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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sure don't feel like summer

July 29....

Sure hasn't been feeling like summer. Been too cool for it. I'm not complaining, but I am, lol. I'm used to the hot bringing on the produce.

Today I canned up two quarts of hot pepper rings. One of the local produce places had the hot banana peppers, and I figured I would do quarts instead of pints because I have a lot of quart jars but I'm short on pints and didn't feel like dinking around with half pint jars. Don't it figure, no matter what jars I got, always seems like I need the jars I'm short on, lol.

Got a fourth batch of nasturtium leaves dehydrated today. Just a couple more, and I will have a super stuffed jar to add peppery herbal goodness do dishes all through the winter. Hmmm, maybe I should create a spice blend that features them. Actually collecting enough seed to please me, and there's a lot more on the plants that are ripening for picking.

Picked more peppers today and more summer squash. Getting to the point where I need to figure out some preserving on the squash. Debating on trying a squash jam recipe- we still have so many jams on the shelf and cramming the fridge I'm not sure if I want to or not, but it sure would be something different. Also debating on trying some pickled too.

Today was a big deal too- we signed off on the back 40. For the next couple years, we will be paying down on it while the neighbors are wrapping up business. Then after that it's whatever we want to do. But for the moment, it means we get to clean up the chicken coop enclosure to get it ready for chicks next spring, hooray! The whole thing makes me a bit nervous- I'm a worrywart about big things. But overall, I'm ecstatic about it.

July 30...

Another putter around kind of day. Did a ton of well overdue weeding in the herb garden and solarium side- couple barrows full of just crappy stuff that needed to be dumped out back. But now I can actually see the garden, lol. Found a couple huge chippy holes and stomped them in. Damn chippies. A couple of my corsican mints haven't fared too well, but some of them seem to be thriving, yay! Cut down a big chunk of the tarragon bush- and I have no idea what to do with it all there is so much of it. But now the winter savory is visible and apparently needs a goodly trim too.
Got a batch of broccoli on the dehydrator today- some stuff I picked up on clearance. Next up is to shred a bunch of squash since apparently I don't have any on the shelf. Thought I did, but I was mistaken.

Repotted the four hardy hibiscus- I'm hoping they overwinter well in pots and next year should be big enough to plant into the yard. And next spring I will start another set of hibiscus too.
Clipped the last of the dill heads for seed- had a couple wimpy plants, but those got pulled up with all the dead stuff. And I seeded in three new buckets of dill. Still early enough in the season that I will hopefully get a goodly batch of dill for the fall.

Cleaned up all my bags of seed, and ya know what? I got a fuckton of seed. I have so much seed I am not sure if I even have a wish list anymore. Ok, yeah, I still have a wishlist, but by golly it's much much shorter than it ever has been, and my outgoing trade list is much much longer. I still have to go through and catalog what seed I got because I did blow out a couple dozen kinds of seed this spring. On the nice side, I have more flower seed than I thought I did. On the down side, so much bean and tomato seed it's going to be a serious decision next year on what to grow.

Pulled out some other seed for fall garden. Alaska peas, Early Contender beans, Albino beets, Purple carrots, and lettuce mix. I still might pull some other greens too. Hopeful that I might be able to get some fall harvest in.

While out in the yard today I realized I still don't have enough blooms year round for bees. Sigh, hearbreaking sigh. I really wanted to start with bees next year. But till I have a lot of blooms to keep em fed, I just can't do it. Fortunately, I do have a lot of flower seed still to put out into the yard. A surprising amount really, I didn't use up nearly as much as I thought I did this spring. So more patches for the sanctuary, more to go around in other places in the yard. I even have more nasturtium seed than I thought! Will still probably need to get more milkmaid, but that's ok.

The tomatoes are plush as hell, full of fruits- and still green green green. Just hasn't been hot enough to prompt them to turn color. I swear, it feels like it's summer winding down instead of smack int he middle of the hottest part of it.

July 31...

Finally, it felt like summer today! Nice and warm, actually a relief to get into the shade kind of day. Started out first thing by shredding up all those ball squash and getting them onto the dehydrator- jucy little things, I had to squeeze the shred before laying the stuff out on jelly trays.
Finished up the weeding of the herb garden- super PITA pulling weeds when the ground is all dry from no rain. But that's ok, we will be getting rain in soon enough.

Got some seeding done today for some hopeful fall harvest. Planted in a round of Alaska peas and Early Contender bush beans out by the dog run- hopefully those will take, and no frigging critters will snip them. Planted in the rest of my Albino beets and some Icicle radish under the kitchen window, and all my Little Gem lettuce in the herb garden. Cut down all my Bright Lights swiss chard, yummy! Chard is a cut and come again plant, so I'm hopeful to get another crop off of it yet this season- maybe if I'm careful and protect it well, it might give me another crop after the snow flies!

And super exciting, I think we may have spotted an endangered species- Regal Fritillary Butterfly. Saw it this morning in the garden, and when I described it to my sister because I wanted to hunt it and get some pics, she said she had seen it too on the back 40! Eeep, of course he didn't come out when we both went back there, but he did come out for her later, so I'm hopeful that we will actually get some pics of this guy and confirm if we do or don't have a special critter here.  I have confirmed about a half dozen Monarchs in the yard, very pleased about that- the milkweeds are paying off. And some swallowtails, which are lovely.
But despite not getting the pics of the specific butterfly I was looking for, I did get a nice handful of pics of other lovlies- dragonflies and butterflies.

Haven't the foggiest what any of these are, but I thought them all rather lovely.

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