I started an entry on the 27th of July, and didn’t get far! Here is what I wrote:
“Last night Attila brought in the last Rhubarb harvest. The plants will be left to recover for the rest of this year’s growing season. Rhubarb muffins are very popular for lunches. Two Kohlrabi were also brought in from the garden. The leaves were cooked for 30 minutes, to see if that made them more tender. It did not.”
Back to the future, today!
A perfect summer’s day here! I have all the windows open, to let the gentle, sweet smelling breeze waft through the house. The neighbourhood is quiet today, for the most part. Most of the time the bird calls and rustling leaves serenade me. Occasionally a dog barks, or in the case of the hound at the end of the street, a dog bays at the universe, or anything that moves. I really don’t mind hearing the odd dog barking, but it can be difficult to bear the sound of every dog within ear shot barking at the same time. At times this occurs, every dog in the vicinity joins in the chorus, it is a stunning performance.
I love looking out at the verdant beauty of the garden. Everything but the perennials and shrubs were started from seed, by Attila. The plants that are thriving in this years weather conditions are doing very well indeed. A few items are not growing well: one raised bed of peppers is stunted and has hardly grown at all; three heritage varieties of pickling cucumbers have died off from wilt and unbearable sunshine, bearing fewer than one dozen cucumbers before succumbing; the Winter Keeper cabbages grown in partial shade are unhappy, and the bugs love unhappy plants. Everything else is flourishing. Every garden is different, and every year gardens are different than they were the year before.
Flowers! Our perennials are doing well: the Clematis is done flowering; the Echinacea are sporting beautiful blooms, and the bits of root left behind when it was transplanted have grown and bloomed as well; the Heliopsis is over nine feet tall and blooming profusely; the Cosmos growing by the compost bins has a lovely show of white blooms; the Nasturtiums are spreading with lovely salmon coloured blooms; the Scarlet Runner Beans offer an abundance of scarlet flowers; the Zinnias are a riot of colour; and the Borage is a lovely lavender coloured haze from where I sit on the porch. There are bees everywhere.
As I walked about the garden taking a few pictures, a very small rabbit startled me as I approached the Nasturtiums. It had been hiding under the Nasturtium leaves, undetected, until it suddenly burst out from underneath and made a run for the fence. It escaped through the fence, it was that small. It has been devastating our pepper plants, which I resent as this is our only affordable source of organic peppers.
Speaking of animals, it seems that Fredrick the Garden Shrew is no more. It has been several weeks since he was last spotted, chasing another shrew. They are very territorial and will kill other members of their species who violate their territory. Perhaps they had a duel to the death, and both died, as we have seen neither one since. It is also possible the Orange Cat, who prowls through our outer garden, might have killed the shrews.
The garden is late this year. Spring was long and cold. Canning season is just beginning to quicken, so far only Cabbage for Coleslaw, and Scarlet Runner Beans for Dilly Beans. The Dilly Beans were something I thought I’d try this year. The canned jars are supposed to sit for a few weeks for the flavours to develop. Attila opened a jar yesterday, five days after they were canned. The jar is empty. Attila likes them. Thank goodness the Scarlet Runner Beans are doing well this year, as there will be lots of Dilly Beans in the pantry. The Cucumbers are not doing well this year, so probably there will not be so many Dill Pickles, some but not many jars. The Spinach, Lettuces, and Peas have come and gone, and Attila will be planting more for a hoped for second crop. The Tomatoes are just starting to come in now. Cherry Tomatoes always ripen first here. This variety is lovely and sweet; the bon-bons of summer.
The days are all busy now, with the small amounts of produce that come in from the garden, and the daily tasks associated with cooking everything from scratch, milling my own flour, and baking all of our bread products.
We have two batches of Pesto in the freezer, the Basil and Garlic are from our garden. The Kohlrabi continues to come in every few days, which I cook and mash with potatoes. Potatoes and Kohlrabi are surprisingly filling! The leaves are chopped, cooked and frozen for this winter. Peas have been coming in daily, but are slowing down now. The pods are getting tough, so that I am no longer including them in stir fries. The pea pods are bagged and frozen for making Vegetable Broth. Which is what I did on Sunday, made a batch of Vegetable Broth, eight cups of it that went into the freezer in margarine tubs. Over the weekend we dehydrated garden parsley and oregano. Also yesterday I milled two gallon jars of whole wheat flour, and baked a loaf of bread.
Today I’ve been busy making Salmon Patties. In an effort to avoid the preservatives and high sodium content of purchased hamburger and fish patties, we are making our own. It is a bit of bother really, making Beef Patties, and Salmon Patties. However, the homemade patties are far healthier, and the flavour is an incredible improvement over prepackaged products. I can also add Rosemary to the Beef Patties, to block the carcinogens in the red meat.
Today I made enough Salmon Patties for six meals, that is twelve patties. Another advantage to homemade patties is that they can be made the exact shape and size to fit nicely onto one slice of bread that has been cut in half. The result is a wonderful sandwich/burger. They are cooked, so that they can be put frozen into the Air Fryer to heat up, making a quick supper, and it doesn’t heat up the house in the summer. The uncooked Beef Patties are wrapped in foil, frozen, and cooked in the Instant Pot for 15 minutes, again this avoids heating up the house during the summer months.
Our homemade patties allow us the decadent illusion that we are eating junk food, when we are actually consuming a healthy meal.
During harvest season it is inevitable that bugs enter the house on the produce. The earwigs are very bad this year. Thank goodness they do not bite! There are also a lot of ants. I had an unhappy incident with an ant during the night on Saturday night. I awoke to something crawling across my face, my closed eyelids, down my nose… yikes! Suddenly completely awake and alert, I grabbed it, and crushed it in my fingers. All this in complete darkness. I had to know what it was! Arising to turn on the light, sections of a large ant lay on the floor beside the bed. Really, an ant is preferable to an earwig. The worst experience so far though, was one dark, dark night at the Country House, when I awoke to a Cicada crawling across my face. Why do these insects love my face so very much!?!
Updated on Mon, Aug 2, 1:45 PM
FEELS LIKE 23
A few clouds
Wind 17 NW km/h
Humidity 41 %
Visibility 25 km
Sunrise 5:56 AM
Wind gust 26 km/h
Pressure 101.6 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 8:31 PM
“It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people.”
Logan Pearsall Smith
1865 – 1946