Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Busy busy busy.

Well, the last few weeks have been pretty much non-stop busy. My sister visited. And we had so many things to do in town. And then B's parents and sister visited. And now, my parents are visiting this Thursday.

I love it.

Granted, my house is worse for wear. Two weeks of family visiting, including one trip to the beach where a dog became wet, prompted a marathon of laundry. Granted, before my inlaws visited, we were behind on laundry. I chose to sweep up the dustbunnies and do dishes rather than laundry... The end result? Something like 10 loads of laundry.


I should note that once our laundry situation gets beyond a certain point, it's ridiculous to tame. Why? Because our closet is teeny tiny. Once laundry takes over, take cover. There's really no place to hide it, so it becomes a situation of STOP everything, hang on, let's take over the house for a day organizing things into piles, and get this sucker done.

Of course, the animals think this is loads of great fun. Bounce from pile to pile.

Luckily, our backyard is somewhat on cruise control. A while back, I began weaning my plants, and now I'm up to only needing to water once a week. Their roots have really gone deep, and the plants are huge! We're beginning to harvest my middle-eastern squash (looks like a light zucchini, but has nuttier taste), and my lemon cucumbers, ground cherries, and peppers are all slowly churning out delights. I'm waiting to harvest more of those until my folks come. My mother has never had a ground cherry OR a lemon cucumber, so this will be fun!

My onions are delightful. I have one white onion that continues to grow, despite being softball-sized. My garlic is just about ready to dig up! I'm excited because our raspberries are producing again (happiness!), as are our strawberries. Hurray for summer-long berry types. The blueberries are about done, but I'm thinking about going to a cheap you-pick place to really get my fill and freeze. MMMMmmmmm.

The beans are slowly coming in. My scarlett runner beans are slowly beginning to bloom. I think my yard-long beans might not produce much, as they got a semi-shady box, and as a result, they are a tad stunted.

My tomatoes... They're putting out lots of blooms and green tomatoes. I'm HOPING that they'll make it into the fall, at least long enough to produce. If not, I'll have to start looking up how to make them stretch into fall. Cover them all up with plastic? They have me a bit worried, as they're somewhat cutting it close. Our summer really begins to end in September, though it can continue on for a while. Here's hoping.

My little pumpkin plant looks like it has a few small pumpkins on it, which makes me pretty thrilled, and my other cucumbers are beginning to produce long cucumbers. My basil is coming up high and strong. I need to be better about pinching off blooms so the plant continues to produce. I still have plenty of lettuce, and broccoli, and arugula.

To plant? My kale. Oops. That should have been done a while ago. I'm thinking about a fall spinach crop too, if that's possible. Must research.

The big apple tree (came with the yard) is beginning to really churn out apples. One looks sweet, one looks crabapple-ish. I'm hoping to make cider soon. We were going to do that last weekend, but it just dawned coldish out and not really inspiring cidering. Apple sauce DEFINITELY needs to be made, asap, and canned up. I am 100% out of homemade apple sauce, and there are calls for it by my friends. Yummy chunky vanilla-y cinnamon goodness.

I think the pear tree (again, with the house) and plum tree (also with house) will begin to churn out fruit soon too. Those aren't as numerous, so I'll have to coordinate with the neighbors, who also share an interest in the trees. The apple tree-- there are MORE than enough to go around.

And finally, the blackberries are finally getting in-season. I'm trying to stay up with them and make lots of jam. We promised B's parents that we'd send some jam back to them asap for B's dad to give to some coworkers. I find it very easy to go out in the evening, spend a few minutes picking, and make a few jars of jam. Last night? 5 jam jars (half pints, I believe). I'm pretty happy because I can cut down on the sugar and add some pectin. Keeps the taste of the berries without gobs of sugar. Yumm. A few more jars and the box will be ready to send off!

In my freezer this winter, I expect to have: shucked peas (done) and whole peas (done), basil pesto (done), garlic scapes (picked but not done), spinach (if a second crop is possible), carrots, cut up fruit (apples, hopefully, and some others... not in big quantities though), squash, and beans. Tomatoes too, depending on how many I get and what I decide to do. Canned up will be tomatoes, applesauce and jam. Dried will be apples, other fruit, berries, and, hopefully, yin-yang beans. In storage will be potatoes, onions, garlic, and some herbs. I think that's pretty decent for year 1.

I need to begin review of winter gardening up here. It's a tad tricky. But I will post as I forage ahead!

Photos of the garden to hopefully come tomorrow. :)

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