All That Summer Holds

We are so close to all things summer. We’ve had a few campfire nights with marshmallows, we’ve cleaned off and fired up the grill, and the animals have had their summer haircuts. We’ve even prepped the pool for opening. All we need now is to be done with school and we can really dig into blissful warm-weather activities.

I’ve been pushing hard to finish our materials, but it’s likely going to be a few more weeks before we are done (if you’ll remember, we didn’t start until after labor day, so we are actually right on track).

The gardens are going well, so far. I’ve given up on the peas – they took forever to sprout and now I fear it’s gotten too hot for them. Everything else seems to be thriving, more or less.  I’ve had to replant my cantaloupes, cucumbers, and watermelons due to voles, but tiny sprouts are coming back up and I’ve sprayed some gross organic garlic and egg stuff around that’s supposed to keep rodents away.

Of the 32 tomato plants I put in the ground, 28 are still going strong. I’m calling that a win.  I’m also calling my basil a win – I grew it all from seed this year, and we have about a dozen plants now. With luck there will be an abundance of pesto this year!

We’ve got several different herbs going strong, and I’m hoping to propagate more from them soon, to spread around.

The sunflowers and the corn are nearly knee-high, and the winter squash plants seem to love the composted hay and manure in the back field.

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The wild blackberry bushes are loaded with new berries.

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Little flowers on the tomato plants.

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I’ve spread A LOT of diatomaceous earth on the squash, and a little on everything else, as well. I’ve seen this method work wonders for friends, so watch out, squash bugs!

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The pumpkin plants are getting HUGE. They’ve grown a ton of new leaves since I coated them with DE  last week.

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Down at the stream.

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The back pasture has become downright meadow-like!

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The ducks are all ready for hot weather, too:

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Aside from school, working in the garden, and taking care of the various animals, I’ve started making yogurt again.

I used to use my crockpot, which worked out very well, but it was big and unwieldy and didn’t fit in the dishwasher.  I also had to be very attentive with it, keeping a thermometer clipped to the side and wrapping it in towels to keep it warm after adding the culture (the “warm” setting on it was too hot for the yogurt).  Recently, though, I bought a bigger rice cooker (now that we have two extra people here, our little 2-cup machine wasn’t cutting it), and I specifically got the model that also has a yogurt setting. I don’t have to do a thing, AND I can put it in the dishwasher afterwards.

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I’ve been doing 2 quarts at a time, and it’s been setting up much firmer than with my old method.  This is good news, because I don’t need the greek yogurt strainer to have a good consistency yogurt. But….

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I do love a good, thick yogurt.  I’m already deciding what various fruit purees I can make to mix in, now that making yogurt is virtually zero work.

The BIG news around here, though, is Maddie and John’s new little meatball. Or chicken sandwich, if you will. Or even Nacho. All of the food-related nicknames you can imagine.

For this:

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Her name is Twyla, and she’s a 6 month-old Pekingese/Chihuahua/Dachshund-ish mix. We are enjoying her so much while they are here (until late August, or so).  All of the other dogs are just fine with her, and the cats are more or less unconcerned, so long as she leaves them alone. Only Widget seems to have an issue with her, but considering she did try to chase him, it’s understandable. Of course, he outweighs her by a large amount, and his being afraid of her is rather ridiculous and entertaining.

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Oona is going to enjoy every moment of it she can.

 

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