They Got Too Heavy!!!

Hey Everyone!

This morning I only got about 3/4 of a pint of raspberries. This caused me to do some research. I know that our bushes are of the ever bearing type of heirloom red raspberries. My research indicates that there are two seasons of crops each year, one in July (that we are coming off of), and one later on in the summer, like August / September. Beings that the bushes still have buds on them and flowers I am hoping that if I just wait it out that I will be able to get more batches of jam.

I knew it was only a matter of time, even with having staked the tomato plants, that they would start to topple over.

I had been watering the garden a bit and over they went. I don’t want to chop the vines off yet since they have flowers on them.

The vines that toppled over are part of the biggest grouping of tomatoes that are staked, so I am not surprised. I am just hoping to get tomatoes off the plants this year.

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Finally starting to see Tomatoes.

Hey Everyone!

I had skipped checking the garden yesterday since it was so hot. It had gotten to at least 100 degrees yesterday. It was too hot for me to go out.

I got up early enough this morning to go out, since it was still in the low to mid 70’s and not in full sun yet.

Today I got two pints of raspberries.

I was also checking the tomato plants, as we haven’t gotten any yet this season. I have been seeing a lot of flowers over the past few weeks. Today I finally started seeing actual tomatoes. They are still tiny and green, but they signs of what is to come. They seem to be a little late coming on this year.

I am hoping that the heat helps them grow and ripen. I am glad that I got the plants staked when I did as they more than doubled in height in a couple of weeks, and would have toppled over by now.

I also trimmed back the raspberries so that they are easier to tend, and get more sun. When they grow up rather than producing berries than that height needs to go.

Productive Day Homemaking

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Yesterday was busy, even though I didn’t go anywhere.

I had gone out earlier in the morning to garden and make sure I came in before it got too hot.

Once I came in, I made food for myself then got to work, making gluten free vegan banana nut muffins for myself, regular banana bread for those I live with, as well as a batch of raspberry jam. I also finished up a dishcloth I was working on as well as helped install a new light fixture in the dining area.

All of that was done by about a quarter to three.

I spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out, enjoying the air conditioning, since it had gotten up over 90 again today.

Summer Heatwave

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I had gone out to the garden about 11:30 this morning, and it was already in the low 80’s at that time. It was already too hot to be outside for me, but I persevered until about 12:45, when I couldn’t handle the heat anymore. By the time I came in it was already 87, and only getting hotter. I was so hot and miserable I didn’t even finish checking the raspberry bushes along the fence. I decided to leave it and try again tomorrow morning. I decided I need to get out earlier in the day before it is really starting to heat up. While I don’t want a sunburn, I am more concerned about heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

I am hoping that this heat wave that we are having helps the tomatoes to come on. The bushes have a ton of flowers on them so I am hoping for quite a few tomatoes this summer.

The interesting things that I am learning about gardening is about the seasons of when different things are in their season, and ready to pick / eat.

The raspberries seem to be waning, I don’t know if it is just a normal fluctuation in the growing season and more will be coming on later on, or if the season is winding down for the year. From what I understand the bushes we have are ever bearing, so we will see how many more berries we get and how much more Jam we get from them this summer.

Summers are so Busy

Hey Everyone!

I have been wanting oatmeal raisin cookies for a few days now.

Today I finally made half a batch. The full batch would have just been way to many cookies to try to eat before they get stale. Being the only person in the house who is gluten free, dairy free and egg free, my specialty food costs more money, and since I am the only one in this house who really needs it, I tend to make half a batch of these kinds of things.

I also was in the mood for gluten free vegan rustic flat bread. So I mixed one up this evening and baked it along with my cookies.

It’s been a while since I felt like baking, and I picked the busiest day to do it on. This afternoon I spent a couple hours working in the backyard and around the garden, picking berries and such. I also spent some time knitting, and then baking and dinner. After all that was done, it was time for a quick shower and off to church.

