Friday, August 27, 2010

Pumpkin Hammocks and Beautiful Jars

I know that I have mentioned many times how our pumpkins
have gotten wild and crazy. Well I have a few vines that are growing up the fence around the garden. Now one of them has produced a nice little pumpkin. The way those little tendrils are already stretched and tight I know that they most likely would not be able to last until this falls pumpkin harvest. I happened to be reading a few days ago about a certain cantaloupe named "Lupe" who is sporting a rather nice pink bandanna for some support in Thyme to Garden Now. I loved the idea and thought that it would work perfect in this situation. Now our high climbing pumpkin has a pretty blue "hat" as Lizzy says, I like to call it a nice little pumpkin hammock. Thanks for the great idea Minji.

I was also asked for some pictures of the blue green jars that were my Great Grandma's that I used in my dill pickle adventures. Here are some of them. In this light they look mostly blue, but up close they are just dazzling. You are able to see all of the fabulous little air bubbles in each of the jars. The pickles that have been canned in these jars really are a nice bright green color. It is pretty cool.

Words from Me - Lizzy

I have been trying to figure out what Mommy has been doing typing on the computer every so often and she told me it was blogging about our garden. Seeing as how I have become Mommy's little gardener (that's what she calls me) I asked if I could give it a try and she said here goes.

I should probably introduce myself a little better. My name is Elizabeth or Lizzy for short, although my Great Grandma calls me "Beth" sometimes. I'm 2 1/2 and I'm the oldest of twins (only by a minute but I'm STILL the big sister.) I have really started to like this gardening thing and want to help Mommy out a lot. It all started when she was planting all the seeds into these puffy little dirt pocket things that grew when you put water on them. How cool is that. My cousin Tristan helped me and Mom. We were good at pushing the seeds down in the dirt.

Once we actually got to plant them in the really cool garden that Daddy built for Mommy I gave everything lots of love. I kissed all the garlic and onions before we put them in the dirt (oh "soil" Mommy says it is only dirt once it is all over us, it is soil when it is in the garden. - that is some old time joke between Mommy, Auntie Greta and Grandma Sandy, not really sure what that is about. Maybe when I'm older they will explain it.) I was pretty bummed when Mommy pulled all of the garlic out of the garden and most of them were the same size as when I kissed them and put them in the soil. I was not happy and neither was Mommy. Mommy said that the onions didn't size up either, I'm guessing that means they are small.

I love to go to the garden everyday with Mommy, I know where everything is and check on all of the pumpkins and watermelons and tomatoes. I love to see everything growing. Right now my favorite things in the garden are the green beans. I always have to eat some every time I go down there. Yum! Adin and Elle like them too and Mommy calls us her 3 little bunnies, I guess we sound like bunnies while we are munching on the beans.

Well, I have to get going... Mommy wants me to take a nap. Ha, like that is going to work. Hope you enjoyed my words and maybe Mommy will let me blog again.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Productive Pickle Day

Today was a productive day I believe. My 17 lbs of cucumbers are now 12 quarts and 11 pints of dill pickles. All jars successfully sealed also. Today I felt a bit of connection with my history as I canned with my Grandmother's Boiling-Water Canner and my Great Grandma's green jars. They are the coolest things and I'm sure that they aren't made anymore. Scott asked why I was using them if they were antiques and I told him that Great Grandma Anna probably would be a bit sad if we didn't use them. She was a very no nonsense practical person. She even cut a chunk of netting out of her wedding veil because she needed some netting for something. I think that she would be happy that I'm using this old stuff for everyday uses. I am going to be darn careful with those jars though.

Peanuts Violated

So last night I went out to start digging into the reclaiming of the garden after the weekend and I discovered that my peanuts (who I had been babying and praying would produce) had been violated. Over the weekend something small got into the garden and ate all of my peanuts. Not the plants, those are still nicely planted, but there is a small trench all the way around every plant and beautiful peanut shells all over the garden. I am very sad. We so hoped to be able to make peanut butter this fall if we got any and here they actually grew peanuts and now they are gone. Dang Nabbit!

Today the girls and I are going to dive into another round of making pickles. Hopefully this batch turns out better then the first. We have 17 lbs. of cucumbers to pickle.

I have been searching for a good spaghetti sauce recipe so I am able to can up my tomatoes in it. Our family loves spaghetti so that is my plan for the tomatoes. If anyone has any suggestions, that would be great.

