Sprinkling outside. New interns are here. Melons and winter squash going in and maybe some weeding in the beds in the greenhouses. Asparagus to pick and some snow peas for dinner? End of holiday weekend and transition back to work with three helpers tomorrow, we will get the onions cleaned up and hopefully plant some more lettuce, spinach, and ? I have been saving seeds for years and if you have room, you can, too. Nice to start with easy things such as cilantro, lettuce, and kale. Leave a plant or two in until past prime, bolting, making flowers. The flowers will develop seed heads and ultimately seeds. One plant can give you enough seed for many years. Harvest, dry thoroughly, and store in dry dark place. Hybrids only have a 1:64 chance of repeating themselve unless the two parent are related. Doesn't mean don't try them, but by saving seed from only one plant you greatly limit the gene pool and ultimately the plants of the future. So, it is not easy to get the same tomato, for instance, from saving seed of one hybrid tomato. If it is open pollinated or an heirloom, then the plant will only accept its own pollen and thus not cross with another. I have zinnia seed I have been saving for years and sometimes it gives me the beautiful large pink flowers I want, and sometimes it gives me a small beige flower that is somewhat disappointing. That is the thrill of it !
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Harvest for 9 bags, some weeding, and fixing up the beds where I took other things out. The weather change didn't quite happen today, but the big switch is tomorrow, so hoping to spend time with family in the SUN. Hope you all have a good weekend and honor anyone who died for this country whether a noble cause or not. No politics, just a feeling about wars in general.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Taking out the kale and rainbow chard. They have served me well and produced for months through the cold rain period that continues today. Supposedly, we are coming to the end of it and will see some warmer weather over the next week. I was going to plant outdoor stuff today, but still did not get "the vibe" that I should. Maybe tomorrow the feeling will be better especially if we start to get to 70 degrees. Taking the chard out gave more room to the squash and beans I have stuck in the same bed. They have gotten along, but of late needed more room to grow. Same with the tomato/pea situation. Those tomatoes are ready for the peas to finish up and take over the bed. Soon tomatoes, soon.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
My elderly neighbor, Mildred, died last week. The funeral was today. Her passing was a blessing, she was suffering and she was a good Catholic, so I feel she is in Heaven already. For me, still here, I miss knowing she is around. Her knowledge of canning, animal husbandry, local folklore, history, and staunch fighting for rights of property owners will not be shoes filled by anyone else. It is scary to look behind me and see the "old ones" disappearing one by one with their knowledge, their encouragement, and their histories. Today, Mildred's red crocheted hats, the ones she made for us to keep safe in the woods, became sacred items. I will treasure mine as I did not quite before.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Weeds! I am glad I have some help coming this weekend. The weeds are getting ahead of me as I try to get to them between mud-making rain storms. Another one about to dump on us again. At this point the weekend still looks good, so will prepare the melon and winter squash hills and poke seeds in. Not sure about the corn. Still cloddy. Birds are super busy hauling materials and building nests. Soon they will be harvesting bugs for their families. They are good partners. Turkeys passed by this morning. Found a feather above the garden, but did not see any large bird tracks. They are not good partners! We ate our first yellow squash.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Mostly spring cleaning today even if it was one of the milder days. Some more rain for this week, lest it get actually dry or warm enough to do anything. Next weekend looks nice at this point which will be good for traveling vacationers. Hope it could last into next week and get some outdoor stuff planted. Maybe just go for it on Friday! The Fourth of July tomatoes are blooming and there are blooms on the first Super Tasty plants I put in. The cucumbers are close to blooming and there are little brocolli heads forming in the middle of the first brocolli. Oh boy, here we go.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Rainy morning, birds everywhere hauling moss and twigs for nest building. Egg shells tell of earlier babies. Cool and possible frost tonight, so oakleaf mulch on the Yukon Gold potatoes. Waiting out another week of cool, wet weather. Thank goodness for greenhouses. In there things are taking off and showing progress, outside, not so much except those happy onions!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Local ladies had a pot luck and plant exchange the other day and I brought this dip which I tried to copy a dip I had at my now moved neighbor's house once. The main ingredient is nasturium flowers. I used a block of cream cheese(yes, low fat), two tablespoons sour cream(yes, low fat), a tablespoon of mayo(nope, fat as the dickens!), and a couple good squirts of lime juice, a good splash of hot sauce. The sour cream and mayo are to make the cream cheese dipable, so substitute yogurt, non-fat milk, or whatever. The lime juice still helps for background flavor. I didn't very much salt or herbs because I wanted the nasties to come through. I added about twenty flowers as I was food processing the rest, taking their stem ends off, but leaving the inside flower part. At the end I pulsed in a few more for color and wished I had picked more, but basically 25-30 flowers would be good or less of everything else. I served it with de-stringed snap peas.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Drip irrigation is not hard to put together. We recycle as much as we can, up to five years or when the algae in the emiters won't let water through. Have quite the collection of fittings from over the years and try to keep systems in the same areas year to year to make it simpler. Sometimes it just doesn't work out and you have to adjust. Here I am adding in two more lines to an exsisting system. The yellow poker cuts a hole in the 1/2 " tubing where I insert the pokeys, the nippled fittings. The drip lines will be cut to get a new fresh edge to slide onto the other end of the pokey, and screwed down to form a tight seal. The connectors are there in case the new recycled lines have any holes in them, more than two holes, they are out of there and I am off to find some more to use. I have some lines coiled and marked, for corn for instance, so that I can just unroll and plant.
