Archive for the ‘rhubard’ Tag

07-31-2016 Journal – The Garden Jungle!   Leave a comment

It’s the last of July already. It’s a little hard to believe that summer is more than half over.  This dry spell we’ve been having for the last month is a minor annoyance but without nightly watering the garden will be burnt out.  That little bit of water accomplishes miracles as you will see in the following pictures.

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These Mammoth sunflowers will eventually reach 8 or 9 feet tall.

The sunflowers will be absolutely shredded by the hundreds of birds we feed regularly.  They wait all summer for the sunflowers to go to seed and then it’s a bird free-for-all.   This large bushy clump of plants in the next photo is, believe it or not, asparagus. The plants must be left alone for three years until they are firmly established before we can start harvesting the spears. Next Spring we’ll finally get to eat some delicious home-grown asparagus.

 

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Sautéed in butter . . . there’s nothing better.

These last three photo are just  general photos of the entire garden in three sections.  As you can see in this first one the herbs are plentiful and I’ll be drying them steadily starting in about four weeks.

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This next photo is one of the large frames. This will be the last year we grow veggies here. Starting next Spring it will be converted to nothing but herbs.

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This final photo is a large frame filled with cherry tomatoes, green beans, rhubarb, asparagus, and a selection of hot peppers.  The jalapeños are thriving this year.

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That’s the update for the month of July. Here’s one last photo in my continuing war with the yellow-jackets, This nest was found under our deck after both of us had been stung as we walked by.  I won this battle but the war will continue.

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There you have it. Another month gone so quickly.  I can almost smell Winter and the snow that will follow.

07-07-205 Journal–Moving on to Summer!   Leave a comment

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‘Don’t look at this image, it might be against the law here in Maine.’

With the holiday weekend coming to an end summer has officially been declared here in Maine.  Even with that being said we still sat on the deck over the weekend in hoodies and sweatpants because it was a wee bit nippy. So it’s onward and upward to the many summer activities soon to come.

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‘Hot Bread & Butter Pickles’

We had a stay-at-home Fourth of July this year which we both found rather enjoyable. We relaxed on the deck until dark and then decided to be outlaws and lawbreakers.  For decades it was against the law in Maine to own or use fireworks. Two years ago the ban was lifted and fireworks stores sprung up overnight and everyone happily thought their future holidays could be celebrated with a little noise. Oh how wrong we were.

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‘Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Rhubarb, and Triple Berry Jams’

It’s impossible for politicians, local or otherwise,  to keep their collective noses out of everyone’s business for more than a heartbeat.  The town politicos then began to play their silly little games by passing local ordnance to ban the use of fireworks once again. It’s just like a bunch of political morons on a power trip to pass another law that can’t be enforced.

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‘Smoking Hot Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salsa’

As dark ascended on the neighborhood the law breaking began in earnest.  It sounded like the first night of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Normandy.  Every neighbor was trying to out do the others and being the weak minded idiots that we are, we joined right in. Sparklers, Zippers, Rockets, Roman Candles . . . you name it and we had it.  All of that noise and law breaking going on and not one police car was ever seen.  They were probably sitting at home in their driveway while their kids set off their own fireworks.  It was a lot of fun, no injuries or deaths reported, and the cleanup the next day was only about twenty minutes.

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‘Honey & Maple Mead’

The remainder of the weekend we were kept very busy.  B & B pickles were made and canned, an assortment of jams were made and canned, and I finished my first batch of salsa for 2015. It yielded thirteen and a half quarts of a salsa that’ll make your head sweat.

We are definitely on a roll for 2015.

07-03-2015 Journal – Wine and Jam Day!   Leave a comment

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‘While we were working the cat was meditating.’

My last posting concerned our short but successful foray with strawberry picking.  Even though we only managed to pick three quarts before the rains came, we still considered it a moderate success.  It also succeeded in motivating my better-half into a jam making frenzy yesterday.  It required another trip to the food store for additional strawberries, blue berries, and black berries with rhubarb harvested from our garden as well. As you can see in this photo the rhubarb plants are out of control and trying desperately to take over the garden. 

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She worked diligently for five hours and the results were impressive.  She made one batch each of strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, and blueberry jam. She also completed two additional batches of tripleberry which has become a favorite of everyone (blackberry-blueberry-strawberry) who has tasted it.

