Monthly Archives: July 2011

Peas, Please!

The vegetable garden has been pleasantly productive this year!  It was a somewhat late spring, but here it is mid-July and I am still getting sugar snap peas from the garden!  It’s time to plant one more batch for a fall harvest!

All these years I have been gardening and learning so much more about producing our own food.  It has been a pleasant, satisfying, sometimes frustrating experience.  And this is the first year I have ever blanched and frozen my own vegetables.  It always sounded a little daunting to me, and somehow not very interesting of a task, but I have so many sugar snaps that I’ve given it a whirl!  It’s easy! LOL! A couple inches of water in the bottom of my stockpot, three minutes in the steamer basket, a plunge into a bowl of ice water, then drain out on a towel. After soaking up the excess water, I put them into a labeled freezer bag, spread them out flat so they won’t clump together once frozen, and pressed the air out of the bag.  Lastly, I laid them on a cookie sheet and popped it into our chest freezer so they freeze flat.  Nothing to it, really.

Some of the sugar snaps were nice and thin and small, but I’ve been down to Ohio taking care of my Mom’s place and visiting her in the hospital (she’s home and recovering well now!).  So while I was gone they built up out there.  So many of them were plump and starting to get that shriveled look, more like regular string peas.

Tonight finds me, once again, in the garden.  At dusk in the quiet, the tortoiseshell barn cat Maple and I, listening to the hermit thrush sing its enchanting song while I weed the encroaching grass from the peas and strawberries.  After such a hot, hot day, the cool of the evening is a welcome respite, and the soft feel of moist dirt on my hands is comforting.  Those of us who know take our strength from the soil in many ways.

 

… Also this week, my husband and daughter are in Honduras on a mission trip.  So the two youngest and I have been hard at work outside, prettying up the flower garden and finally(!) turning that mess on the north side of the house into some lovely shade gardens between the house and the path where we walk.  Such a gratifying lot of work in a terribly hot, muggy mid-July week!

On a final note, I’ve been gradually increasing my running distance since I began training for the Mark Mellon triathlon/5k we completed a couple weekends ago.  I was able to run that 5k well, and am working toward a 10k now (6.2 miles).  Last Saturday, JJ and I ran 3.68 miles – my longest distance yet.  It was a comfortable run, though my legs were unusually sore the next two days.  It took until today for me to feel comfortable enough to do my interval training.  Overall, I’m pleased with my accomplishments this week!  How about you?  Are you stretching yourself?  Are you pushing a little outside your comfort zone?  You’ll never know until you try!

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July Farm Update

The strawberries are just about done for the year.  Boo Hoo.  I have delighted in every waffle dinner with strawberry syrup, but we made not a single batch of jam.  There are still plenty of jars down cellar from last year.  And we’ll probably make a batch of raspberry again this year to boost the bounty.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from our strawberry bed this year since I downsized from last year.  We got just the right amount of berries each day, but the season didn’t last long enough.  I could use two more weeks!  The raspberries are just starting to come ripe, but there aren’t a lot of them on account of losing the main canes over the winter (the previously mentioned, good-intentioned effort by one of the kids to “mulch” them – far too heavily).  So we’ll have to go picking somewhere.

 

We’ve been working in the yard and garden quite  a bit.  I had to post some “Posted: No Trespassing” type signs and spray orange on the boundary trees along the back of the property, as we’ve had poachers on the place during hunting season.  A dangerous situation, particularly when JJ was out in his tree stand.  There can be volatile confrontations or accidental shootings.  So hopefully with the boundary well-marked there will be no further trouble (seriously, we don’t have a lot of land … it’s not worth trying to “hunt” on it)   I’ve also gotten some nice sugar snap peas and they’re still coming for a little while yet.  We’ve eaten them raw, in salads, and in a delicious asian dish I can’t wait to make again! Here’s the link:

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/beef-with-snow-peas/

Last weekend was our race.  J did a full olympic triathlon and JJ, Cec and I ran the 5k.  The little kids watched, cheered us on, and took pictures!  What a blessing they are!  Lots of company lately, and camping last weekend for the race.  Lots of birthdays, too, as this is birthday season at our place.  The last one is coming up Sunday, when my oldest will turn 16!  Wow!

 

My One-Pound-Challenge is still going strong.  I’m coming out the other side of a plateau and have lost another couple pounds, so I’m feeling really good about it.  Cec and J will be going to Honduras for a mission trip soon, as well.  Lots going on here at Aspendale Farm, but I guess it wouldn’t be summer without being insanely busy!  The gardening forces me to slow down and connect with nature.  It’s therapy!

 

The hens are laying well and our sign is fixed and hung out, so we can sell the occasional extra eggs.  Sometimes they don’t sell and we have deviled eggs again, or fried eggs for dinner!

 

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