Monday, September 7, 2020

Happy Labor Day!


A bit of a soggy Labor Day here but I'm Ok with a few indoor sports today.  Kirby is hiding due to last nights fireworks and this mornings thunder and lightening.  Poor guy, it's gonna take a couple days.  We are in the final push of a less than stellar garden year.  Again I have learned so much and again made copious notes to do things differently next year.  As with everything this year..... DIFFERENT is the word of 2020. 

Even though I bitched and complained about heat, drought, bugs, four legged invaders and a good garden beat down.  The garden gives back.  The chickens seem pretty un-phased too.  Maybe there is a lesson in this year, just roll with it or maybe it's; Adapt or Die and besides why stress when you can eat tomatoes and eggplant (until 2025)  This is a year of punting and not many field goals but a whole lot of Charlie Brown.

So we adapted here in Paine Falls.  We forgot about the cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other brassicas; surrendered to the worm chompers.  The chickens were happy to get plants filled with caterpillars and eat the greens too.  Bean beetles abounded and as they turned the leaves to lace, I walked away.  I just could not spend two hours a day picking bean beetles in 90 degree heat.  My underwear can only ride so high!   But I do have beans, lots of beans and I am letting them dry on the stalks and will harvest dry beans.  I love dry beans!   I cut back the eaten, beat'n chard and new leaves look great!  The deer loved the beet tops but I did get the bottoms.  The chickens ate so many green garden cast offs this year, they made me feel a bit better about the garden.  Can we talk about tomatoes, eggplant, hot peppers and onions?  Bumper crops! Grilled eggplant is stacked in the freezer, grilled ancho peppers are skinned and sitting in freezer bags.  I have put up smokey salsa, pasta sauce, stewed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, tomato soup.  They just keep coming!  The low hangers were chomped and eaten by a dastardly ground hog or two or three.  But I haven't missed the ones they ate and I don't seem to tire of standing at the sink and looking at this. 

or this 

and the smell!  I think Butch has walked in the house every night in the last couple weeks and said; WOW smells great in here.  Except for one blasted day! 

Peach Day 2020
I can peaches just about every year.  This year I thought oh well, no peaches due to a very late Spring freeze.  I lost my entire crop.  I called local orchards and even drove back roads after pottery deliveries searching for peaches.  Finally just dealt with; NO PEACHES 2020.   After everything else this year I kind took it in stride.  And then I ran out to my favorite farmer and he had a basket of peaches for $20.  I grabbed them!  He asked me what I was going to do with a big basket of peaches?  Stuffing them in jars I laughed, it's canning season!  He asked me if I'd be interested in seconds for $11.00 a basket, why yes I would!  So I bought another basket that were actually in pretty good shape.  

Dragged out the jars and canning stuff and couldn't wait to start stuffing jars with summer gold.  And then the house vibrated and the dust fell from the rafters and smell drifted through the window.  ASPHALT!  This is the day the city decided to pave the street!  Robbed!  Not one peachy smell drifted up my nasal cavity.  Instead my eyes watered from asphalt fumes on a hot September day.  As a memory drifted into my head of my darling 3 year old daughter, sitting in her carseat as we waited in a long line of traffic one hot summer day.  MOM!  SMELL?!   It's asphalt honey..... MOM! IT'S NOT OUR FAULT IS ASSPHALT!   And so 2020 goes.......

Canning day peach butter cake is pretty good too! 

As I look back over my last couple weeks, it's been busy.  
Orders have been filled and delivered.  

We now have grill garage?  This would have been the last thing I thought we needed but Butch thought he needed to build one while I wasn't looking.  One more thing for Kirby to run into...... I have padding on everything! 

