Surprises in the Garden

Going out to let the hens out this morning, I spotted a couple of red tomatoes. Just before starting dinner prep, I took a basket out to gather them. Well it was more than a couple, and the one cucumber I saw yesterday must have multiplied overnight, some of the tomatillos were showing drying husks, so I checked them out too. Well, the couple of tomatoes, ended up this:

Since there were already 3 cucumbers in the house, I decided that yet another half gallon of pickles were started to ferment.

Earlier today we went in to make a bank deposit and take a walk on the old railgrade, these signs were spaced down the sidewalk in town.

We were hoping they also had them on the Huckleberry Trail, but nope. With the students back in town, there were too many people, too few masks.

Face to face classes began today at the University and our county began face to face school also today. We fear the increase in cases that our region has seen lately will mushroom and our social isolation will again become more total again, eliminating drive through food, only groceries from curbside delivery, walks on our road only.

Sunday Morning Communing in the Garden

In the still cool morning, fog lingering in the hollows, I headed to the garden with a basket. I had been watching a couple of tomatoes for a few days and could see the beans needed harvesting again. The cucumbers are still blooming though the harvest of them has slowed. The dill that I planted quite a while ago did not show in the garden. While weeding, I found two young dill plants. If they mature enough, I will dry it for later use. The two large baskets of basil gathered early in the week are drying nicely. The corn was a complete bust and there are no pumpkins this year. The tomatillos are full of blooms, the Thai peppers are beginning to turn red. There are three Ground Cherry plants, there may be some fruit from them before frost.

I realized that I had duplicates of some herbs and spices because the rack I built almost two decades ago, just isn’t large enough for all of them.

The overflow was in a deep disorganized drawer, so yesterday, the drawers were cleaned out, wiped down and reorganized to use a shallower drawer with the bottles labelled. A friend posted on Instagram, Everything but a bagel seasoning she had purchased and upon my comment on it, she bought me a bottle. The ingredients were straight forward and easy to obtain, so I made up a batch to refill the shaker bottle and a small jar. I also gave the friend a bag of it and she asked for the recipe.

The garden provided a basket of tomatoes, a cucumber, a dozen jalapenos, enough basil for pesto, and lots of beans. So many that they overflowed the basket so I used my head, err hat to provide more space to gather produce.

One of the pepper plants was adorned with a colorful ladybug, and the basil with a little emerald green beetle about the same size.

Two quarter pints made without cheese to freeze, two with cheese so I could share with daughter along with a bag of beans. As her kids weren’t home at the time we went by, I got to see granddaughter’s garden that I helped plan last spring. I took enough bean seed for them to do a fall planting, we should still have enough days for them to get a harvest. Daughter showed me the plan they have to double it’s size this fall. I love that grand daughter, her Mom, and brother are having success and enjoying growing and preserving their own food.

The bag of beans I kept will be blanched for the freezer and some for dinner tonight. The jalapenos were quick brined and added to the other 3 quarts that had already been done; the fresh basil washed and made into pesto with some of garlic I grew, some pine nuts that I toasted in a skillet; the tomatoes will become pizza sauce soon. As the Thai peppers continue to ripen red, they will be strung to dry for cooking and for crushed red peppers.

The reuseable canning lids are not a quick ship, but hopefully will arrive before I need them. I did find 8 regular mouth lids that are new, so enough to can a batch of pizza sauce. Tomatillos will be gathered and frozen until there are enough to make more salsa, simmer sauce, or tomatillo jalapeno jam. And I am still watching the grapes, hoping for enough to make a batch of grape jelly. I never picked enough wild berries to make jam. The hay guys don’t get as close to the patches as I do when I am bush hogging, so getting to the patches required going through waist high weeds and I didn’t want to deal with the ticks.

The shelves and freezer are filling, the fall peas are sprouted and will soon need trellises, still no carrots up, the spinach is sprouting and will be transplanted when they are larger. The garden has been successful and easier to care for this year, but I am still dealing with weeds in the paths, probably because of the old hay as mulch, but fairly easy to pull. The citric acid weed killer is worthless and smells bad, so I just spend some time each time I go out pulling them and adding them to the compost pile.

The flowers are faded, the season of daylilies, iris, and coreopsis over. There are still zinneas and calendula. The deck pots were not good flower choices this year and have never looked good. The trees are not changing colors yet, except for Tree of Heaven, the invasive weed tree, but the leaves are getting dull and faded. I don’t know if all the rain will make for a colorful Autumn or not.

Another disappointment

Though this one was somewhat expected. Since his retirement, with our children grown, hubby decided he wanted to take up motorcycle riding. He scheduled the state required safety class. The day before the class, we were on a bicycle ride after having had his bicycle serviced at the local bike shop and on the Huckleberry Trail where we often walk, there is a hill with a turn at the bottom. On the way back to the car, so going downhill, he had an accident that later appeared to have been the result of a serious miss adjustment of his brakes. He ended up breaking his left humerus very close to his shoulder. We were able, under the circumstances to cancel the class and they even gave him a refund. About a year later, two months after his 70th birthday, he signed up for the class again, stayed off the bicycle and successfully completed the class on a small Honda motorcycle. After the class, he located a similar used Honda and we bought it.

Now you need to understand that we live in the mountains, two miles up a macadam road, two tenths of a mile down a gravel road, and another two tenths of a mile down a gravel driveway, so not the flat parking lot that he took the class on. The motorcycle was picked up on a rented trailer and unloaded at home. He learned to deal with the gravel, and the twisty mountain roads and would disappear for hours, Zen riding as he put it, no destination in mind, sometimes, not even knowing where he was. His exploration lead him to places that we later visited in the car, sometimes looking for new adventures for him.

After about 6 months, he sold the Honda and got the Harley Davidson he really wanted and rode it over a very mountainous rural road the hour plus home. Going out Zen riding was his pleasure. Though I didn’t like to be a passenger, it was something I supported as it made him very happy. He even rode it to Florida one summer to visit our daughter when she lived there, with Grandson 1 and me as his support vehicle.

Two years ago, riding became uncomfortable, causing neck and back pain and he was only able to ride for very short periods of time, then mostly not at all. Last week, the Harley was past due on state inspection and in need of annual servicing as well as having a mirror repaired, so he rode it to the city. The mirror held up the return until a call yesterday that it was ready, but it was raining. This morning, we rode to the city to either pick it up, or sadly for him, to sell it to the dealer, a decision he had a hard time coming to. The dealer bought his bike, the end of an era for him. He is understandably sad this afternoon.

Leading a ride at the local rally.