I spent a lot of time preserving last week. I also enjoyed my flowers as I went to and from the garden.
My table looked like this for most of the week. Early in the week, my sister shared beans, corn and peaches from her place. The tomatoes keep ripening on our vines and other veggies do, too.
This is how my outside table looked late that same night.
Rob dug out my drying racks and I pulled the onions. We had many more, but we have been eating, sharing and preserving with them. We have plenty left for winter use.
I used quite a few mild and spicy peppers to make a pepper sauce, canned whole and diced tomatoes and made bruschetta in a jar.
I used lots of odds and ends of food up. I made the rest of the tomatoes that wouldn’t fit in a canner into pizza sauce. I will make pizza soon or freeze it.
Bananas became banana bread. You can also see the melons I picked—Ha Ogen. We have had several from our bushes and there are more ripening. They are like a honeydew in many ways, but maybe a little firmer. Peppers were put into a big pot of refried beans. The last bit of a Costco chicken was boiled to make broth, then made into chicken and noodles. Because we’ve been preserving so much, some meals have been less than stellar, so it’s been nice to get time to make a few that are more tasty.
The yard and garden look terrible because they are so weedy. Once I get through this busy preserving time, I think they will be getting some serious attention. I’m glad the weather has cooled down—it’s so much easier to work out there😀
My basil is getting sad. It’s been SO hot. Thankfully, I have made lots of pesto already. I still hope I get more from these bushes.
My recipe is simple and uses no nuts.
I fill my food processor with basil leaves that I have picked and washed. This is 4-1/2—5-1/2 cups because I press it in there a little.
I add: 3-6 garlic cloves, depending on size ( I cut them up a little bit)
2-1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
I then put the lid on and turn on to low setting. As it processes, I slowly add olive oil. I use about 9 Tablespoons but it can take a little more or less , depending on how many leaves I pushed into the bowl in the first place. Scrape the sides once or twice. The pesto should be quite thick, not watery.
I spoon into empty ice cube trays and freeze.
Once frozen, transfer to a baggie or other freezer container and enjoy all winter!
I turned all my ripe tomatoes into pizza/pasta sauce this week. That is one of the most time consuming things I preserve, but also one of our favorite things to eat.
I shredded and dried zucchini. I also did get some thyme and basil dried and sorted out the thyme stems from it and put it away. I have been organizing my food storage a little when I have a few minutes.
We are going into a heat wave this week and it’s supposed to top 100 degrees for several days. I’m not sure what that’s going to do to the garden, but likely nothing good….
I was able to get most of the newly planted veggies to sprout, so if I keep them well watered I will hopefully keep them alive through the heat so I will have fall Lakeside spinach, Marvel de Seasons lettuce, Joy Choi Boc Choi and more. You may notice I put old lettuce leaves over the carrot row in hopes they would hold moisture in. They still haven’t sprouted. Neither have the green onions or snow peas.
The Quick Start cabbage, Pinetree cabbage mix and Hybrid broccoli blend are coming along nicely. I watered them this morning before church and just did it again this evening. They were already dried out. There’s also lettuce in there.
This basil has been cut several times. It’s lookimg a little heat stressed but I’m hoping to make pesto again. I’ve frozen several ice cube trays full already this summer. We love, love, love it!
I’ve also been weeding. I gave this raised bed a complete re-set. I pulled old snap peas, lettuce, an amazing pile of weeds and put strawberry runners back up into the bed. They had grown down below by the concrete! I left some cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. I will add lettuce when it cools.
I’m pretty far behind with my weeding but I won’t get much done this week. We will be helping at church every morning because it’s Vacation Bible School week. Rob and I are in charge of the snacks again this year. We have a team and pre-packed 160 paper bags of prizes and snacks today after church. We are now set for 80 kids Monday and Tuesday, with the ability to quickly pack more if needed. We will finish packing bags later in the week once the numbers stabilize.
