right now

right now

May 5, 2009

First Spring Harvest

And it's......STRAWBERRIES, LOL!  I just went outside to "walk the estate" and assess the damage from last night's severe weather and I found the first 2 ripe strawberries, which will actually be the 2nd harvest of the year since I am going to count the 2 leeks I pulled in March that wintered over.  We promptly took a picture and they went down the hatch.  Finn said "Mommy, they taste like the ones we picked at the farm", to which I explained to him "no, they're better because WE grew them" :)   

Also a pic of the peas, which just the past week are going like gangbusters now.  Can't wait, but they never seem to make it to the freezer for stash!  I am going to remember to do fall peas this year so we have some for winter.

On the weather note, our area had the works last night:  severe thunderstorms, wind, downpours, tornado warnings - I was terrified for my seedlings, but amazingly there was no damage.  I hope the same for those of you who went through it.  I thank the raised beds and the fact some other seedlings were planted in my heavily mulched borders.  I think if they had been planted in the unmulched ground they would surely have washed away.  It's amazing how I took the safety of the basement for granted in the Midwest.  When that kind of weather happens here, we have limited options to take cover.  

I now live in the land of sand, swamps, high water tables and NO basements!  That is definitely on my list of future-house needs: a basement for severe weather/canning storage/squirrel attacks, and my own version of a harvest kitchen with a huge walk in pantry and a mudroom!   Hmmm, my mom has all that at the house I couldn't wait to leave to go "see the world"...well, Mom - I've seen it and I want back in...can the kids come, too?!!!

*An update to my fruit leather attempt:

While delicious...this is the amount that resulted from having my countertop oven running for 4 hours!  This will be devoured in one kid-snack sitdown!  Bottom line:  Yummy, but this is definitely not homesteading/being green or cheap!  I think to do this without wasting time and money it needs to be done the old-fashioned way with screens in the sun.  The yield would have been much greater with no energy wasted, but with our humidity here my options are limited.  I did, however, use my 6 jars of too-runny jam to redo the experiment in my food dehydrator.  I lined the trays with parchment paper and it held all 6 jars at once and turned it on at 10 p.m. and it was done this morning at 7.  Greater yield, less energy wasted, so a compromise has been found!

You can tell by my frequent postings that it has been raining all day so I can't get outside, my house is already clean, and I am minus one child today :)  This doesn't happen too often!


  1. Erin, thanks for your comment on my blog. I never had flea beetles down in GA but up here in WV they are a nemesis. I find that the potatoes do pretty well even with fairly severe damage. I use Neem oil and it seems to help. If you plant any brassicas in the fall, the flea beetles will eat them and kill them. The beetles are out in force in late summer, and the poor seedlings don't stand a chance. If a plant can get well established they'll usually survive. A floating row cover might help the seedlings but I've not yet tried that.

    I've only read your most recent post - your strawberries look *great*. Do you have to battle slugs? If so, share your secret please! I'm using DE now but it's too early to know if it will be a success.

    I've got a dehydrator and have not yet made any fruit leather but you have inspired me! That looks like a fabulous snack and easy to take out for a day of surveying the estate :)

  2. Leslie, thanks for the potato tips...this is my first year growing them and I am doing it Scandinavian style with cages made from leftover chicken wire and straw. I was worried because after 3 weeks they hadn't done anything, but this past week they took off, sprouted, and are now about 10 inches high. No slugs so far... I planted plenty of "sacrificial hosta" toward the shady part of the garden so I am hoping they will just hang out back there if I have any and leave the rest alone!!

  3. Making my own fruit leather is on my list of things to do that I will probably try once and never do again. I don't have a dehydrator anymore so it would mean we'd have to have the oven on all day too. Sigh. Your peas look GREAT by the way...mine are quite spindly and small so I'm jealous of your big green plants!

  4. Erin, I totally agree on fruit leather out here. It never seems to work. Dehydrating just about anything outside last year was a waste. On the other hand, using the solar oven outside is a breeze! So, it is a trade off, I guess.

    I've been harvesting strawberries too and they are mighty tasty this year. These are first year plants for me so very small harvests so far of just a couple of pounds.

    Your peas look fab, but I totally hear you on them never making it to freezer camp. Instead, my yard gets littered with empty pea pods. Hmmm? Wonder how? LOL..mostly me, I admit.

    Flea beetles have have made some holes in my pototates, but nothing major and they don't seem to care much. I sprayed a little soap around and neem oil and the problem seems solved.

  5. christy I did the same for my potatoes, and mine are still growing despite the shotgun appearance, lol!