Working on weeding this and that to keep busy. Helpers this Am finished the tomato row in the top greenhouse, transplanting them, staking them, and a small drink of water as it is supposed to be cool for the next several days. Mulched the potatoes to protect them if it accidentally cleared off and frosted. They are saying snow down to 2500 feet tomorrow night. If it snows, I will certainly get pictures it as it will beat records all around. 11 bags tomorrow, so CSA count is at 22 now. Have room for a few more now and a total of 35 for the season, so probably work on an exciting looking flyer over the weekend. Cleaning the upstairs for new residents and thinking of ALL the projects I have in mind to accomplish over the next couple months!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I thought I was going to plant corn, but when I reached into the soil it was cold and damp and didn't feel like a corn seed would care for it at all. So, I will wait a bit longer and hope we get another opening of good weather soon to warm the soil temperatures up. It is a good rule of thumb to poke your finger in the dirt and feel the temperature before planting any of the summer vegetable seeds or plants. Most things such as melons, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers need a warm soil to germinate their seeds. If it is outright cold to the touch, it is better to wait than plant and have the seed struggle or worse. The adage around here is to plant the corn when the leaves on the oaks are the size of the squirrel's ear. They are every bit of that. Just going to be a little patient and see what lies ahead temperature wise. Big storm coming this afternoon. More rain...
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Home to more cold rain. Who would have thunk? When this nonsense ends, we are in for it with long daylight hours and hot temperatures. Hope to get some corn seed planted tomorrow and maybe melons, too. Frost alert for Saturday morning with snow levels down to 3000 feet. So weird. Look what's already growing north of here. A cupie doll!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Wall of Walla Wallas, say that five times fast! Weeding went well. New neighbor, new friend, helped weed most of the rest of the onions and the potatoes. I am a lucky woman! Laundry floor is in, now to move the appliances back so I can wash some clothes. Never been so excited about doing laundry before. No, I take that back. After the forest fire, that was even more exciting when my washer came home from being evacuated, but that is another story and long ago.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Busy day, almost over. Hope the laundry room project is over tomorrow. It is wearing on me and what clean clothes I have left! Irrigation to day, sprinkler on the onions and a drip system going in each greenhouse. Things are growing now! A couple more warm, dry wind days and we may be able to till some beds. I know I keep saying that, but it keeps raining, too. New neighbor coming to help in the morning. Weeding, I hope she likes weeding...
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I LOVE VOLUNTEERS! All the snapdragons I have are volunteers. Sometimes it doesn't work out, like with melons. You get a small amount of melon and a huge seed cavity or cucumbers which seem to want to revert back to picklers. I still like to make room for any of the plants that want to do it all by themselves. Maybe it's a Y2K thing. Remember? Now we have to worry about the Mayan calendar. Anyway, I have been saving tomatoes from the aisles and various lettuces and cilantro come up here and there. So, I left this row of nasturiums. Actually, this is their third year. They are glorious right now, but may intrude on the cabbages behind them a bit too much. Decisions, decisions.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Look what I found! Oh boy. I took a gamble and planted a row of strawberries in the greenhouse where it stays a little shadier and cooler than the rest of the area. So far, so good...Hope to get some serious weeding done over the next two nice days. There are a couple places that I didn't get to before the last rain, and boy are they weedy now! Also hope to get the rest of that laundry room floor up so we can move the appliances and put down the flooring. I beginning to miss the washing machine. After dinner, picture me scraping old flooring off with a narrow chisel.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Last of the baby plants I started going in. I will plant seeds from here on. Hope to be able to till a couple beds by Saturday as we received another .4 inches of rain yesterday. Might make it to the growers market to get some interesting heirlooms from Abbey Lane Farm or some different winter squash plants from Fry Family. Otherwise, just need beds opened to plant corn, winter squash, and melons. That's all, ha-ha. 14 bags tomorrow with big bags of peas, asparagus, spinach or kale, and lettuce. Carrots and strawberries soon. Then broccoli and cabbage and cucumbers. All in good time, though.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Rain, again! It is pouring outside. Working on laundry room floor rebuild from old leak damage, and maybe have time to read. I am reading the book Fields of Plenty (A Farmer's Journey in Search of Real Food and the People Who Grow It)by Michael Abelman which was lent to me by a friend, who read me like a book. I needed this book. I have been a little discouraged this year about lots of things, but even the garden. It is not the usual overwhelmed feeling that will come sometime in July or August. This was different, a more pervasive doubt. I have enjoyed this book and the fact I am part of all that he is seeking and pointing out. Yes, it is hard work for the $. Yes, your house and everything else can fall by the wayside while the garden looks great. Yes, you will not always know how the food you grow affects so many others. Thanks to the inspiration from this book, I think I will feel better from here.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