I need to run up to another county one day to do some judging for 4-H food preservation and it’s going to be quite hot. This is a good week to do those other activities because I would absolutely not be weeding in the heat anyway😀. What I have done has been in the very early mornings and has taken me quite a few days to accomplish, as I just do a little each time I can.
We went to a small local parade with my sister and family. Both grandsons were able to go and they enjoyed the big trucks and rescue vehicles. My nephew was super excited about getting things at McDonald’s. We were on the sidewalk by it. So he kept going in there and buying food for the babies….we didn’t need to do lunch! He had it covered.
The garden is really starting to take off, and I’m spending most of my free time out there.
After having only enough raspberries to eat fresh last year, I’m delighted to be picking the ripe ones every-other-day and have been able to freeze several cookie sheets full of berries for this upcoming winter. I’m also getting Marion (black) berries to freeze.
My blueberries aren’t very prolific this year, but I’m getting some and also got some from my mom’s bushes. I have some of those left over, so I will be fine with what I can gather. I’m going to really prune those bushes this year. They need it. Then next year’s crop will likely be better.
We have so much good cabbage that we are eating it almost every day and have given away quite a bit as well. I have picked and processed most of my broccoli and after getting a few more side shoots, I will pull those bushes. They are about finished.
We have 3 cheddar cauliflowers and they are almost ready to pick. There were also 2 purple ones. They didn’t come out very big and one has been eaten and frozen and the other is still in the garden.
We’ve been picking a few cherry tomatoes of various kinds. These are Sungold, but we also have gotten a few Sweet Million (red), pear (yellow, pear-shaped), and a grape variety (red). There have been just a few round, red tomatoes so far.
So far, we’ve been able to have enough lettuce with all the succession plantings we put in. The hot weather is brutal on it, though, and it tends to get bitter this time of year. I do have some small lettuce coming along and hope to get more in this week.
There’s lots of basil.
….onions, celery and pumpkins.
The green beans are blooming, so it won’t be long. I’m getting lots of zucchini and dill, but the cilantro has bolted. There’s one more small patch and I’ll plant more.
My bright idea of growing nasturtiums up this trellis isn’t working, but I still love the flowers. I need to buy the trailing mix, but instead threw down any saved seeds, old (like 2016) packets, etc. that I could find.
There are dahlias everywhere, from last year. I have zinnias and marigolds scattered here and there, as well.
Every day, I spend a little time out on my deck, just enjoying the flowers I have planted out there, and looking out over the garden.
My gardening year is far from over. I’m still putting in succession plantings of many things. My latest planting of fresh summer squash/zucchini, lettuce, zinnias, and carrots is mostly up. I mean 7 carrots is enough, right? NOT! I’ll be planting more this week:)
We have been gone quite a lot the last couple of weeks and working like crazy when we were home. First, we took our grandson camping for his very first camping trip. The first morning, he woke up at 4 a.m., he was so excited. So we went fishing at this mountain lake in the Oregon Coast range. Although there were no fish to be caught by us, we had a blast.
It took 5 minutes for him to begin to pelt the water with rocks. It took 10 minutes for him to wade in, roll his fishing line up and start wading in, despite the fact that it was 6:45 a.m., and 45 minutes to fall in:). It was a perfect place to take him on his first fishing trip and we had so much fun!
They did catch a salamander!
He did all the usual camping activities: He washed dishes outside, even though our camper has a sink inside. He played trucks in the sand for hours.
We went down to the beach several times and built sand castles and collected rocks. His one disappointment was the kite we tried to fly would not fly from lack of wind. One time, we struck up a conversation with a perch fisherman and by the time we were done, we had a fish for dinner and some bait to try it ourselves the next day.
We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, cooked in a Dutch Oven over the coals, and enjoyed food cooked in foil.
We took walks, visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a candy store, an ice cream store and ate out at Mo’s, which is a restaurant.
On the last night, the girls brought little brother down and they played together on the campground playground equipment. When you added endless walks around the campground, we had a busy week. A man in a neighboring campground asked us how we were still standing:). I’m not sure, but boy did we have fun!
