|The early morning view (okay, so early morning for me is like 3 hours after the sun comes up...) of my garden from the house.|
So like five days ago I was thinking "when is my zucchini REALLY going to start producing, you know, the way zucchini does?" Like so much I never want to see zucchini again. I mean, I have five plants, I figured I'd be eating the stuff three times a day. Well, about two days ago I realized, out of nowhere, that I was finally there. I had a crisper drawer full and more that needed to be picked despite having made three loaves of zucchini bread, a full dehydrator of dried zucchini, several meals worth of zucchini (zucchini frittata, zucchini kale lasagna, lots of sauted zucchini with onions, and of course fried zucchini) over the past few weeks.
It was the moment I had been waiting for!
So I blanched three pints of zucchini for the freezer. I grated eight cups for zucchini bread, used four cups to make two loaves, and froze the other four. And I made two pints of the zucchini pickles I mentioned in this post.
In non-zucchini news, the rest of my garden is doing, well, okay. This week has seen the triumphant return of the potato bugs... mostly tiny baby ones, which don't do as much damage, but I still feel it is my duty to terminate them with extreme prejudice. I also noticed some squash beetles (or cucumber beetles... the small, long, striped ones) on both my lemon cukes and my zucchini, so I sprayed. I will cry if one of my cuke plants die. I didn't think to even check my winter squash. In fact, I only looked at them for the first time in weeks last night. They are HUGE and I have several butternut squash set on, and tons of blossoms on the other plants. I also have TONS of cantelope set on. Like far more than I thought would come from two plants, and a few watermelons as well. My watermelon plant is taking over, in fact. I've been working on keeping the deer and the rabbits out of the rest- they did a number on my beans while we were gone two weeks ago, and last week they ate my June bearing strawberries TO THE GROUND. That was the last straw. I've been spraying, but would love to build a fence- two things are stopping me; I'm not sure I'm done expanding my garden, and the expense.
Despite animal and bug damage (which really hasn't been that bad) I have had some incredible harvests this week. I did the final thinning on my beets and seeded onions, and the babies of both will provide us with several good meals. I plan on using the smaller ones to make braised baby beets and will either roast the others or make pickled beets, I can't decide. Not at all sure what I'm going to do with the huge pile of baby onions, though. Suggestions?
On the chicken front, I've gotten this idea recently that my chickens are discontent. I'm probably over humanizing them, but I can't get the idea out of my head, but nor can I figure out what could be bothering them. They have a HUGE yard... so huge that, after four months of being grazed by 23 chickens it is still COVERED in grass. They get let out to free range for an hour or so each night. They have no imminent threats on their lives (no predator problems so far). They get scraps and scratch grains each day and plenty off food. They aren't picking at each other or anything, although the boys seem to have reached sexual maturity ahead of the ladies, which they aren't very happy about. I think the basis of my feeling is the fact that Dinner crows ALL DAY LONG. The sound itself doesn't really bother me, but I want to know why... And Lunch attacks anyone who comes too close, which I feel is my fault. And Sparky, the white Silkie bantam, spends most of the day in the corner of the coop (pretty sure she's tired of the boys' amorous attentions). And Buttercup continues to confuse me on his/her gender- I haven't seen him/her crow yet, but he/she is harassing the girls more than any of the other roos. I keep getting the feeling that (assuming she IS a he) having two fewer roos (ie eatting/selling Buttercup and Lunch) would solve a lot of my problems. But there has been absolutely no fighting between any of the roos- Dinner seems to have unequivocally established his mastery of the chicken yard. In fact, whenever Buttercup is harassing a hen, he runs to the rescue and he/she backs off without any challenge. I may just be over thinking it. I tend to do that.
|Harlan County Reservoir, Republican City, NE.|
And be sure to check out Simple Life Thursday at GNOWFLINS.