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Rain, Rain, Glorious Rain

July 19th, 2009

We finally had some rain this weekend after a long dry spell. We’ve been really needing some around here because everything was getting kind of brown and crispy.
I love sitting on the porch during thunderstorms and feeling the cool breeze, watching the lightning and listening the thunder. While enjoying the rain I snapped a few photos of the rain on one of my hanging baskets.
My mom’s not the kind of person that likes to go outside during a thunderstorm. Unless it’s really bad, I’m usually on the front porch during the storms, I just love them!

What about you, do you like to get out and enjoy thunderstorms, or do you like to stay inside?

Sleeping Bees

July 18th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon we had a thunderstorm roll through. I was out on the porch watching the rain when I noticed this little guy (or gal) sleeping on my hanging basket. I suppose since he can’t be out flying around he figured a catnap would be nice.
He slept here through the entire rain storm and a few minutes after it ended he took off to go about his business gathering nectar & pollen.

Have you ever noticed sleeping bees in your gardens?

How to Tell if Garlic is Ready to Harvest

July 17th, 2009

It’s a little more difficult to determine when to harvest garlic than it is a tomato. You have to watch the plants and decide when you think they’re ready. I planted a ton of garlic last fall and I’m patiently waiting to harvest it. So how do you know when it’s time to harvest your garlic?
The best way to know when to harvest your garlic is to watch the leaves. When they begin to turn yellow and begin dying it’s almost time to harvest. Everywhere I read recommends harvesting when you still have 6-8 green leaves left on your garlic. These green leaves form the wrapping that protects the garlic during storage. If you wait for all the leaves to die back you’ll be basically killing off the protective covering of your garlic bulbs, making them more susceptible to pests and disease. However you don’t want to harvest too early because your garlic won’t be as strong or flavorful. About 2 weeks before you think it’s time to harvest you should quit watering it to make harvest easier.
I went out and checked my garlic the other day and it looks as though 2 of my varieties (the earlier maturing ones) are almost ready to harvest. I have 6 green leaves left and after digging down to inspect one of the bulbs they looked fairly nice. I pulled one of the bulbs to check the wrapping and make sure everything looked good (I’ll probably use this bulb in my pickles). Looks like it’s time! One of the reasons I’m growing my own garlic is because I love fresh garlic in recipes. It’s hard to find good fresh garlic around here so I decided to grow my own.

Do you grow your own garlic or buy it at the store (or do you use the powdered stuff)?

Checking on the Our Hive Split

July 16th, 2009

Yesterday we went out and checked our two hives. We wanted to make sure the old hive was still doing well and thriving, and they are (time to put on a new box for them).
We also wanted to make sure the new queen had been accepted and was going to work laying eggs and building the new hive, and she was. We were able to spot eggs, larvae and new capped brood in the new hive. That means our queen is hard at work and she’s no longer living in a tiny box, she’s got a whole hive to rule over.
Because we split our hive we won’t be able to harvest any honey this year. It’s the honey harvesting season right now, so we’ll be searching out a local beekeeper to buy some all-natural local honey from!

Do you buy local honey?

My First ‘Ronde de Nice’ Squash

July 15th, 2009

My first ‘Ronde de Nice’ squash was ready to harvest on Sunday!
I’ve had a few female flowers open before this one, but they weren’t pollinated fully so the fruits didn’t grow this big. This one I hand pollinated (I need Chicago Mike to send me some squash bees).
This squash weighed in at 9 ounces. I picked it small because it’s the perfect size for Mr Chiots and I to eat in one meal. I love squash fixed in so many ways: sauteed, steamed with olive oil and pepper, battered & fried, au gratin, in omelets, in lasagna, and many other ways. I have 4 squash plants so pretty soon we’ll be eating squash every day I think, and it will really help my garden harvest totals for the Garden Harvest Challenge!

What’s your favorite summer squash recipe?

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.