Independence Days Update: Life in a Northern Tropical Rainforest

Sharon June 29th, 2009

Ok, I’m just asking, but whoever is in charge of rain, could you please do me a kindness, and send it off to Australia or something for a while.  I’m sure they could use it, and well, I’m a little done.  I don’t mean to complain.  I realize that 50+ inches of rain in an era of climate change is an excellent thing.  Mine is just an argument for, say, dividing it up over the whole year, rather than dumping half of it in June.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration, we haven’t had anything like 25 inches of rain.  It just kind of feels that way.  I am tired of hanging out laundry and looking out the window and saying “oops, I guess I might as well just leave it up another day.”  I am tired of mosquitoes.  I am tired of being damp, and having damp, muddy children hug and kiss me.  Don’t mind me, I’m just whining.  On the other hand, it really does look like I live in a rainforest – everything has grown and grown – the word lush doesn’t even begin to describe it.  It is glorious – hard to believe that two months ago I was spotting patches of green among the dead, brown things.  Now I’d be hard pressed to find a spot not burgeoning with life, except, of course the places where the goats have been through the mud so much that they’ve killed all the vegetation.  Not too many of those, though.

Otherwise, it is has been a pretty decent week here – despite swine flu exposure that necessitated rescheduling my Dad’s annual visit to the end of July, we seem not to have gotten sick.  Eli is on vacation, which is not his favorite thing, but he seems to be handling it with reasonable grace.  Things are quiet, which is good.  If the grass wasn’t up to my knees and the weeds weren’t getting ahead, we’d think we lived somewhere else ;-) .

We’re expecting the arrival of 20 turkey poults this week – they were supposed to come at the end of May, to be sold and butchered at Thanksgiving, but the hatchery called and said their hatch had failed, and that they wouldn’t have more until now.  Not sure what size they will be by Thanksgiving, but since I’m not sitting on the eggs myself, there’s really nothing to be done about it, so I decline to worry.  Also anticipating more hens to supplement my aging layers, since we’re going back to the egg business. 

I did, in fact, get my birthday present agreed to, so at the end of July we’ll add 3 more goats to the herd, Bast, who is small and cute and new, and two milkers, Jesse and Mina (for those of you who have seen my food and farming powerpoint, Mina is the goat that appears in said powerpoint – she was already my “appropriate technology, livestock variation” illustration, so it seems only appropriate she should live with us.  Jesse is being sold because she’s not as “refined” as the owners would like (ie, she’s big and eats a lot for a Nigerian Dwarf) but she comes from kick-ass milking lines, so we’re happy to have her in the mix.  Meanwhile, Selene and Maia look as though we successfully got them knocked up this time, so we should have kids just in time for Rosh Hashanah.

Ok, on to the update:

Planted something: Arnica, green beans, beets, turnips, cabbages, layered black currants, lavender, calendula, cucumbers.

Harvested something: bok choy, chinese cabbage, lettuce, parsley, basil, beets, orach, eggs, milk, onions, various herbs, peas, kale, broccoli, peppermint

Preserved something: Dried elecampane roots, tinctured elecampane and valerian roots (not enough sun to dry the valerian roots outside, and I’m not having the smell of valerian in my dehydrator in my kitchen – blagh!), dried strawberries, froze snap peas, dried greens, made salt herbs (layered fresh herbs with sea salt).  Dried comfrey for winter goat feed.

Ate the food: My favorite beet recipe ever, beets with tahini and yogurt with fresh beets laid out upon their greens…yum!  Made a cold borscht as well for our concert picnic.  Made strawberry soda (strawberry syrup mixed with seltzer) when the neighbor kids were over. 

Waste not/Managing Food Reserves: Gave away most of last year’s pickles to make room for this year’s.  Finally made a master-food-storage buying list. Found some stuff I hadn’t been rotating and put it in the front of the rotation.  The usual composting, feeding all food waste to some critter or other, etc… 

Want Not/Prep and Storage: Synagogue yard sale yielded winter clothes for Isaiah and Asher, t-shirts not permanently stained for husband, books and a poster of the latin names of common vegetables.  Local yard sale yielded new crowbar.  Local trash picking yielded two rabbit cages in need of minor repair.   

