Harvesting

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What a fun time of year!

The garden is providing so much food right now. We are able to walk out before dinner each evening and select what is ripe and make a beautiful meal. Last night was pesto over pasta, sweet corn, steamed beans, cantaloupe, watermelon and a little grape juice to wash it all down. Everything came from the garden except the pasta and olive oil! And no grocery bill.

Grant with Melons and Sunflower

Check out that sunflower!

TO MARKET, TO MARKET 

Last summer my wife bought me a beef cow, Gordy, for my birthday. Last week we packed him up in our horse trailer and brought him to our local butcher shop. It was amazing all the choices we had to make regarding cuts of meat as this was our first time bringing in a steer. It takes about 4 weeks partially because of the dry aging they do. Our second freezer is cleaned and bleached and ready to go!

Even though we knew this was coming it was a bit sad, but Gordy had a good life at our farm.

FORAGING

We have a friend who is a chef, John Occhiato, and he was out foraging nearby our house and brought these mushrooms over for us to eat. These mushrooms are called Chicken of the Woods (it goes by other names also). Sautéed in butter, they tasted like scrambled eggs!

These mushrooms are called Hedgehogs and they had more of a mushroom flavor.

I took the kids out in our woods and we found 12 different varieties of mushrooms.  Amazing. We did not eat any as our identification skills are not good enough. John showed me a picture of a mushroom, a death angel (I think) that he found that morning and it is truly deadly. And right in our neighborhood!

SWARM

We walked out to the barn last week and notice a huge swarm of bees in our River Birch.

This was a large swarm and we couldn’t tell if it came from our hives or not. The bees were all protecting the queen in a large ball with the queen at the center. After a few phone calls to our bee expert friends we had a plan of attack. Carolyn found an empty bee hive we had and set it on our hay wagon that we pulled under the tree. She donned her bee suit and climbed a ladder.

The swarm looked like liquid as she gently pruned away branches and eventually cut down the main branch they were on. She carefully set the branch on the bee box.

In one swift movement she shook the branch and they all fell into the box! Just a little coaxing with a brush and they were all in.

We checked the box a few days later and you can see the queen found a spot on one side of the box and all the bees are doing their jobs, we hope.

ELDERBERRIES

We have a farmer friend, George Anfinson, in the neighborhood. Every year he calls us when his elderberries are ripe and we come over and harvest them.

We get a big bucket of berries and George gets a pie.

GRAPES

Our grapes are ripe.

Our friend, Greg, came over and we spent a day harvesting.

To juice the grapes,

we found a that a special Finnish Steamer works best for us.

Our summersweet variety,

makes excellent raisins.

NUTS

We had our first hazelberts come in this year.

We will dry them and keep them in the shell until we are ready to eat.

GARLIC AND SHALLOTS

We found a great deal at the Apple Valley Farmer’s Market in the beginning of August and bought a good amount of garlic and shallots. These will be planted in late October for next year.

We just finished harvesting and preparing this year’s garlic from the garden for storage.

We cut most of the stem off and the roots and then store them in open paper bags in boxes.

We have ten different kinds to choose from. It has been so much fun trying them all. Georgian Fire is super hot and spicy and has been a favorite. We will plant the biggest and best cloves. We expect to plant about 600 cloves this fall.

MULCHING

We are having a good year with our rhubarb but no matter how well they are weeded the perennial grasses on the edges send shoots into the bed. A never ending battle. We had our tiny greenhouse go flying away in a storm this summer so we took the panels from the greenhouse and laid them all around the rhubarb bed and then put on a heavy wood chip mulch.

Battle won!

We decided to do the same with the asparagus.

FUN FIND

Check out this very small round home that a tiny red ant made.

It was sitting on a hazelnut leaf with the bugs crawling in and out.

We’ll leave you this time with a sunny picture…

Sunflowers…what a happy sight!

Until next time…

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