Jim has gotten the huge far hay field mowed. We still have the east field and the near south field to do as well as mowing around the trees that we planted as a wind break, around the barn and up the small hill at the top of the driveway. Between us, about half of the 30 acres has been mowed.
We will take turns riding the tractor to get it finished. I do most of the close to the house and around the tree work, he likes to ride the long open areas. One area, neither of us like to do as it has lots of rocks that are just high enough to cause the brush hog to clip them, just low enough to be hard to see when the grass is high.
Yesterday after the rain, I went out and weeded some in the garden, tossed pounds of spoiled and split tomatoes, overgrown cucumbers, and weeds to the chooks, hoping to lure them out into their new covered run. I harvested somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 pounds of tomatoes, nearly 4 pounds of tomatillos, 2 1/2 pounds of mostly hot peppers. The tomatillos have been husked, washed and bagged, and put in the freezer. The habañeros and Tabascos, along with a few tiny red jalapenos were added to the other hot peppers that I have been accumulating in the salted vinegar. Since the jar was full and there were more peppers than space, I ground the mixture up together in the blender. I will have to make a batch of hot sauce with it soon. The jalapenos were pickled, adding two more pints for son and Jim to enjoy this winter.
This photo was taken standing in the jungle of tomatoes and peppers. I can’t even find the path between them. Last year the peppers stayed small, the tomatoes controllable. The rain has changed that this year. I need to go out, stake and tie up some of the peppers, trim some tomato branches, and cut down the dye seed sunflowers. The Tabasco peppers are all red, so I am thinking about just pulling the plants to make some room. They will dry nicely hanging upside down in the garage.
While out there to harvest, I got about half way down the row nearest the asparagus and met up with this critter.
This was the biggest garden spider I have ever seen. The spider’s body without the legs was about 2 inches long. I am not a fan of spiders, but I also will not kill one outdoors unless it is a Black Widow (I have found and killed two of them this summer). Though I won’t kill them, I also wasn’t going to try to reach around that critter and it’s web to pick tomatoes, so I took a stick and relocated the spider to the asparagus patch and continued to pick these.
I started the morning with more than 35 pounds of tomatoes. I peeled and chopped the ones I froze a couple of weeks ago and dumped them in a huge pot. Weighed out 18 pounds and set them aside and chopped the rest and cooked them just until they began to break down. From that pot, I canned 9 pints and 4 quarts of diced plain tomatoes. While the quarts were canning and the canner cooling down, I peeled and diced the 18 pounds, added them to a large chopped onion, some garlic, basil, oregano, and parsley and it is simmering in a huge pot on the stove waiting for the canner to fully de-pressurize so that it can be jarred and canned.
This will be the routine several times a week for the next couple of months until we are threatened with a frost. The Asian pears are ripe and Ginger Pear Conserve production is also in order. The apples look like they are about ready too, though I haven’t tried eating one yet. Applesauce production is also on the schedule. Soon the basement shelves will begin to fill.
The basement refrigerator is filling with pickles, pickled jalapenos, and kraut. The canning shelves being emptied of jars to be filled and replaced with filled jars of chutney, tomatoes, conserves, and spaghetti sauce. Soon the applesauce will also begin to fill shelves. Though the bunnies got all of my beans this year, there are peas in the freezer and still some squash from last summer.
Jim is out mowing the upper south field while I can. Tomorrow, I will take over for a bit.
The chickens still won’t come out of their coop but for brief moments. I have enticed them with split tomatoes, overripe cucumbers, and a whole bucket of compost veggies. Tonight after dark, B’rooster will be removed from the hens to the cull coop. He is tearing up the hens backs and I don’t want any more chicks this year. There is one Buffy pullet and one Buffy cockerel in the cull coop that will be moved in with the hens. The cockerel will be next spring’s rooster. If I can figure out which of the half breeds are pullets, I may move one of them too. With the loss of two of my layers this summer, egg production is down some, but we are still getting more than the family needs. Soon it will be molting time and egg production will stop as I have no year old hens this year, but they will grow back their feathers and be clean and warm for the winter.