Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where I've been

I'd love to tell you that I've been writing every free minute, however, if that was true I'd have nothing to report here other than "I edited a few pages today" which is a tad boring even by the standards of my frequent entries entailing domestic mayhem and bliss. While I am actually doing that, most of my mornings are beginning before seven AM in the garden, watering, weeding, and harvesting the results. Today I canned some of them.

This was a painstaking experience for someone who doesn't consider herself much of a cook. Canning is about planning, measuring, and timing, and patience. Lots of patience. Which flies in the face of my usual habit of skimming directions, rushing, guessing, substituting for the ingredient I forgot while at the store, crossing my fingers, and hoping I got it right.

It's a small batch this time, but the vines promise a lot more.

Gratuitous cute kid standing the shade of the sunflowers shot:

These plants are now eight feet tall.

I think I've already quoted this once (some old back to earther whose name I can't recall said it): "The more involved you are with that which keeps you alive, the better off you are", but I feel the need to repeat it because I'm finding it to be so very true. It's funny how quickly you become aware of waste and resource management when you're hand-carrying water to half your plants every day, how every lost plant means lost fruit, and every lost fruit is wasted effort. My decision to "first do no harm" as a gardener is tested by occasional pests, but I feel far better about the food I'm bringing into the house knowing they've not been treated with pesticide or steroids. On a more personal note: I feel better physically too (more on that later).

If I can keep the tomato blight at bay there will eventually be pictures of a big batch of spaghetti sauce. (By the way, early Blight is a rotten, rotten disease to inflict on a control freak--there's no cure, only the hope that the plants will live long enough to bear fruit. Not funny. Not funny at all). Happily, it turns out I can freeze and can the New Zealand Spinach too (Thanks Scotty for the advice and the links to the recipes). I must say the Aussies have it all over us with this crop. What a great mix of heartiness and taste. Imagine! a spinach that actually likes hot weather! Next year I will plant a lot more of it and a lot less of something else. If you guys have any other plants like this, I'm interested.


Ray Veen said...

No tips, Mary, sorry. We can't cook OR garden.

Debby said...

Your 'back to earther' was right, I think. Somehow, life just seems a lot more conscious when you are tied to the cycle the seasons, when you reap what you sow literally, as well as figuratively, when your day is defined by the rising and setting of the sun. I like it like that.

Anonymous said...

This looks AMAZING, really! I am inspired.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Mmm... homemade pickles are the best!!

Mary O. Paddock said...

That's okay Ray. I can't hold surgical instruments or clean wounds. :)

Debby--Yes it does.

RH--Thanks. You inspire me too.

MRs. C--Thanks for stopping by. I completely agree. However as we are now approaching the ten jar mark, I'm beginning to wonder if pickles would be a good Christmas present. :)

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Send 'em here, Mary. Want my address? I'll trade you for... um, well, I'll think of something. :]