I firmly believe cucumbers do not want to be made into pickles…they want to hide from me and become big yellow, seed bearing boats. Is is just me or do you always miss a few cucumbers when picking pickling cucumbers? I have no trouble seeing the dark green of Marketmore, they never escape my grasp.
But these certainly have a way of making a fool of me. I picked this morning, and cast aside the over-ripe fruits for taking to the hens later. Then while watering the cucumber patch I noticed a few more escapees. So before I made pickles this afternoon I checked again.
This is what I found.
Okay, so now I can make some pickles. I’ll find the ones I missed this time in a few days I’m sure.
Now my days are book-ended with milking. Milk for days? Yes, for the next 275 days or so, I’ll be milking twice a day. TAD. Signing up for a family cow means I have a responsibility to milk that cow on a regular schedule for about 9 months a year. Every. Single. Day. On. Time.
I can neglect dead-heading my dahlias.
Or weed the garden headlands any time of the day, or any day of the week. The weeds or the dahlias don’t care, but the cow does.
And the calves do.
So this third lactation for Jane is going well, ten days in and we’re settling into a routine. At age four, Jane is mature, predictable, and more healthy than ever. Jane’s shy quarter milks a little slow, so I work on it first to give it more time to properly drain down. The calves get fresh milk (via nipple bucket morning and night) and reheated hand skimmed (means I left some cream behind) for lunch. And, drum roll…butter has been churning out of the farm kitchen. Got to harvest that sunshine while I can.
We’ve been eating tomatoes everyday for weeks, but now the plants are starting to produce quantities large enough for preserving. Let the roasting begin!
Normally our tomato sauce is a roasted mélange of whatever tomato variety needs picking at the time. But this year I have two new tomatoes to try for preserving, Astiana (seed from tomatoes purchased by a friend from Ayers Creek Farm) and Amish Paste – Kapuler from Carol Deppe’s Fertile Valley Seeds. Both are doing great as a plant, but a new cooking tomato means I have to subject it to my kitchen trials to see if the variety makes the taste test.
Frugal gardeners, this roasting is a good way to use up those little annoying smallish onions, blooming basil, and tiny garlic cloves (or scapes) that don’t make your heart sing. Slice the tomatoes, add whatever needs using up, glug in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, turn on the oven to your desired temperature and be prepared for the best scent of August ever. High temperatures (400°) roast a little faster, but slow and low is okay too. I’m heading back to the garden to weed, so we’re taking it slow today on the tomato roasting.
Ahhhh, a glorious dust-settling thundershower, you bring some relief. Time to rewrite the chore list. The rain although small, is a gift. I might need to find my coat.
I got Jane’s parsnip seed gathered in the nick of time.
And the best farmstead “gift” of all, golden, fresh cream. Did I say it’s raining? Yeah!
At this time of year, we’re pretty much on our final weeding pass. Soon it will be time to inter-seed cover crop before the fall rains start.
My daughter and I broke up the weeding chores by choosing a garden, she took the main garden, and I chose the staple garden. Mostly because she didn’t want to weed that big garden and I don’t mind, especially since I am the one who let it go to pot weed-wise during haying. Actually, big is an optical illusion, the main garden is rectangular and consists of ten long rows, whereas the staple garden is square and has twenty long rows.
I’ve been pecking away at it here and there in the evenings and after morning chores while simultaneously kicking myself for not getting this done before Jane freshened. That’s two hours a day doing home dairy chores that I could have spent weeding…but didn’t.
Normally working outside isn’t a problem, but today it’s supposed to get close to 100°F, not ideal gardening weather. But shade is shade, so I decided to weed the corn before the sun was directly overhead. Despite my worries about the bad sheep/corn incident, the flint corn has rallied and is coming right along.
Now only eight more rows to go, dry beans, parsnips, carrots and potatoes. Not today though, it’s too hot, I think I’ll make some butter in front of the fan and put my bare feet on some dog fur. Nothing feels better when it’s hot than to pester the napping dogs with our bare feet.