Friday, August 28, 2009

Feels Like Fall

When the rain began yesterday, the air felt sultry, but by this morning, that pleasant temperate rain forest feel changed to a cool and foggy hint that Autumn is closer than I'd like. This evening, the wind has picked up and hails from the NNW. It will be a very cold start to the farmers market tomorrow; I think I'll bring my mittens!

I was out in the field today -- in the rain -- gathering more dill and Bulls Blood Beets for the market tomorrow, and I managed to remember to bring the camera and take some pictures. I never did conquer the weeds, but better to have weeds covering the ground than to let the ground be bare.

Here is a picture of the South end of the field as you see it when turning onto the ramp from the road. You can see part of the new chicken skid that will be put to good use next year. I call the section near the high tunnel the Hops Section. Eventually this section will have just hops, flowers and herbs:

The dill is starting to flower; I hope it will give me seed. The Bulls Blood Beets look pretty next to it.

The sunflowers are just now developing heads. I don't think there will enough time left in the season for them to bloom.

The Willamette and Cascade hops will soon be ready to harvest. I like letting the hops grow up on a simple pole; architectural plants are cool.

Take the Golden Amaranth, for instance. What a beautiful plant! It is striking to look at. It's colorful. It is drought tolerant, and it doesn't seem to be bothered by any bugs. (Maybe the bugs up here don't know what it is yet. ;) You can eat both the leaves and the seeds. As a matter of fact, I canned some of the leaves to see how they would turn out, and we had them with our supper tonight (latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and locally produced bacon). The amaranth leaves did not shrink as much as beet greens or spinach do, and they were very pleasant tasting. Similar to spinach but they definitely have their own flavor. I could taste a hint of oxalic acid, but it was not too strong. I re-heated the greens in water, then drained them and flavored them with a little bacon grease and Cajun seasoning -- they were excellent. They were actually very nice as a side with the potato pancakes and bacon. A nice supper on such a rainy day. I also read that some people like to eat the leaves raw shredded in salads. I tried a couple of leaves while out in the field, and I much prefer them cooked -- too chewy for my taste.

I worked a while in the high tunnel gathering Rattlesnake pole beans. I left one whole tower to go to seed for next year.

I was surprised to find I had pickling cucumbers! (National and Boston Pickling) So I picked the few that were there, and gladly they were small because everybody at the market had big cukes last week and the customers were looking for small ones. Every canner knows you need a good pickling cuke to make good pickles, and the smaller cukes are easier to work with and also good for making gherkins. I'm sure I will sell all of what I have -- if we're not rained out. It is supposed to be cold, rainy and windy tomorrow with a high temp of 49F.

The rest of the garden is so overgrown I can hardly bear to look at it. When the weather dries out a bit, I'll finish cutting the hay and try to get the wheat cut. I'm going to stack it in shocks on top of a pallet near the chicken coop and cover it all with a tarp. I'll feed the shocks to the hens this winter.

Well, I'll have to get up early tomorrow for market, so I'll catch you later!

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