Independence Days Week 6:Not Even Summer Yet, But Winter is Coming

Sharon June 8th, 2009

We’ve been talking in homeschool about cycles – birth, life, death and composting; the seasons of the year and the way farmers must think ahead when they plant, harvest, etc…; and touching lightly on the cycles of history.   We’re still planting madly, of course – it is only really just warm enough now for the heat lovers to go in, and the garden redesign is still in progress, but it is time to get serious about harvesting and preserving as well – we picked the first strawberries. 

While rhubarb, asparagus and a few spring leaves and herbs offer a slow ease into preservation here, I don’t think of it as harvesting and preserving season for real until we eat the first ripe strawberries.  We haven’t made jam or dehydrated any yet – we’re still eating the early ones, and not enough yet to be willing to put any aside.  But it is coming.  Despite two large strawberry beds, we never have enough, and have already marked Thursday down on the calendar as the day our favorite local pick-your-own opens.

Underneath it all is the realization that most of what we will do is collecting summer’s warmth and heat in the form of fruit and vegetables, and putting them by to warm us through the winter.  In the north, where I live, winter is always coming, and you can never have too much summer sun in jars to compensate.  It is hard, as they days warm and lengthen, to realize that summer hasn’t even begun, but we can already see winter on the horizon, but, of course, that is the way of things in cold places.

And it is the way of life on our farm – if I want to expand our egg business for next spring, I need to order layers now.  If I want to buy a buck this fall, I need to build a pen this summer.  If I want kids in May, I must plan for breeding in December or January.  If I want strawberry jam left next April, I must beginning making jam in mid-June.  If I want winter luxury pumpkins to roast in November, I must order seeds in February and plant in May.  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose – and it is never fully possible to live in the moment when each season pushes you towards the future.

So every day we plant things, and every day we harvest something, and soon, we will try to preserve something, if not every day, but a few things every week.  For soon, the rush will be upon us – the strawberries and peas will go past, and then will come July with the corn and the cucumbers, the blueberries and the currants, the raspberries and the peaches, the tomatoes and the beans, and the siren song of “not enough, but too much, but it will be wanted when the snow blows.”

Ok, winter may be coming, but it isn’t here yet – lovely, lovely weather this week, although we could use the rain I’m told is coming.  Still, along with looking forward, there’s enjoying what you’ve got.

 Oh, and btw, for those of you asking for kid photos, Selene decided she was not pregnant ;-) .  We’d been debating back and forth for a while “is she, or isn’t she?”  Despite three good breedings, before witnesses, she was awfully thin for a pregnant goat, and clearly not because she wasn’t eating ;-) .  We were dubious, but our friends assured us that she just tended to carry thin – but since no baby goats appeared ;-(, we’re off kidding watch.  She’s been in with a buck for almost two months now (Wiggy, who has to go back home soon, but will be incredibly missed – he’s such a sweet animal – my kids adore him), so all I can say is that there had better be kids in September – both she and Maia should kid then.  Meanwhile, we’re buying two more does, and I’m trying really hard to resist the temptation to ask for this little girl as my birthday present (Eric’s rolling his eyes as I write this, but he’s the one who said to me recently “we need more goats.” ;-)) – I’m having baby goat envy!

Planted: Queen Anne Raspberries, Seaberries, Gojiberries, Strawberries, Beets, Good King Henry, Sorrel, Forsythia (who knew it was medicinal ;-) ?), thyme, basil, peppermint, marshmallow, valerian, meadowsweet, green beans, red noodle beans, asparagus beans, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, onions, parsnips, carrots, zinnias, dill, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, melons, gourds, kohlrabi, cabbage, daikon, mustard greens, lettuce, calendula, gladioli, bachelor’s buttons, rue, horehound, rhubarb, blueberries, wintergreen, bearberry, ginkos.

Harvested: Strawberries, shelling peas, snap peas, bok choy, chinese cabbage, napa cabbage, lettuce, spinach, arugula, rhubarb, chives, nettles, lambsquarters, dandelion root, eggs, angora fleece.

Preserved: dried chives, raspberry leaves, canned rhubarb sauce, froze beaten eggs, made more apple cider vinegar with last of the wrinkly apples.

Waste not (someone in comments is using this, and I really like it - thanks!): Used up next to last chicken in freezer and made laotian chicken soup, asorted out bins and combined oatmeal, began making more closet space for food, brought last year’s pickles and rhubarb sauce to community picnic, discarded last year’s dried herbs, unpicked a really pretty hat that I made for baby Asher, to reuse yarn.

Preparation and storage: Picked up a couple more air-tight glass jars at a yard sale on Friday, bartered plants and future seed starting with a friend for speedling trays, added more black beans and brown rice to storage, bought Eric a swiss army knife and dulcimer and fiddle playing materials for birthday, traded remaining hay for composted horse manure, priced a ton of goat feed – Agway no longer carries the local, organic feed, and am not sure we want to buy by the ton, but am considering it.  Finally organized yarn, sewing supplies and sewing box. 

