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Give Me a B!

August 27th, 2015

I love beets, especially pickled. Even as a wee little lassie I had an affinity for the pickled purple roots. My mom made them often and I gobbled them up. I don’t do a lot of canning, but I always make two half gallon jars of pickled beets for the fridge. When we eat up the beets, I love throwing boiled eggs in the juice so I can have lovely pink eggs for my salads.
harvesting beets 2
For this reason, I’ve always grown beets in the garden. Not a ton, just a 15 foot row or so. Enough to eat throughout the summer and enough to pickle. I never thin my beets because I like have a wide range of sizes. I love the huge ones for slicing into big rounds and I love the tiny ones for roasting whole.
harvesting beets 1
This year I grew ‘Early Wonder’ and ‘Detroit’. They were both fantastic, very long holding in the garden. In fact these beets were seeded very early and have been growing all summer.
harvesting beets 3
We like eating the beet greens as well, but when it comes time to pickle a load of beets, the chickens end up with the tasty leaves. I’m happy to hand them over as they’re a welcome treat for them. It seems like beets are one of those vegetables that people either love or hate, I’m so happy to be on the love side!

Do you like beets? What’s your favorite way to eat them?

After being asked in the comment, I figured I’d add it here too. I love The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market (Revised Edition) and most of my pickling recipes come from it.

The Search is Over

August 26th, 2015

For the past year, I’ve been searching for bricks for a walkway in the potager. I wanted old bricks, not the shiny new pavers from the home improvement store. I wanted bricks with a history, ones that had been a chimney, a house, or something else. A few weeks ago, I found an ad on Craigslist for bricks, old ones, lots of them. Just what I was looking for!
vintage bricks 1
We picked up one load in our little car 2 weeks ago, and quickly realized we needed bigger guns. Enter Brian’s work truck.
vintage bricks 4
On Saturday, we made our way back down to Biddeford to get the remaining bricks from the bottom of the Cleaves Castle in Biddeford. This basement was a mansion at one time, then eventually became a city building with a jail in the bottom. These bricks may have been the walls between the cells.
vintage bricks 2
vintage bricks 3
Regardless of what these bricks have seen in their lifetime, they will now be perfectly at home in my garden. This fall I hope to start the preparation for the walkways. That will be a lot of work, but well worth the effort.

What’s your favorite pathway material in the garden?

Sweet Delight

August 25th, 2015

Last night we harvested the first sweet corn from the garden. And I mean the first sweet corn I’ve every grown (by myself anyways, we always grew it when I was a kid).
first sweet corn 1
first sweet corn 2
It’s really surprising that it’s ready this early, it wasn’t supposed to be ripe until the end of August, next week at the earliest.
first sweet corn 3
I checked last week and it was still not ready, then we checked last night a few ears were.
first sweet corn
What a great treat indeed. ‘Fisher’s Earliest’ was the variety, I got the seed from High Mowing Seeds. This is an old fashioned variety, not a super sweet hybrid. It’s lightly sweet with a good corn flavor. in fact, it reminds me a lot of the corn I grew as a kid. Personally, I’m not a fan of the sugar enhanced newer varieties, give me a variety like this please!
first sweet corn 4
We’re certainly looking forward to having sweet corn for dinner every night this week. I didn’t plant a lot, only about 30 plants. That should do us for eating and I should get a few pints to freeze as well.

Do you grow sweet corn?

Tiny Wonder

August 24th, 2015

Yesterday, as I was heading out the back door, a little hummingbird flew inside the house. As it was flying against the windows trying to get out, I debated what to do. Thinking I could herd it outside, I walked around to the other side. When I got close, it stopped fluttering and perched on the windowsill. I reached for it and it just looked at me while I grabbed it softly.
I took it to the living room to show Mr Chiots (who took the photo). When I took it to the back door and opened my hand, it flew away. No doubt these little birds are used to me in the garden, they hover close to me when I’m filling their feeders or weeding. I’m glad it was an easy process to rescue this little lady and send her on her way. No doubt she’ll be flying south soon.

Have you ever had to rescue birds or other wildlife?

Friday Favorite: Frozen Strawberries

August 21st, 2015

Way back in June, we had a flush of strawberries. Our patch produced over 100 quarts of berries. A few went into a batch of jam, some were eaten fresh, some went to the neighbors, and the rest were frozen. Lately, on these hot days, I’ve been enjoying strawberry smoothies for my lunch.
Strawberry smoothie
They’re quick to make, tasty to eat, and give me just the right boost of energy without being too filling. I add frozen strawberries to the blender, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, a pinch of salt, and a splash of maple syrup. Whir it all up and enjoy!

What’s your favorite quick meal on a hot day of garden work?

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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.