Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

BeesNeeds Etsy shop is open again!!!

Yep, the etsy shop is back up and running again. It has just been crazy enough of a summer with a lot of other things going on that I kind of had to let the listings just go out and take a deep breath and get through this time.

So now there is jewelry, hand knitted and croched slippers, and some really cook 3D printed stuff. Soon up I will get some more beaded goodness completed for the store, plus I'm starting to do up germination trials on the earliest of my harvested seed. And of course with Halloween coming up, I'm trying to squeeze in a round of getting some good stuff out.

The weather has been pretty wet- so I've been popping outside between the rain drops to do some harvesting and tending to gardens- but mostly cleaning and re-arranging the solarium. It has desperately been needing some care and clean up. It still needs a bunch of hours of work- hauling stuff to where it needs to be hauled off to and general cleaning. Sorting some stuff. But now that I'm thinking about it, it really is my entire workshop- art and craft stuff, gardening, and food stuff. So it's past time I take a bit of tending to that and get it squared up and useable.

I've been a good kid and keeping up with my putting up list- some of my dehydrating is stacking up- I got heaps of stuff in the freezer and the fresh is accumulating slowly...  and canning for real is accumulating. Bummer, another burner is no longer functional on the stove, so I'm down to using two burners very carefully and one electric hot plate. Good thing I've gotten good with small batch processing.

In cooking.. now that I have perfected the Southern Style Squash Casserole.. and I think I'm almost got it set with the Baked White Jambalya casserole... and want something else to do with squash. I'm testing out a Squash Enchilada casserole. I'm thinking about firing up the smoker this weekend to smoke up a bunch and then dehydrating it- the squash might suck up the smoking great then become some incredible smoked powder.

So now it's the 22nd, the weekend. I got the smoker running right now, filled with peppers and black tomatoes. Some of the bean seed in containers never popped, so I planted in some Sugar Pod 2 and Dwarf Grey Sugar peas for fall harvesting, well, hopefully harvesting. Top Crop beans down in the raised bed look great! Which is good because the other bean bed is starting to get shot. Squash plants are starting to crap out too, and it's time to leave a few on the plants to fully mature for future seed stock. The cukes are kind of crapping out too. Tomato cages have fallen over again, and been put back up again. Finally got some tomatoes for seed- a yellow in red out, and one lone snow white.

Got the solarium completely cleaned up, and wow, it looks nice. Actually makes me want to work out there again. I rearranged the counters and boards into one whopping big hutch along the south windows.

Now I have counter space- and the counters can be removed if needed to use elsewhere, say perhaps to make a halloween village? Plus the two shelves up top- obviously Nova decided I set that up just for him, lol. The top shelf currently has all my seed starting stuff stacked across it, but if I need to, I can use that for plants, or to hang lights up high for seed starting.

And I picked the biggest tomato in the garden...
Jack Whites really do grow huge!

But anywho, I got dinner to make and gardens to tend.. and everything else, lol.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Trying to keep up...

Gonna try doing a few days worth of entries at a crack to see if that helps me keep up with the blog more, lol.

So, today is 8/13. I got all the water out of it's catch tubs and bottled up. Planted in the rest of the asparagus plants on the back 40. Watered in containers and the new green bean bed. Moved the Martins Carrot pepper and Silvery Fir tree buckets to the kitchen porch side of the garden so they can get some extra TLC.

Got more tomatoes coming in.. right now I have on the table Beaver Lodge, Copper River, Wild Fred, Snow White, White Queen, Jack White, Tomesol, Totem, and Yellow Out, Red In. I'm trying out some picking at first blush and letting the fruits ripen on the counter to see how well or not that goes.

Right now the freezer and fridge are stuffed stupidly full. Local market had a buy two, get three free on cheeses and meats, and yep, super stocked up on that. Been putting in some serious cooking too- had to put moms ribs in the freezer today in a squeak in space, lol. So no putting tomatoes in the freezer to keep for now, bummer.

Yesterday and today have been cucumber slices on my new dehydrator... Oh, didn't I mention my new dehydrator? Belated birthday present. I made a note of it in my preservation list. Yes, this year I'm being a good kid and keeping track of everything I'm putting up in one blog post. The list is pretty long so far and I'm just starting to swing into the season. Sometime shortly after New Years I'll post it up.

And just a couple random pics.. one of the thirteen pounds of garlic I harvested this year, and just a nice pic of random produce that was sitting on the table tonight.

It's 8/16.. got a smidge of a catch up... On Friday, I worked then it was an evening of socialization with family.. an aunt and uncle in law that I hadn't met yet, then dinner with the inlaws. Mum of course made a smashing dinner, and my FIL served up some lovely wines. The company was wonderful :)
 Then on the ride home, we got a nasty but brief storm. How brief? About 30 minutes. How nasty? enough to topple over three of my tomato cages entirely, and it would have been four if the cage hadn't been caught by the webbing on the trellis. So it was a holy shit morning of getting the cages back upright again.
In a way, I think the cages were both the fault and the save. The tomatoes are really filling up the cages, making them columns of tippyness... but the cages saved the tomatoes from the super crush that a smaller cage would have suffered. Just resetting the tent stakes sufficed for two of the cages, but the one closest in this pic, a Snow White, needed a few re-enforcement rods and a pitchfork stuck in on it's lean side- the cage was really ganked up on the bottom. I think in future years I will be smarter to use 6 stakes instead of 4 in each cage. And keep on it with the inside trimming to help prevent top heaviness, though really, of the bigger whites the primary crop is down low from when the rains were great. Then there is a center section that don't have much, and now I'm getting serious topsets.

