Monthly Archives: October 2012

Frozen Harvest

Over the summer, we’ve been freezing crops as they came in, but didn’t have a good method for organizing or tracking what we ended up with.

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Which, surprise, resulted in a tangled mess of frozen bags in our chest freezer. So this evening we pulled everything out, hauled it to the living room, and sorted and catalogued it for the winter.

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Final Count from our garden:

6 bags of spinach
3 bags of kale
1 bag of turnip greens
5 bags of roasted squash
6 bags of peas
3 bags of sugar snap peas
2 bags of grated beets
6 bags of chopped beets
2 bags of green beans
5 bags of broccoli
1 bag of corn
6 bags of edamame
4 bags of pesto
1 bag of tomatoes
1 bag of tomato paste

Harvest: Eggplant

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The deer have pretty much destroyed everything in the garden, but apparently they don’t like eggplant. So this afternoon, I pulled in the final harvest, and processed 3 pounds of eggplants into eggplant dip for the freezer.

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All roasted up and ready to be eaten!

Front Lawn

When we moved in, there was a weed patch / former flower garden area in a half-circle at the west end of the house. This summer, we threw some old veggie and nasturtium seeds into it, with mixed results, but didn’t really do much other than try to keep the weeds down.

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Our efforts at keeping the weeds down was, as you can see, mostly a failure.

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So, today we ripped out all of the remaining plant matter, raked, and moved the brick outline to make it easier to mow the grass next summer. Take that, weeds!

Quinoa Processing

We pulled in all the quinoa before the worst of the rain started, and it’s been drying on a tarp indoors since then.  This weekend, we decided to try to begin figuring out the harvest process.  20121016-130206.jpg

First, we started with a pile of leaves, seeds, twigs, and various detritus.

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We took several handfuls of the collection, and set it on top of a window screen, attached to a plastic storage bin.

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Then, we brushed the quinoa across the screen, which forced the seeds (and some of the smaller bits of detritus) to fall through into the bin. We plucked out the larger bits of twigs and leaves, until nothing was left on the screen.

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The result? This is definitely step one, only: lots of dust and inedible bits remain in the quinoa that landed in the bin.

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Still, you can see we’re getting closer! The next step is probably winnowing… now if only the sun would come back!

One Year Ago Today

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, we first came out to look at the Canyonview property. Since that was exactly one year ago today, we thought we’d take a few comparative photos to demonstrate what’s changed in the last year.
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We took out the fencing from the barn pasture (it was over the septic tank, and not a good pasture area) to eventually turn it into a lawn.  And we apparently lined up a zillion plants in pots on the sidewalk on the south side of the house!

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We turned the horse pasture into a garden, to be expanded next year.  The garden doesn’t look so impressive now — fall has come, and with it, hungry deer who demolished our temporary deer fencing and ate most of our greens.  The quinoa and corn have been pulled down, and the squash taken in – all we’ve got left is basil and tomatoes.  Luckily, two of my favorite things.

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We planted a temporary garden in the half-circle – next year it will be turned into lawn to make it easier to care for.  We also re-did all the fencing around the barn, replacing the horse fencing with field fencing to keep the birds in.  And we replaced that horse with a lot of birds and some super cute sheep!

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Inside the house!!  We didn’t do as many physical changes to this room, but replacing the huge dark couches with a kids play area and some lighter colored furniture made a huge difference in this room.

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The kitchen and living room.. we replaced the horrible blue carpet, repainted the walls, and got a new fridge for the kitchen.  And yeah, the kitchen looks a bit messier — all that food on the counters waiting to be put up for winter!

 

Not so bad for a year (really, 10 months of living here).  There is so much left to be done, but we’re pretty proud of our accomplishments in 2012.  Looking forward to more next year!

Harvest: Quinoa

This year’s big experiment was growing Quinoa.  We eat quinoa quite a lot – it’s much  healthier than rice or couscous, so it’s generally our replacement for both in recipes.  When we found out we could grow it ourselves, of COURSE we had to give it a try!

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Here’s the quinoa seed heads, cut from the plants (which grew up to 7′ tall!) and laid out on a tarp to catch the seeds.  We may have waited a bit too long; some of the seed heads were quite dry and we lost a lot of seeds to the ground.20121010-150421.jpg

Dry seed heads.  It’s tough to tell how much quinoa is there, because of all the undeveloped blossoms mixed in.

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Actually, quite a bit of quinoa from that one little handful!!  Of course, it’ll take some work to get ALL the seeds seperated from the chaff, but, we’re excited to have enough to at least make a meal with.. probably several!  Next step is figuring out how to wash all the soapy, bitter saponin off of the seeds so they taste good enough to eat.

Harvest: Squash

October has come, and it’s time to pull in the squash before the rains come and introduce mold to the situation!

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First squash we harvested were the accidental decorative squashes.  These were supposed to be a carving pumpkin, bu tthey turned out to be two types of fancy, useless squashes.  They’re quite pretty, but… who on earth needs 35 fancy useless squashes??  Guess our fall party this year will be extra fancy.

20121010-145413.jpgKabocha squash is our favorite, a go-to all winter long. We got 18 kabochas, and 16 acorn squash pulled out of the garden.  We just kept finding more as we pulled up all the squash plants… sneaky little buggers.

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Moving on to the banana squash.. oh, man, the banana squash!!  Look at this monster Talina found.

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All told we harvested 18 banana squash, too.  We haven’t weighed them all yet, but a few were upwards of 35lbs, and those weren’t the REALLY big ones.

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Squash storage solution!  Since the shop will be heated sporadically over the winter, and the barn is NOT pest-proof, we’re using the extra room to store everything right now.

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And the final reward:  our first kabocha squash, roasted for dinner with home-grown broccoli and carrots.  The steak… not so home grown, but it was good!

Harvest: Corn

The corn has gotten quite old, the ears aren’t very good to eat anymore, and the stalks have started falling over!! So, time to pull them out. 20121010-145254.jpg

All the stalks on the ground, waiting to be portioned up and fed to hungry goats!

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Large pile of ears leftover.. next year, we need to be more dedicated about eating and harvesting the corn while it’s ripe! It got away from us a bit this year, with our busy summer schedule.

Harvest: Edamame

Today it was time to pull the edamame out of the ground!  We harvested quite a lot of bushes!20121010-145015.jpgEmpty harvest basket for size comparison.  Talina and I sat on the front lawn and pulled bean pods off the bushes for a while.  When we were done we had quite a few beans!

20121010-145051.jpgMore than fit in the original harvest basket, so we pulled out the collander, too!

20121010-145106.jpgIn the end we had over 4lbs of beans – combined with the bushes we gave away and the ones we ate already, we easily grew over 5 pounds of edamame in this year’s experiment.  We blanched and froze several bags – can’t wait to pull them out this winter!