FALL. End of garden season comes. It gives Deer Hope!

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Friday September 30, 2011

With incoming rain forecast all next week, temps dropping to 40′s, there’s nothing that will keep the last of the tomato fruits healthy. The garden was picked the last two days….and cleanup of the space has begun for the season end. It’s been with mixed feelings I’ve been out there beginning the space clean up, putting away tools, cages, etc. With the DEER Fence going away, deer will find the space in a week or two and help with the cleanup.

These super ripe tomatoes have been in the kitchen for a few days awaiting disposition, and I’m finally noting my “ripe summer tomato” craving finally getting its fill:

These two little tomato groups have been picked in the last two days, and are far enough along, that they should ripen okay in the next several days:

Some of the big sunflowers collapsed with the last rain/windy event, so SOME are now cut and drying in the living room. THEY will become bird food:

The cilantro plant going To seed had been pulled 2-3 weeks ago, and here it is awaiting my cleaning it. The seeds are READY for storage for 2012 planting:

Peppers are now drying and ripening in the garage:

Cayenne:

**and there are 3 Habaneros also hanging in the same place.

Here’s part of dismantling a summer garden….the deer fence is down, rolled and ready…. the tomato cages are slowly being reclaimed for storage:

That leaves the garden exposed (fuzzy pic):

The north end almost bare:

BUT…..a FEW things are still there. The Fennel Seed is hoping for another 3-4 weeks to get ready for harvest:

MAC hopes the carrots will be kept right here to be selected one at a time for HIM only:

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And THAT brings us to the canning event of the summer…… OUR home tomatoes are best enjoyed sliced, lightly salted, and devoured. For pasta, Romas are the best….and Rodger wanted some for winter. We picked up a big box at Sauvie Island and spent a day on that……… We have had what we thought was only a “fruit” mill that separated most of the pulp from the seed…. Rodger saw the SAME machine (for a lot more money) in one of the big catalogs but called a Tomato Press. WELL! We pulled that out and saved ourselves LOTS of SLOW work getting the ‘maters peeled, and ready for the stove:

Yes, it was a beautiful thing to watch. After a couple run throughs of that little machine, the sauce looked beautiful:

It filled this stockpot, but 2-3 hours later was down to this:

After cooling, into the containers it went and is now beautifully frozen for one of the finest Tomato Pasta Sauces I’ve ever enjoyed:

Obviously, we’ve accepted that summer’s over. NOW back to getting rid of this cold I seem to have picked up from Rodger, who, it appears picked up at the Further Show last weekend in Eugene. Ah, to be human!

GARDEN 2011… The End is in Sight. Sigh.

Bloged in garden,General Home Life,Pacific Northwest,Portland,Scuff Boys by mark Wednesday September 14, 2011

Awakening to foggy morning, dark later, cooler days, shorter light spans, the garden is doomed. Until then, however, busy busy busy, yes, like the ant and the grasshopper! I wanted to save some of this 2011 Sept memory to see NEXT year late-summer ….. just in case THAT year’s harvest is a bust. Hah.

Some things are about done….The herb row for one (except for the fennel seeds that are JUST beginning to form:

***These will be harvested in about a month….dried slowly, and we’ll have a big supply ready*** Bruce and Kevin? Ready for your shipment? )
The Oregano (closest) has been harvested, dried, and is being used in salsa. Thyme awaits cutting for drying, and the celery will be around until November for kitchen use:

On the other end, things ARE looking perhaps a bit ragged now, but somewhere in this picture there are hundreds of hot peppers that, will either be used fresh, or when it gets some colder, will be cut and dried for use through the year:

***The cilantro in that pic IS going to seed….I’ll have enough out of that to keep us in the herb through next summer and beyond.

The NEW HARVEST BEGINNING TODAY? CORN! Here’s the Corn Chowder ready for supper tonight:

**and there’s a big bowl of sauteed fresh corn to add to that if one wants ……BODACIOUS corn! VERY Sweet.

There is ONE HUGE thing making the garden still look spectacular. SUNFLOWERS. It truly is a beautiful space right now….FULL of BEES everywhere. Here’s the big view:

Nice!

Things HAVE been coming along nicely……. the Sungolds will STILL be giving up those little golden gems for a couple weeks at least:

The Tomatillos will ALSO continue to ripen perhaps into the 1st of October, and I’ll probably have enough to make another double batch by Friday:

BUT….for The last 3-4 days, besides what we’ve eaten and given away, or taken to a dinner, THESE are ON the island awaiting some attention……. ***AND PLEASE, CLICK on the PICTURE…..You MUST see it in its FULL POSE!!!!****


**NOTE: Tomorrow nite, Rodger will make a fabulous “sauce” with some, and I’ll roast the others. Some of his sauce will be in the freezer with the roasted ones.

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Other than that we have FINALLY made SERIOUS progress about cleaning up the downed tree mess. Remember all those stump pieces in the yard:

Here’s that same view now:

Lookin’ better, but will need to re-seed the lawn in the fall:

Then, there were TWO rows of big branches to saw, split, move, and stack:
.

NOW, there’s ONE left that will be gone by weekend:

Must post….. many other tasks of catch-up to do still……….. **NOTE here: Wednesday, weather appears to seriously be downgrading . .. not bad, but not good enough to ripen tomatoes further….. Must plan on freezing corn next.

September Heat Wave: Garden Harvest gets BIG boost

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday September 8, 2011

So, it’s 90 outside for the 2nd day in a row, and four more to go. A month ago I “knew” we wouldn’t ever get ripe corn this year. And, as always, you can NEVER KNOW in Portland what kind of summer you’re gonna have…..

