Wrapping Up Summer

It’s hard to believe that autumn is here. I just wanted to hold on to summer – perhaps indefinitely. Since it is humanly impossible to stop time, the best I can do is hold onto and treasure the memories that Summer 2019 gifted me.  I have decided to place some of these precious memories in this post where, like keepsakes in a trinket box, they will be safely stored and I can return to them whenever I like.  I will also share them with you.

At The Farm 

In early August I used my hours at the farm for picking blueberries, watering plants, and mostly weeding the prayer garden (this is the time of year that weeds really start to take over if they are not kept in check). IMG_5686 (2)

I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that the prayer garden was in full bloom. My husband said he wanted to correct that statement but didn’t. He is right of course – by design the prayer garden is in continuous bloom, from early spring, when the daffodils appear, until late fall, or at least until we get the first frost of the season there is always something blossoming.

By mid August my chore list had changed. We had some decent rain so we didn’t have to do much watering. We began picking tomatoes and peppers and I began cleaning our 2019 garlic crop.

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For the past four weeks or so the focus has been on harvesting our garden and either cooking and eating or preserving the harvest. While most of the tomatoes have been frozen so far, I did manage to get 15 quarts of tomato sauce canned. We have been enjoying fresh red skin potatoes (boiled or made into potato salad), Swiss chard (sautéed with garlic, cooked into an omelet or added to a cream cheese stuffed chicken breast), baked butter nut squash, tomatoes (fresh on the side, on a sandwich, or cooked into homemade pasta sauce) and stuffed green peppers. I also cut up three small cabbages and started the process of turning them into sauerkraut. This is the time of year that all of the work pays off.

The Bees

Busy, busy, busy.

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We have eight healthy hives right now and our son-in-laws hive is thriving as well.

 

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We have harvested honey three times this summer from three different hives. Each harvest yielded approximately 30 lbs. of honey. After we harvest the honey and wax from the frames my husband sets the frames back out for the bees to finish cleaning them up. The picture above shows the bees completing this task.

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A few weeks ago one of the hives swarmed. My husband captured the swarm and put it in an empty hive. He then placed a feeder with honey in it on top. The next day the bees had left that hive. We are not sure why they weren’t happy there but they did fill up on the honey before leaving.

The Chickens

The eight Jersey Giants that were cute little chicks this spring are now full grown hens. They began laying in eggs in August and will hopefully keep us in fresh eggs through the winter months.IMG_5650

Soap Making

Normally I don’t make a lot of soap during the summer months but I found I was out of a few varieties. I decided to have some fun with it.

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My sister had given me some silicone mini molds so I made a few small bars using them. I can see making holiday themed sample soaps or using teddy bears or duckies as favors for a baby shower. They would however need to be clearly labeled  “Don’t Eat It!” as I would want someone thinking they were white chocolate.

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I have also been practicing using my soap stamp and getting better at it. It’s really a matter of stamping the soap when it is still just a little soft.

Family and Fun

In early August we planned a family picnic at the farm. Not all of the girls could make it but Tina and Ken brought our grandkids and Kara also came out. After we ate, our three year old grandson, Jackson, went fishing with his dad and grandpa and caught his first fish. I didn’t get any pictures of this because Tina and Kara and I had taken (granddaughter) Addy to pick blueberries.

Not only did Addy enjoy picking the berries she enjoyed eating them as well. The cutest part was that each time Addy, who is learning to talk, picked a berry she would say appo (apple). The first time she said it we thought it was so cute we laughed before telling her “berry”.  So after that each time she picked a berry she would say “appo” and laugh then when we told her berry she would say “ber-ry”. Her laugh was so contagious that we were all laughing each time she said “appo”.

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In August my husband and I went plant shopping. Normally I don’t like shopping. The exceptions are going to a greenhouse or nursey and shopping for yarn or other craft supplies. Each spring we usually go to a local green house and pick up a least a few plants for the year but it’s quite easy for me to get carried away and buy way more plants than I need.

You may remember from this post that my husband was working at a greenhouse this spring and was able to bring home many plants that would have otherwise ended up in the dumpster. With all the free flowers we had there was no need to go plant shopping…until August. While working the landscaping job that he started in July my husband had to make a trip to a nursery where they purchased anise hyssop plants that would be planted at one of the jobsites. “They had pretty purple flowers and the bees were all over them,” he said as he told me about the plants. I knew this herb had some medicinal  properties and if the bees like it then we should definitely plants some.

I did a little homework and found that anise hyssop is generally a plant the deer avoid because of it’s strong fragrance. This sounded like the perfect addition to our prayer garden.

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We purchased two large plants that were in full bloom and two smaller (less expensive) plants that should continue to grow each year until they are about a foot wide. I understand that these plants also drop seeds each year that will readily sprout into new plants. These plants are still blooming more than a month after we planted them and I saw bees foraging in them yesterday. 🙂

As we were walking through the green house I noticed a table full of flowers that I was not familiar with. They had bright orange and yellow flowers. They were marked $5 each. After asking an employee if the deer would eat them and being assured that it was not likely, I picked out two yellow and one orange. (There I go getting carried away.) The plant is called lantana. It wasn’t until we got them home that we realized that they are an annual so will not be coming back next year. 😦

We took a Sunday off in August to visit the Armada Fair and watch the tractor pulls.

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My husband and I wore our matching tractor pull t-shirts so my daughter snapped a photo of us. We were joined by daughters Kara and Lindell and Lindell’s boyfriend Brysen.  We arrived early enough to walk through the animal barns and view the exhibits before the tractor pulls began. I’m not sure which is cuter baby goats or baby cows. I love seeing them both.

