Evening glow in the greenhouse

Evening glow in the greenhouse
WELCOME TO MY BLOG! I am glad you found me because I hope I can be helpful or at least interesting for you to follow, be you a gardener yourself or just watching vicariously.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Diary 8/31/13

I am putting most of the huckleberries away in the freezer for winter. I haven't picked as many this year, so they are going into quart baggies rather than gallons. They are that precious. You can't really wash them before hand or they fall apart when freezing with water on their skins. It is OK though. They come from such pristine places, no dirt or dust on them at all. I swivel them around in a strainer to take out leaves, stem ends, pine needles, and basically anything that isn't purple. The natives used to dry them over smoking logs which probably made them keep for winter use. I have dried them before, and they are delicious, tiny droplets of sweetness. Having them to eat whole out of a bag in the middle of a cold winter's day brings a glad remembrance of a warm
sunny day picking on the edge of a mountain under old growth trees.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Diary 8/30/13

Went to the top of the Rogue-Umpqua divide today, overlooking the head waters of the South Umpqua River. There had been a large hot burn there in 2009, and many burnt areas throughout the vistas, but it was still a beautiful area just one drainage north from ours. We ( my husband, my son, and I)were there to scope out deer hunting areas, but on the way back down we found incredible huckleberries. After being discouraged with our picking on Wednesday, it was hopeful to fine such nice big and tasty berries even if it was three hours away! While they hiked, I picked like a maniac. There were so many and sooo big! Anyway, a great adventure with a lovely bonus.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Diary 8/30/13

I thought Mars was supposed to look impressively big this week. When I checked, it was bright and redder than any other object, but no bigger. Not sure what someone had been talking about or if there was a certain time like right at it is rising which made it look bigger. Huckleberry picking yesterday was not that great. Always nice to go up in the mountains, but the berries were small and had no taste what with the cloudy weather and rain over the weekend. I also think the smoky days might have affected the taste, as the berries we were picking were close to the Whiskey Complex. Think I'll stick to blackberries unless we find a better patch or the weather stays warm. As to that, I want to say here and now that I think we will have a early fall. I am not saying snow, just frost and rain. Maybe we will have a cold, dry December, but I think rain and frost will be here in only a couple weeks rather than the Indian summers we've had for several years. I will be the first to mention I am wrong when November 15th rolls around and I am still picking tomatoes!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Diary 8/27/13

Another day on the farm and I feel so lucky to have lived it! Picked a variety of things this morning and spent the rest of the day putting them by for later. Kale and potatoes went into soup for dinner. Pickling cucumbers and beans went with dill, peppers, and garlic to make pickles, figs went on a rack in the dryer, strawberries into the freezer.. Carrots and more kale into the refrigerator for another meal.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Diary 8/26/13

I am so happy to be harvesting tomatoes!! We ran out of last year's canned tomatoes quite awhile ago. I put up more salsas and sauces last year than just plain tomatoes. With the weird smoky skies and rainy weather, I will appreciate every bit I get!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Diary 8/25/13

Winding down from all the action around here. Hugo, our last wwoofer leaves in the morning to head back to France. The relatives have headed home. Their camping trip in our orchard went well until the almost 1/2 inch of rain fell on them this morning.  Garden Girl has gone back to her other family members, and in another day it will be unusually quiet around here. I am looking forward to a slower pace, canning tomatoes, and do some serious housecleaning. It feels like the end of summer even if there are a few more weeks.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Diary 8/24/13

Visitors, relatives, three-year-olds, harvesting, and maybe relaxing are on board for today. A little smoky again, but more rain tomorrow which should really do the trick for putting out the local fire.
 Meanwhile, the wwoofers finished splitting the hardwood pile with us yesterday. Feels good to look at the pile and what it means for warmth this winter!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Diary 8/23/13

So two wwoofers left yesterday morning at 4 AM. Eagle Point women's group and a few from the Eagle Point Garden Club came to tour the farm at 11. Busy morning for sure!  One of our visiting French wwoofers leaves this evening and the other on Monday. It is going to be very quiet around here going from 8 residents to just we two!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Diary 8/20/13

Took a day trip to the redwoods with the wwoofers. The forest was as dry as it gets, but still beautiful. It was very quiet in the tall trees and of course cooler. Also went over to the coast, a wayside just above Smith River. I could have stayed forever~ Nice time to leave the hot and smoky air at home. We saw the smoke from three different fires on our way.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Diary 8/18/13

Smoky again in the AM, but still made applesauce and put four trailer loads of wood into the wood shed. Dried four racks of apple slices, and dusted the aphid areas with diatomaceous earth, a silica powder made from the fossilized shells of sea creatures from long ago that dried as a layer in the great basin and elsewhere. The spiny fossils poke soft bodied insects such as aphids. The aphids are there because a gopher is bothering the roots of the plants and thus weakening them. The bugs know the weaker plants and prey on them like wolves. Cooler, wetter, weather would help, but so would gopher eradication. Hope to do some widespread attacks when fire season is over.The boys from France made dinner; quiche and ratatouille! YUM!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Diary 8/17/13