Community Food Systems: Gave a talk at a local foods group, met cool new goat farming Jews and began evil plan to form a new “Union of Agrarian Jews” ;-) .  Anyone want to join?  Not entirely about food, but began discussions with editor about a new book…more on that soon.

Eat the food – ate all the peas out of hand, same with the strawberries.  Using up last of last year’s sweet potatoes, discovered that they are *fabulous* with chipotle-cheese sauce on them and whatever greens are lying around.  Made a rhubarb-sauce cake for a friend, decided I like it better with applesauce – but I had rhubarb and was out of apple. 

How about y’all?


38 Responses to “Independence Days Week 6:Not Even Summer Yet, But Winter is Coming”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Planted: tarragon, bee balm, peppers, tomatoes, beets, onions

    Harvested: oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bell pepper, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, green beans

    Preserved: nothing this week

    Reduced waste: normal recycling/composting; looked for new ways to combine leftovers into new dishes; organized saved bottles/jars into a more user-friendly setup, so I can find an appropriate container when I need one

    Preparation/Storage: added more sugar & coffee to storage; began inventory/review of how long stores will last; hubby got grain mill mounted, so I can start learning to cook with freshly-ground flour!;

    Community Food Systems: harvested veggies from the “communal” plot and shared excess with struggling neighbors; mom & SIL made pickles for extended family with cukes & squash/zukes; dh, mom & dad spent many hours hunting wild hogs & deer that are wreaking havoc in all our gardens

    Eat the Food: squash, peppers, onions, herbs from garden; zukes, kale & squash from mom’s garden; used leftovers in fried rice, mexican squash casserole

  2. EJ says:

    birth, life, death and composting – wish it were that simple for people!

  3. Melissa says:

    I’m really enjoying this challenge. It’s really helping me change my perspective on what I do. It’s easy for me to see my work at home as unimportant or just a hobby, but when I write this up I can see how each week I’m working towards something larger and more important than I give myself credit for.

    1. Plant something – I planted more radishes, Hopi gourds, Aztec corn, bachelors buttons, and a Midwest flower mix all together as a polyculture. I was particularly happy with the mulch I made of chopped up grass and Jerusalem artichoke. It’s really helping the seeds to stay moist.
    2. Harvest something – Lettuce, radishes and chives, and I saw tiny pea pods on the pea plants, so soon we’ll have fresh peas!
    3. Preserve something – Oregano. We have a huge oregano patch. We should be able to dry enough that we never have to buy oregano again.
    4. Reduce waste I have decided not to buy twist ties anymore. I’ve been saving all the rubber bands, twist ties, and other holders that I get from the store for a while, and I sorted them all out and put them in one place.
    5. Preparation and Storage – I’ve added something to my wish list, I want to build a rocket stove. I found a video at that shows how to make one, I’ve always pondered what I would do with all the beans and grains I’ve stored up if we lost gas to our stove, but this is a great answer. The rocket stove only uses twigs for fuel, something we have a big supply of around here and I already have the tools to make it. Best of all I think it would make an awesome alternative to a propane burner when camping!
    I also scored a box full of classic kids games like Chinese checkers and Sorry! from a friend of mine when her son went through his old stuff. I think games are a great form of entertainment, they work without electricity, make you think, interact with other people, and for the price of one evening out, you have entertainment for years.
    6. Build Community Food Systems – I talked to another friend about his ideas for setting up an organic apiary to supply honey for his homemade mead. I would love to help, I’ve always wanted to learn how to take care of bees.
    7. Eat the Food – We had a big salad, and I put chives on everything since the kids love them. I’ve continued exploring raw food ideas, and while a lot of it is really unsustainable for anyone not living in the tropics, some things translate really well. I’ve been using flaxseed a lot more recently. I grind it up in my coffee mill and top popcorn with it, make crackers and cookies out of it, add it to all kinds of things. It’s got a nice nutty flavor and is really high in omega oils so for those of us who don’t live near a salmon run it’s a potential local source of those oils. I’m thinking that next year I’d like to plant a patch of flax seeds to see how hard they are to grow.

    I put a pic of flax in flower in my blog. Who knew they were so pretty!

  4. Susan in NJ says:

    It rained a lot last week and was pretty cool too, and then this weekend, the ground was just too wet to work. We’ve got baby peas and fava beans and baby squirrels, rabbits, cardinals and other birds — the chickadees hatched their brood and move on.

    Plant: Potted on seedlings – perilla britton, sweet basil; transplanted commercial starts – thyme, thai basil, more okra.

    Harvest: Thai basil tops (these plants loved the rain), tarragon, leaf lettuce of various types, eygptian and bunching onion greens

    Preserve: Dehydrated strawberries, started a jar of tarragon vinegar.

    Prep/Store: Put away more winter clothes and labeled the bins; priced sources for wheat berries; packed for storage the last two weeks worth of dried strawberries; updated the storage log; researched purslane

    Waste Not: Thoroughly cleaned the microwave and the stove top; ran an empty bleach load through the 16 year old washer because clothes were started to coming out looking dirtier than they went in and cleaned up the resulting crud (I hope this works); emptied the dish drainer and put everything away in an organized fashion.

