Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garden on August 14

The sumac/grass forest at the right makes it hard to differentiate the end of the garden. Unfortunately, that's my dream project this week.

Wednesday's harvest - cherry and Roma tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and two anchos.
I used the anchos (plus one picked previously) for a first attempt at chile rellenos using this recipe.
They were good although anchos have a bit of kick. I think I'll search harder for anaheims next year and not just trust a tag that says they're good for rellenos. I've still got about 6 anchos on the plant so I'll get at least one more practice session this season.

First eggplant, although the plants are large, healthy and covered in blossoms

I've never gotten broccoli to produce more than a sprig before. I'm not sure when to harvest.

An online article suggested that ripe jalapenos will have corking, which sounds like stretchmark-like blemishes. We'll see. I've never grown them before either.

  About 4 or 5 softball sized watermelons are hiding among the vines

Two cantaloupe like melons, from an Adaptive Seed Company package entitled "Melons", specially chosen for cool climates

We have about 4 pumpkins.

There are 2 or 3 banana pink jumbo squash.

I had to include a picture of Monday's labor - 4 more quarts of pickles and 3 pints of marinara

Willow keeping baby's seat warm.

Clarity "eating" her breakfast

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday's Activity

Tomato and cucumber production continues to ramp up. I think I may have enough tomatoes to do a small batch of marinara for the freezer tomorrow. There are still a remarkable number of green ones. I think we also will have enough cucumbers (with the 4 or 5 that I'm leaving on the vine overnight to get that much bigger) to do another four jar batch of pickles.

The beets and carrots look great although I didn't plant tons of them. I'm trying to decide if I want to try root cellaring them (which I haven't had much success with previously). The edamame is covered in immature pods. Every few days I'm still getting another half dozen pods of peas, which I eat while still in the garden. The melons and squash have now spread across another row of the garden. It's seriously like some horror movie.
With Willow on my back, I hacked out a couple of 4-5' high elm "bushes" that sprang up over the summer since we got the tree taken out last fall. This morning the patch between the green lawn chair and the wheelbarrow was completely taken up by the new growth. The sumacs on the right in the front of the background (work that one out) are also new growth in the last few months and will hopefully get attacked this week.

Even on my back, Willow helps. She pulls leaves of branches she can reach as I bend over or I hand her a twig and when we carry loads over to the big debris pile she tosses her contribution on. She also regularly takes turns with me on who's wearing the sunhat at the moment. It made my work this morning much more enjoyable. It's probably also a lot better exercise to do yard work with a toddler on your back. Once again, yay for the Ergo Performance baby carrier. It's so well designed that she feels like almost no weight.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Odds and Ends

Yep, thanks to the fact mom comes down each day, I had time to make 4 quarts of pickles with cucumbers from the garden today. There should be enough more ready in a couple of days to make another few jars. We absolutely loved the pickles from the recipe I used last time so we're having them again. I can't believe that was four years ago. This time I think we'll end up with fewer jars and more people to share them with so maybe I can start making pickles yearly. I really like doing it. It's so easy and assembling the jars always feels kind of artistic. One of the many benefits of now living close to family is being able to can as much as I want and know I can probably fob the results off on people as gifts, especially since I despise feeding the consumerism that runs rampant around the holidays.

I'm feeling very foolish that I didn't think to plant dill. Next year, next year...

So, having a toddler is awesome. Everybody must get tired of hearing that, but it is. I love her earnest concentration and the way her diapered butt wiggles as she purposefully dashes toward her next job. She sets and clears the table. She shells peas and shucks corn. She puts dirty clothes in the laundry basket and helps "fold" clean clothes (also known as piling them in a heap, topped off by an emphatic pat).  Clarity has diapers and pacifiers fetched for her and gets copious big sister kisses, hugs and pats. She intensely watches and attempts to learn how to do every job and feeling like she's making meaningful contributions is the highlight of her day.

Her play is just as serious. For the last couple of days, she will spend a solid half hour at a time silently absorbed in scribbling with crayons on paper. She sits with her legs straight out in front of her with the phone book on her lap and "reads" to herself until I come to check on her because it's gotten so quiet. Today, she finally started being able to string her beads onto their lace with no help but until now she has spent the last week transferring them from cup to bag to box to couch cushion to cup to...

The best part is the way she will just look up at you in the middle of a task with a huge grin and laughing eyes. "Isn't this the greatest thing ever?"

Once more, toddlers are so incredibly cool.

This weekend was Quentin's grandma's 90th birthday and was the first time all the cousins were together. Q's got pictures of the rest of the family to post. I just took pictures of the kiddos. Cousin Cooper is only 7 weeks older than Clarity but she's so tiny compared to him!

And, finally, Ms. C just keeps clicking along. She only gained 2 oz. in the last week instead of the expected 8-16 oz. so we'll have to talk about that with the doctor on Friday. I'm guessing we'll probably put her on to 24 cal. milk (currently, it's supplemented up to 22 cal/oz) and maybe look at increasing the volume a little through the use of a couple of larger continuous night time feeds. She's doing wonderfully on her oxygen though and gets occupational therapy twice a week. We're working really hard on feeding and I feel like we're slowly gaining a little ground.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

This week's garden...

Thanks to Mom and frequent afternoon thunderstorms the garden survives. In fact, it's sort of thriving. I think Colorado is trying to show me what it can do on the horticultural front since I've been rather skeptical after years in Oregon.
First sunflower I got to blossom. (In Eugene, slugs always seemed to chew the buds off before they flowered)

Tomatoes going crazy in the huge cages my Grandfather made Grandma about 50 years ago.
We have funny heirlooms around here.
By the way, I started these guys from seed.

Broccoli and eggplant starts are still trying to decide whether to produce.

The surviving two artichoke plants from the dozen seeds I sprouted in February.
Not a rousing success, which somehow makes me more determined.

Funny story about the melon/squash/cucumber row. I got the seedlings all mixed up after starting them from seed inside. It's kind of fun seeing what starts fruiting since I can't recognize them from the leaves. I'm pretty sure this is a watermelon pumpkin.

There's a bee nestled deep into this mystery blossom.

I'm not sure they know what each of them are anymore. It's a little out of control. 

Saturday morning's harvest - a few Roma and cherry tomatoes, 5 cucumbers, a green pepper, and an ancho pepper.