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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Over-exuberant Gardening

I know I should be grateful that the fruit of our earlier labors has been so prodigious, but I can't help thinking that I really am tired of canning.  Don't get me wrong; I love canning and seeing the pantry shelves pile up with lovely glittering jewels.  It makes me feel good. 

It is just that there are only so many hours in the day.

Yesterday's forcast was for 30-32 degrees overnight.  This meant a panicked rush concerted effort to bring in what was left in the garden that is susceptible to low temps.  I came home from work after lunch to help Will bring it all in.

This is a reasonable amount of squash for our consumption.  We generally plant butternut squash instead of buttercup squash but a friend gave us plants she started in her greenhouse.  I do think they are cool looking!  The wee delicata's in the background are amazingly sweet.

I appreciate their stripey-ness.

The flower end of the buttercups have an interesting texture and pattern.

Peppers in the basket were a nice surprise...they were hidden under leaves on the pepper plants which had dissapeared under the tomatillo plants.  We will be making sweet pickle/pepper relish this evening. MORE tomatoes.  Mostly heritage in the box in front.  Some of the green tomatoes were fried last evening at the Lila Wren's request.  The leeks were a gift; they will go in potato-leek soup (at Duncan's request).

Tomatillo's and even more tomatoes.  We'll be making salsa verde this evening also.  The tomatillo basket was overflowing but I shared with a few friends.

Eggplants or aubergines did overly well this year!  There were two varieties; one japanese or asian eggplants that had a lighter skin and were much thinner, and another that were supposed to be egg or globe shaped...which were not.  They were long and a chubbier- skinny eggplant!  This is about 20 pounds worth, and after my friend Jodi came and took about fifteen off of the top.

Seventeen pumpkins (not all in the photo) of varying sizes, and yes; we picked sprays of green cherry tomatoes to enjoy later.   Psychologically we had a hard time leaving even the green tomatoes in the garden even though we had way too many tomatoes to begin with.  That is not to say we didn't leave any tomatoes there....we did.  There were way to many cherries to pick!  Will estimates our tomato harvest at ~300 lbs.

This is probably about three bushels of basil.  Some will be distributed to friends and the rest dried or turned into pesto.  This is not a typical harvest in the U.P.!

We ended up with a very light frost, not a killing frost.  The plus side is we don't have to rush next time a frost is predicted.  The down side is....we have to deal with preserving all of this that much sooner!

Lila is taking a canning class at school that meets twice a week.  She is learning how to use a pressure canner and they canned beans on Monday.  The school has a lovely garden that was started by the kids; click this link for a video story done yesterday from a "local" news station out of Traverse City.  Lila could barely stand it because she is certain that the jar of beans the reporter is holding was the one she canned.  Much better evidently than having your face on the news! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meet "B.o.B"

Wintertime B.o.B is a fine fleeced Shetland ram belonging to Karen Valley and Meghan Namaste.
He will be coming to our farm this November to hang out with four of our finer fleeced Shetland Ewe's to make some fine fleeced lambs. 
This is why he is coming!  He has such lovely fine lock structure.  He is going to make some lovely babies.  He will be paired up with Elle (black gulmoget), Deja (solid black), Zanzibar (musket) and Gaia (moorit gulmoget).  I'm hoping for some more fine fleeced black sheep, and I think I'm going to get them with this fella around!

We had a fine morning hanging out with Karen, Meghan and all of her woolies too!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Keepers

All of the bunnies from this years litters have gone to their new spinning homes.  The closest bunnies went to Paradise and Marquette, while three others took a ride to Chicago land.  My friend Erin in Marquette took three kits that are going to be spoiled brats as she and her husband Pete are doting on them.  I'm so happy that they have gone to such good and loving homes.  Pet and Erin are also buildling a "Tiny House"...visit them at their blog to see the bunnies and their humorous and insightful adventures in simple living.

Here are the bunnies we decided to keep:

This little doe is a tort.  She has a lovely personality and loves to play on the bed!
I didn't have a regular tort (except for a vienna marked doe) so thought I should keep her
(I have a soft spot for torts).

Nice wooly coat too.  No name yet.

I'm not sure why bunnies like jumping up on the window sill...probably just because they can.

This is the chocolate agouti buck.  I think his name might be Bramble. 

See his nice banded fiber?  Characteristic of an agouti.  I didn't have one of this color either.

He also has a nice personality! 

This is Spinner's End Thistledown.  Our first litter of REW's so we just had to keep one of those too!
Lila is quite attached to Ms.Thistle and is considering entering her into the 4H circuit. 

Thistle is very tolerant of lap holding and ear stroking.  Bronwyn visits regularly to give all of the animals their needed pats and to gather the collective rabbit wisdom into her soul.

We have been busy dealing with tomatoes!   It seemed like a great idea to plant 60 of them at the time...  I've made gallons of tomato puree,  1.5 gallons of dried tomatoes, 20 some odd pints of salsa, ketchup, and pizza sauce.  The remaining Roma's and Amish Paste will go to tomato paste.  Maybe another batch of ketchup; the first one was a bit too sweet for our taste
(Will says it tastes like New Zealand ketchup which he evidently didn't like).

Beets, eggplant and basil are still awaiting processing as well.  Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are safe for the time being and the onions are in and safely stored away.  I think we'll have to pick the pumpkins and winter squash soon to keep them safe from maurading deer. 
Nights are getting chilly and into the low to mid 40's which has been great for sleeping!