Tag Archives: squash

Olio – July 19, 2015

Olio- A miscellaneous collection of things.

The heat has returned. . . and the humidity.  With the heat and humidity, we also get intense thunder storms with half an hour of rain, of course, right after I watered the wilting deck herbs and flowers.

The chicks watch is still on.  Not a single egg hatched from the clutch that the Momma Hen was driven off of by the Broody Hen who took it over.  They should have begun hatching on Friday, but not a one so far.  I will wait until tomorrow then remove the eggs and begin breaking the Broody, or maybe wait until tomorrow night when all the girls are sleeping and take the eggs and give her the two 4 week old chicks in the garage and see what she does with them.  It is a good thing that I ordered Red Rangers for mid August as the Buff Orpington experiment sure has not provided the culls that we had hoped to put in the freezer for winter.

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Littles, Teens, and Hens enjoying the scraps and overgrown squash and cukes.

After I shucked the corn from yesterday’s Farmers’ Market to go with our steak, I took the husks out to the chickens and wandered into the garden to see if there was a cucumber to slice for dinner too.  This is what I brought back to the house.

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Two overlooked yellow squash and one huge cucumber went straight into the chicken pen.

After dinner, Daughter and I cut up and froze 6 more quarts of summer squash for the winter soups, pasta sauces and casseroles.  After she and SIL left to go to a movie, I made the first two pints of Dill Pickles from one of my favorite cookbooks, preserving by the pint, for storage.

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On the spinning front, I am still plodding along on the pound of Coopsworth with about 700 yards of yarn finished, washed and dried and another bobbin nearly full.  I fear that I am going to end up with 3 bobbins and have to wind off the last one into two balls to ply it.

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I wish the teal color showed better in the artificial light.  It is going to make a luscious sweater when I am finished with it.

As for knitting, I am working on the first sleeve of the sweater that has been in the works for months.  It is just too hot to sit with a sweater body in my lap, so it only gets picked up on cooler evenings.  Unlike most knitters that I know, I generally don’t have multiple projects going at once, but the sweater is too big and too hot to be a carry around project, so I cast on another project.  One of my friends is an Indie yarn dyer and she and her husband have several causes and organizations that they strongly support.  Upon the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage, to support Urban Peak in Denver, CO, a shelter for homeless youth, she dyed a special yarn, Rainbow Unicorn of Love.  For every skein she sells, they are donating 10 pairs of new socks to this shelter for the homeless young folks staying there.  The cause seemed worthy to me so a skein of her delicious sock yarn joined my stash.

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So what do you do with Rainbow Sock yarn, why make socks, the perfect portable project.  Unfortunately, I have about an inch of ribbing and the pattern that I though I was ordering as a download is actually being mailed to me and I haven’t received a shipping notice yet.  I may do another favorite sock pattern of mine, designed by a knitting friend for the Bejing Olympics Sockapalloza,  Olympian Socks.  I have another skein of Unplanned Peacock Sock yarn in Botanicals colorway that can be made into the other pattern once it arrives and this pair is finished.

Loving life on our mountain farm.

Pumpkins and Squash, Oh My!

It didn’t quite get to freezing last night, but we did get a light frost. Thinking that 20 something nights wouldn’t do the pumpkins and squash any good, a morning harvest was set in motion.
Last night we brought in 19, most of them seen here.

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This morning I harvested 53 more. They were stacked around the perimeter of the garden as I debated how to get them all over to the house and the idea lightbulb flashed.

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The two tobagans hanging in the garage awaiting grandkids and snow were put to use. I have no idea how many pounds of goodness are there but each was a challenge to drag them individually across the yard. This isn’t all of the year’s harvest, some were taken to NoVa, some to the neighbor that helped last night, several already cooked for us, a few damaged or small ones tossed to the chickens. Are there more out there? I am certain of it, many tiny baseball to softball sized ones, probably a few larger ones hidden in the jungle of dying leaves. Each time I go out I spot another.
A tiny white tailed denizen of the jungle was perturbed that I dared tromp through his habitat and took off through the garden.
Earlier this fall, I was certain that the Burgess Buttercup squash were the predominant winter squash and the Seminole Pumpkins lost to the overgrowth of leaves as none of the squash were turning the characteristic tan of the pumpkins. The harvest revealed very few Buttercups and predominately Seminole, most tan or tanning on the lower side. Next year they get the orchard to cover. We will enjoy the harvest as will our neighbors, chickens, and family.

It keeps on giving

that wonderous garden of ours.  I asked my favorite farmer friends at the Market this morning when our average first frost date was, because my memory told me it was around October 10 and they confirmed that we were past it, so far without a frost on their farm in our county or ours.  They still have tomatoes and flowers growing!  Of course I had to buy a tomato and a bunch of flowers.  Don’t they look great on the fall table cover?

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We are getting mid 30’s nights, but no frost and the garden keeps giving of bush beans, broccoli, peppers, tomatillos, turnips and greens.  The big crop of harvest now are the winter squash.

