Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Harvest Time

I remain in disbelief of the incredible stretch of temperate weather we are experiencing!
Every day is just as beautiful as the one before and the one after.

It's as if Pennsylvania has become the new San Diego.

Although I know it is just a temporary fluke,
I am nonetheless grasping each day and squeezing the life out of it.

We are now in the midst of harvest time in the garden.
Each day brings oodles more of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
Chard, corn, carrots, beets, onions and kale continue to be bountiful, also.
(Before I forget....this kale salad is the best I have ever had...try it....I mean it!)
( I promise, you will thank me!)

Yesterday was a typical day during harvest season.
Let me recap:
*Up at 5:30, showered, out to do AM animal chores, put horses out to pasture.
*8:00 - cleaned harvested hot peppers and canned 4 pints of hot pepper relish
*10:00 - brought horses in and fed them their chow.
*picked blueberries and blackberries
*canned 8 pints of mixed berry jam
*picked sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes, basil, oregano
*made 4 quarts of spaghetti sauce and froze in canning jars
*3:00 - Afternoon feeding, manure clean up and egg gathering done
*4:00 - went to feed store and bought chicken and goat feed
*stopped at gas station and filled containers with 30 gallons of gas for mowers
*unloaded and distributed 1000 pounds of feed (20X 50lb. bags)
*cleaned front pasture
*made and consumed dinner
*watered garden
*picked ground cherries (see end of post)
*8:00 - bedtime feeding and manure clean up done
*9:00 - put the chickens to bed
*9:15 - passed out....asleep!

I would think myself completely insane for packing this much into one day,
except for the fact that they are all activities that I love to do!

I have received a couple of comments over the past few weeks about the barn kitties.

We continue to have 5 barn cats...

Ella Bella, queen of the barn...
 (she is an agoraphobe, and rarely leaves the safety of the barn.)

Tom Tom, our hunter...
(came back to the barn last week dragging a dead grey squirrel...half his size!)

Little Leo, not so little anymore...
(he is the heaviest small cat I have ever lifted!)

Moll Flanders, keeper of the garden...
(world's best grasshopper catcher!)

And last but never least...
Bobby Cat, who can't decide if he is a barn cat or a garage cat...
(he always comes running for a ride in the gator.)

And now a word about ground cherries.
This unusual fruit, also known as a husk cherry, is a member of the tomatillo family.
It is a great self-seeder.

We have two boxes that come back thick and lush each year.
When ripe, the fruit drops to the ground, making harvest easy.

It is sweet...with a mild pineappley flavor.

We use it to make a ground cherry/orange jam.

My favorite breakfast is a piece of toast with organic peanut butter and this jam.
(It's what I'm having this morning!)

Today I will be tackling the basil patch and making pesto to freeze.
After that....I will be planting more basil!

And while I am thinking of it...
can you believe it's the last day of July?
Where has the time gone?


  1. I know, the summer is flying by. But that's a good thing here.

    I'm tired just reading that list! I know where you're coming from, though. When you love what you do, it's not like work at all.

  2. the weather has been truly wonderful. i would like summer if it was always like this! i should plant some ground cherries. do you grow tomatillas? mine are huge and abundant! do you grow okra? mine are almost ready to start picking. i love okra! i would like to have kitties but teddy says no.

  3. Our July was so incredibly rainy, humid, hot and to be honest.... I will be glad to kick it's patootie out the door and welcome in August. Certainly can't be any worse than July was. SO many people in our area have had little to nothing grow in the garden due to too much rain and not enough sun. We have been luckier than most, although things could have been a bit better. Goodbye, July... you were not our friend here in southwestern Virginia.

  4. your ground berries look like physalis

  5. Don't you just love such an eventful day!?! I am physically unable to do gardening..but love days when I accomplish a lot. Cooking, knitting, card making, pulling weeds from flowers to feed the chickens and tending my bunnies. Life is good!!

  6. One word says it all . . . you are,

  7. Wow. I was tired just reading your post. I had my 1st day of PT yesterday and I was exhausted. I came home and rested and then canned cucumber relish with a little help from my hubby! It is so satisfying to see the jars lined up after canning.

  8. Wow! What a busy girl!

    It's funny how all that work would be overwhelming to some but if it's something you love it's not really work. You are going to have a nice pantry full of home grown goodness.... awesome!

  9. Love seeing the barn kitties! This weather is absolutely perfect. Seeing all of your fresh veggies and fruit is reminding me to make a trip to our local farmer's market!

    Does Becky have plans to rescue another horse? It was always so nice to read about Pete.

  10. I don't think Becky has an plans at the moment, Sara. She is very busy training her horse Sid for cross country eventing. So, between dressage and jumping lessons and practice, she is pretty busy. That's not to say that if a needy horse came along, we wouldn't take it in. Who knows.......

  11. OMG..I don't do that much in a month..Glad it's fun for you because all your efforts seem to pay off ten fold..Thanks for the Kitty update..I had trouble remembering Ella Bella's name..I guess it's because she's usually among the unseen..

  12. Sounds like a red letter day:)perfect

  13. So glad you are getting wonderful crops ! WOW ! There never is a dull moment on a farm is there? Wonderful photos ! Thanks for sharing ! Have a great day !

  14. Wow, what a busy day you had! I used to do all that, but not so much anymore. I am thinking of canning some tomato sauce today though.
    I always used to plant ground cherries - the kids loved them. So this year I planted some for my grandson. And then my husband weeded the garden and now they are gone! Oh well, try them again next year:)

  15. Love the garden updates. I will have mine on my blog tomorrow. I don't cram as much in my day as you do, but at the end of the day it sure feels like it! You are way too busy for a grandma!

  16. You would have made a great pioneer woman...Your energy is amazing, I do envy it so.

    Annie v.

  17. What you accomplish in one day, blows my mind! I can't believe you are still standing! You are just amazing!

    That jam looks so good. I never heard of ground cherries before.


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