Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Summer Growth 2021

Summer has arrived... and as the Strawberry Moon was in full bloom the garden really is starting to show some love after that arduous spring of smothering, composting, spreading and shoveling. We have had great success in some areas and a complete failure in others. I feel this is the essence of gardening. Learning that every crop has a balance and sometimes nature helps maintain that balance and other times there is really nothing you can do. In saying that, it looks like our early summer peas are off the table after sowing 150 plus seeds and having them ravaged by chipmunks, then shriveled by a heat wave and again ravaged by chipmunks I decided to just let the bed become a home for some neglected cabbage seedlings that were straggling behind at work and plant something else to see if it stuck in that bed. We will probably try a late summer/autumn sugar snap crop and see how that goes and will just resort to grabbing some from our friendly local farmers in the meantime.

Garlic is sizing up nicely and the scapes have been a welcome addition to our meals. I think we should be pulling the bulk of the garlic up in the first week or two of July!

Tokyo Bekana was a mealtime favorite and actually got some use in our salad mix as well. It bolted pretty fast with that early summer heatwave but even the flowers had great flavor so we made pretty quick work of it. We will probably try another round for late summer into the autumn.

Radishes were a favorite garden snack while we got our projects done and I was very happy with the sizing and heat tolerance of the Jantar radish variety from Poland that we sourced from Bakers Creek. Its flavor has a unique spice and the golden skin color adds a nice variety to our meals.

Another new varietal we planted this year was Wasabi Arugula, its packs a punch and I find myself snacking on these leaves the most when I am out working on garden projects!

Our peonies did amazing this year and I think finally remembering to throw a cage around it early in the spring helped retain its beauty longer this year.

Hazel and I spent almost an hour following this swallowtail around the homestead.

Speaking of Hazel, she is pretty excited about the progress her flower circle has made and is very excited about the prospects of the nasturtiums climbing up the tepee trellis we constructed recently.

Tomatoes are all strung up and climbing as we patiently anticipate their arrival in our kitchen
 and in our bellies.

Our corn is doing well and we preemptively made a makeshift square trellis with bamboo stakes and jute around it to help keep it vertical, hopefully preventinig it from blowing over like it has the last two seasons.  Seems like this will work unless we get a real brutal microburst which has been known to happen! Fingers crossed.

Cucumbers are climbing and popping flowers every minute...looking like a bumper crop if things keep progressing in this direction! Time to stock up on pickling supplies before the shelves empty like they did last year!

We also got a few solid strawberry picking sessions in over at Bradbury Mountain Berry Farm in Pownal. Such great picking this year, Id say we went through close to 30lbs! We never even had to freeze any and using the fresh cut tops to make strawberry lemonade was a family favorite! 
Looking forward to heading out there again in the coming weeks for raspberry season! 

Hazel had her own special method for picking... she exclaimed loudly "I'm a butt picker" a few times making dad and a few other pickers smile, never a dull moment with a 4yr old!

And just in time for the end of strawberry season we made a family trip into Portland to experience the grand opening of the new children's museum and topped off the trip with a visit to the Eastern Prom for a delicious strawberry soft serve courtesy of Maine Maple Creemee Co.

PS Hazel no longer shares the rest of her ice cream with dad! :(

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy 4th of July!

by Lukaduke
(Acrylic and ink on Paper)

In honor of the 4th of July and all we as a nation have endured, unraveled and accomplished. I present this piece to encourage growth, understanding and solidarity. We as Americans have a common goal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and these pursuits take initiative, resourcefulness and acknowledgment of our mistakes and gumption to make these things right. Forward ever, backward never.

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