Aug 15, 2009
I spent the day defrosting my chest freezer. This means that I had to stuff everything in it into my side-by-side in the interim. The 3rd time I opened the side by side and was attacked by chuck roasts, bags of hamburger and even a pack of short ribs that landed on my big toe, I thought it was funny enough to snap a picture of! In the future, I will remember to defrost the freezer before I go pick up a share of beef, lamb etc - even if it doesn't need it! Kind of like when I demand the kids go to the bathroom before we leave the house...even if they don't think they need to! I had to stuff an entire share of beef along with other meats and all my garden produce into that side-by-side, so I guess I can say "it can be done"...although to prevent injury, I wouldn't recommend it!
Today's harvest: 4 lbs Eggplant, 14 oz beans, 2 lbs cherry tomatoes, 13 oz bell peppers, 6.1 lbs Heirloom tomatoes, 2 lbs Edamame, and 4.6 oz raspberries. I am amazed at how much more the raspberry bushes produce compared to the blackberries! Next year we should actually have enough to do something with besides snack on. I have been letting the suckers grow into new plants since the kids aren't big on veggies I think we could use more as Finn is happy to eat a bowlful of berries every night with dinner! I harvested all the remaining edamame and pulled the plants, so I really can't wait for the next crop! Into the empty bed went broccoli starts, some lettuce, and chives that I bought at the nursery, since they weren't pathetic looking like the chives I started from seed!
In the non-edible category I got my front yard shaped up finally. I pulled weeds, pruned a bit, finally took down the dead hanging baskets that the birds destroyed and even pulled all the weeds growing in the cracks of the driveway and sidewalk. I hope it inspires my neighbors to do the same! I finally stopped when I got an odd look from a driver passing by and realized that I and my stool had moved out into the street and was pulling weeds growing in the street! What's up with those damn birds anyways? It seems us gardeners love the birds and will do anything for them, including leaving up dead hanging baskets with nests & eggs inside. Nothing says "A Gardener Lives Here" like a bunch of dead plants hanging on the front porch, lol!
And finally, the Swallowtail Daycare pic of the day:
The pupa is still intact, no butterfly yet, but these guys of different ages were having a busy day filled with the parsley buffet!
Aug 13, 2009
Apparently I have found that there is a limit to how much fresh edamame one can snack on - mine happens to be 8 oz! Over the past 2 weeks, my appetite every evening for fresh steamed edamame pods has been gaining steam until I reached critical mass last night as I sat down to snack on 1/2 lb of these yummy healthy snacks! I usually feel pretty energetic when I eat these, not so this time...I was stuffed to the brim and felt as if I had just finished a Thanksgiving dinner! As of tonight I am backing it down to 4-5 oz which was my harvest the first time. Who knew? Things like that I always thought you could eat for hours and not get full!
On the same front, my second crop of Beer Friend Edamame from Territorial Seed Co. just sprouted today. I was worried because of the extreme temps we have been having, but up they came anyways, along with some heirloom black radish, carrots, Heatwave Lettuce, pole beans, and a "mystery crop"! See photo below:Not sure if you can see it very well, but all along the right side are hundreds of seedlings! I planted herbs in the spring that never grew, but just pulled out some dill a week ago that had gone to seed. I'm thinking dill, but you never know, lol!! I will let them stay until I figure out what they are at least!
On to the weather: wow! After 2 solid weeks of heat indexes in the 100's, last night our area got twice the amount of rain we usually get in a hurricane! Downtown received 7.25 inches in one hour!!!!! Unbelievable! What makes this even more crazy is that everything flooded and came to a standstill. Really makes me nervous to think of what will happen when, not if, we get 'the big one'...hurricane that is. Tidewater, VA is a group of 7 cities pretty much surrounded by water - the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. The only way out if evacuated is through one of our many bridge-tunnels that take us under the water and points west and north of here. Last night they were all closed since the tunnels filled up with rainwater. Looks like investing in a good johnboat is a better preparation to take than planning on getting out by car, lol! We try and chuckle about it around here cuz, well...what else can we do?!
And this is just plain fun for all ages:
remember one of the residents of my Black Swallowtail Daycare?
Below is a Black Swallowtail in late pupa stage! There are about 15 in the 1st instar stage, a few full grown caterpillars, and this is the only pupa that I can see in the plant, but we have 10-15 adult butterflies cruising about the garden too. This is all going on in a large deck pot of peppers and parsley right outside my back door. I can see the pupa from my computer, so I am hoping I can catch a video of it emerging if I am really lucky! This plant combination seems to work well since they feed on the parsley and simply hang their "pupa strings" (lol) from the thicker pepper stems. The pic is a bit dark, but if you look closely, you can see it's markings through the case, this one is very, very ready to make an entrance soon!
I found the below images at http://www.pbase.com/rcm1840/lifecycleofblsw--- these pictures are a beautifully simple display of the lifecycle of the Black Swallowtail!
First Instar Stage
Second Instar Stage
Third Instar Stage
Full Grown Caterpillar
Early Pupa Stage
Late Pupa Stage
Recently Emerged Butterfly
Adult Butterfly with Chrysalis Shell
Aug 10, 2009
I got a bit accomplished this weekend, although it was so hot outside that for the most part the kids & I stayed indoors and just read books or watched movies! Friday morning we went to go pick blueberries at a local farm. All of them went straight into the freezer Friday afternoon since I didn't have any energy to do much with them afterwards! I am contemplating whipping up some smoothies this evening for the kids after dinner, since now we have a good selection of frozen fruit in the freezer now!
Here are the blueberry-pickin kids...shortly before we left all sweaty and covered in mosquito bites!
If you are in need of a really good muffin recipie, try this one out for 'To Die For Blueberry Muffins'...it's my favorite and has a yummy crumb topping!
Not much in the way of harvest this weekend, thankfully, since I wanted to plant my two beds that were cleared of squash/cuke vines and strawberries. Into one bed I planted a second crop of Edamame. One bed is clearly not enough to both snack on every evening and have enough to freeze, so I am hoping the second crop will keep me in finger foods all winter. Into the other bed went a hodge-podge planting of some carrots, heirloom radishes, HeatWave Lettuces (we'll see how much heat they can stand, lol!), and a couple of pole beans. It was actually a relief to do something that didn't involve tomatoes for a change! Our heat indexes have been in the 100's daily and look to continue that way for at least the next week, so it has been hard to get motivated. I found that waking up early and going out and going out again after dinner is the only way, although to do this requires massive amounts of mosquito repellent! Saturday evening was nice, a few friends (all military spouses with absentee husbands!) came over for a few drinks. It's always nice to be able to complain out loud and be in the company of others who understand! Other than that, not much is going on here that is blog-worthy! I just looked at my temp gauge stuck at 113 in the shade...I'm going back to my stack of books! Before I go, here is a pic of my dinner the other night after digging potatoes. Not exactly well-balanced, but yummy nonetheless! I threw some tomato wedges on the plate so my plate wouldn't look so starch-laden! What can I say? - I'm an Irish girl, a plate of nothing but potatoes suits me fine!
Rose Finn Fingerling potatoes with fresh parsley, salt & pepper, butter with Brandywine wedges sprinkled with Kosher salt....yum, think I will have this again tonight!