Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday's Livestock and Garden Report ~ Week 21

it's been a busy week, with the garden finally starting to produce. i can brag about an impressive list of veggies that we've been harvesting: onions, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, beans and of course the old stand by, potatoes.

we've picked green beans several times this week, being diligent to stay current on the picking. the beans are of course much better that way. when the green beans/ground cover ripens in the UG, there will be tones of beans! probably way too many~ but we'll just sell the extra, and feed the extra of the extra to the pigs.

the ducks have fallen out of favor this week. although we enjoy watching them wander through the yard and play in the puddle, they did a very naughty thing. (as A would say!) i had planted my second crop of peas, counting on the cooler weather and delayed frost to harvest my own instead of buying. they (the peas) were coming up nicely, and all 6 of the double rows were about 3" high. one afternoon soon after i let them out, the ducks were observed eating straight down the rows of tender pea shoots! they were quite happy, wiggling their tail and muttering among themselves. almost as if they were saying thank-you! thank you for planting a row for each of us. thank you for putting them in such a neat and straight line. grrrr! well, fortunately for me and my family, the local grocery store had a sale on this week: Bird's Eye peas ~ 1 pound, 1 dollar. so my freezer is stocked with peas, and since that's what i set about to do, i guess i don't have much to complain about.

it was a rough week for the meat birds, too. we lost 13 or so, which was quite a blow. it's a combination of heat, water, crowding and stupidity. (of the birds, i mean!) that just reinforces to Dave and i that we need to take a much more active role in supervising the livestock and instructing in proper care. but we can console ourselves with a pithy little nugget that a farmer friend shared with me after church on Sunday: "if you have livestock, you're going to have deadstock." how true, how true...

we are harvesting tomatoes, although the plants are quickly dying off. they look really terrible in the garden, but as long as I'm getting some tomatoes, I'll let them suffer through. we've been eating fresh garden salsa and i even made some spaghetti sauce. I'll be able to make many more quarts of sauce, just not in the big quantities that i prefer.

N, G, A and B helped me transplant, mulch and water all the cauliflower and broccoli that we put into the high tunnel. I'm holding out hope that we'll be able to harvest these veggies, too! (we will not put the new plastic on the high tunnel until it gets much cooler, as the cauliflower and broccoli prefers the cool weather.)

this week we purchased 8 of the big round bales of hay for mulch. today G and Dave were working at spreading a layer of hay over the parts of the LG that are done. the LG is pretty much done producing, but alot of the potatoes are still in the ground, so of course we can't mulch there yet. the plan with the hay is to improve the soil for next year. some portions of the LG have had 2 rounds of buckwheat, and now the hay. hopefully next year we will see an improvement in the soil fertility.

which leads me to think that maybe, just maybe, we can work our way up to being a CSA, providing food for 10-12 other families besides ourselves. somewhere between Dave's pessimism and my optimism lies the reality. as we continue to work together to improve our little spot of soil, we learn and grow together. we've been inspired by this blog this week, and keep thinking, maybe we can do this after all! (and we cant' whine about living in zone 5, because they do, too!)

I'll leave you with a few recipes, so you can enjoy your own garden's bounty!

Spaghetti Sauce

½ bushel tomatoes (roma is best)
3 lb. onions
4 red peppers
2 green peppers
1 stalk celery
1-2 T parsley
2 T sweet basil
2 T oregano
1 ½ c. sugar

process tomatoes. (wash, cut out bad spots, boil and run through the squeezo) put onions, peppers and celery through food processor. combine with tomatoes and sugar and bring to gentle boil on stove. BE CAREFUL not to over boil, or your sauce will get dark and bitter. (don't ask me how i know this, just trust me.) if you're using dried herbs, you can add them at the beginning, but wait until the end if you're using fresh.

prep your jars and lids, and have your hot water canner already boiling. into each quart jar add 1 T lemon juice. hot water bath 30 minutes.

(this sauce is thinner than the store bought that has all sorts of nasty thickening chemicals added to it, but i often add 1 can of tomato paste, especially when I'm making spaghetti)

Garden Fresh Salsa

chop up a bunch of tomatoes. (about 2 cups) if you're using beef steak toms, squeeze out some of the juicy stuff in the middle. salt semi-generously, and set aside.

now cut up equal amounts of green peppers, purple onions, cucumbers and even summer squash if you're feeling particularly brave (or healthy)

drain the tomatoes and combine all the chopped veggies. add lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro. serve immediately with tortilla chips. yummy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That salsa sounds so yummy. I am going to make some, as we finally are producing some tomatoes also. :)

I didn't realize chickens were so fragile.


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