Rest of the day was spent tinkering around with jugging up water, and trimming some plants, bla bla bla. Made a chowder of all sorts of dried veggies, fresh taters, and ham. It was frigging good.. but with all the other cooking I've been doing in the last few days, we have a few days worth of leftovers to eat up or freeze soon..  and not much room in the freezer either. Hurry up and shuffle, eat it up, freeze it- vacuum seal for the fridge- eat it up, dehydrate it.. lol.

I know I'm a farmer year round- well almost, I get a winter break for a couple months like teachers do for summer. But hoo-boy this time of year really packs the days in for what to do with it all. I want to get a second chest freezer to sit down in the pole barn for "seriously deep freeze" kind of action so I can do up all the seasons produce, make ahead meals, plus be able to get a side of beef, or pork, or both and have room for hens once we get that going on too. Sometimes I just need prep room in a freezer that I don't have. Sometimes I need to mega put aside stuff. Sometimes we lose power and... shit, I need a pressure canner too, for a lot of other food preservation. It never ends :)

Today was more of the same. Fussy early morning tinking around in the garden picking and such. Afternoon spent in the kitchen frying up a ton of bacon that got pulled out of the freezer and forgotten about- so hours later I had to fry it up or lose it all. Boiled up a dozen eggs for lunches this week, I got a lot of work. Prepped up four trays of sliced tomatoes for the dehydrator- Wild Freds, Tumbling Toms, Beaver Lodge, and Yellow out Red in. Diced up a gallon of various white tomatoes for canning in the morning- the earliest of the blushes have indeed broken and it was time to get on it. And a gallon of dice is pretty good for a couple small batches of canning up pints. Tomatoes take longer to process than pickles, so I would rather go smaller than bigger. Or go really fucking big and hook up the outdoor brewing kettle- but I don't have enough tomatoes for that.. yet.

But it's time to post and get on with more stuff, lol.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Long time, no see....

Yeah, I did that disappearing thing again.. been busy, really busy.

My etsy shop has expired, I need to post up stuff again and get it running again. Maybe this time sell some stuff :)

Quit my morning job cooking. It was too much stress, and I mean STRESS to do the grill, and my sister is going to be away for a while and I need to be home for the morning hours to make sure everything runs ok around here. So it's back to more regular hours at CB, and looking for another, better job again. Ah well.

Adventure mowing has paid off.. there is now a circuit all the way around the perimeter of the property. Sis busted a tire and screwed the deck with a rope, but I got that fixed and now we can mow again. I just need to get some tree trimmings cleaned up off the yard first. The asparagus is looking good on the back 40, I feel I can go ahead and plant in the rest of it back there. The blackberries got wiped out this year by Crazytown- all I got was a mere pint. But I also have a bunch of other fruit in the freezers, so it will be enough to make a pie or something.

The gardens are doing well... and not. The tomatoes are growing like crazy, and we have even had a couple of the earliest ones, Copper River, Wild Fred, Beaver Lodge, and Snow White. Right now Snow White is a for sure keeper, it is one of the tastiest cherry tomatoes I've ever had. I caught and killed my first hornworm the other day... this is a hornworm, gross.

Giant sucker, ain't he?

I also had to pull the small bed of yellow beans- have a Mexican Bean Beetle infestation. Sucktacular.
I didn't find any adults, but found loads of the yellow larve you see on the bottom left in this pic, and a few of the egg clusters. Found them all over when I got back from Gen-con. And ain't nothing to do but pull up the whole plants and dispose of them. Bummer. So a couple days ago I pre-sprouted some Top Crop beans, and yesterday I planted them into one of the raised beds that didn't sprout the beets like I was hoping.

After a great flush of zukes that I picked after getting home from Gen-con, haven't had any new zukes :( Pickled a TON of zukes. But there will be more, keeping my fingers crossed. The succotash beans have been prolific, I'm hoping prolific enough that I can eat and seed with them :)

Need to get a LOT done out in the yard too.

And while I was gone... Gen-con. Holy shit. I haven't been in years and years, and it was mind-boggling. Huge, crazy huge. We did crazy sales. I got a brain in a jar for Nightvale, and a bunch of cool swag. It was a great road trip, I really needed the "vaca", even though it was a working one. And it was extra cool because this is the first road trip sis and I took in a really long time, and it felt really good to have a good adventure with her :)

But it's already 9 AM and all I got done so far is setting up a dehydrator of cuke slices, so I better be off. I will try to get some pics taken today so I can post a bunch :)