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Showing posts from September, 2016

Hope Springs Eternal

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The weather has turned, bringing us a quick shot of some much-needed rain along with fall-like temperatures for the foreseeable future. We’re also heading back into the darkness, and that means that we’re starting to make some final harvests around the garden for the season. The tomatoes will be fussy with the blast of cold nighttime air, and I pulled many of our big storage crops (pumpkins, cabbages, black beans) during my last picking session.
Still, while some things are coming to an end, it’s already time to think about the spring. Our bulbs came in the mail yesterday:

We have three more varieties of garlic: German Red, Spanish Benitee, and Early Italian, and hopefully these will do far better than they did this year — we didn’t have much of a harvest at all, which is why I had to order more to plant instead of using our own extra for seed.  
I also ordered some bulbs for the cutting garden, since many are now too old to produce any blooms. According to the good folks at Burpee, …

A New View

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It’s hard to get excited about a drought, but if there’s a silver lining, it’s that this was as good a summer as any to work on a pretty intense side project. Since I am now working from home as a full-time writer, Kirk built me a tiny office in the back yard. He started this project back before school ended, and today the interior is finally complete! Here’s my new view of the garden from inside:

That window used to be on the back of the garage, but Kirk salvaged it, closed the hole, and added an 8’ x 8’ room to the back of the garage with its own entrance to the garden. Here’s what that garage wall looks like now: 

That’s a flip-down table that we installed to be a standing desk, plus a few other office-y fixtures to hold my (very minimal) stuff. Mostly I just use a laptop. Here’s the view from the garden:

This office is basically a tiny house with no plumbing. That chair still needs a side table, which we decided to make out of a big slice of the trunk of a red maple we had remove…

A Tale of Two Chickens

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This is Lizzy. She belongs behind bars:

You may recall that Lizzy has some issues. She’s a mean old thing who has attacked me in the past and who always throws herself at the chicken wire walls of the run every time I walk by — even when I come bearing gifts, like delightful (if you’re a chicken) beetle-ridden cantaloupe halves
Lizzy has also been pecked at a lot by someone, though we gave up on trying to police the pecking order months ago. She’s actually got some new feathers coming as part of her natural fall molt and is looking pretty good, though she still freaks out about nothing several times a day.
Today was much worse. I brought the chickens the aforementioned cantaloupe for an afternoon treat, and when I opened the door to the run to give it to them, Lizzy straight up attacked me. She jumped on my leg and chased me out of the run. 
Chickens don’t have teeth, but she has some little spurs on her feet and pecks with her beak. Having a chicken jump you will freak you out eve…

Spaghetti Squash

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This is the first year we’ve grown spaghetti squash, and last week we picked two small ones that looked ripe:

As you can see, we also picked a couple zucchini (one plant is still going strong!) and a tiny side shoot of broccoli. Last week we also harvested several large cantaloupes (and have since given up on eating it all — but we do share the overripe ones with the chickens).
All of those ripe fruits made for a pretty great dinner last weekend, too:

We had a mixed plate of prosciutto-wrapped melon, spaghetti squash with fresh tomato sauce, and zucchini hash (which tastes much better than it looks/sounds). 
So about that spaghetti squash. This is also the first time I’ve eaten it, and it reminds me much more of sauerkraut than spaghetti — the texture, that is. The flavor is pretty much like zucchini in that it takes on whatever herbs and spices you want to add to it. Texture is a big deal for me when it comes to food, though, so I’m not sure I’m on board with all those people who sa…

Keeping Up With the Cantaloupes

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This year we planted a different variety of cantaloupe. In the past we planted a much smaller variety called “Sweet N Early.” It was really convenient to harvest a small fruit that you could hold in one hand — especially since cantaloupe isn’t my favorite fruit. 
When it came time to order seeds for this year, we went to Johnny’s and chose Earlichamp, since it has a short growing season. It’s doing very well, despite the drought:

The trouble is that we now have these gigantic melons that are all ripening at the same time. It’s one thing when you have a bunch of little personal-sized ones, but it’s not possible for us to eat these fast enough. 
The ones that are splitting we’ve been tossing to the chickens, though if they’re not too far gone, we cut off the good half to keep:

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the yellow jackets also really like cantaloupe. They aren’t too hard to work around since these melons aren’t right outside their nest, but it’s another good reason to keep…