Monday, July 29, 2013

Smokey Wildfires

Wednesday night Southern Oregon experienced more than 200 lightning strikes. Several of these strikes erupted into fire and a portion of the fires have grown in size. Each day we have watched the sky, the sun, the horizon, the ashes, and the smoke. The fires form a large horseshoe shaped perimeter around the Rogue Valley. The pictures are posted from the most recent (today) to the beginning stages of the fire as seen from our farm. Today our county was declared a state of emergency. This is not to cause worry so much as it is to get federal assistance. It was a good call by our county commissioners to bring in reinforcements as quickly as possible and to assist in fire suppression where it is closest to people and homes. Some of the more remote areas and the ones closest to the fires were given evacuation orders. Our local fairgrounds and some of the schools are acting as a safe haven for these residents. Other areas of the fire are so remote and so rugged in our Southern Oregon canyons that smoke jumpers and fire rappellers have been called in to support the air tankers and helicopters and land crews. The Big Windy Complex fire in the heart of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River remains 0% contained. Fire Officials may need to close the river to rafters to protect public safety. The air quality ebbs and flows with the shifting of wind and the heat of the blaze. Let's all keep our brave firefighters in our thoughts and prayers~

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sunflowers and Zinnias

Blooming gardens make smiling gardeners! Plant a few extra flowers into the vegetable garden and it will attract a bigger variety of pollinators and make happy farmers!
Today it was 104 degrees in Southern Oregon. The thermometer read 97 degrees in the tucked away and shadiest spot on the farm. The garden loves the heat as long as there is plenty of water.
Just beginning to open up for the sunshine and bright yellow petals.
Seems to be unflolding before our eyes. By tomorrow morning this pretty flower will be in full bloom.
These girls are ready for a party and so bright and cheery.
Sunflowers also make for a dramatic show especially with the nearly visible heat waves and clouds thinking about gathering together for thunder.
Aaaah, the zinnias! They are planted below, between, beside the sunflowers and are reaching for their height! The garden party is ready~

Fish Tacos and Homegrown Corn Salsa

Visiting the garden is the best inspiration for meal planning especially when most of the garden is ripe!
The harvest dinner basket came back with corn (from the neighbor), bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, cilantro, and banana peppers. All the makings for corn salsa, especially when adding some freshly squeezed lime juice, and salt and pepper! There were also some happy zinnias that are bursting in blossoms with the heat we have been having lately.
There were cod fish pieces, thanks to Trader Joe's and the freezer which would be perfect for a fish taco. They were breaded with an Irish beer batter which includes egg and Deschutes Brewery Twilight Summer Ale. The fish fried up nicely in some olive oil in the cast iron skillet.
The table was set with everything we needed to put the fish tacos together: corn salsa, cabbage sliced thin, grated cheese, corn tortillas, and flowers in the beer bottle!
Mmmmm, fresh fish tacos with corn salsa...what could be better for dinner tonight?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sweet Corn Pickers

Our neighbor grows corn. He grows a lot of corn! Organic corn, conventional corn, feed corn, organic feed corn! He even makes Kettle corn!! Farmer Bob has asked for a little help during this growing season for the harvest of corn and vegies. The crops are growing with vigor and in abundance. The Farm Stand is open, Grower's Markets are thriving, and locally owned grocers are also carrying their produce.
In the fields ready for the second round of picking. Wheelbarrows are pushed through the rows of corn and two sides are picked at a time. A row between each picker insures a clean harvest. Today we only picked the "top ear" of corn. There will be a second harvest in this field of corn.
Corn as far as the eye can see. Don't let the cloud cover fool you! It is hot and muggy work even in Southern Oregon. The fields of corn have their own micro climate in addition to just being heavily watered the night before!
Wheelbarrow half full. This corn is ready for the picking and picking only the top ear leaves the field available for a second harvest. The bottom ear of corn has not reached maturity yet. In a few more weeks it will be harvested.
The corn picking queens and I filled the back of a full size truck in two hours. It took three passes with our wheelbarrows to load the truck for market. Roughly three thousand ears of corn. The load of golden sweet corn will be stored in the cool lower level of the big barn with damp blankets over the corn to keep it from drying out. This corn is ready to be sold at market in the morning.
Field stations at the ready! The wheelbarrows are left to mark the end of the picking and the beginning of the next run. This field will be picked again on Friday and continuing on where we left off today. There are many rows of corn left to harvest before we begin on the bottom ears.
Tools of the trade: gloves, boots, water bottle, hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, a happy heart, and amazing sweet corn!~

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yellow Wax Beans

Mmmmm. I love Yellow Wax Beans. They are tender, tasty, and full of fresh garden flavor. They are pretty, too!
We have been picking the yellow wax beans about two times a week right now and feeling spoiled that the pretty little purple blossoms keep producing! The beans are delicious right off of the bush.
They are also delightful made into Dilly Beans with some green tomatoes, garlic, pepper, and dill. This is a pickled preserve and so refreshing especially in the middle of winter when nothing will satisfy the need for a garden snack.
Finally, a fresh one bean salad is a favorite this summer. The yellow wax beans were cooked until tender. Drained. Cooled. Add a chopped garden tomato or two, slice up some fresh from the garden basil leaves, thinly sliced onion or green onion, and top it all off with your favorite Italian dressing or balsamic vinaigrette. There you have it, a refreshing one bean salad! How do you use your yellow wax beans?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

From the Garden

A purple heart hug for Trina! xo