Friday, August 12, 2011

the end is near

so the summer is coming to a close - sadly.....well the end is right around the corner anyway. the only reason i even say that is because our garden is about done. it's spent. there are no more cantaloupe or cucumbers in my garden. asher almost cried. i stopped today at a little homegrown veggie stand out here where we live to buy asher some cantaloupe & i almost cried at what the charged when we have eaten them all summer for FREE!!! they charged me 2 for $5. i thought it was high, but they were homegrown & really good.

while i have been away, Clay celebrated a birthday. i really have no clue when the last time i posted was. was it Molly's wedding post? maybe. anway......Clay turned 47.

he had just blown out the candles on his cake. i was kind to him. i didnt put 47. i put the numbers 47 on there with about 10 - 12 extra. he got them in one blow!!

whatelse......our duck Marble hatched out 9 of 11 eggs she was sitting on, with 8 surviving. they are sooo darling. anyone want to buy a duckling?? they are only $5 a piece.

we are keeping the 2 little yellow ones with gray heads on the left. They are Pekin/Blue Swedish mixes. The others are either, Cayuga, Cayuga/Pekin Mix, or Cayuga/Blue Swedish Mix. We have 4 females & 2 males now so it will be interesting to see what those little yellows turn out to be. i'm not good at sexing ducks so we have to wait until they get a drake feather - if they get one or wait until they lay an egg! time will tell - unless they get eaten first - which is highly likely out here in Wendyland! with some of the animals it's survival of the fastest...i mean fittest!

so this weekend will be busy for me. here is what's up with the summer ending.

I gathered my last really large picking of tomatoes so i will be making a batch of salsa tomorrow to process.

we have started to shed our dying sunflowers of their seeds. i'm going to try to salt & roast some. i think they will make good christmas gifts for a few people we know IF they turn out well. here is a picture of seeds we gleaned from just about 5 sunflowers. they are called the "Mammoth" variety. I am also saving some just for seeds for next year's planting. they have to be completely dried before i can do anything with them though. i also have about 15 more "Mammoth's" to glean from.

i am also saving honeydew seeds from our homegrown honeydew melons, watermelon seeds & tomato & cucumber seeds. the tomatoe & cucumber seeds have to sit in glasses in the window covered with plastic so they will ferment & the seeds will separate from their plant matter & rise to the top. it's really wild. also when the seeds ferment they will then (as will the plants when they grown from the seeds) become disease resistent. isnt that fascinating? at least i thought it was.

honeydew seeds. they are abundant.

these were just a few from one of our favorite watermelons (we grew 3 type this year & had a completely different variety volunteer from a mutated hybrid that is not good. we just feed that one to the goat & pig.) i have more of these, but i'm kind of getting obsessive about saving as many seeds as i can because who says we will have the money next year to buy seeds or who says the seeds will be available. i realize i'm probably being overly precautious & a bit irrational but....well i would rather be safe than sorry. so when i cut up the watermelon to put in the refridgerator i took the seeds that came out at that time. the have to dry completely before i can put them away or else they will mold.

and these are my fermenting tomatoes & cucumber seeds. you might not believe me but there are about 100+ seeds in each of that small amount of veggie matter. this seed collecting is really become part of a hobby for me. all of the seeds i have collected are heirloom, meaning they date back to the late 1800's. i am not saving any hybrids or buying anything from a hybrid plant. when & if they reproduce they reproduce only from one side of the hybrid....say they combined a sweet flavored tomato that was large with a tart flavored tomato that was small to get a perfectly medium size tomato with a sweet/tart flavor. if i saved seeds from the hybrid i wouldnt get the medium tomato with the sweet/tart flavor. i would either get the sweet tomato that was large or the tart tomato that was small or the seed would be sterile. so with heirlooms seeds, i know that when i save the LemonBoy tomato seeds (which is fast becoming one of my favorite tomatoes - it's yellow & delicious) next year when i plant, i will grow a LemonBoy tomato plant. no surprises.

when i first started the summer i had a lot of jars to fill - about 100 quart jars, 60 pint jars, 75 jam jars. i'm down to my last 30 quart jars. now 30 may seem like a lot, but the reality is - it's not. considering the salsa i make tomorrow, the 2 boxes of apples i have to start working on & i will find out tomorrow if i can go pick figs from a friend's mother's house. if that's the case i will be preserving the whole actually i will need to go buy some more jars. i wonder if it's in my budget??! i also found out i can process the sweet potatoes that are coming in as well as the red potatoes too.....unless some of you out in blog land want some potatoes...if so let me know! i'm thinking with the sweet potatoes to cut those up like fries & freeze them & then just get them out through out the winter & have sweet potato french fries, which are really good if you cook them hot, hot, hot oil with a lot of salt & cook until they get slightly brown on the edges & crisp. very good!!!

what's left

my free apples that i need to start processing. applesauce, apple pie filling & apple jam for Abigail.

here is a few pictures of my 2 cabinets that are full of what i have already processed.
the first one is of the jam. that's about 60 jars of jam. it looks small but in reality it's the way the picture was taken. it's a lot of jam! fig & peach & oooooohhhhh so good!
i had to make room up above my coffee shelf. if you know me i dont have much room in my coffee shelf except for am still drinking a pot of coffee a day - even as hot as it is. as a matter of fact, i have a cup here with me now. Esther now drinks it with me & smacks her lips after every slurpy sip she takes! (please send all of your emails to someone who wants to hear how bad coffee is for small children - that someone would not be me!)

this is the cabinet where the salsa, pickles, tomatoes, tomato sauce, peaches & chow chow are stored. as you can tell i'm out of room. that white container holds my food scale & my food processor. now i will have to start loading the jars onto the top of my cabinets behind the molding where you cant see them. i have been actively looking on craigslist for a moderately priced, in good shape, old pie safe to store the jars all in. i have always wanted a pie safe with the tin punched panels. i can dream right.

anyway, arent they pretty?!! oh i just open the cabinets & look at them. it doesnt seem like a lot, but it is. it will go a long way. this doesnt include what i put up in the freezer either. tons of green beans, peas, corn, okra, zucchini & yellow squash.  oh they are so pretty!!! ok i will keep saying that if i dont move on. dont those peaches look yummy!!!????

now for more cuteness - better than the ducks or even my beautiful jars of preserves..........

we have been having a bit of a hard time getting Esther to stay in her bed & fall asleep without many MANY times of telling her to get back in her bed. sometimes it's best to just ignore her & she will fall asleep where she sits, not bothering anyone & then i carry her to bed. i found her out in the her door (which is the open door to her left), asleep. i would think her bed would be more comfortable, but nope....propped up against the linen closet suited her better.
you will have to thank Mrs. Jenny for regifting back to us the lovely leapard print leotard she is wearing. she absolutely loves tutus & leotards now - and all things Elmo & Sesame Street.

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