Miller re-location services are in full swing with the masked bandits.  I have trapped 2 forty pound plus size raccoons and one smaller one.  One, so mad, it tore the shingles off the side of house by the time Kirby found him at 5:30 am.  I honestly don't know how he fit in the trap.  I think this is the one who also used my front porch as a port-a-potty! So at 5:45 am I load the van and drive an hour away with a jet fueled rocket in a thin metal cage, down a deserted road. Turning my lights off as I back into an abandoned driveway with wild overgrowth abounding and a deer looking on from the distance.  Under cover of butt crack dark side of dawn, I open the back doors of the van, grab the trap with one adrenalin jacked, ball of teeth and snarl, gingerly slide the trap under the van. Then I lay on my stomach in the back of van and with gloved hands, open the trap.  And the raccoon is supposed jet propel itself out to freedom.  This has happened once out of three.  Trying to get them to turn around is a feat in itself!  By 7 am I am home to a hot cup of coffee and feeling a little safer in my world.  Well until this morning.  At 5:30 am it is still dark here in Paine Falls but I am up and decide to open the hatch on the coop and put the feeder out; the girls can pile out at will.  I opened the door to the run with feeder in hand and another damn raccoon snarls and hisses as I open the door.  He is up in the corner, not on the floor and I never saw him.  Just before I was wearing a living, breathing, snarling coonskin hat, I ejected myself from the run.  I didn't even have time to put the feeder down!  I grabbed a foil (fencing sword or garden stake) and tried my best fencing moves.  ON Guard!  OH Bad idea!  He ran higher and jammed himself in the rafters of the new run.  2020 lesson, roll with it.  Put your foil down, open all the doors and go make coffee, 45 minutes later he was gone.  I guess I have another relocation run to make..... argh!   

My neighbor. old dead-eye managed to shot one ground hog with pumped up pellet gun, which is next to impossible as the pellets usually just bounce off their tough hides.  I thought the giant groundhog was sunning himself.  Laying on his back in the neighbors backyard, peacefully resting in the freshly mown grass, eyes staring skyward.   Then the smell hit me between the eyes.  I walked over and he didn't move.  YES!!!   I need to send over a batch of cookies!  

The gutters got cleaned and rain water diverters installed as we had a flood in the basement during a recent downpour.  Nothing like mud and slit coating those new shiny, full canning jars.  So lots of stuff got a sudsy double wash this year and new shelf liner put down again.  The basement got a good hose down too.  Firing strips tacked up in front of the jars so they don't move off the shelf, incase this happens again but it shouldn't as I hard pruned the magnolia and Japanese maple off the house and gutters. 

Bought myself a new fangled water purifier and the water tastes way better!  Really tired of lugging 5 gallon jugs around.  And we recently learned 5 gallon bottled water was the new toilet paper.  Not a bottle to be found anywhere in three counties.  Kind of put the fear into me and bought this thing. 

We watched movies on the patio!  Chicago and Pirates of the Caribbean. 
And we ate popcorn and drank moscow mules! 

Dropped a bag of frozen tomatoes on my foot and got my aerobic 
exercise in for the day jumping around! 
Back to canning! 

I like green better than drought brown......

and the girls are laying 4 eggs a day!!! 

I have a few more jars to fill and orders to deliver this week.  A bit more updating to the website and then I can start throwing again.  
I have a few glazes to mix up before the snow flies, which could be any day. 
 and just remember........


  1. Wow, what a summer, the bugs, I am not alone. I am looking at pulling 3 more broccoli plants to toss, while I try more in a very graded placed, covered with netting. I have kale, beets covered, and carrots. I think that I might net everything but the bugs.
    Best for some good eating- my eggplants are still with me.

    1. Ooooooo my morning coffee with Meredith ❣️ Frost hit last night. Need to do a catchup blog today as the last jars just went in the cellar! Eggplant is still here too. Grilling some tonight for dinner. So many green tomatoes this year! And pest ARGH! I’m up to 5 raccoons from around the chicken coop and really happy to see more praying mantis than grass hoppers this year! Off to scape the windshield. Need to put a few apples up but is over ..... now if 2020 would just move along be well ❣️❣️