Build Community Food Systems: Did the base work for putting in a schoolyard garden at a nearby school, did a bunch of radio interviews for ANOF, began working on a small-scale livestock workshop to be held in Albany.

How about you?

 Sharon

33 Responses to “Independence Days Update: Life in a Northern Tropical Rainforest”

  1. Green Hill Farm says:

    We’ve got the same weather here in Massachusetts and we’re darn sick of it. This is our second week of this seasons CSA and I am not to embarrased yet at what I’ve passed out, but I think I soon will be, nothing is growing plus the wild turkeys managed to eat 2 + planting of pea seeds and so what survived is sparce, thank goodness I decreased our membership from about 35 to about 26. I am going to have to get creative al la your passing out homemade bread. I am not the best bread maker so I’ll have to think of something different. I’d like to do tote bags (I have wierd fabric in my stash) so far I’ve got one started :) .

    I like to make jam/jelly maybe I’ll make mint jelly, no shortage of mint :) .

    Beth in tropical Massachusetts

  2. Amber says:

    Here is my update for the week.

    Highlight: getting to the garden in the morning to find that the mallow has come into bloom!

  3. Susan in NJ says:

    We actually saw some sun this week! I have to spend much of my gardening time though clearing out the knee high maple and weed forest growing in the less public areas of my yard. My main livestock appears to be mosquitoes.

    Plant: Pricked out and planted lettuce seedlings; planted hardy mum root clippings; transplanted to beds – globe basil and nasturium; moved last year’s house rosemary to herb/butterfly garden; potted on a new rosemary “tree” to a huge pot; planted a blue pincushion plant to the herb/butterfly garden

    Harvest: Kirby cucumbers; lettuce – red, green and oak leaf, romaine; mustard garlic; “big-leaf” shiso; tarragon, bunching onion greens, rosemary, thai basi, cinnamon basil, oregano, thyme, lemon thyme, beebalm

    Preserve: Froze rhubarb, blueberries; started drying cinnamon basil, beebalm, oregano and put away the last batch of dried oregano and cinnamon baisl; decanted one batch of tarragon vinegar and started another

    Waste Not: Got some grass clippings from a neighbor for the compost pile; updated storage log

    Want Not/Prep: Weeded (cleared) 85% of the back 40 (20 feet by 20 feet) and mowed; weeded the driveway bed plantings; fertilized plants; got the last curtains I need for this winter; set up the new planting rack on the deck; got a base for the yard sale market umbrella I intend to use to increase shade for plants and house on deck; found some cheap 30g tubs for planting; ordered dried blueberries and dried organic nonfat milk

    Community: Shopped farmer’s market; talked gardening with several people and toured a friend’s garden

    Eat: Cesar salad with homegrown romaine and homemade tarragon vinegar in dressing; mixed lettuce and herb salad; pumpkin bread from the pulp of the last pumpkin; composed salad of roast beets, turnips, zuchini in rice vinegar on lettuce and shiso

  4. Theresa says:

    Serious drought here – would love some of your rain!

    My garden is way behind, and so are all the farmers’ crops. I have managed to harvest a bit of mini-lettuce and mini-kale but nothing else is even close to being ready. Even the radishes.

    Better news in terms of forageables – lots of yarrow and red raspberry leaves, and the dandelions are everywhere!

  5. Wendy says:

    I hear you on the rain! Same here in Maine. Is there a rhyme in there somewhere? The plain wet rain falls insanely in Maine …?

    Still, it’s very green outside … my lawn, er, “my wild edible garden” is very much enjoying the drink – freakin’ “lush” that it is :) .

    Okay, I’m stopping with the attempts at rhyme and pun.

    I updated my blog at Home Is ….

    Stay dry :) . It will stop soon … at least that’s what the tourist-dependent business owners in my downtown are praying ;) .

