually!) that I felt sort of like a vulture going in to take advantage of the sale, but that I was hoping to find some fun yarn that would be a good memory of my few times in the shop, which she thought was a fun idea.  I didn't find anything that particularly jumped out at me, but settled on some Malabrigo Rios (you can't go wrong with Malabrigo!).  I got two skeins in Volcan, which I really like, a skein in Natural (so weird buying white yarn in a fancy brand, but I really need it for contrast work sometimes!), and a purple that I figure will make a good gift project sometime.  The "functional" part of the purchase was a small bottle of Eucalan wash (running low on my two bottles, although all they had left was eucalyptus scent), and another stitch counter.  Sometimes, if you've got a lot of projects on the needles, you find you never have enough stitch counters!