Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blanching day

We got back from vacation Sunday to a couple of treats. The first was that there were 3 animals still in the pasture. Cow, bull, horse, big phew on that. Even though the idea of the cow watching us and waiting for the coast to be clear for her to break through the fence and be free (again) is pretty ridiculous, I still worried a tidbit while we were away. We even put extra hay in the grass pasture just to be sure they couldn't use the excuse of being hungry to justify an escape. You can't tell I'm a bit gun shy from the 2 weeks of freedom they stole on the first night they were here, can you?

The second treat was the garden. It must have taken steroids and been working out at the gym. The corn shot up 2 feet, grew tassles and each has at least one ear.

The third treat was that the hay was cut. It's the best treat even though it had the least effect on my personal comfort. If the first two treatas weren't there, I would probably still be riding around the countryside in a lunatic-like state tracking animals, and I'd be hungry. But it has the biggest effect on my happiness. The field looks beautiful, the grass will grow back thicker than before, I have a new place to ride, and now the animals can use that field as another pasture. (Once we finish fencing it.)

When we planted our garden, I was hoping there would be enough of a bounty that I'd be able to freeze string beans, carrots and corn, and eat well into winter. I don't know if I'd say we'll eat well into winter, but for a bit anyways. Not bad for the first year.

After harvesting what was ready, I ended up with way more food than we could possibly eat. So I got to learn how to blanche beans and carrots. Thanks to the beloved Purity cookbook passed down by Mom. Well, actually she bought me one when they republished it (it even has the original black and white pictures in it) because hers was so worn out and she was never parting with it. That book has it all. By the end of the evening, after boiling a pound at a time for 3 minutes, I had about 5 pounds of to be frozen string beans. There are still beans in the garden, but unless we can't keep up eating them fresh, I don't think I'll be freezing anymore. I froze some carrots too, but they aren't in as urgent need of being harvested. We'll eat most of those fresh.

Onions have got to be the easiest thing on earth to grow, and we have lots. Too many. I haven't a clue what to do with them. Get a deep fryer and make onion rings I suppose, and live happy and fat all winter. No really, I think I'm supposed pull them and let the outer skin dry so they'll keep in storage, but I'll have to do some investigating on that. Where to store them is another matter. Martin might just have to dig us a cellar if our garden is going to get bigger each year.

There are only two things that haven't done well in our garden this year. The potatoes and the broccoli. The potato tops prematurely yellowed. I was hoping the yellowing was a sign they were ready, but no. After digging, it's officially 'premature' as the spuds are only slightly bigger than ping pong ball. Add it to my list of things to learn I guess.

The broccoli was doing fantastic. It looked awesome when we left last week. That is until they were attacked. I'm talking about a critter that must have a microscopic stomach but which can eat a gazillion times it's own body weight per day. This little green worm has destroyed our broccoli. Eaten all of it! Each night I can easily pick a dozen of these guys from a plant. They tuck themselves up under the heads and chomp away to their hearts delight.

Broccoli is Martin's favorite vegetable, so maybe I could use this destruction to convince him that we need some sort of defence against these pest. And since we want an organic garden, that defence should be natural. If you're anything like me, you'll say the obvious choice would be chickens! I need to tweak my argument a bit, but I'll break him down. There will be chickens, and those worms will be gone, and we will eat broccoli. Next year.


Bon said...

our broccoli was victim to the same little buggers. and possibly our ineptitude.

but we're rolling in tomatoes, and had a feast of yellow beans and peas from the garden tonight. it may be all we get. but for this year, i'm happy. a start. and there are tiny above-ground cucumbers yet. who knew? ;)

is that handsome Fuzz Butt? or his mom?

Misty said...

That would be Fuzz Butt's mom. I guess I should name her.

The above ground cukes are know to be the tastiest. :)

We're rolling in tomatoes too. I see salsa in my future.