  6. Mary says:

    Planted more beets.
    Preserved nothing. Ate dandelions. I wish that when authors write things like, “Dont try them after they flower,” that they would say why. Poisonous? Apparently not. Way too bitter? Not for us. Realized why the dogs are eating sweetgum seed pods. Realized the black walnuts that fall into our yard are edible.
    Reserves–ran out of oatmeal, while taking inventory to see if I could use a sack of anything else, I found another 25 pounds of rolled oats.
    Prep–work on the winter garden and berry farm continue. Hired four day laborers to help clear out the inedible non-native invasives. An excellent use of $240 for a morning’s work. Three dry days, so I washed our wool sweaters and dried them on my quilting frame (1×2s and C-clamps) in the back yard. Threw an old sheet over them to prevent fading and dirt.
    Community–when a neighbor asked if she could get me anything from the store, I said yes. Two onions put off shopping another week. Then the next door neighbors asked if we’d pick up their csa share. They have a tote with the name of the farm that they carry back each week. They decided against buying more pallets of pavers, but told me about a stash of pallets near a dumpster. Tipped off another neighbor who brought them home in his truck and gave me the two I need. Found a 42″ tempered glass tabletop–told the neighbor who had one break last summer. He picked it up, asked if I needed anything from the lumber yard, and picked up the two boards I need to complete a project.

  7. Marie says:

    Ah yes, the rain! Feels like we’re all growing a thin layer of mold. Nice!

    Plant Something:
    Planted carrots, turnips, beets and onions round two. Planted some perrenials. Transplanted borage.

    Harvest Something:
    More strawberries…although the rain is turning most of them into moldy mess, the first of the raspberries, lettuce and peas.

    Preserve Something:
    Froze strawberries and raspberries (saving up the raspberries to make cordial)

    Waste Not:
    Used cheese whey for bread and pancake dough. Started two hot compost bins. Made berry picking buckets out of milk jugs for two handed picking.

    Want Not:
    Found some french soda bottles with rubber ring tops for cordial making. Scored a new baby wrap and baby sling as well as a very nice diaper bag at the local thrift store.

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Bought eggs and greens from the local farm. Loaned “In Defense of Food” to a friend.

    Eat the Food:
    Strawberry rhubarb pie, oh yeah! Made sourdough bread and sourdough pancakes. Lots of fresh peas, and salads.

  8. risa b says:

    Send me the rain! oh … well, some of it, anyway …

    1. Plant something – A few potatoes in gaps. Sunflowers.

    2. Harvest something – Elephant garlic, onions, peas, chard, mustard, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, basil, chives. Fava beans. One rooster. A lot of Japanese knotweed for beanpoles and compost.

    3. Preserve something – chicken, broth.

    4. Reduce waste – Making more compost from knotweed and grass clippings, and beanpoles from knotweed.

    5. Preparation and Storage – Assembled a new wheelbarrow. Bought some localBuckeye beans at the festival.

    6. Build Community Food Systems – selling duck eggs; Sustainable Life Festival volunteer.

    7. Eat the Food – From frozen: plum sauce, used to make reconstituted plum juice. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs; fresh chicken liver with eggs and chives. From storage: rolled oats, potatoes, home-dried runner beans and French beans. From garden: Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, strawberries, mint, basil, chives, still mostly peas. Favas are interesting roasted in olive oil with a little salt, but … what is the best way to shell the darned things?

    The volunteering has kept me away from doing much here and before that was the illness (which is not over). Hope to have a much better IDC report after a stay-at-home 4th of July weekend!

  9. Sarah says:

    We continue to get armfuls of leafy green things from the CSA. We’ve learned that there is no longer a groundhog problem, since a coyote has taken up residence nearby. Sadly, the coyote does not think geese are equally tasty, and so we’ve lost several thousand dollars worth of baby plants.

    Preserve something: Dried kale and collards. These are probably actually going to be sent to my sister, who’s backpacking through the Northwest for the National Park Service and thus will put them to good use.

    Eat the Food: *Fabulous* fried rice with Asian greens, roasted young bulb onions, beets, and carrots with herbs and garlic scapes, and garlic scape noodles (pureed scapes added to the noodle dough, then fried with tofu and bok choy. For an in-depth look at how we used the last two shares, see my writeup here.

