Monday, July 25, 2011

Outdoor work is difficult these days.
The heat is oppressive, the humidity high.
I spend my early mornings getting the animal chores done.
My evenings are spent in the garden.
By seven, the sun is behind the woods and the garden is in shade.


Watering and weeding are the nightly routine.

But added in of late is quite a bit of harvesting,
followed by replanting.
The onions that are drying in the greenhouse
have been replaced by tiny beet seedlings.


And it's a good thing, too.
Last evening I was cooking the first crop of beets to pickle,
and got involved in an activity with Tyler....
needless to say, those beets turned into charcoal.
Ooops!

I harvested half of the red potatoes this weekend.
The plants are starting to wilt...so harvest time is nigh.


I will plant a fall crop in this box next week.

The rest I will harvest in the next week or two.
I am going to store them like I stored last year's sweet potatoes...
in a tote filled with pine shavings.


The tote has several layers like this one.
Each layer is separated by shavings so that no potatoes touch
and none are exposed to the open air. 
 But air can still circulate through the shavings.

Last year's sweet potatoes lasted the entire year in that tote...
kept cool in the cellar pantry.


This year's sweet potatoes are still in this box,
beneath these lush green vines.
I will harvest them in early autumn.
Then into the cellar in another tote they go for use throughout the winter.

I am going to try storing my winter squash this way also.


My pumpkin babes are ripening...
I see pie making in my future!


No gardening is complete without a visit from Tom, Chuck and Edith!


And Sammy keeps a watchful eye over me.


In this weather, I keep extra water containers around for the birds
and dogs.


Hubbs and I spent a bit of time on Sunday picking wild blackberries,


dressed in boots and long pants to deter the chiggers.


The berries went into a batch of mixed berry jam.


I also made seven pints of hot pepper relish.
Coughing, sneezing, crying, (yes, and almost peeing myself!)
 I cleaned and chopped several quarts of hot peppers.


Although there is a good deal of work involved in food preservation,
there is nothing more comforting to me than to enter autumn
with the freezer and pantry fully stocked with homegrown goodness!

Can you see why zinnias are my favorite garden flower?


They are just so cheerful!
And a haven for butterflies...


Gerbera daisies...


such vibrant color!


A morning glory vine winds its way around the zinnias.
Soon to bloom, it will add a "pop" of blue to the mix.


Vines are taking over the fence around the garden...
just as I had hoped!


German strawberry tomatoes... just one of many heirlooms starting to ripen.


Cabbage patch babies....


I will have to find some creative ways to use these.
Any ideas??

PS....our little Donald (O'Malley's bucking who is polled [hornless],
has not sold.  It looks like he will remain with the family.
But for the present time, will have to live with the other bucks.
(At least until he is neutered.)
We caught him showing just a little too much interest in his Mama,
and bucklings are fertile at a very young age.
Yikes!
Red O'Malley and her handsome son, T. Donald.

Rain is predicted for today.
Let's hope some temperature and humidity relief come along with it!


12 comments:

  1. i sure hope we get some rain today! thank you for sharing how you store your potatoes, i knew there was a way to do it, because my grandmother did it, but i wasn't sure how she did it anymore! one of my favorite flowers is zinnias too ... i also have a morning glory vine winding its way around my zinnias, it seems like my mornintg glory is blooming later this year! have a great day!

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  2. Hi beverly
    I too have been busy in the garden and putting up vegtables. Love how you plant in raised beds. Im going to try that this fall. We had some new additions to the farm stop by and check them out. Love the zinnias, i planted sunflowers and marigolds within my garden this year. Not sure about you, but here in the south we are so ready for fall. sheryl

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  3. I hope we get rain soon...my rainbarrels need replenishing..we've had not a drop for at least 3 weeks..I hope you get some to help keep your garden beautiful and productive...Everything looks wondeful

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  4. Your garden looks so productive. It sure keeps you busy, doesn't it? We have pared down our veggie garden over the years as the kids grew up and moved away. but I still like to do some canning.

    Your pumpkins look great, and so do the potatoes. Very nice storage ideas.

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  5. Look at all the goodies from your garden.I agree come Fall it is so nice to have the freezer and pantry full. I may have a problem this year since my girls helped themselves to my garden. Right now, I am in war with racoons! I got the trap out and caught a opossum this morning.Ugh! The war continues!

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  6. WOW what a post!! So many interesting items! Your garden is fantastic and I love that you are having fun preserving and canning! I use to love it too. I only do pickles and some jams now days. Wish I was there to help!

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  7. Loved the pictures of your garden - so inspiring! I'm wondering if the zinnia makes a good cut flower??? I may grow them next year... They look beautiful in your garden!

    May I ask what you feed the Littles? I've noticed there is a special grain for miniatures.

    We took in a severely neglected off-track TB and fed her a senior grain to get her back up to weight - my own littles just get a handful of that each day for their grain(of course they love it)...

    Sorry for all the questions.

    Farmer

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  8. Very useful tip on the potatoes. We don't have a cellar or even a basement, but it is still good to know.

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  9. Dear Farmer...
    I never mind questions.
    Zinnias do indeed make a wonderful cut flower. I keep a jar full of them all the time in my kitchen....that is why I am in love with them!

    I feed our littles the same pellet feed as the Bigs...I use a product called Mini Vite Lite. It is basically a vitamin and mineral supplement to their hay and grass. Because all of my equines have a tendency to be a little plump, their feed doesn't add much in the way of calories. They seem to be maintaining their weight pretty well this year...not too plump... but never any visible ribs! HAH! My ponies are "easy keepers", so their caloric need is a bit lower, too.

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  10. Everything looks so good! Your pumpkins are way ahead of mine. The flowers are beautiful.

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  11. I didn't know you could plant potatoes as a fall crop this late. What kind do you plant?

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  12. I actually cannot remember what variety of red they are. And you are right, Jen, I cannot get a second planting of potatoes. They take too long. My second plantings are shorter crops and fall crops....spinach, radishes, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Once and done for the potatoes!

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