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Planting fall Crops

August 3rd, 2015

A month or so ago, someone said they couldn’t believe that I didn’t can vegetables for winter eating. I used to can, but I no longer go. I grew up in a canning family, we canned everything under the sun and ate on it all winter long. I guess I’d just rather eat a little more seasonally and I’d rather spend my time in the garden rather than in the kitchen over a canning pot.
canning_tomato_soup 2
Over the past five or so years I’ve been working on growing a wider variety of vegetables  in smaller amounts and in different seasons. Trying to expand the season that I’m harvesting from the garden rather than using from the pantry. I also try to grow things that don’t need preserving, more root vegetables, cabbages, and the like.
cabbages 1
So far I’m doing well with my efforts, we’ve been eating only garden fresh vegetables for the past five months and will continue to do so until at least late November. Once I have a greenhouse we should be able to shorten the hunger gap a little more. I’d also successfully grow chicons, which we can harvest in the dark days of Dec-Feb. Yesterday I planted a lot of things that will feed us in Sept-November: broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes that you pull and hang in the basement, beets, carrots, herbs, and many other things.

There are a few things I will always can, tomato soup, roasted tomato passata, tomatoes, and a few jars of jam for Mr Chiots. Other than that, you’ll find me in the garden.

Do you can your garden vegetables? Do you grow cold hardy or heat tolerant vegetables to harvest during your off season?

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

August 2nd, 2015

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I’m a big believer in stretching your mind by keeping it open, not always focusing on the things that are in line with your way of thinking or your beliefs. Often, when I read/watch/listen outside my normal parameters, I’m pleasantly surprised and sometimes my mindset is changed sometimes I am more sure of my beliefs. It is difficult to do, especially these days when it seems everyone just watches, listens to, and reads things that are in line with their current thoughts and beliefs while berating and looking down on those who think differently. There are times when I don’t recommend books to certain friends because I know they are adamantly opposed to the religious or political views put forth in the book. It makes me sad, because I know if they were able to read with an open mind they’d find much value. You’ll find interesting things on my stack of books a wide variety of topics and viewpoints: Christian, Buddhist, poetry, farming, and more.
I’ve never regretting reading widely, in fact, I think it helps me to understand those who believe differently than I do. So often our minds can be closed and sure that our beliefs are the “correct” ones, even if we have no experience or knowledge of other beliefs. I challenge you to read outside your comfort zone, I guarantee you will come out a much richer person.

What have you been reading lately? 

Friday Favorite: Harvest Season

July 31st, 2015

I love this time of the year when the garden is in full swing. There are things to harvest daily, not just in small amounts like in spring. It’s the season for harvesting armloads of garlic and buckets of potatoes, both of which I did yesterday.
garlic harvest 2012 2
Harvesting potatoes 1
All the spring planted beets are coming in, ready to be pickled into delicious goodness. I’m always in full swing of planting for fall harvest, loads of lettuce, broccoli, peas, cabbage, scallions, and herbs are germinating in soil blocks to be ready when there are empty spaces in the garden. It truly is a wonderful time of year!

What are you harvesting right now?

Yay – Blueberries

July 30th, 2015

I love blueberries, love, love, love them! We always had blueberry bushes growing up and always picked buckets and buckets of them to freeze and enjoy all winter long. Back in Ohio, blueberry bushes were some of the first things we planted in our garden. Luckily, we have a couple blueberry bushes here, only one produces fruit. They all need moved to a better spot, hopefully that will happen this fall.
When it comes to blueberries, I prefer the high bush over the low bush. I like the sourness that they have, they seem more well-rounded in flavor than the low bush, which just seem sweet to me. The low bush are great for baking though, their small size makes the perfect for pancakes, scones, and muffins. We have a big patch of wild low bush berries as well, I just need to get a rake to harvest them.

Do you like blueberries? Do you grow them in your garden? Do you have a preference between high bush or low bush?

Bring on the Weather

July 29th, 2015

One thing I always loved doing when I was younger was watching thunderstorms with my dad. We’d sit on the railing of the balcony or on the porch and watch the storms roll in. It was always so much fun. Lately, we’ve been having a lot of storms around here.
Yesterday evening, I was standing on the front rocks watching them roll in, feeling the refreshing rain after a really hot day working in the garden. At first, I thought the storm was going to skirt up, a few giant raindrops were hitting the rocks. Then I felt the hail start pelting my head.
My mom hates storms, she doesn’t like them one bit. In fact she was never out with us watching the light show or enjoying the thunder. Yesterday we had quite a rumbler roll through. In fact we got hail twice, once at 4:30 am, which had me jumping out of bed and running outside in my pajamas to cover up my tender seedling. The second time was right after dinner. Weather perfection!

Do you like thunderstorms? or would you rather stay safely indoors?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.