Yesterday’s Harvest:

Those Tomatillos were combined with some picked a bit earlier and TWO batches of Tomatillo Salsa were made. Here’s a bit of the work…you clean/cut/chop the tomatillos to measure just HOW much you’ll have, and then you can cut/chop the rest of the ingredients to match what you need.

Garlics….about 6-8 in each batch:

Onions: about 4 cups in each batch get pulsed in the blender:

Seasonings:

*Oregano – our own from this years garden…recently finished drying
***that little container holds: DRIED Serranos from last year…..yes, a few of those flakes go into THIS year’s salsa…
*Cumin – no, can’t grow that here
*salt
*pepper
*lemon juice

All’s combined, brought to a boil, then slowed to a bitty simmer for 20 minutes, poured into the jars, and here we have the finish of yesterday’s salsa:

WHILE THAT was happening, I gathered some of the tomatoes laying around. Here gettin’ em ready to work:

CUT them in halves, coated them with a bit of Olive Oil, and placed into the roasting pan:

Into the oven at a low 300 for 2 1/2 hours, cooled, and soon they’re in little storage units for freezing….

But THAT’s not all…..won’t those roasted tomatoes need some pesto for that sauce? THE BASIL was READY for harvest!

We ONLY have two plants, but the Genovese variety truly holds on all summer, smells luscious, and here’s what I’m ready to clean and blend:

INTO the processor with a bit of lemon, olive oil, salt and soon the pesto is scooped onto the cookie sheet then frozen:

***Tomorrow morning, I’ll put the frozen nuggets into baggies and save ‘em for cold dark days. YUM.

WHAT a GREAT LATE SUMMER we’ve ended up with! MORE tomatoes tomorrow! (AND WATERING…..whew! this heat’s drying us up).

A Nancy M remembrance ………about Nancy P

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Wednesday September 7, 2011

I missed the gathering a couple weeks ago of the cousins Workman and all their families…. High in the southern Blue Mountain Range of Eastern Oregon they were…. there to spread ashes of their beloved sister and our beloved 1st cousin Nancy P. My other beloved “Nancy”, Nancy Minor spent many summers with Nancy P (Workman) either in Vale or up in the forested logging country of Bates…….

Nancy is here with us, and Nancy Minor, all of us pickling…..She is wearing the earrings.

She wrote this poetic tribute about nancy and recited it at the gathering:
= = = = == =
To Nancy

Ichiro is slumping this year.
In Seattle, Spring struck out completely.
Summer balked on delivery until nearly August.
You would have been furious with all of them.
I can see you now,pacing the room,
gesturing at the television, venting your disgust.
“We need a new manager,” you’d say.

But Nancy, remember when Jr. came back in 2009?
Remember the joy he brought?
How he made Ichiro laugh?
How he made them a team again?
How he brought the mojo with him?

You took our mojo, Nancy, and
this whole damn team’s in a slump.
The pickles needed extra peppers.
The flowers needed to be reminded to bloom.
Your sisters pick up the phone to call, then choke on the memory.
Your brothers listen for a voice
they will no longer hear.
Bruce and J must relearn how to live
in a world without you in it.

But it’s August now.
The Mariners have always slumped
in August
And every August you looked ahead.
“Wait ‘til next year,” you would say.
Grief, too, has a season.
Somehow time softens the ragged edges
like an alchemist turning lead into gold,
and pain becomes remembering.

Till then we’ll wait, Nancy,
and hold one another in this
quiet meadow,
and remember:
How you made us laugh
How you knitted this team together
How you brought the mojo with you.

I can hear you yelling now,
“Get your heads back in the game!”
Oh, Nancy, we will.
Just not right now, not today.
Wait ‘til next year.

–Nancy Minor

I SO wish I could write as beautifully as Nancy and Elissa. We sure miss our cousin.

Garden Harvest and MORE. ‘maters ‘n apricots

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Thursday September 1, 2011

There is NOTHING a hobby gardener does anytime in the year that brings joy until a harvest begins. It’s September 1 today, and after all the early worries of the season, and LAST years wet disappointment, I’m doing the happy feet! I now can BARELY walk in the rows in that garden….the plants are HUGE.

Everything is turning out fantastic! Growth explosions everywhere! Another heat wave predicted next week may JUST produce Bodacious Sweet Corn (I just cut off the tassels today to help)……

**CLICK on any of the pics for a better view of what real food looks like……heh heh.

Tomatoes are producing at their peak. EVERY day or two I’m getting these fully ripe luscious Russian short-season tomatoes, and finally need to do something besides slice, salt, and eat ‘em, these are DELICIOUS…..this variety was PERFECT for OUR climate:

Along with those, I’m picking a bowlful of the little orange cherry heirlooms: SUNGOLDS:

THEY are the FINEST cherry tomato I know….FULL flavored, sweet, great texture, and a BIG producer…….. They’re the largest tomato plants we have in the garden….hundreds of ‘maters on the vines.

So, despite continued moving, stacking of our cut wood, I got a couple things done this week. The one NOT from the garden was unexpected. We thought we’d MISSED our chance to make apricot jam…. But cool weather stretched the season a bit, and I scored a box of ‘em this week. Luscious Tilton Apricots:

After coring, cutting, they’re in the pot and here was the first batch lookin’ more and more like JAM:

After 5 hours, I finished the 30th jar…. so averaged 10 minutes time per jar, but this will be fun to cook with, and simply enjoy this winter. The JAM SEASON for THIS house is done for 2011:

FROM the GARDEN! The tomatillos are ripening! I got enough for two batches, first of the year, and after all the conflict earlier, just proud I’ve got some for dipping them chips in:

A GREAT week…..(Next WEEK we BOTH will make DILLED BEANS.)

SO MUCH is happening, I hope I can catch this little diary up on something besides the garden……. remember to write about Garrison Keillors show in Bend, and about cousin Nancy’s Memorial high up in the Blue Mountains.

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