    Community: Had a discussion with my partner about how much we appreciated the farmer’s market vis a vis the limitations on how much work we could do; shopped the farmer’s market

    Eat: Made rhubarb-strawberry sauce; mustard garlic greens cooked in homemade broth and short rib pot liquors; sauteed beet and turnip greens; shelled spring peas steamed with thai basil; pizza topped with bokchoy and farmer’s market mozzarella; the fluffiest buckwheat pancakes I’ve made yet

  5. Wendy says:

    Living in “balmy Maine”, I have to say that I can completely appreciate your comments on living with winter right around the corner all of the time. I certainly appreciate the warm weather and sunny days, but I’m always aware that what I do today will significantly affect how well I live next winter. I also appreciate the comments you made regarding planning. If we want chicken in the winter, we have to raise the broilers during the summer, and if we want strawberry jam all year ’round, we have to pick more strawberries and make several dozen pint-sized jars of jam.

    And on the note of the looming winter, we’ve been splitting and stacking wood – a little at a time. Every weekend, when my husband is outside splitting the wood, I’m reminded of the advice given to the participants in the reality PBS program Frontier House. They were told that they should be cutting, splitting and stacking wood at every free moment, but they’d still, probably, not have enough. The reality is when one heats primarily with wood, it takes a lot of work, and it’s something that’s better done in small increments – all of the time – much like the work I do in the kitchen with canning and preserving. Like Carla Emery points out in her book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living :) .

    Which is exactly why I like this challenge, Sharon. It’s put me in the mindset of doing a little bit at a time, but all of the time, so that I don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to do it all in August or September, and then finding that I just can’t possibly get it all done.

  6. Heather says:

    I love this.

    Plant: More tomatoes, both Delicious and Amish Paste, various flowering perrennials to attract pollinators, 3 more apple trees, 1 more peach tree.

    Harvest: lettuce, mint, onions and chives

    Preserve: baked beans and ham and bean soup.

    Prep/Store: Got 6 Buff Orpington chicks.

    Waste not: Emptied out freezer and made soup from all the bits of leftover meats and veggies. Used the last of last years veggies from the garden. Heated up a bunch of ham and bean soup that was in the freezer and canned it.

    Community: Worked with neighbor to build chicken coop and plant fruit trees.

    Eat: Made lots of salads from the garden. Made soup with last years garden produce. Made mojitos with mint.


  7. Marie says:

    Our IDC Update for the week

    Plant Something:
    Planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplants from seedlings started indoors, direct seeded butternut squash

    Harvest Something:
    5 pints of strawberries…all eaten as fast as we could pick them, as well as all the lettuce that was big enough to cut.

    Preserve Something:
    Made veggie broth from ends, scraps and peelings and froze in ice-cube trays for quick usability.

    Waste Not:
    Cleaned out the fridge, made a huge pot of lamb broth with the lamb bones we had in the freezer. See veggie broth above.

    Preparation and Storage:
    Found some large “cookie cans” in the closet, perfect for mouse-proof storage in the basement pantry.

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Received some extra squash and cucumber seedlings from a neighbor, left them so home-made rhubarb coffee cake by way of thanks.

    Eat the Food:
    Had fresh strawberry shortcake with whole wheat sweet biscuits and organic cream MANY times this week. So delicious! Fresh picked lettuce on the home made gyro sandwiches. Attempted to make yogurt. Made ricotta instead. Used whey to lacto-ferment some wheat flour for apricot pecan quick bread. Baked 4 mini loaves and 6 muffins, some for immediate use and some for the chest freezer.

    Happy early summer!

  8. risa b says:

    1. Plant something – Lettuce, spinach, pumpkins, corn, beans, turnips, basil, stevia.

    2. Harvest something – Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, radishes, turnip greens, cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks.

    3. Preserve something – Froze peas, bok choi, kale/chard/spinach mix; dried marjoram.

    4. Reduce waste – Carrying duck-pond water to the orchard trees for a boost. WEEDING. Dumped the compost barrel and began refilling it. Still bringing home cardboard, newspapers, bottles, and bubble pack every day, for use in projects. Found four free pallets.

    5. Preparation and Storage – Whenever we gas up, we take along a 2.5 gallon container and fill that up as well. We’ve put twenty gallons of gasoline in five gallon jerry cans this way, a little at a time. When a can is full, we add some gasoline stabilizer and lock away the cans.

    6. Build Community Food Systems – Beloved and last Son are now done volunteering as veggie garden experts at Extension Service. I’ll be directing traffic at the Sustainability Conference.