Once we got home, we immediately started weeding, picking and preserving garden produce……and working at our job, of course.
My carrots are acting funny and some are trying to bolt. I pulled a lot of them and canned 10 pints. Some were not thinned well and are very small, some are nicer. Most of the family took some to eat. I will pull the rest soon and I’ve planted another row for fall. I also picked lettuce, snow peas, green onions, a few zucchini, broccoli and cabbage.
The 4th of July went well with a barbecue with the family and a double birthday party for both babies. Now they are 2 and 3.
By Thursday afternoon, Rob and I were off to Central Oregon to the wedding of our dear friends’ daughter. Rob had a prayer to say in the wedding and I was there to help with the food and the reception. Friday and Saturday were very full and we came home Sunday. The wedding was lovely and we had so much fun.
Rob did slip away Friday morning to a mountain lake to do some fishing while I helped prepare food.
I will say that the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. We were able to keep it frugal in several ways. First, we packed food everywhere we went, or ate at my friend’s house. We ate out 1 time, each trip and did not choose extravagant meals. Second, we took the trailer camping, but not for the second trip, as it was going to be very expensive to pull it that far for only 3 days. Instead, we rented a cabin. It wasn’t fancy–only 1 bedroom and very small, but perfect for our needs with a price we could afford. Rob was able to make one of his hand-crafted cutting boards for a wedding gift. We bought no souvenirs at the beach, but instead took and used things we already had. For instance, we have old sand toys and a cottage cheese carton we used on the beach one time, old kites we took, and one time we just dug piles of sand with our hands and put rocks and shells on top. Rob used fishing bait and equipment he already had, even though there was a “better” weight he could have bought. ..and son on. We had such fun both time, and it was even sweeter to know we stayed in the budget we had planned for each trip.
At the wedding, we helped my friend save a lot of money by helping her self-cater the reception. It was so fun!!! I was so glad to be there.
We have had 2 good pickings of peas so far. I grow Maestro bush shelling peas. This year, I got them planted in March and now they are ripe. They like cooler, wetter weather, so I’m glad I got them in when I did.
The first picking was smaller, and I filled 4 baggies. I use quart-sized Ziplock bags and fill them so they lay flat in a larger freezer bag. There is no where near a quart of peas in each bag because we use much less than that amount each time. I also want them flat so I can break off a chunk when I only use a very few peas for something without thawing the entire baggie.
Yesterday, I filled a small bucket, a large Tupperware bowl, and then grabbed 2 plastic flowerpots from the planting table and filled those, too. Rob and I both shelled until we needed to go to a grad party, then put the rest on ice to wait until that evening when we were home again.
Rob ended up shelling out all the rest himself because I got caught up in another project. Then, I dumped them in a pot of boiling water to blanch them and set the timer for 3 minutes. After that time passed, I fished the peas out with a hand-held strainer and put them into cold water to begin cooling immediately. After they were cool, I put them in 1 quart Ziplocks.
We got 9 baggies this time, bringing us up to 13 so far. In a couple of days, there will be another picking, but it will be smaller again. We will then be ready to pull the bushes, enrich the soil and plant some late summer and fall crops in their place. Pea plants are a legume and fix nitrogen into the soil. We still feel we need a little more compost in the area when we plant a second crop.
Last year, I planted fall broccoli and cabbage where the peas were. I think I will do some more of those a little later in the summer, but may add lettuce, snow peas and possiblybeets or carrots, if I find I need them.
I’m delighted to have this project well onto its way. It’s very time-consuming, but the finished product is very, very tasty and good. I already have more peas frozen then I did last year altogether because there are more peas in each baggie and I’m getting more baggies. So, of course, that makes me happy with my yield.
I never stop anyone from eating peas, and if we run out, I’ll buy a bag at the store. But, that being said, most years we have enough with what we grow. We don’t use very many in a year.
