Saturday, July 19, 2014

In the Garden Now

Zinnias with a wonderful pollinator attract beneficial insects to the garden.

Peaches the size of our hands!!

The peach tree is bulging and bursting and needs help holding her branches up so boards are used to support the weight of the fruit on the tree.

The first Irish Eyes sunflower to bloom.

Many more Irish Eyes are ready to bloom. Their buds seem to twinkle as much as Irish Eyes!

Oh, the broccoli is super sweet this year.

Dill, zinnias, onions, yellow wax beans, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, cabbage...

Our small crop of corn with wind damage. Blood Red Corn and Smoke Signals Corn shades the chicken coop from the late day sunshine along with the sunflowers.

Bursting and budding and blooming and producing. We are now picking daily in the garden!
How does your garden grow?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Peach Picking and Harvest

Looking down on the peach tree! Tim is standing on top of the car port as the tree has produced so much fruit this year, it is easier to pick from above!

This lovely tree is loaded no matter how you look at it!

Up close, the peaches are tree ripened and beautiful. They are super juicy and very sweet. We don't know what variety of peach the tree is, but it seems to be an earlier ripener, cling free, easy to peal and disease resistant.

Picking the low to the ground peaches and waiting for the next call for a full bucket from above.

Three bushels were lined up ready to go, but it wasn't enough!

As soon as the bushel baskets were filled the peaches were taken inside to immediately cool.

Off the roof and hauling bushels into the house.

One little tree and two pickers later we had more than 200 pounds of peaches ready to eat fresh, can, make into jam, peach butter, dehydrate, and a fresh peach cobbler for the evening! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Celebrating the Fourth of July with a strawberry rhubarb slab pie!! We picked over eight pounds of rhubarb last week and there is nothing likes its fresh, clean flavor to make a pot of jam, rhubarb bread or a stars and stripes strawberry rhubarb pie!

Cookie cutter stars helped cut out the pie pastry to make the decorations. A sprinkling of sugar on top of the crust always make a pie feel like a celebration no matter what time of year it is!

These are strawberry rhubarb custard cups topped with meringue. They had stewed strawberries and rhubarb on the bottom, vanilla custard in the middle and fluffy white meringue on top. It is a light, juicy sweet treat for summer time!

Aiden enjoying an applesauce popsicle in front of all of the other goodies!  Cool treats on hot, hot  days are important and today is over 90' and a little sultry for Southern Oregon, so it feels even warmer to a dry heat region!

Picking the first of the peppers which are happily ready today! The sweet banana peppers, basil, zucchini, and another handful of cherry tomatoes are ready in the garden!

Anna came out to help and then ate the peppers right off the vine along with her mom. They also ate the tomatoes in the garden! A fresh ripened tomato is so hard to resist!

Knee high by the Fourth of July? I guess we are at least shoulder high by the Fourth of July with our 'Blood Red' and 'Smoke Signals' corn. This is a good start for corn at our latitude and it is growing with vigor!

A happy family of garden helpers! Anna and Aiden love coming to the garden and they always smell the dill, basil, and cilantro! They also get to taste any treasure that is ready to be eaten in the garden.

Anna showing Papa and Peter the garden collection from the day: 12 banana peppers, 8 cherry tomatoes, several sprigs of basil, and 3 zucchini! They all went on to the lunch table.

Back to the kitchen, Ryan is cutting out polenta stars to keep with the festive theme today! His favorite part was nibbling up the left over stars! See the hardboiled eggs waiting in the background?

Anna loves to make deviled eggs. She knows each step and is ready to make them anytime they come over. Today there were 12 eggs boiled for the lunch table. After Jolene peeled the eggs, Anna was ready to do her magic!

The final touch is a sprinkling of dill.

And of course the best presentation is Anna's wonderfully sweet smile!

Anna's brother's couldn't wait to taster her eggs and as always, they are so encouraging and kind and complimentary! Along with the deviled eggs, we had star shaped polenta with basil, garden sauce with Parmesan cheese melted on top,  green salad with strawberries, cucumbers, and zucchini, and sweet banana peppers. 

After lunch we peeked a the four baby birds in the nest.

Anna age 7, Ryan age 10, Tyler age 9, Aiden age 5! Such happy sweet kids and ready helpers on the farm.

A summer day in July. There is enough shade to find a cool spot!

Celebrating Independence Day, liberty, justice and FREEDOM for all! What a wonderful way to spend a day remembering America's Birthday. America, America, God shed his grace on thee...~~ 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lavender Bundles

Here we are at the first few days of July and the lavender has come into full bloom. It is a haven for the variety of pollinators on the farm and swarming with innocent activity. The bees and butterflies simply want a drink of sweet nectar. There were about ten different bees and butterflies working this one lavender bush.

The swallowtail butterfly was among them searching out the juiciest nectar and flitting and fluttering from sprig to sprig and flower to flower with dainty feet landing and tongue lapping up what sustains this pretty butterfly.

After watching all of the activity and wishing them all well with their work, I joined the hustle and bustle, but gently, so I would not disturb the bees and the butterflies at work in the English Lavender.

Clipping, gathering, and banding 31 sprigs of lavender per bundle, until there were at least fifteen different bundles plus extra miniature stems with lavender flowers. The little cottage garden next to the old farmhouse smells so good. There is plenty of mint growing, sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, lemon balm, roses, hollyhock, snapdragons, day lilies, yarrow, and of course the lovely lavender plants.

Rubber bands that come wrapped around produce in the winter months worked perfectly to hold the lavender bundles together. The lavender can be used for making tea, jelly, lemonade, sauces, salads, 
sachets, or simply decorating in bouquets and freshening the farmhouse.

Then they were hung on the clothes line so that the blossoms pointed toward the ground and they will stay like this for the next few weeks.  The portable clothespin wheel will be moved to a darker place without a chance of a sprinkler shower. By the end of July they will be ready for a little lace and placement at the center of the wedding tables! ~