    7. Eat the Food – From storage: rolled wheat, oats, spelt flour, rye, buckwheat, brewer’s yeast, sunflowers, flaxseed. From dried: Runner beans; basil. From frozen: apples, pear sauce. From poultry: duck eggs, chicken eggs. From garden: Elephant garlic, onions, kale, chard, dandelions, peas, lettuce, spinach, chard, fava beans, radishes, turnip greens, cherries, strawberries, mint, basil, rosemary, marjoram, chives, leeks.

  9. Lynne says:

    Planted: late broccoli, cabbage (from seed) tomatoes, peppers (habernero!), lettuces, basil, squashes from transplants

    Harvest: soooo much lettuce, green onions, radish, dill, spinach, bok choi, pea greens

    Preserve something: dried thyme (in our car :) )

    Reduce waste: eating leftovers, does cycle commuting to work and for groceries count?

    Build community food systems: donated tomatoes, peppers and other plants to the hospital veggie garden, helped promote a friend’s CSA

    Prep/store something: Went through emergency kit, checked out-dates and restocked. Replenished chocolate in same – no risk of reaching the expiration date on the chocolate.

    Eat the food: salads twice a day (and we’re not tired yet!), bok choi and last year’s carrots in stir fry, pizza with best sauce ever from last year’s tomatoes, dill and parsley in salad dressing, squash muffins (last year’s squash).

    Love this challenge. Congrats to all posters!

  10. Kathy AO says:

    Planted: black cherry and cherry roma heirloom tomatoes, coreopsis; did a lot of mulching.

    Harvested: arugula, chives, lettuce.

    Preserved: jam – see below.

    Waste not: (someone the first week used this and I liked it, can’t take credit.) Retiring old, inefficient freezer for new one, will use the old one for root cellaring this winter; made tomato sauce and juice out of last year’s frozen tomatoes.

    Prep/storage: got connectors to set up second water barrel, into our second month of eating from storage and seeing there’s a lot of adjustments to make!

    Community: walked a friend through making jam, so she’s not intimidated now.

    Eat: Mmm, rhubarb strawberry jam, all the frozen veggies left from last

  11. Warren says:

    “Canned Goods,” a Greg Brown song. The performer in this vid is not a professional, but the lyrics are easier to understand than when Greg sings them.

  12. Amber says:

    Here is my update for the week.

    - meeting the handsome, French gentleman who has gorgeous lupines growing in his garden, getting some lupines from him as well as heartsease

    - talking to a woman about the benefits of nettle, how and when to harvest, how to prepare and use it

    - biking past a yard sale and seeing a wool blanket and hand rake that fits me like a glove, not having my wallet with me, asking the woman if she would be willing to let me take the items and return later with payment, returning later with the payment, seeing the smile on her face as she said, “I knew you would come back” and also learning that she has perennials from her garden for sale including lots of heartsease, making plans to return again

  13. Anne says:

    Plant something – Zucchini, winter squash, cucumber.

    Harvest something – Lettuce, spinach, snow peas

    Preserve something – Nothing yet but looking forward to strawberry jam season.

    Waste not — Nothing out the ordinary.

    Preparation and Storage – Side dressed higher demand vegetables with homemade organic fertilizer (Steve Solomon’s recipe) — amazed at how much of a difference it makes.

    Build Community Food Systems – Getting involved in a volunteer group interested in starting food gardens in our suburb, and donating a portion of produce to the food bank. Also went to the farmer’s market for the first time this season.

    Eat the Food – Spinach salads, snow peas as we pick ‘em.

  14. Gabrielle says:

    This is our week 7 update.

    Plant something—I planted more zinnia and sunflower seeds and a few more tomato plants. Right now we do not have tons of room in the garden, but next week we should have more space with the spinach and lettuce gone.

    Harvest something—I picked a lot of the lettuce that had bolted, the last of the peas before letting the rest dry to save seeds, green onions, spring yellow and red onions, basil, and the first of the beets.

    Preserve something—I chopped green onions for the freezer (I bring a few out here and there when cooking). I made some Asian inspired soup and put it in the freezer for later on. I am saving seeds from the spinach and peas.

    Reduced waste—We continue to compost, recycle, and use our rain barrel. I made an effort to ensure than any plastics used at VBS at our church were recycled. We only had one snafu where something was inadvertently left out, but other than that we had 5 days worth of meals for over 80 each night without any waste. I was in charge of buying many of the foods and supplies, and I made sure we didn’t use Styrofoam!

    Preparation and storage—my husband removed a large privet hedge in hopes of making a future vegetable bed in its place. He began work on the plans for a play area for our daughter (we hope to use the wood we had milled from a fallen tree instead of buying). I hilled the potatoes, staked a few more tomatoes, pinched back the flowers on herbs, thinned the green onions, and righted some plants that were bending over after a bad storm. We added bamboo teepees to the filet beans. I also weeded and weeded and weeded and weeded….

