Monday, August 15, 2016

Harvest Monday 8/15/16

I spent most of this past week visiting family in Tennessee.  This is what it looks like when I pack for a drive in the summer:

Domino and garden veggies are ready for the road.
Luckily Domino did not decide to have a snack while going for a car ride!

The big harvest this week was watermelon.  It was a good thing that I was visiting family because there is no way the two of us could have eaten the watermelon harvests alone with week.

The monster watermelon was a 29.7 lb Moon and Stars:

Me with my 29.7 lb Moon and Stars watermelon
My niece prying open the giant watermelon.
I'm always uncertain about when to pick watermelons, but luckily this monstrocity was ripe and sweet and juicy.  We had plenty to eat and then sent everyone home with chunks of watermelon.

The second watermelon this week was a 13.1 lb Charleston Grey.

Charleston Grey watermelon
It was also good and ripe.  This variety is crispy and sweet and made a good addition to a summer picnic.

The melons definitely got the spotlight this week and the other harvests got neglected and did not get their photos taken.  J got to do the harvesting while I was gone and did a good job.  There were some squash and zucchini, peppers, okra, cucumbers, green beans and eggplant,  I came home to a big pile of tomatoes (38.7 lbs), which I need to work on cooking today.  He wasn't too fond of picking green beans or okra, so I need to get out there and do some more harvesting.  I froze some more soybeans before I left.  I have learned that it is much, much easier to blanch and then shell the soybeans instead of shelling first.

Besides dealing with all the harvests, it is time to get fall seeds planted.  I need to plant onion, pea, radish, lettuce and chard seeds this week, which means I have to make room in the garden for them!  It is going to be a busy and hot week for me!

Weekly Harvests (lbs):

Summer squash  1.3
Peppers  3.7
Okra   0.3
Cucumber  8.9
Green beans  0.75
Tomatoes  38.7
Eggplant 0.3
Melon  42.8
Soybeans 1.86
Gourd  0.35

Yearly Total: 605 lbs

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting, check out Harvest Monday on Our Happy Acres.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Magic of Summer Mornings

Summers are a special time for me.  I teach, so I get to spend my summers at my own pace, enjoying the days and doing whatever I please.  The one thing I absolutely love about summers are the mornings.  During the rest of the year I have to move in the mornings to get where I need to be at the time I need to be there, but in the summer I can linger and enjoy the mornings.

What are some ways I savor my summer mornings?

  • I can take a leisure walk with my dog.
  • I can make a delicious breakfast with homegrown veggies.
  • I can linger over tea on while swinging on the back porch.
  • I can get lost in a book.
  • I can make lists of projects I want to do and work on them.
  • I can pour words into a journal.
  • I can take photographs in the perfect morning light.
  • I can peruse the garden, picking vegetables and pulling weeds.  

These are the magically mornings when anything is possible as the day unfolds.  It is filled with bees buzzing and birds chirping and unlimited possibilities.

Sadly, my summer mornings are coming to end for now.  I have lofty goals of getting up early to enjoy some of that magic of mornings even when work begins.  If that doesn't happen, I will always have next summer.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Harvest Monday 8/8/16

The theme of this week is tomatoes and more tomatoes, a total of 48.9 lbs of tomatoes to be exact.  This is a record amount of tomatoes in one week for me.  Besides picking tomatoes this week, I've made batch after batch of my favorite roasted tomato sauce.  I've also been eating tomato sandwiches for lunch everyday- cream cheese, slices of delicious tomatoes on bread.  Very simple, which I desperately need with all the harvests coming in, but tasty.

Mr. Stripey, Jubilee, Beefsteak (unusually small this year) and some Cherokee Purple Tomatoes hidden beneath

Other harvests this week include summer squash (4.3 lbs),  peppers (4.7 lbs), okra (0.7 lbs), cucumber (4.7 lbs), green beans (2.3 lbs) and soybeans (3.2 lbs).  It seems the pickle worms have arrived and despite their namesake are attacking the summer squash more than the cucumbers.  It is looking like the squash and zucchini harvests will be dwindling.  I do have six more seedlings in reserve that I should plant soon, although I'm not sure how well they will fair with the onslaught of late summer bugs.

A typical summer bounty
This year I planned for the loss of zucchini.  As my zucchini alternative, I planted an edible gourd, Serpente di Sicilia, and this past week I ate them for the first time with the conclusion of meh.  I did learn that the skin gets tough, so you do have to pick them when they are small.  Strike one against the gourd is I really don't care for the smell of the plant, so searching the vine for gourds isn't a pleasant smelling activity for me.  For the smallest gourds, I tried them sauteed with egg for breakfast.  They look very similar to zucchini, but the taste and texture is definitely different.  They have a denser texture than zucchini and the taste is hard to describe, but has more of a green grassy taste and not as mild as zucchini.  It wasn't bad tasting and I can certainly get used to it.  For the gourds that I picked larger, I cooked them using a zucchini pie recipe.  I was hoping that the combination of sauteing and baking them would help combat the tough skin, but it didn't.  However, besides the skin, I really wouldn't have noticed a difference in the taste of zucchini pie versus gourd pie with all the cheese and flavors.  I think peeling the gourds would improve the texture.

Serpente di Sicilia Edible Gourd Pie
This week I also shelled and cooked a bunch of soybeans.  Most of them got frozen.  I'm always impressed at how productive soybeans are in comparison to my other bush beans.

Shelled Edamame 

The other big harvest this week was my second Dickinson pumpkin weighing in at 8 lb 8 oz.  One vine has produced 16 lbs of pumpkins so far and there is currently a very large one on the same vine and another smaller one.  I will be waiting until the tomato harvests calm down before cooking up this pumpkin.  I also harvested some small acorn squash this week as well.

Dickinson Pumpkin

My kitchen counter is still buried under a pile of harvests despite my efforts to cook and preserve.  I have the added challenge of being out of town this Wednesday to Sunday.  I don't think J is looking forward to the never ending harvests.  Everyday I tell him that I think the tomatoes are slowing down only to come in with more and more to add to the growing pile.

Weekly Harvest (lbs):

Summer squash  4.3
Peppers 4.7
Okra   0.7
Cucumber  4.7
Green beans  2.3
Tomatoes  48.9
Melon 19.6
Winter squash 11.0
Soybeans 3.2
Gourd 2.0

Yearly Total: 506 lbs

That's all the harvests coming from my garden this week.  To see what others are harvesting, check out Harvest Monday on Our Happy Acres.