I like to put them in tuna-noodle and turkey-noodle casseroles. Sometimes I pop a few into a soup or stew to brighten it up. We occasionally eat some in a pile on our plate, but that’s more rare for us. There are a couple of other recipes I add a few peas to, but I can’t remember them right now. No matter. When I do remember, I will have some peas to put in those dishes.
This week, I went to a U-Pick strawberry patch, all by myself:). I know he would have enjoyed it, but I was so glad he wasn’t there when I saw the (seriously) 150+ people who were swarming the field. I got enough for a batch of jam and some to freeze for smoothies and some to eat fresh. It was hard to find ripe berries, actually. After seeing the people come and come and come, I could see why. I may try again soon, or just make out with what I got.
I think Malcolm is trying to wink at Papa. He loves “bahberries.” In fact, I stepped outside for a minute the day I brought them home and came back only to see the floor littered with little green tops–he’d eaten as many as he could grab. We got those picked up and I turned my back and …….yep! We had to clean the floor again. I’m so glad he didn’t get sick.
The garden still takes quite a bit of time each day. It’s growing so well, as are the weeds. We are eating lettuce daily and sharing with many. The peas are almost ripe. I mean they maybe would plump up if a certain little boy wasn’t out there stripping off any that look like they are growing….It warms my heart to see him enjoy them so much and like Rob says, “He’s eating vegetables, we can always buy a bag of peas at the store.” I’m pretty sure we will get a big batch one of these days–it will be beyond what he can eat.
We are harvesting a few snow peas every couple of days and my cilantro is bolting. I’ve been using the lower leaves anyway in salads and marinades. I will pull that out and let the next planting be used very soon. I put more seeds in the ground but have none yet. I may need to replant.
The compost heap on the right has been emptied completely. I’ve been working on it for a while and now we have started dumping new scraps in there. I have side-dressed the celery, some cabbage and cauliflower and some onions with part of it, as they were struggling where they were. These 3 buckets are all that’s left to disperse and I have plenty of places that could use it. There’s never enough compost! There is one more bin that needs emptying on the other side of the garden.
Malcolm has spent hours and hours working on this project and pouring his buckets all over the place. It’s so cute! I’m glad to have this bin finally empty and he still has another bin to get into in a different place. Otherwise, he just digs holes in the garden. That works, too.
We went to the library this week and watched a preschool show. We also signed up both Malcolm and my nephew, Jake for summer reading.
It was party week. We attended a graduation ceremony Friday, a grad party Saturday and a birthday party Sunday afternoon. I haven’t cooked a whole lot this past weekend.
I did make gluten-free hamburger buns early in the week. They came out great. I made pulled pork sandwiches for us and the college group I cook for weekly. I used extras for sandwiches a few times.
We loaded up on $1.99/lb boneless-skinless chicken breast and thighs today. 3 packs in all. I froze them in meal-sized portions. I popped some Mexican-inspired marinade on some of the chunks to use tomorrow for SW chicken salads for the college group and some to freeze. Milk was $1.29 for 1/2 gallon so we got 2 of those. There were sausage rolls for $1.99 and those kielbasas for $1.99 each. I grabbed a few of those.
We passed up the $5.99/package tator tots. Seriously? It wasn’t even a big package. We got 10 lbs. of potatoes for about $5.
I’m already having an easier time stretching my time between grocery store trips, due to the abundance of lettuce in the garden. I’m also still loaded up with home-canned food and things I froze last summer. This is a wonderful time of year to be cooking and there’s so much more growing out there. I love it!
I made a mega-batch of spaghetti sauce this past week. I used some to make lasagna for the young adult group and us, and some for spaghetti. I was able to utilize my canned tomato products to make it.
I was making meals for someone and they got a container, as well. For those meals, the food was frozen, for access later on when it was needed by the person.
I made a triple berry crisp from our frozen berry stash. We also made pork chops, brown rice, a chicken-pineapple sauce for the rice, chicken legs, snickerdoodle cookies, and lots and lots of salads.