Here is the pics I promised of my start of the tomato harvest and my very sad little Adin after he kissed the tree. He is doing much better today.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I now have the beautiful color of red in our garden. The tomatoes have started to ripen, even the huge tomatoes on our Tomato Tragedy plants from earlier this spring. It is truly amazing how tough these plants can be. I thought that after those storms earlier this summer pretty much took out the two tomato plants that I have in my asparagus bed that they were toast. I was wrong! I'm very glad. Those 2 plants have some of the biggest fruits on it that I have ever seen. And the mega blossom tomatoes, crazy. (sorry, no pictures. I left my camera charger in Ashland at my sister's after this weekend. No good.)

This is my week of reclaiming my garden. Now that I am finally done working at camp and have this week off before I start my new job at the day care, the kids and I are going to hit it hard (maybe not as hard as my son hit a tree yesterday while swinging on the tire swing at my sister's. I'll post more about that tomorrow with pics hopefully. He has a pretty sad little look now with a major fat lip and puffy nose.) The peas are coming out and maybe the beans, we'll have to see about that. I'm still hoping that the yellow bell pepper plants do something - as of now...not so much. The pumpkins have taken over, next year they will have a new home on the south side of the garden outside of the fence (seeing as how most of them have made their way that direction anyway) so I have more room for other things that don't become out of con troll as much as these have. I have a pumpkin forest.

Well, they guys are here to install our outdoor wood boiler, so I best get outside. One last note... if anyone has any good recipes or trick to canning pumpkin for later use (aka - pies) let me know. I think I'm going to have a bumper crop of pumpkins this year - more than what we'll need at Halloween.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sunflowers and garden tours by Lizzy

So my Lizzy has become very interested in the goings on of the garden. She knows where
everything is right down to the smallest watermelon. and she loves giving tours of the garden. She also loves harvesting things and more so eating them.

Most of my raised beds are still going great guns although the heat has taken it's toll on a lot of things. Next year I'm going to make a move able shade for the tomatoes and the cucumbers (both of which got pretty sun burnt this year.) I'm also going to increase the size of the pea trellis and the amount of peas I plant to make a pea tunnel. My nephews are fond of those and I'm sure my kids would get a kick of of it also.

Just yesterday I realized that I never put in a picture of my composting barrel now that it is mostly done. Here it is.... We took an old bear bait barrel (yes, i said bear bait - Scott and I are both bear hunters.) drilled air and drainage hole in it and holes for the pipe and mounted it into the 4x4's. I am still going to be painting the 4x4's as well as the barrel to match the garden posts and I'm hoping to add a second barrel (maybe after this bear season - not sure) so I can have compost in 2 different stages. It works really well to flip it end over end (it can be a bit heavy when it is full, but that is ok - it's a good work out.) But it gets and stays nice and hot and I have already gotten some good compost out of there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A New Chapter

In two weeks life will change and I'll be starting a new adventure. For the past 15 so years I have been working at a Bible Camp (10 of which have been full time). As of Aug 19th I will be done. This was my last full day of residential camp today (and a crazy day it was).

You may ask, after 15+ years of Youth Ministry (1.5 yrs in there as a youth director also) what I might be doing..... well, I want to spend more time with my 3 kids. I have missed so much of them being little already in the last 4 years and I don't want to miss any more. I also miss my hubby. We both work tons and it is usually opposite each other so we see each other coming and going. NOT fun. My new job will be as a Day Care Teacher (I still get to work with kids), and not just any day care, but the day care that my kids go to. I am so excited. This is the absolutely coolest place ever! The staff are wonderful and my kids love it. I get the best of both worlds - I still get to work full time, but I also get to be with my kids.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Humid Bean Surprises

So over the last few days I have not spent much time outside in the garden as I had been, the humidity has been horrific. I knew that I had bush beans, sugar snap peas and shelling peas that needed to be picked along with bunches of cucumbers. But when at 5:30 am you step outside to almost 80 degrees and 98% humidity you know it is going to be a rough day. That is how it has been for the last few days. MAJOR YUCK! Well yesterday was no different (actually it was the worst day yet) until about 3:30 or so when a 10 minute storm rolled through, dumped a ton of rain and broke some of the humidity.

I took advantage....I got about a half gallon of sugar snap peas or more, a number of cucumbers, about another cup and a half of shelled peas and some HUGE green beans. I had been afraid that that was going to happen. Here is where my surprise comes in. I thought that at that size they would be getting kind of tough, nope they were wonderful. I also discovered that my bean plants, which I thought were winding down for the year are getting their 2nd wind - I have an entirely new batch of flowers on them. Way fun. My kids love the fresh beans and as I was picking some baby carrots for supper the kids kept raiding my basket of beans. These raids continued right up until I put the beans in the steamer to cook them for supper. At least they had a great healthy snack and they still ate supper. I was a pretty happy mom.