Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Joys of early summer

-- Joys of Early Summer -- 

Ah.... the joys of early summer! Birds are cleaning out our bird feeder every few days, and the suet block we keep stocked under the pine tree's boughs is a special favorite of the birds. They are getting braver now that they are used to us and hang out even when we are working in the area of the feeders. I'm hoping that, like our last place, they do a lot of beneficial work for us keeping the pest insect population in check. :)

The last couple weeks we've been harvesting mountains of strawberries - starting with only a few cups of whole berries, I'm now filling a large bowl (12 cups approx.) with medium to large berries every other day! Because of the cooler rainy/cloudy weather we've had a couple times the last few weeks - I've been doing more baking - freezing most of it for snacks during the summer. I did 3 batches of cookies, 3 batches of 2 different kinds of muffins (strawberry bran and rhubarb)... a strawberry/rhubarb crisp (which we devoured) and one batch of strawberry jam. Whew! In fact my rhubarb has been harvested so much that I bartered with a neighbor for some of hers and in exchange gave her a basket of strawberries. Ain't it grand to have gardening neighbors? Now it is time to start freezing some strawberries for smoothies, etc. 

I've also harvested the last of the cool crop lettuce and greens from the garden, and while I did plant summer lettuce several times - something keeps eating them. I'm thinking it is slugs, but it could be something else. Such is the gardener's life... there is always something going on and something always fails. :)  

We've had several side dishes of steamed greens (chard, kale, beet greens, etc.) and I just harvested another large bag worth of those this morning. I still have a lot of dried herbs from last year so thankfully the herbs I do have now are for fresh eating... which is a lot less work for me. :)  

My kitchen looks like a tornado hit it this morning (again) so I'm off to take care of that. It is also time to plant succession crops of beets and carrots and lettuce (again) out there so those are my goals this morning now that the harvesting is done. My hands are showing signs of drying out with all the kitchen and garden work, so I might put off the rest of the garden work for tomorrow! Besides, it is time to schedule in this week's blog posts.

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