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Seminole pumpkins and Burgess Buttercup squash.  There are so many out there that I still cannot get to and though the plants are beginning to die back, there are still flowers on some of the plants.  There will be many softball size squash and pumpkins to feed the chickens over the next couple of months and many more larger ones that we will never be able to eat them all.

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Though it was getting dark when I went out last night to lock up the laying hens, the sun setting behind the west hill and casting it’s last glow on the gold of these trees stopped me for a few moments of time to enjoy the chilling night and the beautiful color.  By the time I walked back, the sun had set and the side yard was dark.  It is indeed a beautiful time of the year, though it is short and soon the trees will be skeletons in the woods and we will be able to see lights from our nearest neighbor’s houses through the woods.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

It Can’t Be Over

Warm weather and garden season that is.  When I arrived home from last week’s wanderings, the woods were beginning to wear jewels.  I had seen a bit of the dark red Poison Ivy climbing the trees and the barest hints of color elsewhere, but by this week’s end there is much more color on the mountainsides.

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The Maple aka, the Tick tree as you can’t walk beneath it without acquiring at least one.
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The photo doesn’t show nearly the color the eye sees.
So I conceded and pulled out the fall banner and mini banner, the fall wreath, tablecloth, napkins and kitchen towels.  With no kids in the house and no Trick or Treaters come this far, I only put a few decorations out, a real pumpkin on the porch, a resin one on the front table, a ceramic ghost and ceramic lighted jack-o-lantern on the bookshelves.

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The table set with a large dried bottle gourd, a smaller gourd I painted at Garden Club years ago and a Burgess Buttercup squash from the garden.
So I have conceded, sort of, but I’m not ready for the early frost/potential hard freeze predicted for our region on Saturday night.  Today and tomorrow, I will harvest Tomatillos and peppers, drape a sheet over the peppers tomorrow eve in hopes that we either miss the frost or only have a short light one.  Sunday I may be able to find all of the Buttercup squash, Seminole Pumpkins and sweet potatoes, but I’m just not ready yet.

This is when I wish I had a portable hoophouse that could be put over the two beds that are still providing, hoping to extend their season by a few weeks.  Maybe next year.

Today as the rain comes in, I will can applesauce and apple slices.  Yesterday I started the cider vinegar. Tomorrow, we will bundle up and go buy meat for the freezer, leaving space for the 15 chickens that will be processed next weekend.

Olio – September 10, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

At times I consider whether I should just rename my blog Olio as most posts fly all over the place.  It is only mid morning on a day that the weather prognosticators said would be mostly sunny and dry, but instead it is thickly overcast and too humid again to paint or stain.  The grass too wet with dew to mow.  This isn’t to say that the morning has been idle, no instead a load of laundry has been folded, Grand #1’s bed remade from his weekend visit; another load of laundry washed and currently drying; the chicken coop refreshed with a turn of the old hay and an addition of new hay; the meaties chicken tractor given a good layer of hay in the bottom as it is currently more or less permanently set at the end of the 6 foot wide run to contain the 5 week old chickies and it was beginning to not smell so pleasant.  Another huge bucket of tomatoes have been harvested, though I haven’t begun to process them yet, as I can’t decide what this batch will become, probably just plain diced tomatoes.  Just in the last couple of days, the tomato vines have begun to fade.

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There are still plenty of tomatoes to harvest, but this is a signal of the end of the summer growing season.  This morning, the spent cucumber vines were pulled and tossed to the chickens to peck at the last few cukes and the bugs on the vines.  Each year I begin the season faithfully pinching suckers from the tomato plants and trying to contain the branches within the cages and by this time each year, the branches have fallen over and through the cages and the plants look pitiful.  Perhaps next year I will use strong stakes instead of cages and tie the plants up as they grow taller, being more faithful about leaving only one main stem.  Next year, they will have the rich soil of the compost bins as we remove the wood from them this winter to expand the garden and create a more reasonably sized compost bin in a new location.  So much of the stuff that used to go into the compost, now goes to the chickens and their bedding becomes the compost, so having the bin near the coop door on the edge of the garden would make more sense.  That area is where I planted the Buttercup squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes this year and between them and my weeding efforts, the bin have remained fairly weed free this summer.

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The squash have spread over the woodpile, over to the vegetable garden, into the chicken run and up the hill past the hay bales and out of the electric fence.  Many of the huge leaves have burn marks across them and cause the electric fence to pop as they touch it.  Yesterday as I mowed, with the fence off, I snapped off the leaves touching the fence.  I know that one day soon, I will begin to see those vines fading like the tomato vines.  The peppers are loving the cooler weather and are blooming and producing new peppers daily.  The summer squash are mostly done.  It is now a time for greens and a few radishes and turnips.

As I sit here waiting for the inspiration to can or the grass to dry for mowing, I am enjoying one of the only two magazines to which I subscribe.  The magazine is Taproot, no advertising, full of wonderful art, recipes, articles about back to a simpler time of producing your own food, making your own clothes, growing your own animals and knowing from where your goods come.  If you haven’t ever seen an issue, you should seek one out.

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Each issue has a theme and each is wonderful to savor each word and save for future reference.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.