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Of course I did my best to taste them all as they were being made, bobbing and weaving to avoid those painful hand slaps. They were all over-the-top delicious and I can’t wait to add the strawberry/rhubarb jam to my breakfast menu.

While she was completing the jam I was in another area of the house preparing to bottle my first experimental batch of wine for 2015. My goal was to make a wine unique to Maine and one never made by anyone else.  I thoroughly searched the net but could find no references to this type of mead. It was made from raw maple syrup and fresh honey. 

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The final product was a clear and sweet mead with a faint bouquet of maple. It was a good first effort and with some fine tuning of the recipe I may make it again soon.  I bottled three and a half gallons into various size bottles and kept one for myself. I always volunteer to be first to sample anything containing alcohol before giving it to others. 

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After two glasses I felt that special glow I’m always looking for.  Testing with my vinometer indicates an alcohol content between 7-8%, more than I anticipated.  All in all a really successful experiment.

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The batch was corked and capped and will go into storage for a few months and then be tasted again.  Most wine improves with age and I look forward to an older version of this mead to enjoy through the winter months.

06-11-2015 Journal–Garden Update!   Leave a comment

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I thought I’d take a little time today to give you a general update of the garden. I realize that it’s still early in the season but with the warm weather finally arriving the plants have really begun to grow.  As usual there have been a few fatalities in the garden. Two jalapenos dried up and fell over and three of the cucumber plants followed suit.  The peppers had their stems cut which confused me for a time.  I thought it might have been deer but a nearby nurseryman  advised of a rash of cut worm complaints in recent weeks. They love chewing through the stems of healthy plants.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for them and squish as many as I possibly can.

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The cucumbers were ones I purchased from Lowes  and I’ve come to find out that most plants purchased from local nurseries seem to thrive much more than those purchased from these big box stores.  I  think it all comes down to how the plants are handled.  Unfortunately at any big box store, they hire a bunch of high school or college students at minimum wage and set them loose on the plants.  Too much watering is just as damaging as too little and those kids are clueless.

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With the new plants in hand I replaced the dead ones last night.  I spent some time chopping down the seed stalks of my rhubarb plants too.  This should help them fill out a little more and give me a better harvest when it comes time to make jam. I was surprised to find a number of rhubarb seedlings in one of the other frames. The seeds must have blown there last year and took root this spring.  I replanted them nearer the rhubarb patch will I’m going to be forced to enlarge next season.

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‘There always seems to be one on these guys hanging around.’

I finally began caging the tomato plants when I found the first bloom on one plant.  I was going to wait until later in the month but the plants are growing so quickly they’ll need the support from the cages to keep the fruit off the ground.

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As you can see by the photos the entire garden including the herbs are looking good.  If this keeps up for another couple of months we will have a ton of product to deal with  this Fall.  I have a feeling we’ll be canning a lot more than we did last year with a much larger variety as well.

07-07-2014 Journal Entry-Garden Madness!   Leave a comment

The monsoons  of Arthur have finally left this area and are on their way to Nova Scotia.  Three and a half days of rain were badly needed but OMG. My nice little garden and the better-half’s flower gardens look like the jungles of Vietnam.  It’s hard to believe that they can grow so quickly when doused with copious amounts of water. You’ll see with today’s photo’s that I may need a machete to get around in there.

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I planted a variety of kale plants this year that a week ago were four inches high.  Today they measuring almost 14 inches.  I’ll be harvesting them sooner than expected and the freezer will be filled very quickly.

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The herbs are out of control as well and it’s obvious I’ll be able to restock a large part of my dried herb collection and be more prepared than ever for the coming Winter.

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I harvested almost three pounds of rhubarb seeds yesterday which I’m slowly drying in one of the cold frames. After a few days of direct sunlight they should be ready for storage until next Spring. I plan on planting as many as possible around the property because my goal is to have a huge patch of rhubarb within the next two years.

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The better-half’s flowers are beginning to bloom everywhere.  The assorted colors of these day lilies makes picture taking a real pleasure. I especially love the dark red ones.

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I normally plant three zucchini plants each year and harvest probably 5 or 6 zucchini’s per plant.  This year I was given a great deal on plants and ended up buying a few extra. As you can see I’ll be knee deep in zucchini in just a few weeks.

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I’d like to keep posting but I’ve got three hours of weeding and general maintenance in that garden.  The better-half returns tomorrow morning from her trip and I’d like to get these tasks out of the way before then.

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