Monday, August 15, 2011

Working Hard

Before I forget, here's the picture of our greenhouse roof raising crew that my nephew, John Ertl, took and so kindly sent me even though he's very busy moving to Hartford, Connecticut to begin his new job.  He is so fortunate to get a job right out of college!  I really appreciate his kindness in sending me the picture.  With all our families so busy it's hard to get even some of us together for a picture of any sort.

Left to right:  my sister Mary Ertl, Dad, Yours Truly who really needs to buy some clothes that fit, my husband Tom, my sister Anna's husband John Christian, John's daughter Angie and her husband Todd Brandenberg
Thanks again to everyone for helping us get that greenhouse up!  Thursday Tom will stop in town and see about getting some stone to put in the the greenhouse and around it as a border.

Lara and I finally made it to the farmers market in Phillips this past Saturday.  It was supposed to rain, but we lucked out with a really lovely day.  It was GREAT to see all the vendors and our many customers again.

We didn't have very much to sell:  beets, fresh sage, rhubarb, scarlet nantes carrots, garlic, one bunch of radishes, and a horseradish root.  The carrots went fast (even the misshapen ones that I labeled "Ugly Carrots"), and I was surprised the horseradish root sold.  My garlic was very popular.  Lara and I debuted our new sunflower aprons.  It was a fun day.

Tom brought home another three bushels of beets from his garden, and we picked two bushels of green beans, so I've been busy canning.  (I have to tell you that I REALLY like those new Tattler reusable canning lids I bought.)  I like to can after I take care of Lara for the last time of the day because then I have no more interruptions to deal with and the air is cooler after sunset so the kitchen is not so hot a place to work.  Last night I brought up my sauerkraut crocks because even though I don't want to make kraut now because the daily temperatures are not where I like them to be for kraut making, Tom brought home 28 cabbages that aren't going to keep.  He is going to the store tomorrow and will get me some cheesecloth and lots of onions. We already ordered our fresh caraway seed from Penzeys.  Then, my sister, Anna, stopped by for a cup of tea and dropped off a bushel of cucumbers for me.  She said she was sick of making pickles!  I had to laugh.  We are not making pickles this year so we will be eating lots of cucumber and strawberry soups and cucumber salads.  It is a nice light lunch.

By Friday I hope to pick another bushel of green beans to sell at the farmers market.  I may have some cucumbers and lettuce from the garden boxes by then, too.  I will sell some of my Egyptian Walking onion sets and the Silver Queen Artemesia bunches that I hung to dry from the garage rafters a few weeks back.  That should be enough.

I've been using the dehydrator non-stop for the last two weeks.  Little by little I'm drying plenty of sage and Genovese basil, different thymes and oregano from the forest garden, and lots of good chocolate peppermint -- my favorite drink for winter time.  Even if you don't have a lot of food, if you have spices you can liven up whatever you have.  And should you have nothing but spices, brew some  as a tea and you will still derive some nutritional benefit.  (But let's hope that life never gets that desperate!)

Chocolate Mint
Out in the field, we uncovered the rest of the hops.  I thought I had three more plants, but when I checked my planting map, I did only have 15 plants (three of each):  Williamette, Cascade, Nugget, Zeus, and Brewers Gold.  Thankfully, all are alive and well.  Tom tilled the ground in between all of the plants for me.  All the hops need now are some poles and later this Fall a dose of manure.

We also weeded the Golden Bantam corn and sprayed Liquid Fence over the winter squashes.  Ed and I pulled the onions and let them dry in the sun till we were ready to go back to the house.  After supper I cut off the tops and spread them out on some screens to cure.  I always cure my onions before I sell them.  They look pretty with their golden papery skins after they are cured, and I am satisfied I am selling a good product.

The leeks are looking good.  I told Tom I want to establish a permanent leek bed, so I will transplant them into the new garden box I'm going to build -- hopefully some time next week.  They are Musselburgh leeks, a heirloom variety, and I really would like to be able to over winter them and collect seed from them next year. 

The collards, cabbages, and eggplants are lost causes, eaten by leaf hoppers.  I don't even know why I plant them out in the field because the bugs always get them there.  I have better luck growing these things in the garden boxes for some reason. 

The barley is visible, grown up among the grass and is nearly ripe.  I don't know if I will try to harvest it or just till it all under as a green manure.  The pie pumpkins are few and far between, but I will take the sickle and cut down the grass surrounding each mound. 

On Wednesday our Special Olympics bowling starts again.  Lara and Ed are looking forward to going.  It will be nice to see all the young people again. 

Well, my arthritis is acting up so I'll leave off for now.  Be well!

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