    We still have more garlic scapes. They’re delicious, but a little goes a long way. At least they last kind of indefinitely in the fridge.

    Not wasting: adopted someone else’s partial container of rhubarb sauce from last year.

  10. Lise says:

    My independence days update is at my blog here:
    In the purple house: Independence Days challenge, week 9

  11. rdheather says:

    If I had to chose between lots of rain and a landscape that already looks like the end of a long hot summer(even the mesquite is wilting-I didn’t know it could!), I’d pick rain.

  12. Shamba says:

    My broken right arm is 8 weeks into healing and the dr says is doing very well. So, I’ve been able to do more this week than I could the past month or so waiting for the arm to heal.

    Community food systems: Still giving monthly a small contribution to a food bank.

    Preparation and Storage:

    On my first driving on my own last week, I picked up more rechargeable AA and AAA batteries to have on hand.

    Used up the last of the oldest lentils and brown rice. This week I can get into the storage and rearrange the rotation to move more older stuff up front.

    The last of the wheat germ went rancid.

    I’m not sure where this next one goes: I took a new cat into the household this week. It was planned for a long time because a neighbor knew she had to move in with some family–not because of finances but she can’t live alone anymore. I got her handsome black male cat who is affectionate but wants to be the only cat. He can’t be he’s the 8th one now although only 2 live inside.

    His food came with him and the other cats like that food so that’s a help.

    cheers,
    shamba

  13. heathenmom says:

    We were inundated with rain in May; not so much now, and it shows. A couple of 90-100F weeks, plus little rain, and we’re as wilted as the plants. :/

    Plant: Nothing this week.

    Harvest: Cucumbers, eggplant, eggs, herbs, peas, squash, tomatoes, zucchini

    Preserve: Peas, zucchini

    Waste Not: * Normal stuff – recycling, composting, critter feeding. * Experimented with freezing 2 loaves of bread dough instead of baking all 4 of the loaves that my favorite recipe yields, since we can never get through all 4 loaves before one molds.

    Prepare/Store: *Gave a couple dozen cloth diapers and assorted covers, plus some clothes for her youngest, to a family member who’s having a hard time, and shared ways for her to connect with other likeminded moms in her area. Went thrifting with the same relative and found 6 school uniforms for my oldest, plus some like-new shirts, dresses, etc. *Added more home-preserved veggies to winter stores. *Made up a spreadsheet listing what a 6-month supply of basic stores is for us, plus what we currently have in stock and how frequently I need to replenish.

    Community Food System: *More pea-picking with friends; opened the field for gleaning. *Shared recipes for bread and muffins with relative and offered to teach her to bake bread while she’s visiting. *Had a hands-on pressure-canning session with a friend who was a little nervous to try it on her own.

    Eat the Food: *Made a summer salad with squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onion and basil from the garden for a potluck; casserole with eggplants, onion and oregano from the garden for a family dinner; and an appetizer with goat cheese from mom and tomatoes and basil from the garden for the same family dinner. *Bread, muffins & cookies from storage. *Made yogurt, which turned out too runny so I made yogurt cheese out of it. *Peas from the garden.

  14. Shira says:

    The snow and snap peas are going strong. I am getting a fat handful every day, which seldom makes it into the house. There is plenty of kale, chard, lettuce and other green stuff to share with family and friends.

    The cutest little fawns ate my tomato plants to nubs and today I plan to plant the last of my tomato starts as replacements. I hope they have time to fruit before fall. Last year we had a long warm October and it was nearly November before the tomatoes froze.

    The herbs are coming on strong and it’s a bit of challenge to keep up with the picking, drying and putting up.

    I’m looking forward to trying that dried kale recipe.

    Shira in Bellingham, WA

  15. Gabrielle says:

    This is our weekly update, and since I was out of town for a good hunk of the week, it isn’t very long.

    Plant Something—nothing went into the ground this week.

    Harvest Something—zucchini, bell pepper, cucumbers, beets, our first red tomatoes, various herbs, bush beans, filet beans, red onion, green onions.

