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Let the Harvest Begin

August 23rd, 2014

I’ve been harvesting a few small cherry tomatoes here and there, but have been waiting for my main crop of canning tomatoes to ripen.  That happened this week.  Since I’ve been feeling under the weather, I let them sit on the vine.  Thankfully, they kept very well, but were in need of harvesting.  Along with the tomatoes I picked basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and parsley for my batches of passata. My harvest ended up being about twenty pounds yesterday, that should make four batches of passata.
Tomato Harvest (1)
I’ll also add onions and garlic to the mix along with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil.  Everything will be slow roasted in a low oven until the tomato sugar slightly caramelized and everything gets jammy.  Then I’ll put it through the food mill and can it in pints.  This type of sauce works for everything from pizza sauce to a savory tomato soup. If I have time I’ll write up the recipe next week, it’s definitely one of the few I make now.

What are you preserving from your garden this weekend?

Under the Weather

August 21st, 2014

I’ve been feeling under the weather since last friday, a trip to a health professional resulted in antibiotics for a nasty infection in the bone. It’s going to take a week or so to bounce back from this illness along with a follow up procedure next week, which may add a few more days to my recovery. I’m trying my hardest to give my body the rest it needs to heal. While I try to heal my body in the most natural way possible, I’m very thankful to live in a time when antibiotics are easy to come by and medical procedures are well advanced.  I’m also thankful for the holistic team of medical professionals we have been able to find here in Maine.
under the weather 2
The result of my illness is lots of time spent in bed resting, wavering between that state of consciousness and sleep, just barely aware of my surroundings. I’m tired from both the infection and the medication, this is exactly what I need right now. Most often there is a cat snuggled up next to me, which we have coined as “medicine pets”. I’m also drinking lots of tea made with astragulus, dandelion, kelp and ginger to help my body fight off the infection and lessen the toxicity of the treatment.  Probiotics have also been a mainstay in my regimen, something that should help me return to full health much more quickly than without, they are well worth the expense when taking antibiotics.
under the weather 1
Rest doesn’t come naturally to me, I’m an on the go person by nature. Being sick though, I’m quite tired, so it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would to spend my days resting.  I still get a bit fidgety at times, so decided it might be a good time to finally tackle the rainbow merino afghan I bought yarn for a few months ago. If I have something to keep my hands busy during parts of the day I will be more likely to get the rest I need. Perhaps I’ll even be able to get it finished during the coming weeks, but I’m trying not to set a goal so I don’t feel obliged to work on it if I don’t want to.

What’s your favorite restful activity? Do you have any great immune boosting tonics to share?

MMMMMM

August 20th, 2014

Grease saved from frying bacon + cast iron skillet + popcorn kernels = one delicious snack!
popcorn
We’re big fans of popcorn as a snack, generally we pop it in ghee. Last time I used bacon grease and it was AMAZING. Also popping it in a cast iron skillet instead of the normal stainless steel pan made a difference in taste. Now I’m going to be eating bacon constantly so I can have this popcorn!

What’s your favorite snack?

Finally Finished

August 19th, 2014

This weekend I finally found the time to finish up my travel patch quilt and it’s FANTASTIC!!!!! If you were reading last year you might remember me talking about it.
travel quilt
I didn’t want the back to be boring, so I chose colors of corduroy from one of my favorite patches. The fabric was cut in 5 inch strips and sewn together to form horizontal striped across the back.
travel quilt 2
I quilted it using the string that comes off of the feed bags in big winding lines. It seemed fitting to make them look like lines on a map or lines in the road.
travel quilt 3
Two weekends ago we visited a few Maine lighthouse and purchased a new patch to add to the quilt. It’s pretty exciting to see these patches finally being displayed, we’ve been collecting them for 16 years now. Each of these patches brings back memories of long drives, camping in beautiful places and seeing amazing places around the country. We can’t wait to hitch up our tiny teardrop and hit the road to collect a few more.

Any great recommendations of place to visit in this beautiful country?

Teeny Strawberries

August 18th, 2014

I’ve grown strawberries from seed a few times before, it’s the only way to acquire some varieties for your garden unless you’re lucky enough to know someone else growing them that will give you plant. Many years ago I started seed for golden strawberries and have had them in my garden ever since. Their tiny yellow berries have a tropical flavor and are quite good on salads.
yellow_strawberry_harvest
I also started ‘Tarpan’ strawberries from seed many years ago and brought one plant with me when I moved. It produces beautiful pink flowers all summer long, the berries are also good.
tarpan_strawberry_blooming 3
This year I purchased strawberry seeds once again for ‘Elan’, which is a day neutral strawberry and ‘Gasana’ another day neutral variety with pink flowers.
strawberry seeds 3
Strawberry seeds are tiny, very tiny and there are usually only 10-15 in each seed packet.
strawberry seeds 4
I sowed them in containers and waited. Soon enough the tiny seedlings emerged. It’s amazing to see these little plants, the first set of true leaves look just like strawberry leaves but they are so very small.
strawberry seeds 1
strawberry seeds 2
I can’t wait to see how these plants produce next year. I’m always game to have new varieties of fruits and vegetables in the garden, especially when I can nurture a plant from a tiny seed.

Have you started anything interesting from seed this summer?

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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.

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