Monthly Archives: September 2021

2021 Garden Update

It’s been quiet here on my blog lately. Have you noticed? I have started several posts (like this one) but just haven’t felt much like writing. I’m not really sure why, but it could be several things combined. It’s been a strange year – the weather, national and world events, and things that have happened in our personal lives. We have had a lot of things keeping us busy, and in the past 5 or 6 weeks three people that we loved have passed away. It is likely these things that have given me pause. It’s been time to reflect and contemplate rather than write. I will probably write about some of these thing in future posts but for today I’ll just finish up my 2021 garden update.

You may remember that we started out this gardening season, late May/early June, in a drought but by the end of June that situation had begun to correct itself. It continued to over-correct throughout the rest of the summer. Having too much rain has probably been our most frustrating gardening experience thus far because there is just nothing we can do about it. If we had too little rain we could water the plants, and if we had had problems with bugs or diseases we would try to find (organic) solutions.

Normally Swiss chard, beets and green beans are among the first vegetables we harvest and eat. This year we have no beets or Swiss chard and only a handful of green beans after my husband replanted them in during a mid summer dry spell. The beets and Swiss chard that he planted at that time did not produce. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Corn, squash and melons were also duds this year – some of the plants grew none of them produced fruit to harvest.

Despite all of our gardening woes and worries we did harvest some fruits and vegetables. Thus far we have enjoyed potatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, tomatoes and one egg plant. I have made boiled potatoes and garlic mashed potatoes; jalapeno and banana pepper poppers, cucumber salad (with onion, dill and sour cream) refrigerator dill pickles, veggie omelets (with tomato, green pepper, yellow pepper and jalapeno) and fresh salsa on taco night. We’ve also been enjoyed fresh tomatoes just quartered up with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and my husband had his favorite tomato sandwich (sliced tomato on white bread with mayo).

Oh, we also harvested okra but I can’t really say we enjoyed that very much. LOL!

Jalapeno Poppers
Refrigerator Dill Pickles

A week ago Saturday I finished canning tomato juice. I ended up with 41 quarts of juice which I will eventually cook down into 10-12 quarts of sauce. I have also have made about 4 quarts of sauce so far. Considering that we originally had around 100 tomato plants in the garden our yields this year were low.

This year blueberries were the star of the show. Despite getting hit with several nights of freezing temperatures this spring while they were blossoming, then suffering drought conditions followed by all the rain, and having their leaves eaten by gypsy moth caterpillars our blueberry crop was nearly the same as it has been in recent years. I have many quarts of blueberries in the freezer for pies, pancakes, sorbet, and to add to my banana bread. I might even make a batch of blueberry jam. ๐Ÿ™‚

Apples are another crop that out-preformed our expectations after our late season frosts/freezes. Even though they mostly came from one tree (we have seven trees) we ended up with about three milk crates full of apples.

While they may look flawed on the outside, beneath the skin they are beautiful and quite tasty.

They make wonderful apple pie and apple sauce. Thus far I have made pie filling for 4 pies (3 in the freezer and 1 that we ate) and canned 20 pints of apple sauce. I’m still working at it and will probably end up with enough filling for 4-6 more pies by the time I’m done.

Last but not least we harvested some grapes. During the summer we discovered that the grapes had black rot, a fungus that will quickly destroy a crop. We did some pruning to allow more air flow and sprayed them thoroughly with copper sulfate. These actions saved most of the crop. Earlier this month, as the grapes began to ripen we weren’t the only ones to notice. Birds became frequent visitor to the vines and the grapes began to disappear. Last week we decided it was now or never, so we picked the bunches that still remained. We harvested about 5 pounds of grapes which I turned into juice. It only made about 3 pints of juice but it complements our breakfast nicely.

While our plans for a wonderful garden with lots of produce to preserve did not come to pass this year, I remind myself the God doesn’t always give us what we want but He always gives us what we need. For this I am thankful.

Thanks for visiting. Did you grow a garden this year? How did your garden grow?

Embracing Summer and This Week’s Idiom

Hello and welcome!

Our idiom of the week is hold one’s feet to the fire.

The free tells us that to hold one’s feet to the fire means:

To put pressure on one to do, say, or consent to something or To pressure (someone) to consent to or undertake something.

while weird says it means:

To hold one accountable for a commitment, make good on a promise.

They also tell us that the origin of the phrase pertains to torture used during the Crusade’s. As a method for extracting confession for heresy, non-believers were positioned in a manner that allowed the inquisitor to apply flames to the feet of the accused. This was done until the accused confessed or died.

As ridiculous as that method of obtaining a confession seems by today’s standards, consider a modern parallel – plea bargaining. The accused is offered the choice between a reduced sentence in exchange for a confession, or prosecution with the risk of more severe penalty (possibly death).

I choose this phrase because I feel like my husband has been “holding my feet to the fire”. Ever since my last post where I vowed to embrace the good weather while we have it, he has been reminding me and encouraging me to take some time off each day to do the things I really enjoy: ride the 4-wheeler, spending time with the kids and grandkids and fishing.

It is easy for me to get caught up in the work that needs to be done. Things like staining the deck and power washing the house are also activities that need to be done when the weather is nice, so I am thankful for his subtle reminders: “go ride your bike” or “put that away for today, let’s go fishing.”

We hadn’t done any fishing this summer until last week. However the pair of green herons that spend summers at the farm arrived in sometime in July, as they do every year, and had been enjoying daily meals at the pond. They are largely camouflaged along the ponds edge, as you can see in the photo below, but they make their presence known when they squawk and fly up into one of the surrounding trees as someone approaches the pond. They seem a bit disgruntled over the interruption.

It was about two weeks ago that my husband asked me to help him store the boat for the winter. I agreed but suggested that we needed to do some fishing first. A couple days later my husband came home with a few dozen worms and said “lets go fishing”. ๐Ÿ™‚

While our green herons may be eating a lot of the small fry that swim up near shore my husband and I have caught some real whoppers. I’m sorry I don’t have any fish photos but I have decided that taking my camera in the boat is not really a good idea. You’ll just have to decide for yourself if this is a fish tale (bonus idiom) or I’m telling the truth (I am).

We have spent several evenings over the last week out in our little paddle boat baiting our hooks and casting them into the pond and to date the fish we have caught include a 18 inch (45.72cm) walleye, another large walleye that we did not get a chance to measure, a 17 inch (43.18 cm) pike and an 11 inch (27.94 cm) perch (who has been caught several times). We have also caught some 6 and 7 inch perch and lots of small fry (2-4 inch), which we always take as a good sign because if there are little ones that means the big ones are reproducing.

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day!

Have you ever had anyone hold your feet to the fire?