    Preserve Something—canned pickled beets, put up zucchini, green onions, and beet greens in the freezer. Yellow squash to go in the dehydrator today.

    Waste Not/Managing the food reserves—Added more beans and pasta sauce to the pantry stockpile, we continue to use leftovers, compost, use the rain barrel, and recycle. I made an effort to bring all of the recyclables home with us from our trip. When eating at a restaurant we always try to ask for them not to bring Styrofoam or plastic straws to the table. I guess it is a force of habit because they almost always leave one, and our 3 year old has it opened before we realize what has happened. I try to pack up those items and bring them back home to recycle. Every little bit helps!

    Want Not/Prep and Storage—My hubby staked the last of the tomatoes. We thinned and deadheaded the garden as needed.

    Ate the food—Delighted in making homemade biscuits for my grandmother to sample this year’s strawberry jam. Made homemade cinnamon rolls for hubby, and he was a very happy man. We enjoyed pickling the beets for the first time. We’ve been eating the cucumbers as soon as they come out of the garden or else I would have some of those pickled by now too.

    Build Community Food Systems—Sorted through and organized the food pantry at church. We were able to make quite a few purchases this week with our coupons and add a significant amount to the stores there. Met another local couponer—Coupon Katie—and accepted her blood glucose meter. I donated 6 or so of the meters to our friend and egg farmer (also an internist) for her patients. The next batch will go to Catholic Charities via Father Reagan. My friend Jennifer of Coupon Mommie is holding a coupon workshop on July 9th, and I’ve been helping to get the word out about that. Our church opened up the vegetable cart this week, which is used to raise funds for our various outreach programs.

  16. anita says:

    No rain here to speak of, but the humidity has been terrible. I have taken to working early in the morning and late into the evening, and napping in front of the fan in the afternoons.

    The week’s update is here:
    http://kirbanita.typepad.com/take_joy/2009/06/independence-days-9.html

  17. SuperMom says:

    After a couple of long hot weeks with no rain, it rained over the weekend and I was able to refill our rain barrels.

    My update is here: http://supermomnocape.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/independence-day-challenge-%E2%80%93-update-week-of-jun-22-29/

  18. ~debra~ says:

    this week i spent more time at work than usual, which meant more time asleep when i was home. it’s been a quiet week.

    Plant Something: finally put the balckberry canes in the ground, put out several sweet potato slips (learned this week that the leaves are tasty. a little olive oil + a little onion + sweet potato leaves = a little taste of heaven)

    Harvest Something: cucumbers, eggplant, long beans, okra

    Preserve Something: froze the long beans & okra

    Waste Not: picked up some kitty litter buckets from freecycle to use as planting buckets

    Build Community Food Systems: visited the farmer’s market, met some interesting people, learned something new that i passed on to coworkers.

    Ate the food: eggplant and long beans in stir fry (using stored rice. made rice pudding with the leftover rice) sliced cucumbers with nearly every meal.. next year maybe fewer than 10 plants, ya think?

  19. Lynne says:

    Weather has turned glorious out here. High 20’s, low 30’s ( ~85F or so).

    Plant something: turnips, red clover cover crop under the borage plants

    Harvest: lettuce, carrots, broccoli, snow peas, garlic scapes, strawberries +++, oregano, red onion, scallions, potatoes, elderberry flowers, cilantro

    Preserve: strawberries: jam, frozen, dried as slices and leather; dried elderberry flowers (the house smells like heaven)

    Reduce waste: I don’t know what has happened but it’s 3 weeks and we still haven’t put out the garbage – there isn’t enough to justify wasting a bag; and it doesn’t smell because we compost and don’t eat meat; we often skip weeks putting out the garbage, but it’s looking like we’ll be going a month without putting out anything; maybe it’s the switch to shopping at thrift stores – no packaging

    Prep and store: put up sugar, white flour, froze some brown rice

    Build Community Food Systems: Our neighbours admitted to pilfering strawberries…:)

    Eat: Almost everything that was harvested, plus tomatoes from last year on some very fine homemade pizza

