Sunday, August 11, 2013

Busy, Busy Busy

Just wanted to check in here to let you guys know I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  I am just ridiculously busy this past week.  Who am I kidding.  I have been busy for a month now.  But anyway; Tuesday was spent making grape juice.  Not too shabby for the day.  I ended up with 13 qt jars of concentrate.  Each jar will make a 2 quart pitcher of grape juice.  The juice is really good, but tart.  Jimmy, the gentleman who gave me the grapes, encouraged me to take a lot of green, unripe ones.  "Oh yea you want some green ones especially if you are making grape juice".  Ummhmm.  Well we did.  I still didn't think we took too many, but we took enough to make some seriously tart juice.  I ended up having to add sugar to the juice so now it is just tart like cran-grape drink.  The guys like it.  I am having to keep them from opening my jars of juice.  I had one quart I left un-canned and we mixed it up to see how it would do and to make sure I had the recipe right.  It was a big hit.  Jimmy says I can go back and get more grapes this weekend.  So it looks like this Tuesday will be another grape juice making session. 
I had baking to do yesterday morning and then it was outside to get into the garden.  Once outside I noticed an ominous cloud on the horizon and it was a race against the rain to get tomatoes in. We have had so much rain, my tomatoes are splitting so I was out there grabbing any tomato with just the slightest bit of color to bring in out of the rain.  While I still have another row to pick , I am disappointed in the large number of tomatoes I have had to toss. Still, I ended up with enough tomatoes to cover a bath towel (I lay a clean bath towel on my kitchen counter then lay my tomatoes on that), plus enough to cook to make about 2 qts of sauce.  I have been making sauce, but not canning it.  I have been putting it in a container in the freezer until I have enough to fill the canner.  Well I have enough now so I am planning on canning tomato sauce this afternoon.  I also need to pick that other row.
I have another bed of corn to pick sooner rather than later, and I harvested my first "Free" watermelon" on Friday.  SWEET!  Not only sweet to the taste buds, but seriously I have not had to plant a watermelon seed in about 4 years.  This watermelon and the other 3 still left are from volunteers.
I would like to say everything has been doing well, but that isn't the case.  While I did get enough green beans to do about 23qts, that isn't near what I am used to putting  up.  Re-plants aren't doing well either because the Mexican bean beetles are getting them.  It stayed dry long enough for the seeds to break thru the ground, but now that they are old enough to spray, I can't because of rain.  So these plants might be a write off.  In addition to that I got no peaches from my trees.  Frustrating.  Between the late freeze that zapped some blooms (but not all) and the rain which has kept me from being able to all, my peaches are gone.  So once winter is in full swing, those trees are getting pruned big time and I will try again next year. 
One thing I am realizing is that there is a reason the recommendation for putting up a harvest is to put up 2 years worth.  You want to have enough so if you have a bad garden on year, you can ride out the bad season and try again next year.  Well as far as beans go, I hope I have enough  to make it til next years harvest.  Would not want to be paying the going price for canned beans these days.  I am also thinking I am not going to have enough tomatoes to do BBQ sauce or salsa. 

So anyway, That is the garden update to date.  I have to say I am getting ready for fall and a slower pace.  That is until the holidays.  Seriously!  Holidays are 4 mths away!  YIKES!

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