Summertime!

Haven’t blogged in AGES!  But that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening around here!

No sweet lambs this year – which has made things relatively quiet.  Instead, we’ve invested more time in family, the garden, spinning yarn, and raising meat chickens.

I’ve just about finished spinning what I could of our spring fleeces.  Spring wool isn’t of the best quality – after throwing hay around all winter and having snow on their backs, the wool just doesn’t look as nice.  Plus, there is a natural wool break that occurs throughout the late winter/early spring and this causes the old wool to separate while the new wool is growing in which just causes nasty felting in between – NOT fun to try to spin from the lock, but I did manage to get several hanks and had the pleasure of spinning some of my favorite colored ewes that I normally never get to spin because their fleeces get snatched up by our customers so quickly!  Yes, the wool isn’t the nicest – more hay chaff and such – but one day I will put our loom to good use and makes some awesome rugs!  I won’t care about hay chaff for those!

Things are much more quiet today.  Our awesome meat birds went to freezer camp yesterday.  Here is their now quiet coop…

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I can proudly say that our younger boys raised these birds almost all by themselves – keeping up with food and water and moving them around the pasture as many as 4 times a day!  We had great help with butchering and since this is our third year and the kids are getting older and more capable, the whole process is beginning to get more efficient!  We were then able to enjoy a wonderful chicken barbecue afterwords with the wonderful people who helped us. Nothing better that truly fresh chicken!  We added a new dish to the traditional after-butchering barbecue and had grilled chicken hearts!  Can’t let anything go to waste.  Even many of the other entrails went to a friend for bait.  And today I continued to make use of organ meat and made over 6 pounds of chicken liver pate – most of which is in the freezer!

 

The garden is doing so well.  It truly got off to a slow start with such a prolonged and cool spring – and now, even, a relatively cool summer (no, I’m NOT complaining!)

Here are our paste tomatoes – San Marzano’s and plums…We love the system of using the sheep fencing stretched between T posts to help the plants stay up.  We have pretty strong winds up here and tomato cages blow down at the most inconvenient stages of plant growth – usually when the plant is about 4 feet tall and laden with tomatoes!  No falling down with this fence! And we have everything in the garden in rows this year – so neat and tidy thanks to that red beast of a rototiller seen in the background!

 

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A nice crop of basil – we’ve already picked from it a few times.  Looks like we’re about ready to make some pesto!

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We have been putting the cucumbers on the same fence as the tomatoes.  Saves a lot of space letting them crawl up the fence, and less rotting of cucumbers on the ground.

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Peppers LOVE our place!  So much sunshine!  Can’t believe how big some of them are already!  And lots of blossoms, too!

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This year we tried some red basil – kinda neat, but not nearly as hardy a plant as the traditional green…

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A first for us this year – scallions.  Yeah – stupid me always thought that scallions were just baby onions – so when I needed some, I’d just pull some early onions.  Now we have the real thing!  And they’re doing great!

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The girls planted nasturtiums this year for edible flowers for their cakes or salads.  Fun!

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Some more herbs – dill and cilantro.  Wish we had some tomatoes to go with that cilantro!  Had to pick a bunch of it today before it went to seed, it’s growing so fast!  Time to make green salsa with our frozen tomatillos from last year, I guess, until we get tomatoes!

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We’ve been picking kale for a couple of weeks now.  This is our second crop, which I’m pretty sure is going to overlap quite a bit with our first crop, which is truly thriving!  We can’t get enough kale chips during the summer!

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Here are our tomatoes – several heirlooms and sun golds and grape tomatoes, as well as some old standbys…

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Cantaloupe

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Watermelon

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Butternut squash

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Husk cherry goldies.  These are SO sweet!  I hope we get enough this year to make jam!

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Our sweet corn crop!

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Acorn and carnival squash

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The asparagus is done…allowing it to flower and rest until next year…

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The zucchini has grown like weeds the past couple of days!  This year we bought a mixture of types of summer squash, so ya never know what you’ll get on a vine!

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The pumpkin patch…another first for us this year!  We never had room before because we didn’t plant in rows.  This has made things much more space-efficient!  And finally we have room for pumpkins!

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We even had room for a second type of white potato!  These are fingerlings…

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Can’t forget the sweet potatoes!  Best crop yet!  The plants were so healthy when they arrived, and we planted them within an hour or so of UPS’s arrival!DSC02702

Loads of leeks! (and some weeds in between the rows)

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Our second crop of lettuce starting to germinate.  Should be ready when the first crop starts to bolt in the summer heat.DSC02699

Our Italian been crop has taken off!  Buds are forming – beans in a couple of weeks, max!  Our other beans failed in two plantings, which is so unusual!  We’ve been planting them for years and always have success unless it’s too cold.  Gurney’s was kind enough to replace our seeds so hopefully the one’s we’ve planted over the past week will sprout!

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Sunflowers will make the garden pretty this year!  They’re already starting to follow the sun around the sky!

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Two kinds of peas – these on the trellis will be shelling peas.  They’ll be ready in less than a week.

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The onions are looking great!

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Purple carrots – probably will need thinning soon…

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And the delicious snow peas!  Sauteed with butter or thrown in a salad – or nibbled in the garden!  Yum!DSC02693

 

We’ll be picking beets soon!  We’ve already enjoyed the greens in a casserole!DSC02690

The first kale crop – about 4 different varieties!  Fun!

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Here’s our first planting of lettuce.  We literally can’t keep up with it!

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Swiss chard…we’ve been picking this for a couple of weeks now!  Does much better than spinach, and taste equally good!

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The Kennebec potatoes have really taken off!  It was so wet initially that we thought we lost quite a few, but they’ve already been hilled once and are due for a second hilling – they’re also already flowering!DSC02686

Our garlic patch.  We’ve been picking scapes (the seed pod on a stalk) and having them in place of garlic.

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And the strawberry patch!  Picking a few quarts every day – getting lots in the freezer to enjoy long after the season is over in smoothies and jam!DSC02685

And here’s the garden from a distance – not much to see, but that’s a good thing because it means that the weeds haven’t taken over… yet!

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Stopped to visit the rams…Drover must have just eaten something tasty – he’s licking his lips

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Boomer’s showing off his horn…DSC02679

 

The girls are enjoying a rest after grazing the lush pasture and enjoying the mild summer so far.DSC02667

And our dinner accompaniments…picked within hours of consumption!  That’s the way to go!

Snow peas…

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Chard…DSC02730

 

Strawberries…DSC02735

 

Scapes…DSC02737

 

 

Which reminds me – Those strawberries are still sitting on the counter!  Better get the rest of them cleaned and in the fridge for breakfast!

 

Later!

2 comments on “Summertime!

  1. Rob Sawyer says:

    That is a SERIOUS garden! Are you going commercial with all that variety?

  2. Ah! You forget, Rob, that we have a family of 10, now with 2 adult children!! We eat a lot! But we do sell a bit…and as the family grows up and eventually moves out, we may be able to sell more…or we may just end up starting to feed grandkids!! LOL!!

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