  20. Lisa H. says:

    6/29/09:

    Planted: nada

    Harvested: weekly organic veggie box and flowers

    Preserved: nada

    Reduced Waste: community composting/recycling; saved glass jars and plastics for reuse; froze veggie scraps; donated to library and Salvation Army

    Preparation and Storage: 2 flashlights, large glass canister with lid, apple peeler, pizza stone

    Build Community Food Systems: 4c. pyrex bowl with plastic lid for yard sale buddy

    Eat the Food: apricot flognarde

    LisaH

  21. Mo says:

    1. Plant something: No. I have no room currently, and anyway I am seriously questioning the wisdom of planting too much stuff this time of year here in the low desert. There isn’t that much that does well apparently apart from okra, Armenian cucumbers, basil, and probably melons, and squash, and the veggies I already have are requiring a lot of water, and to be honest I am not feeling too good about this as usual. I am needing to water twice a day, and our water usage has increased again as a result. The okra I planted aren’t doing well mainly because they have been invaded by pumpkin plants, and are fighting for water and space. I am kind of feeling recently as though I should treat these few really hot summer months like a Midwest winter, during which time one plans for spring, although spring for me will be Fall. August will be here soon enough and then I can start over again.

    2. Harvest something: Less then there has been in recent weeks but still a few tomatoes, (which are definitely coming to an end), cucumbers, eggplants, basil, and of course zucchinis. I have lots of pumpkins growing all over the garden. In fact the pumpkin plants have totally taken over the entire garden. All the more reason to get the sand box finished and filled with top soil so that they can have a place all of their own. I cooked up lots of eggplants into a great pasta sauce as suggested by Judy, and it was delicious! (Thanks Judy). I have also found a recipe book with several great eggplant recipes so I am happy that I have more options for my eggplants in future.

    3. Preserve something: Just more pesto to feed my ever growing pesto obsession.

    4. Reduce waste: Better this week. Composted a TON of garden waste, and did all my usuals of recycling, cloth bags, reusing zip locks, line drying the washing etc, etc. I can’t ever feel good about reducing energy waste though when I wake up each morning to hear the AC running already because it is going to be so hot. Not good, and no easy solutions except to keep the air at 83 as always, and shutter everything up during the day. I suppose some consolation is that during the winter we seldom use too much energy to heat our home.

    5. Prep and storage: Nearly done with preparing the new sandbox veggie bed, (pictures soon). Got the new recycled trash can compost box which I am still delighted with, continued chicken coop and chicken keeping planning, and all the reading I usually do.

    6. Build community food systems: Had an excited response from our neighbour across the street when we told her we were getting chickens. She wants to help with them as much as possible which is great. (I hope everyone else in our rather stiff street is as excited! :) Was asked again to talk about veggie growing in the desert with another friends hubby. Don’t know if it will happen because I get asked a lot and then nothing happens, but it will be nice if it does because of course this is my passion. Was asked by another friend to give her any surplus eggplants we may have because she loves them apparently.

    7. Eat the food: Did quite well again. Made pasta sauce with eggplants, tomatoes, zucchinis, and basil. Had a few salads with cucumbers, and tomatoes, and added basil to everything as usual. I swear I am totally addicted to the smell of basil but I suppose there are worse things to be addicted to.

  22. TLE says:

    Plant something: silverbeet, endive, broccoli, rocket

    Harvest something: greens, parsley, sprouts – and the first sprigs of coriander!

    Preserve Something: 2 jars moroccan-style preserved lemons (gleaned from a friend)

    Prep & Storage: bought small amount of citric acid & tartaric acid to practice making cordial at home (aussie non-acoholic fruit syrup version), also found an extra emergency blanket for bugout bucket.

    Build Community Food Systems: Again, not this week – need to put a lot more thought into this one.

    Reduce Waste: usual composting & recycling, plus attention to leftovers, & veggies that might otherwise languish

    Eat the Food: Bean veggie wraps & pumpkin/pecan/spinach risotto, yogurt & sprouts

  23. Nicole in NJ says:

    Between the weather and the puppy, I seem to be slowing down a bit. Fortunately it’s a (relatively) quiet time at the CSA.

