Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

The sun is up around 5 a.m. and so am I.  It stays light until around 9:30 p.m.  Today is the longest day -- meaning the day with the most light -- of the year. 

Lucky for us, the day started with thunder and light rain.  It appears it will end that way, too, although the middle of the day was overcast and dry.

Happy with rain yesterday, I quickly plugged in tomato seedlings in the plastic garden.  Two more blueberry bushes which had been sitting on the porch were also planted in the garden.  I'm thinking I'll concentrate on perennials and self-seeding plants.  Shallots and fennel are prominent in the garden.  Yesterday, I processed a big pot of purple beans.  I didn't plant a single bean.  I've already got enough frozen to last about two years. 

The apricots are ripening at a rapid rate.  I'm racing the birds and other critters to get my share.  Processing is tedious but well worth the effort.  I'm freezing the peeled and pitted fruit until the day I'll make jams.

Here is an idea of how the landscape looked after the recent rain:
Click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Good Life

We're easing into Summer.  We've already had a few days in the high nineties and then gotten a little rain with impressive lightning and thunder which took us back to lower temperatures and less humidity.  It seems we're in for more hot days this coming week.

This is all fine for the continuing haying.  High temps bake the grass dry and little rain doesn't really affect the process of raking and baling.

I'm in my normal Summer mode -- getting out early to do chores and whatever gardening I can manage and then retreating to the house until evening.  I got my own battery powered chainsaw, so can cut small trees to neaten up the landscape.  I cut up much dead pussywillow and wild grapevine this morning.

During the day yesterday and today, I bottled the 2010 wines which were stored in carboys in the basement.  I taste a small bit of each one before bottling so as not to waste time if the wine isn't up to par. 

Not a single wine was spoiled.  Some are very good, others just good.  Those of you who might be wondering about the yellow tomato wine:  It has a slightly tomato-y taste with lemon and ginger supporting.  It's what you'd call an "interesting" wine and one that may improve with age.  It's a lovely golden color.  'Not something you'd normally expect in a wine.  It does pack a punch, however! 

The tomato wine made me think of the potent peapod wine made by the Goods in the PBS series, "The Good Neighbors."  It was a 1975 series about what we now call Urban Homesteaders.  They lived in a middle class neighborhood and when Tom Good lost his job, they decided to become self-sufficient by raising fruit and vegetables and even acquiring chickens, a pig and a milk goat named Geraldine.  Tom managed to figure out how to generate power using the methane from animal manure.

Everything old is new again.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


"May" rhymes with "Hay" and every year it's a game of dodge the raindrops while surviving extreme heat.  Today is June 1st and the heat is on!

All around us, farmers are making hay.  The weather may cooperate this week, but dealing with equipment malfunctions is trying and delays progress.  Same old same old.

The first golden daylilies are blooming.  Asparagus is plentiful and requires daily picking.  I blanch and freeze as quantities require.  I never got around to planting the vegetable garden, but chard, tomatoes, and beans have volunteered.  The beans have grown to the top of the trellis.  There is much fruit on the trees, but the black raspberries are late this year.

The cows are happy to be in deep grass and the goats are fat and finding plenty of browse under the grass.  Baby goats are growing.  Some are already half the size of their mothers.