    Built community food systems—I spoke with our egg farmer, who also happens to be an internist, about donating extra blood glucose meters to her patients who might be in need. In an effort to reduce waste and help out someone in need, we sent foods and leftovers home with a church member for a co-worker. I continue to work with our local food pantry. We are planning a food preservation class at our church this summer, and I spoke with one of the ladies to better work out our curriculum. My daughter and I were pleased to bring our neighbors across the street a large bag of lettuce. Last year they were very generous with their tomatoes when ours had not yet ripened. I spoke with another church member about sending coupons to soldiers (you can send expired coupons to soldiers for use).

    Eat the food—As the week progressed I was a little more able to cook. My favorite dish this week hands down was the beet salad. We picked our first beets from our garden this year, and it is such an indulgence to eat your fill in beets! Ah, the joys of the home garden! The stir fry I made last night was the best we’ve ever made, and it was fun to get a bit more creative with the sauce.

  15. lisah says:

    Planted: n/a
    Harvested: weekly organic csa veggie box and flowers
    Preserved: n/a
    Reduced Waste: community composting/recycling; plastic bags to local elementary school for ice packs; saved several jars and bottles for reuse; made stock with reserved potato cooking water and vegetable scraps;
    Preparation and Storage: bought spices for preserved lemons; 4 cases of canned cat food; yard sale: alpaca scarf, glass decanter with spouted lid, metal thermos, 1 qt clear pyrex bowl, like new retractable dog leash and collar, 5 1c. Fire King custard cups, 5 2c. ceramic custard cups, 6 duralex glasses
    Build Community Food Systems: working with long-time local internet friend on bulk buying sources, price lists, yard sale wish lists, thrift shop reviews etc.
    Eat the Food: csa veggies; freezer pesto, guacamole, cooked ground beef, pork and chicken; storage pasta, canned beans, tomato sauce, popcorn, oil, oatmeal, dried fruit, nuts, coconut milk, chocolate chips, nutritional yeast; HM limoncello for dessert and in place of triple sec in HM margaritas (wow!)


  16. Saara says:

    Froze 6 quarts of salmonberries! They’ve only just begun ripening so there’ll be plenty more. More at

  17. Abbie says:

    In addition to what I wrote in this post last week:

    I’ve also frozen whole hulled strawberries and sliced sugared strawberrries. I’ll be canning next weekend, I believe.

  18. TLE says:

    Plant something: Started sprouts, and did lots of outdoor maintenance after 2 weeks of rain.

    Harvest something: greens, parsley,and a teeny but encouraging sweet potato from container planting.

    Preserve Something: small (experimental) batch of onion jam.

    Prep & Storage: mini-greenhouse to start spring seedlings, ordered Organic gardening & edible wild plants reference books. Have now placed a self-imposed moratorium on book buying :)

    Reduce Waste: rehoused a friend’s discarded styrofoam boxes (for planting), made soup from tattered greens & fridge bits & pieces that would otherwise be wasted, cubed & froze stale bread for crumbs, roasted eggplant that was starting to look tired.

    Eat the Food: ate ‘refrigerator/rainy garden’ soup with the dregs of last week’s yogurt, and delicious eggplant sauce with stockpile soy pasta.

  19. mnfn says:

    it’s amazing how much commiting to this challenge has made me resent time spent doing other things when a perfectly good opportunity for working in the garden, kitchen and house goes begging.

    This week has been a a failure on most fronts because we’ve spent the long weekend showing visitors around the state. Lots of car travel, lots of eating out, and packets of seeds still sitting folornly on the kitchen table waiting for their opportunity to be planted. But more garlic are up, the seedlings are still struggling valiantly against the cold and the snails, and our late-planted daffodils are showing the first shoots.

    Plant/Harvest/Preserve – nope
    Reduce Waste – nothing beyond the usual recyling and composting. Caught the bus to work today after weeks of meaning to do so, and never getting up early enough.
    Prep and Storage – nope
    Community Food Systems – nope
    Eat the Food – somewhat better here, working mostly off the pantry and freezer. Carmellised onion tart with beans and potatoes sauted in the remnants of a jar of preserved lemons; red lentil soup; crepes for breakfast; red curry with duck.

  20. Heather says:

    I’m behind, so past couple of weeks…

    Planted: more peas, wax beans, soldier beans, various winter squash, gourds, corn (meal type), oats, transplanted first pot of ginger to outside for the summer, separated the baby hops and hoping some of them live. Amish Paste and Roma tomato plants from the farmers market (I was only get to get a couple this year but…..)

    Harvested: a few strawberries but more on the way. Um, it’s been busy here…

    Preserved: the barn. No, really — it’s a very old barn and work is ongoing, but the family worked on washing and puttying and painting of the east side the barn and the cupola east and south sides of the cupola. Last year were the west and south sides of the barn. We’re hoping maybe to finish up in August.

    Reduced waste: usual thing with composting (brush and weeds from clearing part of the garden out)

    Preparation/Storage: um, not so much

    Community Food Systems: Nothing done per se, but talked with someone who’s better at canning about running a few workshops this summer/fall.