I needed to clean out the camper freezer and fridge as we were getting some brake work done on the camper. I use that fridge as my spare one. Those items were put in a cooler until the camper returned a few hours later–mostly extra eggs, cheese, etc. The freezer was emptied and I’ve been using the items, as some had been in there a long time. The rest are in the chest freezer to be used soon and I will start fresh loading it with items for our next camping trip. There was a large bag of frozen shrimp in there and I’ve been eating a little each day. It’s almost gone, but it was sure tasty! Little Malcolm loves it, too, and eats his share.
This is only a small portion of the lettuce that is ready now. We are eating it frequently and I am giving it away to anyone who wants any. I even sent some over to the neighbor in a bucket and started laughing when I saw my bucket clipped to the fence, emptied out afterwards!
We visited a preschool party at the library with Malcolm. He had a blast and we learned about possible preschools for next fall. He received 2 free books, made crafts (crown), got that ring pop sucker he’s eating, and played some games. He’s been asking me if we can go back to that party! We checked out some books while we were there.
He saw Clifford, the big red dog.
While the camper was away getting it’s brakes fixed, Rob and Malcolm pressure-washed the concrete where it sits. It was awful. Rob did most of it, with Mac yelling at him for a turn, then Malcolm finally got his turn at the end. It was a terrible mess of moss and dirt. I swept it while the boys were fetching the trailer. It was a lot of work, but we are so happy to have that done.
Rob took senior pictures for a close family friend’s daughter. They came out amazing! I went as well, along with Michaela, Jake, Malcolm and the girl’s younger sister. We went to a park nearby where they have a wonderful garden with roses and other lovely plants. We took a picnic and some frisbees and had a nice time with all the kids after pictures were taken.
Rob has talked twice at church about his trip to Bangladesh. On Thursday evening, it was a group of adults who came out to hear the team speak and see pictures. I needed to take cookies, so Jake, Mac and I made snickerdoodles. The second occasion was for the children’s church and he talked to them today. They had gathered money and school supplies and Rob told them all about the trip and how the supplies were given out and how much they were appreciated by the kids. 15 suitcases of supplies were taken–craft projects, school supplies, crayons, coloring books, aprons and pot holders for the women staff, prayer journel notebooks and pens for the men staff, etc. It was a blessing all 15 made it, along with the clothing ones, too!
Through this and more, we have tried to take time to stop and smell the roses, and other flowers, too. Almost every day, Malcolm grabs my hand and says, “Gama, come see the fowers.” He then takes me around and shows me every one he likes. It’s precious. I’m also treated to the newly sprouted squash he and I planted, a green tomato that has shown up, and whatever else he can find. Even the 3 flowers that are dying–“they look sad.” I hope he never loses his enthusiasm for gardening.
With some nice, warm weather, the garden is really starting to take off. So are the weeds:). I’ve been spending hours in the garden, trying to keep it under control. I’m still planting a few things and I’m weeding as often as I can. We do a mixture of raised beds and a large in-ground patch of garden.
I’ve been thinning the carrots and beets. It’s not my favorite job, so I’m just doing a little bit each time. On the right are the tomatoes. We have Glacier (extra early), Oregon Spring, Oregon Star, Carmello, Fantastic, Roma, Roma Cordova, Sart Roboise, Queen of the Night, Sungold, Sweet Million Cherry, Yellow Pear, Long Keeper and a few more.
Some melons have actually come up. I’m amazed. They often don’t. I’m trying a kind called Ng Ogen and Oregon Delicious Canteloupe.
The cabbages and broccoli are getting larger.
We have several different kinds of cabbage. We have Quick Start, Copenhagen, and a mixture with all colors and sizes. I’ve planted a cabbage in all the blank spots where things didn’t sprout all over the garden. We will have a ton once they head up.
We have Romanesco broccoli and a Hybrid Broccoli blend growing.
I have a few peppers blooming.
