Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Slowly.... canning starts.

As usual... the first part of the canning season for us is pickled beets! I always plant way to few... so when it comes canning time, I cherish every one I can get. 4 pints done... one eaten already, so 3 in the pantry. I have a few more pints to do today. I will need to get these started early since we have a threat of severe weather coming in this afternoon.
Charlotte has her little piggies out and about. They are laying out in the yard more than the hut now. I just love baby pigs. Watching them learn to push those tiny little noses into the mud.... scampering across their yard... I could watch them all day!
I haven't had time to work on the fence in a few days... this hot muggy weather has been perfect for things to grow...weeds! Why do weeds grow so fast!?? Speaking of "weeds" Last night I was picking the red clover from the edges of the garden fence, for the pigs when I came across this!
These are Plantain leaves. HUGH leaves! I have never seen them get so big. Plantain is a "new to me" plant that is really good for a person. Use the young leaves, the tender ones for a lot of different uses. Steep for a tea...crunch up a few and apply to bug bites, dry them and use them in soups or stews, add a few fresh leaves to your salad. I have been trying to learn about the uses of many leaves and such, many might consider weeds or useless. I will be drying the mint, plantain, blackberry leaves for a delicious tea. Dry them and store them in separate jars to keep them fresh for later use. Seems everything is really growing well this year. Our grapes are really putting on a show!
If I remember right, we planted these about 4 years ago. The hubby built the harbor for them to grow on. We are currently battling Birds Eye Rot on them. I was told I could spray them with an antifungal... however we do not use chemicals here. So, I am just trying to keep them open, and letting the sun take care of the fungus. It seems to be working so far. Several people tell me that I need to trim them back. " If you prune them right they will produce a LOT better for ya" Well, I don't prune them. For one, I don't know HOW to do it "right" and I don't want to take the chance of cutting off the wrong areas, and for two, I really don't have the time. So, we let them grow " Natural " Last year I picked about 2 bushels fro this little Harbor. I think they are doing just fine without pruning. The garden seems to be coming right along. Cucumbers about the size of my index finger. ( SO EXCITED about that, I drool when I walk past them) The potato's seem to be doing great. They grew, I covered, they grew more, I covered more....now they are blooming and setting on their "fruit" The tomato plants are at least 5 ft tall now, just loaded with green tomato's. It won't be long until I will be elbow deep in pasta sauces. The green beans are blooming...should be canning them in a few weeks. We still have about 30 pints of green beans in the pantry. I am excited to know...I canned plenty last year to get us through. Same with the corn, still 15 or so pints in there. The onions are just starting to grow bulbs. They are only about the size of a bantam chicken egg. I know I didn't plant enough to get us through winter... next year I will triple the amount I planted this year. Towards the end of July, I will be working just over a week out at the military training base. Only 8 days of work will net enough to buy winter hay, do a tune up on the tractor, new shocks for my truck and possibly brakes as well. Well, it is almost 8 am here, I need to get outside and get started before the bad weather gets here. I hope your gardens and critters are growing and prospering for you. Lets get out there and get busy! Before we know it, the snow will be flying again...and we will be breaking ice in water troughs. *sigh* Time seems to be flying so fast. Busy, busy, busy!

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