    1. Plant something: zucchini, cucumbers, melons, nasturtium

    2. Harvest something: strawberries, thyme, oregano, green beans, chamomile

    3. Preserve something: put up kale, dried herbs, green beans & peas

    4. Waste not: Slowly working my way through the last of last year’s frozen veggies & meat, resolved not to make as much jam this year (still eating through and giving away substantial amounts from last year). Aside from that, just the usual composting, recycling, cloth bags when shopping etc.

    5. Want not/Prep: Ordered an herbal remedies book – looking forward to putting all my dried herbs to good use.

    6. Build Community Food Systems: Lots of garden chat with friends & neighbors. Shared fruit cordial and cherry brandy recipes with my neighbor (nothing like quantities of fruity booze to strengthen the community!)

    7. Eat the Food: yogurt & strawberries, cherries out of hand, stir-fried beef & broccoli with local broccoli, lots & lots of local salads with homemade croutons.

  24. mnfn says:

    Risa, I shell my fava beans and then blanch them before taking off the second layer around the individual beans. Still takes ages, though.

    Went away last weekend for a big family event, which meant nothing done at home over the weekend. Arrived home Monday night to find a plant delivery on the porch – the raspberries and thornless blackberry have finally got here :)

    Plant: nothing

    Harvest: small amount of thyme

    Preserve: made mandarin granita mix at my parents and left it for them (mandarin juice plus sugar syrup, freeze until sluchy, drink with vodka), cream cheese from milk that didn’t last out the weekend.

    Waste not: See milk above, otherwise usual compost/recycling/trying not to buy and a big fail on lots of travelling.

    Prep & storage: Showed BB around the reorganised fridge and pantry.

    Community food systems: talked gardening at work

    Eat the Food: Roast vege salads for most dinners last week to finish off leftovers. Silverbeet filo pastries.

  25. Abbie says:

    I’ll post a June update tomorrow, but for now…

    I’ve planted tons! Spent a lot of time weeding thanks to all this rain.

    Harvested: lettuce, peas, chives, dill, parsley, sage, scallions, thyme

    Also got pigs and turkeys at the in-laws house.

    And our farm’s shire, Annabelle, had her foal last Thursday. I figure that’s part of building local food systems since she will attract so many visitors to our farm :)

  26. [...] skimming Sharon’s latest update, I’m reminded that there’s a specific format to this genre; here goes [...]

  27. Claire says:

    Sweet relief, last night the low was in the low 60s so we turned off the AC. Only about 0.05″ rain in the last week and until yesterday, highs in the 90s, dew points in the 70s.

    Planted: nothing, too hot to germinate anything. I tried to avoid working in the afternoon. Started clearing the area for the sweet potato slips. Weeded a little. Tried to keep enough moisture in the soil to allow the popcorn and zucchini seeds from last week to germinate, and was successful.

    Harvested: the remaining snow peas, lettuce, kale, collards, young cabbage (not headed-up yet), the remaining bok choy, raspberries, a few blueberries, various herbs including basil, lambsquarters, purslane, the first few cherry tomatoes.

    Preserved: dried calendula, lambsquarters, cinnamon basil. The DH bottled the beer he’d started a week or so ago.

    Waste not: received empty wine and beer bottles from friends to use for our wine and beer making. Found a music stand for very cheap at a garage sale, purchased and gave it to a fellow band member who didn’t have one and wanted one. Otherwise the usual efforts.

    Prep and storage: continuing to work out the design for glassing in the front porch. Continuing to research and think about how to garden more effectively.

    Community food systems: answered questions on the cost-effectiveness of gardening in general and in particular the cost of seed versus purchased seedlings for a very small (300 sq ft) garden. Also talked about growing eggplants with someone I met at a campground over the weekend (see below).

