Feeling Like Late Summer

We thought the cucumbers were slowing down. Wrong!

A female monarch on our blue foamflower. I wonder if we will finally see a monarch chrysalis this year. In the past, I’ve only seen males. Males have a black spot on their hindwings.

Peppers

Our first big harvest of peppers. It includes Chinese Five Color, Serrano and Jasmyn Rissie. They are all hot peppers. We also got a few sweet Jimmy Nardello and Doe Hill. They aren’t in the photo because I only canned the hot peppers.
New York Ironweed growing in our meadow down by the creek.
Jewelweed grows down there as well.
We had heavy rain again this past Saturday night. It wasn’t as bad as two weeks ago but some of the same places downtown flooded AGAIN!
This photo shows our creek much higher than normal.

August 2020

We planted this about three years ago down by the spring house. This is the first year it bloomed. Only three blooms that I could see. Hopefully, more next year.
Meadow petunias in our native garden. This plant is starting to spread itself everywhere!
Our native garden was planted in 2017 – three years ago. It is between the house and the garage. This is the way we walk to enter the house via the back door.
We added a row of blocks on either side of the driveway so no one drives off the edge where the conduits are. The other areas are a slope of rocks.
Well it didn’t take long between getting the new driveway and having a gully washer of a storm – about four inches in two hours. Many homes and businesses in the downtown area were ruined. The newspaper reported about $3 million of damage. We just had a bunch of rock moved downstream. We’ve moved some of it. Billy Young stopped by a few nights ago and said they’d move the rest when it dried up. Hmmm, that could be months from now if we continue in this wet weather pattern.
Our second batch of sauerkraut. We have our second batch of sour pickles bubbling on the kitchen counter now.
We’ve been busy with our harvest. Planning to can more tomato sauce this weekend using a mix of our tomatoes and those from the farmers market. We’ve had cool weather this week – 58 degrees last night – so I don’t know how well they will continue to do.
These are elderberries. It’s hard to tell how big they are. These are smaller than a pea. They can be half this size. The rain has kept them plump. I’m making immune boosting syrup with them.

Summer Heat

This is a photo from earlier this month of the kitchen garden. We had fairly moderate weather until last week when we hit 90 degrees. Yesterday was a scorcher.
Sometimes Darcy needs a little quiet time too.
Smokey and I have been meeting up on the back deck every morning for some loving. I’m allergic so I just stroke him with my one hand and try not to let him rub up against my legs. I largely fail at that. I always wash afterward.
Orange and purple coneflowers
Smokey has not trained Darcy like Frida has. He usually runs away from her whereas Frida will stand her ground.

More about the driveway soon!

Cabbage!

Starting first with a foggy morning photo of the barn garden. The elderberries are blooming and the onions are ready for fresh picking. We’ll harvest all of them in about a month.
Making kraut from the two we harvested. Just cabbage, garlic scapes and salt.
This little Northern Red Oak was growing in an awkward spot so we moved it to the backyard. It doubled in size in about a month – a fast grower.

Fall is Finally Here

I’m sitting at a table with an open window at my back and the breeze is glorious! The first three days of October were around 90 degrees which is crazy. Today is beautiful and we are even expecting some much needed rain on Monday so keeping my fingers crossed.

Dave usually walks Darcy in the morning and we both go in the evening. Dave’s requirement to report to work in northern Virgina two days every other week means it is hard to get his hours in so I’ve been walking Darcy in the morning when I can. She plops herself down when she looks back and sees people coming up behind us which is pretty much always since it is a well loved park we walk in. I literally have to drag her to get her going again. Then the people say “oh, she’s tired” and I let them know she just wants to see them. She runs around the dog park for an hour so I know walking with me isn’t causing her to be tired. I enjoy walking again and can feel it is good for my body.

Letting her have her little break.

The red chokeberry bush

 in my nature journal

The paw paw tree leaves start turning color quite early. I harvested quite a few this year. They are best when I just pick them off the ground before they start to rot too much. I gave some away this year. Some people had them before and were happy to have them again. One had never had a paw paw and was surprised she like it.

Our one little pepper plant has given us quite a few large peppers. I expect this is the last of it. I made some sweet red pepper relish with these. The guys ate it on their chicken salad sandwiches last night.

 

Been Too Long

Having issues with getting photos in a post and have now figured it out.

A photo from July – Dave and a harvest of green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. The green beans did well for about a month and that was it. We’ve gotten a tomato here and there. The two plants just didn’t do well. Not sure why. We got so many cucumbers I canned bread and butter pickles and dill pickles. Without fail we have to make tomato sauce so we ended up buying seconds at the farmers market to do so.

Our big news around here since last post is that we adopted a five month old puppy. She is a labrador/hound mix. We were smitten at first sight even though I didn’t really want a big dog.

Her first visit to the vet.

She loves Dave best.

white wood aster

woodland goldenrod

Darcy and the cats have made peace.

Darcy has been with us for six weeks now. I can’t imagine a home without a dog.

Onion Harvest

I harvested the onions this week. It would have been nice to let them cure a little longer outside, but we are still getting a lot of rain and I was afraid they’d start to rot.

a few had started to flower

We got about 70 lbs. We store them in the basement – keeping space and good airflow around them.

Where Have I Been?!?!

Well, it’s been a busy summer with four sets of visitors over a five week period. I have been taking photos so I’ll finally share them here. These first several are from mid July.

We stopped mowing a wet section of the field (on the left) last summer. The section on the right we stopped mowing this summer. It is interesting to see the difference.

By the front porch. The lone daylily looks pretty with the beebalm.

In front of the sun room.

We noticed a volunteer sassafras tree under the mahonia last year. The japanese beetles have been hard on it but it’s hanging in there.

Zinnias from the garden. I love this little vase our daughter made for us last year. I told her I wanted it to mimic tree bark and she delivered.

The orange coneflowers in our native garden started blooming in mid July and the flowers still look beautiful six weeks later. These photos are from July.

Dave bringing in the onion harvest on July 21.

These bitter melon are ridiculous. We could pick this many each week. I still have some in the freezer from last year. I gave some of these away. Dave took another large basket full to a coworker last week. I’ve frozen some and might freeze more. We learned from our daughter that you can take some of the bitter taste out by blanching them in water with a tablespoon of salt and baking soda.

These photos are from July 27.

I went to Polyface Farm on July 28 to purchase some meat and took the above and below photos on my way home. Polyface is in Swoope – just west of us..

Poor Len. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I hope we are keeping him comfortable with meds.

The only photo we got of our visitors. I’m on the right with my sister Melissa and my niece Mary.

Such a pleasant surprise to find these volunteers on August 11 at the base of the spruce tree between the house and the shed – an impatiens and a coleus.

I harvested these peppers on August 14.

I think it was back in July when I took some bricks and defined the beds around the plants in front of the shed. I think it turned out pretty nice.

Joe Pye Weed in the native garden on the morning of August 15.

Making our yummy tomato sauce on August 19.

I’m so sad that we have to take down this beautiful ash tree (on the right). The emerald ash borer has gotten to it so it can’t be saved.

$3000 poorer and down one beautiful shade tree. I will probably spend most of the day they take it down elsewhere.

Don’t like ending on a sad note, but here we are. I hope I keep up my posts with my photos as we enter the fall. It has been a very wet spring and summer. A little on the cool side, too. I’m hoping the valley will have some spectacular color this fall. Hard to believe it is almost September!