    Eat: okay, ate some strawberries and the folks got to eat the volunteer asparagus :) No real time for adventures lately. Well, unless you count some folks getting introduced to ginger water — the recipe is slowly spreading :D

  21. safira says:

    Never committed to the challenge because when I commit to a blog challenge, something always goes hideously wrong, but here goes for this week–I’ve been mentally keeping track since week 1, though.

    Plant: More tomatoes (already had several dozen in, added Romas to the mix), peppers both hot and sweet, eggplant, basil. I’d say everything else is in, but it’s time to put in more lettuce and radishes already, and I may need more zucchini.

    Harvest: lettuce, spinach, arugula, Asian greens of various types, chives, basil, chard, kale, and the first few strawberries and snap peas.

    Preserve: Arugula pesto, chives, chicken stock (which, damn, I need to get into the freezer!)

    Prep/Store: Restocked freezer, got more dried beans but I still need more!

    Waste not: See also “chicken stock.” It was actually what I call “bits of beast broth” from chicken and turkey bones and I think some beef too, all frozen until I had enough.

    Community: Does sending bread home with my friend count?

    Eat: Salad upon salad upon salad. Arugula pesto. The first strawberries, right in the garden. Sauteed chard and kale.

  22. Sara: in northern rural Alabama says:

    been out of town since late May.

    Planted: 5 more Hawthorns (2 are Chinese), 3 more Vitex, 10 more eggplants and 3 more peppers, 10 more parsleys, 1 more Thyme, 1 more pepper in the fenced garden.

    HArvested: parsley, lemon balm, spearmint, oregano, garlic chives, big leaf sage, lots of mulberries, mustard greens, turnips, sugar snaps, and snow peas.

    Preserved: Mulberries.

    Meal Prep: Green smothies with lots of herbs and mulberries!
    Sauted greens with garlic and sesame oil (and added on some storebought Carrot Pickle from the Indian store – oh so yum!)

    Preparation & Storage:

    Community Food Systems: took herbs and mulberries to the local Barter Days (made 2 good trades- for dog foot grooming and some spiffy, spicy garlic later. Taught 2 classes for a Teacher’s Conference “I’ve Got Worms”, on vermicomposting, talked with 3 men from the local steel union, who came to tour our solar home, about getting chickens, and vegie gardens (one of the is VP of his suburb regulations committee, so we talked about changing the regs to allow hens).

    Reduced waste: used green lumber from trees we cut for shiitake logs in Feb. for making outhouse for our newly built dry composting toilets (we built 10, are we nuts?)

    interviewed an amazing human for our intern position here for the fall!
    and we liked each other, and he loves reading your blog, Sharon, no wonder we clicked!

    oh, oh! the most exciting thing! finished hooking up the gutters to the 2,500 gal water tank! and it rained, and we got a whole 4″ of rain in the tank. whoopee!

  23. Claire says:

    Plant Something:
    Had good weather for a change so planted 2 varieties of sweet peppers and 1 hot; 4 more tomato varieties; edamame-type soybeans; Scarlet Runner beans; cilantro; Romano beans; dill; beets; more parsley and cutting celery; yard-long beans; yellow carrots; Lemon Gem and Tangerine Gem marigolds; more basil; oregano; thyme. All but the beans, soybeans, cilantro, basil, and carrots were seedlings that I grew. The basil seedlings were gifts from a gardening friend. Pricked-out the purple coneflower seedlings into separate pots, and potted-up the new rosemary seedlings.

    Harvest Something:
    Strawberries (the TriStars are just finishing up the first setting), raspberries, Nanking cherries, lettuce, bok choy, kale, collards, green onions, nasturtium flowers

    Preserve Something:
    My DH made spearmint wine from some of the spearmint and Nanking cherry cordial from some of the cherries. I harvested spearmint, monarda, and anise hyssop for drying, after processing the first set of dried leaves of the same from the May picking.

    Waste Not:
    We ate the last of last year’s sweet potatoes. I went through my closet and culled out the clothes that I don’t wear that are in good enough shape to donate, and set them aside for when we get the next call for donations. Otherwise the usual composting, etc.

    Preparation and Storage:
    Ordered more brown rice. We don’t have any trouble eating 25 lbs of brown rice in less than six months, especially not during stir-fry season. Keeping the usual eye on the food and other stored goods. Being in a food co-op makes it easy and practical to buy large quantities of goods at a cost savings.

    Build Community Food Systems:
    Gave extra tomato, pepper, eggplant, and parsley seedlings to neighbor and helped her plant them.

    Eat the Food:
    What we harvested, in the form of salads, stir-fries, and bowls of fruit.

  24. KC says:

    planted: godiva pumpkin, burdock, okra, sweet meat winter squash, blue hubbard, sunflowers, …

    harvested: lettuce, mustard greens, kale, radish, parsley, dill, cilantro

    preserved: experiementing with hang drying kale. also experimenting with pickled radish greens – i’m excited about this (i dont know why).

    reduced waste: took home vegetable waste and cardboard boxes from retreat center (to compost)

    prep and storage: I’ve been cleaning out my crocks (stored in root cellar for several years) in preparation for sauerkraut season.

    build community food systems: talking to others about gardening and local sources (farmers ) where I can buy potatoes and sweet potatoes for storage this fall. Also trading with a friend (she will grow some cabbages for me this fall).

    eat the food: colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale, salad greens with radish, and spring onions. Spring rolls made with rice wrappers, spring chinese cabbage and kale and onion, sesame oil, sesame seed, and cilantro with grated carrot) – yummm. More muesli (oats, raisons, sesame and sunflower) and lentil soup.