For me, the main point of having astir fry besides making a delicious, nutritious meal, is cleaning out the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator. I was pretty excited to add to those bits and pieces the freshly picked snow peas I had in the other cooler outside. Somewhere between chopping, talking, playing with a grandchild and my last bite of dinner, I declared,"I forgot the peas!" Ah well, it was still tasty. When cooking a stir fry, get your vegetables all chopped(I use just about everything; last night turnips, bolted cabbage tips, and an old half of a pepper went in.) and your meat cooked because after that it goes fairly quickly. The idea is to lightly cook the vegetables until tender and not a bit past that. Start with hot oil and your seasonings: things like garlic, ginger, seeds, etc. that you want the flavor to pervade the dish. Then cook your toughest stuff next and stir constantly to cook all sides. After only a minute or two depending on the size of your chopping, keep adding the next toughest stuff until you are adding greens and mushrooms at the end as they only need another minute and they are still bright green or have texture and yet are fully cooked through. You can add soy sauce, fish sauce, a bit of sweetener or? at the end and heat for only a little longer. Serve immediately as things start to create liquid and get limp as they cool.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Getting ready for fire season. Lightning caused wildfires are the main natural disaster we have to worry about here. Historically, wildfires have been involved in fuel reduction in forests, clearing land for new shoots for animals and indigenous peoples and keeping old growth stands healthier. Now that fire suppression has come into the plan, the small vegetation loads up in the forests making the spread of fire faster, wider, and giving fuel to fires getting into the tree tops which causes complete devastation. The other natural disaster of our area is volcanoes. Crater Lake was formed when Mt. Mazama blew its top 8200 years ago. Not that long ago geologically. I guess if that happens, I will not be blogging about it!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Nice day. Nice to have some sun and the plants really responded to it. Went fishing this morning as it warmed up from 27 degrees. No salmon for dinner, but always nice to be on the river. Neighbor came to help this afternoon. We weeded the three lower beds of onions. I weeded most of the upper ones Tuesday. The rye grass cover crop is growing taller and we still cannot till. Have mowed some areas to help dry them out, but still in a holding pattern until we get a few sunny days in a row. Trying to get the last plants in the ground from planters. Tired of baby sitting. Have still suffered the effects of "bad soil mix" and done some experiments to understand where I went wrong.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
It snowed this morning and stuck! This weather continues to be cold and wet making up for dry January or something. It is bound to switch soon, and when it does, it will be hot and dry. I just keep remembering that. First harvest of peas today. Hard freeze tonight, so spent the late afternoon battening down the hatches and covering a few other things. Silly me, I have marigolds in the yard, and I know better!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
These fake owls do work to a certain point. You need to move them around some or the birds catch on. We had one on a metal post that swung around in the wind and made some clatter noise, too. I think that worked well and I will set up again soon. This owl is here to protect this little apple tree from young buck deer challenging it horn to branch, a battle it lost its top to last fall. Since the owl arrived, no deer action. The shiny flagging tape works to keep birds from the cherries and berries also. It flickers and makes them edgy. I need to add more as some pieces have been hauled off by ravens as souvenirs. I saw a piece about two miles away in the forest hanging from a hardwood tree. Sunny day, weeding onions and asparagus. Small water pipe disaster, but mended now (hopefully).
Monday, May 3, 2010
They said 40% chance of rain and it is doing all 40 of it out there. The garden beds wait as does the cover crop yet to be tilled in. There is nothing to be done about it, so I am cleaning the refrigerator! In Pollyanna fashion, I will say it is great for the onions and garlic. Wildflower show went well, and met some new folks. I love small towns!
Sunday, May 2, 2010
"The weather is always doing something; always attending strictly to business; always getting up new designs and trying them on people to see how they will go. But it gets through more business in spring than any other season. In the spring, I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of twenty-four hours." Mark Twain New England Weather
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Happy May Day! It is very May Day here with a switch in the weather about every five minutes. Sun tomorrow and then back to rain. Wildflower Show was slow; there are tons of events this weekend all over the Rogue Valley. It is what it is and we had a great flower display. Hope tomorrow is OK, always slower than Saturday. Meant to show you a picture of fried rice, but we ate it before I took my picture! I like to use bok choy in it. Make 2cups rice. Stir fry pork until well done if you want or stir fry bokchoy, green onions, like 1/2 cup each in 2 Tbs. sesame oil and add a whipped egg. When egg looks scrambled, start adding cooked rice in until mixed. Add enough soy sauce to make the mixture light brown, mybe 1/4 c. or more if you like. It is so easy even a cave man, oh sorry, even a busy gardener can do it! Hello to my first follower in WA. who is not directly connected to me or my family. Welcome aboard!