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August, 2015 | Scuff Productions

High Summer August Days. Thin the Garden

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Friday August 14, 2015

The raw season-ending-coming-soon weather changes that come in “High” summer sometimes take your breath away. Roses…..the “springtime” wonder…..have mostly gone, but those that are left are appreciated all the more in their dry hot weather beauty:


okay. NO time to sit around in “August” of high summer smiling at roses….. work is finally “required” in the vegetable garden. Simply because, the production there is NOW at a point harvest must happen……..THIS is the point one works for in the 3 months that lead up to this. Some things had to be done NOW:

**Thin/Prune some Bay Laurel branches poking through the deer fence. I wish people would take some…cook with ’em fresh, or dry them…… it’s cool to have the plant that gives us “Bay Leaves” in the yard:


This year, I surrendered the north end row of the garden to mostly “Volunteer” plants since with most damp years we don’t see these, so it was simply an experiment. … but in this row are 2 kinds of tomatoes, 2 tomatillos, a bunch of garlic plants and then some planted chard, thyme, rhubarb…. The bay laurel is at the end….but I was amazed how BIG even these volunteers got and how much they too are fruiting:


The Tomato rows begin with some “Stupice” (Russian) heirloom tomatoes that truly work well at our altitude, they are early, perfectly tasting like a big slicer…..We and a couple neighbors have been dining off these are 3 weeks now almost ev day….delicious:


And the other 1st plant in the row is the SUNGOLD, our favorite ‘cherry’ tomato…. that plant is absolutely FULL of fruit… this next month, there will soon be “spares”…..we won’t be able to eat all of them:


This was an “experiment”….an Italian huge Slicer tomato (oops…forgot name at moment)….but the plant and fruit are SO heavy, you can SEE that it’s bending the tomato cage itself:


**I’ve mentioned on the FB how, since Aug 5, I’ve been pruning these plants back, and maybe this can show you why…..I HAVE TO…..they’re producing lots of fruit yes, but STILL growing vines/branches….and in 4 weeks….by mid-September, weather will be changing and not in the Tomato Plant’s favor. So TODAY, THESE rows all got a major cutback of vines:


now, at the Southern end of the garden…..this early cool crop row of what was lettuce/chard, celery, is finally been chopped out….we had enough Chard to get tired of it…..I’m NOW awaiting to see just how the corn Does RIPEN up…’s about done with the tassels dropping pollen period:


2nd Harvest of the Oregano meant… went into the compost heap….1st harvest produced 2 quarts of dried oregano……. too bad I couldn’t have sold it…it’s one hardy annual:


And Thyme was harvested…….now drying in our Dining Room:


It DID well….smells wonderful:


I sure don’t KNOW what KIND of heirloom Zucchini Michael & missy gave us this year, but it’s unquestionable that it’s been the most amazing squash plant I’ve ever seen….. Rodger’s made zucchini bread 3x and plans more:


Now…the Tomatillo Plants are coming into season….and even though I cut BACK the number of plants THIS was a summer with weather perfect for these guys…..I will have MORE than I’ll want to turn into salsa….will have to give some away within a couple weeks:

THIS……was the tomato harvest TODAY…… (will do this again in 2-3 days):


And what garden is complete without a few of these guys blooming by August…..2 of ours are already finished pollination, now drooping, and seeds beginning to form……by November, they are Perfect Bird Feeding plants out there….they remain standing until the seeds are all eaten:

And THIS GARDEN… AUGUST… one of the BIG reasons Mark doesn’t have much life outside of being home…………..but it’s exactly WHY one DOES do the tiring work of the 3 months leading UP to this….to see, enjoy, preserve, eat, etc etc…..the beauty that grows out there.

that’s all folks!

pickled days of August

Bloged in General Home Life by mark Tuesday August 4, 2015

Here’s where a pickle w/e begins, the Pumpkin Patch Produce Farm down on Sauvie Island. It’s an old wonderful place, wonderful owners, and like all land down there, at the very confluence of the Willamette & Columbia Rivers, it’s 20-30 ft deep loam soil has been flowing down that Columbia Gorge for a couple mil years….so it’s rich:


First task is to calculate how many supplies you’ll need buy finding out just how ‘many’ quarts the cousins hope to take home…..we came up to around 100……. To make 100 quarts of pickles, it will require:

*about 100 lbs of cucumbers
*about 15 bundles of fresh dill weed (from a farm hopefully, the store bundles are small and wilted
*a few dozen garlic cloves…..and these you’ll find more varied than you’d think depending on where you look…..this years fresh garlic came from West Union Gardens.
*Dried Red Peppers. Purely for aesthetics, and that Grandma & Aunt Merle both used them.
*Fresh serrano & Habanero peppers.. . . . . as folks have gotten used to the habaneros, this year the split was 50-50….. so these are ‘winning’ over appetites.
*Fresh Grape Leaves….from our yard
*dried alum – 1/8 tsp per jar. Reputedly helps retain crispness.
*Canning Salt – about 10 lbs
*Vinegar – about 3 gallons.
*optional…..and we haven’t added…….. bit of dried mustard seed and/or celery seed.

Everything but the cucumbers and dill weed may be bought earlier, but those last two items are best fresh…and bought ONE DAy earlier than the pickle day…once home, the cucumbers are rinsed, blossom end cut (to avoid spoilage),

brining cukes

and brined overnight:

cukes prep1

Over a few days time, hopefully, the house has been prepped so that just before the cousin-crew shows up, we’re ready:

pre pickel

And HERE is where the day gets lost in business…..not another pic taken until we were done….I wanted 2-3 to show the mess that this can be at times, but NO….we were all moving too fast…..talking the whole time, it’s a great little family event:

ray pickled 2015

This all began when there was only ONE Aunt left alive ….and by luck, she still made her mother’s pickles, lots of them……Here’s Grandma Ray’s written recipe, and Aunt Merle’s Notes….. the pic on the left is used on the label…it’s Grandma Ray at 16:

pickle label n grama write

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