Summers are short (which is great since don’t like the heat), and we have to pack in all that we can to maximize the growing season and what we can put up for winter. We have to make the most of the long days to get the most done.

First Freezer Jam of the Season!

Hey Everyone!

Summer is in full swing! The raspberries we have growing in the backyard are taking off.

Yesterday I had grabbed a second pint berry container just in case, and I wound up using it and filled it up. Today when I went out to pick berries I had also taken a second pint container with me and I filled both up as well today.

I finally had enough berries to make a batch of freezer jam! So I finally got my first batch of jam of the season.

I used the directions out of the MCP box for making freezer jam, with one alteration, I put Karo Light Corn Syrup in my jam. The old MCP recipe called for a cup of Karo Syrup after you let the jam sit with the lemon juice and pectin, and before adding the sugar. You also want to put the lemon juice in with the crushed berries and the pectin. The directions don’t specify that.

I had made some jam after they had changed the recipe and without realizing they had changed the recipe and the jam came out all gritty and gross.

My mom and I came to the conclusion that the Karo Syrup helps the sugar to dissolve and the jam to not be gritty.

I don’t know if it was just one of those things or if there was any correlation between the two but i had watered the garden earlier in the week and the next day there were so many berries ready.

I will definitely try to remember to pay attention to how many berries I get tomorrow and see if there is more berries ready than usual.

What Living in a Small Town taught me about Who I am

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I am loving gardening and being able to go outside and work around after a rough day. There is something about working around the garden alone in the evenings.

Gardening definitely makes me miss living in a small town in the middle of nowhere this time of year. The towns I lived in while in college are college towns, at the same time there are families who live there, and the college is a welcome part of the community. With the exception of some of the freshman (thinking back to my own freshman year and lower division classes), the majority of the student body were there to learn. There were also a fair amount of older / non traditional students who had kids, in addition to the school not being a party school (can anyone say “dry campus”), made for a more family friendly community small town feel. Outside of town limits it was all farm land, whether they were growing grass for hay, hops for beer, or grapes to make wine, it is definitely a farming area. A lot of people who lived outside city limits also had gardens, some had chickens and or goats. There were at least a couple alpaca farms. It took leaving the city and moving there to realize that I am not a city girl.

It took living there to plant the seeds of wanting to live in the country, on some acreage where I can have a flower garden and a fruit & vegetable garden as well as chickens, maybe some goats, and so much more. I personally fell in love with living in the country, not super far from a small town.

Living there taught me how to appreciate the quiet and simpleness of a summer’s evening, and gardening once the sun is past it’s peak (between 5:30 and 7:30 pm), and enjoy watching the sun go down while sitting outside especially if there is a breeze.

Living in a small town where the regular TV stations didn’t always come through clearly, and many businesses closed by 7:00 pm, there wasn’t a lot to do like there is in the city. That didn’t bother me at all. It really helped me to appreciate the simpler things in life like the beauty of a summers evening, and going for a walk for something to do. It fits well with who I am. That slower pace of life, and enjoying the simpler way of life in terms of not having to be going from one store to another, spending lots of money, or constantly needing to go somewhere and do something is what works for me. If I ever have a family of my own, I would love to raise my kids near a small town.

Working around in the garden this week gave me time to think about how much more I want to do and what I want to grow and make for myself. While there is more of a resurgence of the Homesteading / Urban Homesteading Lifestyle out here in this part of the country, it seems like how much of what women did a couple generations ago (and they weren’t all urban housewives), is a chapter in the history books. Homesteading, even Modern Homesteading and urban Homesteading are a lot of work, but I love the way I feel at the end of a long day of work and being tired from actually accomplishing something.

This week I have picked about a pint of raspberries each day, and yesterday I picked some of my lettuce that I had planted earlier this week. I watered the garden, and kept a watchful eye on the tomato plants. It was a good thing that we staked the tomatoes last weekend. They have grown so much in the past week, it’s crazy. As of yesterday there were 11 flowers that I counted between all the plants. If we hadn’t staked them when we did, they would likely be falling over already.