Thursday, August 18, 2016

Harvest Time

I have managed to keep myself well occupied in the week and a half since I got home form my trip to Michigan, which was very  nice.  All kinds of things are ripening in the garden, and I have processed and frozen about 4 dozen ears of corn which we will use mostly in an old family favorite, chicken corn chowder, when the weather turns cooler.  We have also eaten about as much sweet corn on the cob as we can handle.  This is not a complaint.  We still have some immature corn on the stalks in the garden, but I don't know if they will amount to anything at this point.  We'll keep checking on it and eat it if we can.
I also picked lots of bright red hot chili peppers on Tuesday.  Sam bought an assortment of pepper plants last spring and there were 4 of these plants and they have really thrived.  And boy are they hot!  So I thought I would make some hot pepper vinegar sauce from them.  I looked online for recipe ideas and of course I needed some bottles to put them in.  I found a blog post from 2010 with nice bottles from the Dollar Tree and I happened to be going to Marietta on Monday and wouldn't you know, they still had the same bottles there?  So I did up a couple bottles.  They are so pretty.  I think it will take a while for the full flavor to develop, but in the meantime, it just looks nice.

I harvested a sunflower on Monday and hung it in the summer kitchen to dry.   I have many more which will be ready to harvest before too long.  The one I cut was the first one to bloom and the tallest and I was unable to see if it was ready to cut without climbing up and cutting it.  It was probably 10' tall.  I stood in the bed of the ATV and reached over my head to cut it.

We have one interesting sunflower.  It is like a siamese-twin sunflower.  There are 2 flowers sharing one edge.  Hard to explain, so here's a photo. 

 We have been enjoying tomatoes on BLTs and hamburgers and I made one of our very favorite pasta dishes on Sunday that I only make when we have fresh Romas from the garden.  The sauce is nothing but Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic (also from our garden) and a little salt and crushed red pepper.  It is simple and wonderful, but a lot of work.  

This evening when I get home I will be canning a batch of marinara sauce.  I have cooked down 3 pots of tomatoes and will be adding garlic, onion and basil tonight and cooking it down a bit more and then canning it in quart jars.    I have to do it tonight because tomorrow I am taking a class in pastels at the arts center during the day and then Grover and I are leaving in the evening for an agility trial in Youngstown Ohio.  I won't be home until sometime Sunday. So I won't be able to do much else until Monday.  I am sure there will be more tomatoes ready by then.    

This is a photo of the tomato plants from this morning.  Many of these plants are taller than I am.

Our weather has  been very stormy and rainy.  And hot.  And humid. Last year we had second cutting hay in the barn on July 30th.  This year's is still standing in the field.  There has not been a window of time without rain the forecast in which to get it done.  Sam thinks he may be able to cut it on Sunday.   

A lot of progress has been made on my weaving studio, despite the weather.  This is how it looked a few days ago in the early morning just after a storm had passed through.  

Yesterday I got home from work in time to help him set the last 4 of 9 trusses in place.  He did the first 5 on his own, which I hate for him to do.  Too many things can happen.  But you can't tell him that.  Today, I told the neighbor to drive by once in a while and "supervise".  The metal roofing was delivered on Tuesday and I am sure Sam will be working on getting that up today.

We still have gloomy skies today, but less chance of rain than yesterday.  


I finished the baby blanket I wove for my hairdresser.  I was waiting to hear when baby was born so I could cross stitch the his name and birth date on the blanket.  She had him right on her due date I was told.  I still have another blanket just like it on hand for a future baby gift.  The scarf I was weaving last post is off the loom, but I need to twist the fringes on it before it is considered finished.  Most of my time lately has gone into outdoor pursuits, but I will get to that one of these days.
Here is some more early morning dramatic weather moving through.  We've had a lot of this lately and a couple of afternoon/evening power outages. 



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer is Flying By

So fast!  Fall will be here before we know it.  But there is still a lot to be done in August.  This week I go to Michigan to visit my family there.  It will be a quick trip involving a lot of driving, but worth it to spend some time with my aunt and my cousins and my mom.  When I return, I will likely have to start harvesting and canning tomatoes, because there are SO many green tomatoes out there.  Then the weekend of the 20th, Grover and I have a dog trial up near Youngstown Ohio.  Then it is only a couple of weeks until Labor Day weekend.  Wow.

We had our first corn and tomato from the garden last night.  The corn was probably a little early, but not too much so.  It was quite good.  Only 1 ripe tomato so far, but I expect 100's to ripen all at once.  I think we have about 3 dozen plants.  More or less.

My weaving studio is coming along.  Sam got the framework all done and put on the sub-flooring this past week.   

 I had supervisors while I was screwing the sub-flooring down on Sunday evening.

The next step  is to start the framing, I think.  I know Sam has been hauling logs out of the woods and leaving them by the sawmill and trusses have been ordered.  I, of course, have been trying to figure out where I want lighting and windows and the sink and that kind of thing.  I will have gas heat and there will be a sink, but no hot water.  I will have a microwave that I can heat water in when needed.  That's the plan for now anyway.

It has been pretty hot around here lately, as one would expect for mid-summer.  Grover and I have been working on agility, but we aren't out running around too much.  We are working on getting him to do a 2 on 2 off at the end of contact obstacles, to prevent NQ fly offs.  Grover needs to touch in the bottom contact zone with at least one paw or he does not Q.  So we have a little board we are using:
 The 2 front feet are supposed to be off the board and the 2 back feet are to remain on until he is given a release command.  We work on  this for a few minutes every day.

I also bought a remote controlled treat dispenser 
manners minder treat and train and I am using that to try to encourage him to work ahead of me especially in the weave poles.  I set the dispenser 10 feet or so past the end of the weave poles.  When I send Grover into the weave poles I can use the remote to dispense a treat once I am sure he is going to finish the poles.  I stay behind him and encourage him to go on.  It's too soon to say we are making progress.  But I think it will work.

 I planted sunflowers at the end of my tomato garden this year and this weekend the first one bloomed.  I think several more will bloom very soon as well.  This is by far the tallest one, probably 9 or 10 feet.  In this photo it is just starting to open up.  I can hardly wait for more to  bloom.  I love them.

Another scene from around the farm this week is Road Runner the cat.  She came to us at least 4 years ago from the local shelter where I used to volunteer .  She is semi-feral, preferring not to be touched or petted, but she shows up every day at meal time.  This was the second time in 2 days that I looked into the barn and found her lounging in  this bucket. 

I was looking for bees in the Rose of Sharon that is blooming in the backyard, and I found this one.  She is just covered in pollen.  After she left this bloom she flew to a higher spot and sat on a leaf and cleaned some of that off of herself.  She was too high up for me to get a photo, though.  I am sure that much pollen would cause her to be weighted down during flight.

I finished a shawl yesterday.  This is made with 100% alpaca from my farm.  It is close to 6' across, which is hard to tell from this photo.  This will make a nice booth sample for the Wool Gathering, at which I am vending once again in September.  I missed it last year due to the re-scheduling of Sam's hunting trip, but this year I will be there.  I still have a lot of yarn for sale even though I don't have many alpacas left.

I just warped my small loom at home for some tencel scarves and I have alpaca rugs on the big loom at the office.  I am doing pretty well with my goal to keep those looms dressed with projects.  The scarves are from a towel pattern in a recent issue of Handwoven magazine, but I thought it was too pretty for towels (and I had just done towels), so I decided to make it into shiny silky scarves.