    Eat the food: we took the last butterhead lettuce with us last weekend when we visited a friend who has a trailer at a campground. Made a salad from the lettuce, dill, and nasturtium flowers from my garden, plus onions, peppers, and zucchini from our friend’s fridge. Took the salad to the campground’s potluck dinner Saturday night. Nearly all of it was eaten – it was almost the only green veggie anyone brought. Still eating salad with the now-bolting, but still tasty, lettuce, and still making and eating stir-fries from the greens.

  28. AnneT says:

    Sounds like you’re getting the weather we had last year in southern Ontario! It was a jungle out there with rhubarb that I harvested into September and black raspberries from the neighbor’s yard that layered themselves into plants a plenty in my garden areas for a patch of my own.

    Very hot and humid most of last week. Rain on Friday was a welcome relief. Now we’re into a spell of partial rain days — and it’s a warm rain — the fresh water in my second rain barrel was warm. Anyway some things are showing good day-to-day growth. My tomatoes are blossoming and my red and black raspberry bushes of full of developing-hopefull-soon-to-ripen berries.

    My detailed update: http://smallvictoriesgreen.wetpaint.com/page/June+29+09

  29. rainman says:

    If it’s any consolation, it’s been bucketing down over here in New Zealand too. Except we don’t have that summer thing going on! Two or three hard frosts last week, I’m beginning to think I should be growing Brussel Sprouts. Ah well, the kale and swedes are doing OK, and the garlic is in, but the rest of the garden is a mess. Unless you like weeds, that is.

    My excuse is I’ve been building my glasshouse, which is now completely glassed. Yay! Time to move the strawberries and last grim hangers-on from the chili pepper population in, before they die completely.

    My scorecard:
    Plant: Some garlic, a few carrots
    Harvest: Some straggly pak choi and some sunchokes
    Preserve: Nope, although I should be processing the olives I harvested from my neighbour’s tree (with their consent!)
    Waste Not: Nothing special (besides recycling an old glasshouse)
    Prepare/Store: Nope

  30. Hummingbird says:

    We finally dried out this week–so now I have to water the garden.

    Plant something:

    Carrots–I know its way too late, but the lettuce barrel was empty….

    Harvest something:

    Potatoes, beans, more beans, eggs of course, squash.

    Preserve something:

    Froze several quarts of beans.

    Reduce waste:

    Salvaged unusable wood pieces to border a new garden bed. Added flower garden weedings to new compost pile. (This is a LOT of material because of all the rain.)

    Prep and storage:

    Same frozen beans.

    Community food systems:

    Visited local farmers market.

    Eat the food:

    Had several meals of potatoes, beans and eggs.

  31. Lorri says:

    Update here

    I’m working on a list of what we should need for the winter, so I know what to can for us. I’m actually looking forward to homemade convenience food – I’ve gotten spoiled with all the good food lately!

  32. Floridagirl says:

    Goats!

    Did you see this story on goats?

    http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2009/06/29/goat_song/index.html

  33. DEE says:

    Plant….more beets,beans,sweet potatoes. Have a sweet that has produced over 50 plants and still putting out sprouts!!

    Harvest…green beans, tomatoes,beets,bok choi, cabbage,broccoli,zucchini,herbs, hot peppers and some luscious raspberries…and for the soul, the lilies are blooming

    Preserve…dehydrating herbs..thyme,oreagano,basil,sage. Made dilled green beans,canned dry beans

    Waste Not…been eating out of the freezer…all kinds of things I didn’t know were in there…some meals quite strange though….

    Want not–working on composting more to improve our rocky soil. Keep diligent eye out for squash bugs, our bane,so we get winter squash this year.

    Community…took fresh tomatoes to work for the residents; many gardened all their lives and they love the fresh stuff I bring them. Also took a big Oriental lily bouquet for the desk…hate it when the residents think someone died when there are flowers so vowed to bring new bouquets weekly.

    Eat–mostly out of the garden. Plus alot of chicken as we will soon be getting more from our friends who raise pastured poultry. Working on our grilling skills to keep heat out of the kitchen.

    Hey,three weeks ago we were whinning about the constant rain…now we really need some so send it down. DEE who wants to know what you do with the tahini/yogurt on the beets????? We love beets ….

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