As we finished one of the jars of refrigerator dill pickles that I made earlier this year my husband and I each ate one of the garlic cloves that were in the bottom of the jar. That pickled garlic was so good that I decided to make some more.
I used the brine and dill that were already in the jar and just peeled a bunch of garlic cloves to add to it. These cloves will now bath in that brine in the frig for and in a couple of weeks we will have more delicious, pickled garlic. YUMM!
I’m happy to report that despite our lack of rain our gardens are doing quite well.
BERRIES We’ve been harvesting blueberries for several weeks now and what we are not eating fresh I have been putting in the freezer. We’ve also picked about a quart and a half of strawberries despite them just being planted at the end of May.
GARLIC My husband harvested the garlic last week – a total of 270 bulbs are now drying in the barn. What an easy task it was compared to the years when we grew between 2000 and 8000 bulbs.
GREEN BEANS We began picking green beans a couple weeks ago and after a few meals my husband was getting tired of them. (He doesn’t like them as much as I do.) I saved our pickings for a few days and had enough beans to can 6 pints. Since green beans are a low acid food canning them requires using a pressure canner and since I have little experience in doing this, I am extremely pleased with the results.
I expect I will be canning another batch of beans this week.
Two days ago, when I offered to make a potato salad for dinner, I thought it odd when my husband hesitated. He then suggested that maybe some of our potatoes were ready in the garden.
He brought me home some beautiful red skin potatoes which I transformed into our favorite potato salad. Oh, so good!
PEPPERS We have also been picking some peppers – banana peppers, jalapeno, cayenne and a bell pepper. In addition to adding peppers to our morning omelet I made a batch of the poppers we enjoy so much. The popper recipe can be found in this post from September 2020.
It’s been a busy week around here (with lovely summer weather I might add) and thus left little time for reading or writing. I did however manage to put together this fun little post from some pictures I had previously taken.
Before we get to the fun and games I will mention our two big accomplishments this week. The first was getting the other three hives of honey harvested. We were blessed with a wonderful harvest this year with the four hives yielding more than 40 quarts of beautiful, delicious honey.
The second was getting the garlic cleaned and sorted. You may remember that we had a small crop this year (somewhere around 400 bulbs) so cleaning and sorting went much quicker than in years past. I spent about 2 hours on each of two consecutive evenings clipping and cleaning. As I worked I sorted the larger bulbs that we will use for seed from the smaller ones. When all was done we ended up with about 160 seed bulbs that we will plant this fall. I expect they will yield between 1000 and 1200 plants. Perfect!
Let The Games Begin
While looking at some of the photos I have taken recently a couple of childhood games came to mind.
Hide and Seek
It seems we often find ourselves searching for fruits and vegetables amongst the foliage.
The grapes are only visible by pushing the leaves aside.
Likewise with pumpkins and squash
The other game we play a lot is peek-a-boo.
This sunflower was peeking at me between the corn stalks
And the Black-eyed Susan’s were peeking out from under the spruce tree.
Frogs love to play peek-a-boo!
and even the full moon this month was peeking out from behind the clouds.
Thanks for playing and have a great weekend!
Now tell me do you have a favorite childhood game?
Each year after the garlic is harvested I let out a big “WOO HOO!” and my husband and I each sigh in relief because it is such a laborious task. This year, however, the harvest went so quickly and easily that I thought it hardly worth a mention.
For the sake of keeping a record of it I decided to write about it anyway.
We harvested the crop on Friday, July 10. It was hot and humid in the morning when I got started, but I thought it would be good to get it out of the ground before the rain and storms, that were predicted for later that day, arrived. I began digging the bulbs up like we normally do but quickly discovered that the soil was moist enough that I was able to pull the bulbs out without breaking the stems. This saved much time and energy. After 40 minutes or so I had about 1/3rd of the crop harvested but my body was telling me I needed to get out of the sun.
We decided to go home for a break and lunch. Then, despite the fact that it was raining, my husband returned to the farm that afternoon to finish the harvest. While we ended up getting a decent rain that day we did not get any of the storms that surrounding area experienced. After my husband harvested the rest of the garlic he bundled and hung the bulbs that I had pulled earlier. Later that evening I bundled the rest of the bulbs that he had pulled. We ended up with around 400 bulbs total (our smallest crop ever) and plan on saving at least 150 bulbs for seed to plant in the fall.
The garlic is now hanging upstairs in the barn where it will cure for at least three weeks before being cleaned.
NOTE: For anyone thinking about growing garlic, in the U.S. now is the time of year to start looking for seed garlic. I have never seen seed garlic it sold in stores or garden centers but an internet search should produce many options. In northern parts (colder climates) fall is the time of year for planting garlic (about 6 weeks before the ground freezes). Then it should sprout up in the spring around the time the daffodils and other bulbs start sprouting.
According to almanac.com the dog days of summer run from July 3 through August 11 which is normally the hottest and most humid time of year in the northern hemisphere. Around here every day is a dog day. Just ask Ranger and Trooper. But, yes, the HEAT IS ON and it is accompanied by a dry spell so keeping the gardens watered has been the main focus for the past week or so. If you are curious about how we manage that on our off-grid farm you can check out our off-grid irrigation system here.
In the mean time I put together a collection of pictures that I’ve taken over about the past few weeks to share with you.
This is how Ranger cools off on these hot days. (Did you know beagles can swim?)
and Trooper enjoys laying on the beach after a swim in the pond.
The grandbabies love the water as much as the dogs do.
Dragonflies are yet another creature that appreciate the pond.
This one is drinking water from the sand. Check out the honey bee (on the left) that photo bombed this shot. She too was coming to the beach for a drink of water.
This beauty hung out with us on the beach, for a couple of hour yesterday evening, fluttering about and pausing now and then to rest or perhaps get a sip of water.
One last pond picture because we can never have too much cuteness. LOL.
Speaking of cuteness, here is a double dose – twins.
The lavender is gorgeous this year and the bees and butterflies are all over it.
We have transitioned from strawberry season to blueberry season. On the same day that my husband, and (daughter) Kara, picked the last of the strawberries, I took (daughter) Tina, and Jackson and Addy into the blueberry patch to pick the first ripe berries. While Kara took her 3/4 of a basket of strawberries home. Addy couldn’t wait, so she ate all of the blueberries we picked while they were still at the farm.
Start them off young – that’s my motto. They posed for a group photo then dad took Jackson and Addy, one at a time, for a ride on the tractor.
The garden is flourishing. I have harvested basil and calendula flowers twice so far.
We have green tomatoes, peppers starting to develop, blossoms on the eggplant,
blossoms on the green beans and the corn is knee high.
We cut garlic scapes (check out this post to learn more about scapes) about two weeks ago and will be digging garlic soon.
It seems that every summer our back field is dominated by different plants. This year it is full of clover and birdsfoot trefoil and I think it is just gorgeous. It’s also great bee food.
I’ll leave you with one last photo of this pair who stopped by our deck for a short visit last week. They were kind enough to stay so I could get a photo then they hurried on their way.
Thanks for visiting and remember – stay hydrated, breathe deep and stay well.