  25. anita says:

    Mine is here

    Not too much this week; we are having blood sugar issues and not feeling very spry. (Doctor’s appts. next week to adjust meds, I think.) But we’re still plugging along.

  26. Jim says:

    My corn is coming up. My sour beets are bubbling and I gave them and homemade cherry jam to a student; he’d given me pickles.

    I harvested lambsquarters and purslane and spinach and made soup with sausage and potatoes. Yum. With homemade bread it was really good.

    I am sending friends homemade kraut. Maybe they will join this quiet revolution.

  27. Delphine Des Bois says:

    Planted: Will plant native melons this week to replace the famous Boules D’Or that simply could not take the sun. Need reinforcement in the boules department, and who doesn’t.

    Harvested: Harvesting the last of the snow peas and started withholding water from the drying plants in preparation for a monsoon garden. Sounds cruel, I know, and the rainwater tanks are dwindling down to nada for the second time this summer, and monsoon season appears to be brewing earlier this year. Been whispering sweet nothings of gratitude to each pea collected. The selected yellow wax beans have not impressed, and acceptance of whatever yield follows. Thank you just the same. Mouth-burning intercropped radishes are going to seed and beautify the basins in their own flowering way. Overwintered chard still graces the garden with rainbow presence.

    The summer squash never reaches the size of a small fist but satisfies the rumbling stomach with a healthy al dente like crunch when just marble-size. After performing their yogic sun salutation dance for these past weeks, the sunflowers proudly display their magnificent color and tall good posture.

    Preserved: Nothing. Continue to doodle solar dryer design.

    Waste not: Like most of Sharon’s fans, ongoing mindfulness benefits this category and then comes the realization that some things that mattered no longer hold interest. A grand new generosity emerges.

    It’s official, I lost my waist. Waist no more. Sigh.

    Preparation and storage: To match my prep efforts from last winter when I decided to forego usage of the furnace, I have lived without evaporative cooling this season. None of this is easy. Actually, it’s hard. Hard on the human and hard on storage efforts, and I peak at 83 degrees F daily, which is not too, too bad, except on the mid-day energy level. However, the prep feedback these experiments (quotation marks?) provide is outstanding, as is the reality of the true nature of living with less and in the arid world.

    Community Food Systems: Made small donation ($25) to support the gardening efforts noticed at elderly Mum’s place of residence. Provided strict guidelines on type of seeds to purchase (no hybrid/F1, please), and also required (notice power of $dollar, here) acquaintance with local seed bank. A handful of handsome cherry tomatoes reached me this weekend. What a glorious moment.

    Eat the food: Some things better left unsaid!

    Summer salutations to all.

  28. AnneT says:

    My full update at:

    Biggest project of the week was building and trying out a solar oven. And I started to refill my oregano can with the herb dried in my solar dehydrator.

  29. Lorri says:

    I started later because I only found this in the past couple of weeks :) I have a balcony garden (pics on my blog) and have begun canning this year. The blog has a pantry list as well.

    Here it goes:
    1. Plant something – nothing this week. I need more pots.

    2. Harvest something – Lettuce needs thinning, will use on sandwiches and salads.

    3. Preserve something – Nothing this week. Have made strawberry & raspberry preserves, jams, and jellies, and chicken broth, so far. Also dried some celery.

    4. Reduce waste – Dropped off some old clothes to thrift store; brought home jars for infusing oils, storage, and a loaf pan. Regular recycling. Using stash yarn and fabrics for current projects.

    5. Preparation and Storage – Recently bought new pantry shelf. Am building 3-month pantry and planning for eating local as much as we can over the winter (which means canning/drying the food).

    6. Build Community Food Systems – Went to another local farmers market. Interesting to see the differences between them, since I’m right between 3 of them. Made sure to buy from family farms.

    7. Eat the Food – not this week, yet. Salad coming, will try a roasted radish recipe soon as well.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Plant something: nothing.
    Harvest something: the first few strawberries from the garden. Strawberries from the farmers’ market, CSA basket, eggs from local farmer (weekly)
    Preserve something: Made lemon curd.
    Waste not: Made a cloth grocery bag, and went through my fabric to match up materials for 12 more; a friend and I plan to sell them in the fall.
    Visited Trader Joe’s over the weekend, which I used to love shopping at, and was astonished, wandering the aisles looking at all the expensive little packages of my former favorite items, to realize that most of them I now make for myself, and didn’t need to buy.
    Prep and storage: Nothing.
    Build community food systems: mm, nothing.
    Eat the food: Finally managed to use up all of the greens that were overflowing the fridge, and half the lettuce. Opened a jar of preserved apple filling to make an apple crisp, and a jar of roasted pepper spread for sandwiches. Dried tomatoes in oil on pizza. Baked yeasted coffeecake, with candied lemon rind in the dough.