There are Jalafuego Jalapeño, La Bomba Jalapeno, Ancho, Lola (a long green kind), Blot (a striped sweet), Yellow and Green Bell, Carmen (long red), Anaheim, Jimmy Nardello, Yellow Hot Hungarian Wax and Serrano. There may be more, but that’s what I can remember. I use them for salsa, cooking and I freeze lots of little diced pieces to use in the winter. I have canned some pickled ones in the past, as well.I add a jalapeño to my dill pickles sometimes. They are in wire cages because I find it helps them to not topple over once they are loaded with fruit.
In the background, you can see the pathetic patch of Blue Lake Bush green and Carson yellow bush beans. We have filled in the gaps with new seeds and I noticed just this morning that some of those are coming up already. Rob put some netting over them to keep the crows out!
There are some pole beans coming up. I planted mostly Blue Lake Pole and a few Purple-Podded Pole. Some are on a wire panel, and the rest are against the fence at the back of the garden. The ones that were planted a little later are still in the ground, but the first ones are growing rapidly.
I also got a small patch of corn planted. I’m excited to see if it works. I bought an short-season variety.
I’ve been cutting lettuce for a couple of weeks now. You may notice a few peppers in the midst of the lettuce. They will grow once I remove those heads. I do a lot of succession planting in all of my garden areas.
The Maestro shelling peas are in full bloom now. I look forward to picking and processing them before the full garden comes on. The last couple of years, I have been replacing the pea patch with a fall crop of cabbage and broccoli and plan to do the same this year. We will start those baby plants a little later.
I have lemon cucumbers up. There are a few Muncher slicing cucumbers up, but not many. I did add a few more seeds a couple of nights ago. The pickling cucumbers are not up, so I re-seeded them. Except, of course, the volunteer pickling cucumbers that have burst up where they were last year–right in the middle of some zinnias and dill seedlings….:).
Last evening, I finally got to cleaning out and planting my 2 raised beds on the side of my house. That place gets very hot, due to it’s location and the concrete driveway it’s by. I planted Dragon’s Egg cucumber, Lemon Drop and Sugar Baby watermelon (got to keep trying even though watermelon is sketchy here), Purple tendril sugar snap peas, a yellow climbing snow pea, some Honey Drop Peppers, Jenny cantaloupe, the Long Keeper tomatoes, and some extra basil plants I had. I added some Drunken Frizzy Headed lettuce and called it good for now. There are strawberry plants in parts of those raised beds and I left those, of course. You may notice all the unusual varieties—our daughter Lovana bought most of these seeds and I planted them. How exciting to try some new, different varieties. We will see what we like!
Veggies are not the only thing I grow in my garden! My helper is looking a little sheepish because he just pulled up (and is possible eating) the 2 onions we were saving right where he is standing…they clearly aren’t there any more. Some broccoli is no longer where it once was, either. And, just wait until the cherry tomatoes get ripe–he loved them last summer. There is no worm or bug that is left alone. He also keeps taking his shoes and boots off and sinking into the soil like any good thing that wants to grow. Water is liberally sprayed around with the hose, and we have had to rescue little onions from being washed away. Another favorite activity is dumping weeds into the compost. He fills his little bucket and begs to dump it in the heap. I just have to watch that the lettuce isn’t an easy bucket-filler:). Life is not boring around here and I have to stay on my toes at all times! I love that he has this opportunity to play in the dirt along with me.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to garden. Rob’s first job on returning from Bangladesh was to set up the sprinklers in the garden. I was watering with watering cans and a hose while he was gone. Once he popped that water on and the garden was soaked several times, it grew even more quickly. Some things seemed to double in a matter of a couple of days.
I spent quite a bit of time, while doing that watering, thinking about ladies all over the world, specifically some I recently heard about in Kenya, who walk for 2 miles to bring water to their vegetable patches. I felt such an appreciation for how easy I have it here and the abundance of water here in the Pacific Northwest that allows me to grow such a large, prolific garden. I spent a lot of time feeling grateful and blessed and praying for those who have it harder than I do in so many ways.