We also filled up on lots of expensive fair food. I wonder which was higher the calorie count or the price.

For those of you who, like Brysen, have never seen a tractor pull, let me sum it up. Basically tractor pulling is a competition to see who’s tractor can pull a weighted sled the farthest. If you would like a little more information see this article.

IMG_5576This tractor, named Cruel Intentions, is owned by the Capozzo family. They also own and operate the excavating company that dug our pond. This is the tractor we were rooting for that day and they did take first place in their class.

 

After the tractors were finished they brought in a couple of semi’s that did an exhibition pull.

In the photo below I was trying to get a shot of the score board that electronically records each tractor’s speed and the distance they pull but my aim was a little high.

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After viewing this photo I did spot something I hadn’t noticed before. The street signs to the right of the score board mark the intersection that leads to the adult beverage tent. If you can’t make out the signs they say “Good RD” and ” Beers LN”. That made me chuckle.

The beverage tent was the other place we visited at the fair and while I mostly stuck with non alcoholic beverages that day I did end up drinking a glass of hard cider when Lindell ended up with an extra one.

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Lindell, Me, Kara

Even though autumn has arrived, and the temperatures have been slowly cooling, we are forecast to have at least one more of summer-like day today and I will happily take all that we can get.

Have you ever seen tractor pulls?

What is your favorite memory of this summer?

27 thoughts on “Wrapping Up Summer

  1. What a fun post to read. Fishing, blueberry picking, fair food, and tractor pulls…so much fun. Your place is so pretty. I have never been to a tractor pull before, looks like fun though. My favorite part about the summer was our little trips up north visiting the lakes, creeks and woods. I also enjoyed swimming in the pool late at night and looking up at the stars.

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    1. Thanks Rory. It has been a really great year and it has continued into Autumn. Even though the days are shorter and the temps have cooled were are having some beautiful weather this week.
      I have to confess – I had to look up the word stonking. Thank goodness for online dictionaries because it isn’t even in Merriam Webster.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed this. Usually when bees swarm it’s because the hive is getting too crowded. They create a new queen, then the old queen leaves the hive part of the colony to find a new home. Hopefully they found a suitable home where they will thrive in the wild.

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  2. You’ve had an incredible summer–thanks for sharing it! I’ve been to a tractor pull and they’re a lot of fun. I’m still trying to find another soapmaker around here so that Ken and I can do a class again–we did a couple two years ago and loved it, but the woman moved away. I much prefer handmade soap to storebought:-)

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    1. And Thanks for reading. I was beginning to wonder if we were the only ones that liked tractor pulls. LOL. Actually after I posted this my dad called me and told me that he had not only seen tractor pulls, he had seen them from the drivers seat. He proceeded to tell me about pulling with his tractor back in the ’60’s. I was 2 years old the last time he pulled.
      I hope you can find a soapmaker that will do a class. It’s not something I do regularly but I have done a couple. One was for my sisters. The other was kind of like a Tupperware party. The lady invited several friends and I took all the supplies and went to her house and made soap with the group. Both were lots of fun.
      Do you plan on making your own?

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  3. I’m thinking that Lindell’s ” extra” hard cider was actually for her mom. That girl had a plan 💗 It really was a fun summer, too bad it went by so quickly !

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  4. Hi Ruth! What an amazing summer you had!One of my favourite memories of this summer is going to a local petting farm!I love to pet the animals! It was lovely! We also went to the beach a few times which was so nice too! You’ve done a lot of really cool things too! X

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  5. Well, you are so industrious Ruth that I feel like a slug! No wonder we’ve not seen you much this Summer! Addy is very sweet and your shirts are cute. You’ve got that Lantana – I would have thought it was a perennial too because it is recommended for butterfly gardens as a butterfly magnet. I just Googled and I’m guessing the regions that are not as cold as Michigan can have Lantana is a perennial. I used to subscribe to “Birds and Blooms” – guessing that’s why I thought that. You know what? Plant some in the house in a pot on the window and try to salvage it over the Winter – you have a green thumb, bet you can do it. (See below.)

    Lantana plants are moderately winter hardy. Some people have lantana that are perennial in nature and come back every year, while others replant every season. … Lantana plants will die to the ground usually following a killing frost. At that point you can cut off the old foliage and mulch them for the winter.

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    1. I though about trying to over winter the Lantana in the house but I am not sure I will have room as I have been acquiring more and more house plants. Right now I am trying to rehome some of my aloe plants. I know my sister wants one and I think at least two of my daughters want then so that should free up some space. I have saved some seeds from the Lantana so I am thinking I will try planting them indoors in early spring and see if I can grow them from seed.

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      1. I’ll be you can just grow them from seed Ruth – it’s hard to over winter plants if you don’t have the room on a windowsill or somewhere they get direct sunlight. Years ago I had some tropical plants, a clematis and a mandevilla tree that were all in pots and my next-door neighbor took care of them all Winter – they got the sun at her doorwall and thrived but then she got a new dog and let him out that door and she sais she couldn’t overwinter the plants – they died not one week after bringing them in my basement!

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      2. I read that they can be grown by seed – the seeds should be soaked for 24 hours before planting to soften the hard outer layer. I figured it is worth a try. I think starting seedlings indoors would be a better option for us than trying to keep them alive all winter long.

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      3. I agree with you Ruth. You’d have to have a grow light, or a lot of windowsills to put them on. I think that is the same procedure for milkweed seeds. You have to prepare them after pulling them from the plant and out of the pod.

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    1. I core the tomatoes then quarter them and freeze them. I will be making them into sauce eventually.
      I have about 4 posts that I am working on. One is the prayer garden post. I’m not sure how soon I get them done but I will.

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