So smoky this morning, I did not feel like we should be outside, so we worked on two more batches of jam. One we made with red raspberries only, and the other with red raspberries and two kinds of plums sauce. They are both very pretty and bound to taste pretty darn good! Finished drying some cherry plums I picked too early. I am worried about how it is all going to come at once without the wwoofers here to help. Ah well, I will do what I can. More tomatoes each day. Salsa round tomorrow. Went to check out huckleberries and found some, but may be the smallest berries I have ever picked.
Will try to find them in moister, shadier areas.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Diary 8/15/13

Played tourist with the wwoofers today. Visited Crater Lake, the lake in an old cauldera and Natural Bridge where the Rogue River disappears into a lava tube. I relearned why the lake is so blue. The only color not absorbed into the deepest lake in America and thus reflected back. Everyone enjoyed the sights, including me.
Just a little smoky at Crater Lake

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Still working on apples, but slowing down on eating apple pies. The next ones will go in the freezer for a special treat this winter. Meanwhile, weeding and cleaning the edges of the garden for garden club visit next week. Have another shed to clean around. First round  of corn is ready, so will freeze some soon, and tomatoes are starting to stack up. First salsa tomorrow! YUM! Smokier today than it has been. Hot, dry, and kinda yucky.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Diary 8/13/13

I know when I gave birth to my middle child 32 years ago, I never thought about this time of my life. I feel like I am looking into life with a new dimension, as if a fog has
lifted and things that were there all the time are now more obvious. If these words are vague, don't mind me. Just thinking about how getting older can be a good thing, if you choose to take notice instead of seeing age as a loss of what you had before. Anyway, we cleaned the blueberries area up and added sawdust. Looks so tidy. Sawdust on the pond area we cleaned gave it a defined preciseness also. Worked on plums and apples and have more to do tomorrow. Wwoofers made jam by themselves, so they really know they can do it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Diary 8/12/13

Busy cleaning areas around the greenhouses today. Tackled the well house where some animal was living for a time. It is going to be usable for storage again instead of a crazy mess. Picked a bucket of apples, probably a peck of apples at 3:30 today. Now, as I am going to bed we have a couple quarts of applesauce made, two pies, one of which we ate, and four trays of dried apples! We will pick again tomorrow and repeat the process some degree. That will take four days for the one tree at that rate and the tree next to it is almost ready. Not to mention the plums...oh, and blackberries.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Diary 8/11/13

I am not sure what I was thinking when I decided to have four woofers here at the same time. I know I was thinking they would pick raspberries, but actually the raspberries are between crops, so that isn't gonna keep them busy. The smoke is slowly dissipating which is good, but now to work these four young, strong, and enthusiastic visitors! So tomorrow we start on a big clean-up campaign at the well house in the garden where some sort of animal vs. animal event happened this spring. Hopefully there isn't anything dead inside...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Diary 8/10/13

Thunderstorms built up on the mountain before dark, but the lightning storm didn't hit until 11:00 at night. I saw flashes even with my eyes closed. Then rain started and kicked it into third gear with a waterfall off the roof as if someone were pouring buckets down. No hail thank goodness as our first round of corn is just about ready. I have seen corn turn corn leaves into something that looks like fringe.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Diary 8/9/13

With the help from the couple from Michigan and another from France, that I am wwoof(World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) hosting, we are slowly getting  few things cleaned up around here. The smoke is still terrible at times, at those intervals we have been canning. The jam stash is increasing with new batch of strawberry with a bit of raspberries, and a batch of huckleberry made from last year's berries.
Today it was pickling 101!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Diary 8/8/13

Made progress on a variety of garden fronts yesterday. Cleaned up the Thai basil which was trying to bloom. Once basil starts to bloom, the flavor can change. The flowers make a bitter addition. So, topped the plants and brought them home for pesto. Wasn't sure how great Thai basil would be for pest, but it was delicious with a more intense flavor than the Genovese I usually use. Now to give the plants a shot of nitrogen so they concentrate on making leaves rather than flowers.
 Pesto:  2 cups basil leaves,several garlic cloves (3-5), 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, i/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts,  and a little salt. Food process the first three ingredients and add the other processes a little each time.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oh, here they are!

Camera was not out in the rain, hurray!

Diary 8/7/13

New crew of wwoofers are here and the garden will get the makeover it needs. Lots more lightning last night as smoky conditions continue. At least we received .2 inches of rain with it. Helps, but scant. Hoping it will help suppression efforts all around. Sorry, don't know where I left camera (in the rain, ha-ha? ) so pictures later.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Diary 8/5/13

Not a great start to the day. It is so smoky, you feel it in your lungs. I have three wwoofers coming in tomorrow and at this point our farm is a health hazard. If we can get berries picked, we will make jam. Hoping for the inversion to lift this afternoon to evening so I can go out to do something. Picked the first slicer yesterday. So excited! Writer's conference was super informative and I learned so much. I learned to pitch. If you don't know what that means, you are lucky. You have three minutes to enchant an agent into wanting to read more of what you have to offer. My initial idea was to wing it. After attending a class, I realized I needed to write one down and not read it, but know it. Then when I said that pitch in another class, thank goodness, it was shot down. I skipped my next class, try to calm my palpitating heart, and came up with a new pitch which flew enough to get a request from an agent for synopsis and chapters. A 7 out of 10 on the dart board. So, pretty good recovery. I learned I need more conflict and tension. I was told to turn my sweet story into a romance twice
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, and I think I will.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Diary 8/1/13

Off to writer's conference. Wish the farmer luck, ha-ha!