  31. Anonymous says:

    That was from NM.

  32. Mo says:

    1. Plant something: Nothing this week. I am afraid I am out of space.

    2. Harvest something: several large handfuls of cherry tomatoes, 2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, 12 oz’s Ichiban eggplants, 1 lb of cucumbers that have finally started producing, and 14 oz’s of zucchinis that are taking their time, but are starting to come in now.

    3. Preserve something- Nothing.

    4. Reduce waste- Saved some big boxes that I am going to use for “lasagna gardening” once I have enough space cleared. All other stuff as usual, composting, using cloth bags, buying locally, trying to reduce energy use, and reducing water use as much as possible. I have started turning off the shower while I wash, and then turning it on again to rinse. That is supposed to save a few gallons. We have a very leaky faucet again on the bath in the bathroom, it is the same one as last year, and is driving me crazy like it did last year. Robert is going to fix it this weekend, but until then I am collecting the water and using the water on the garden, and Robert is using it to flush the toilet. (My husband never ceases to amaze me!)

    5. Preparation and storage: The usual ongoing task of creating more space for the garden slowly. I haven’t done as much this past week as I would have liked, life has been getting in the way. Bought some bulk beans to keep.

    6. Build community food systems: Found out about a community garden close by from a friend. I will go and take a look after we get back from the mountains next week. It seems everyone is interested in growing their own food these days which is great.

    7. Eat the food- Ate the last of the beets, more pesto, loads of tomatoes, and cucumbers in salads. Last night I put eggplants, zucchinis, tomatoes, basil, (and potatoes and onions that I didn’t grow), in a baking tray with olive oil, and a little salt and pepper, covered them in foil, and baked them for a little over an hour. They were really delicious.

  33. Karin says:

    My update is at my blog.

    We really need some rain. Dry Dry Dry…

    Rainbarrel is nearly empty…why why why…

    Planting ‘maters and beans and corn…try try try

  34. MEA says:

    First, sending rain to Karin

    It’s raining almost without ceasing here, and it’s bad to plant, dig or weed without upsetting the soil or to move among plants without fear of spreading disease.

    Planted: Okra, successions of greens, bean, peas. Want to plant chive among strawberries, but too wet.

    Harvested: yet more greens, and some herbs, and a few spuds that went wild over the winter.

    Preserved: Started making strawberry jam with 7lbs of fruit picked at the local organic Pick-UR by S. the wonder housemate.

    Waste not lugged 13 very large can of food from church to car to parents garage (got nasty stain made up of honest sweat and less honest dust on work shirt grrrr). It’s left over from when we prepared and delivered homeless meals. Contacted company that packaged it: discovered that 8 cans of green beans are past best by date. Contacted Soup Kitchen to see if they wanted rest. Will deliver June 24. Wished I’d gotten round to asking for them earlier. Must plan meals around green beans for rest of century.

    Pick up very large bag of yarn from old lady. Yarn smelled of cat piss and cigs. Most of it was half knitted into what must have been mats for cats — rest tangled into horrible mess. Nearly cried. Spent hours undoing — it turnout out to be all useable after washing!!!!! Made (with my mum) 10 watch caps, 6 really good scarves and 32 pairs of children’s mittens — all for soup kitchen in October. Big help towards our goal of 50 caps, 50 scarves, all from salvage in Oct. and the same in Jan.

    Preparation and storage: Lalalalalala

    Community Food Systems: Paid local boy scout $20 to mow law and cut by yew threatening to eat compost heap to help with his troops’ effort to donate money to food panty.

    Eat the food, can you say salad?

  35. Cassandra says:

    Plant Something:

    Italian bush Beans
    Onion transplants

    Harvest Something:


    Preserve Something:

    Nothing this week…

    Preparation and Storage:

    Started sorting through last year’s lentils to pull out wild oats and dirt clods, maybe if they were clean I’d use them more.

    Reduced Waste:

    Used more baler twine in garden.
    Took grass clippings from friend’s mowing service and muched the whole garden, it really cuts down on hoeing! It helps to build the soil and lets the children know exactly where they can walk (as I only mulch the paths).

    Build Community Food Systems:

    Gave mint away to new gardeners.
    Gave away strawberry plants to another new gardener.

    Eat the Food:

    Local Bought- wheat, eggs, beef, honey
    Home Preserved: frozen cherry pies from last year, pickles
    Pantry Storage – lots
    Fresh from garden – chives

    Try Something New:

    Made tomato cages and pea fencing from concrete reinforcing wire held together with zip ties.

    Pictures on the blog :o )

  36. 抓猴 says:

    Your page is looks mercy, your graphics are sweet, and what’s more, you use reference that are relevant to what you are saying,2

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