We got our first Freeze Warning of the year for tonight, so the kids and I spent about two hours just before sunset harvesting everything from both gardens.
We picked six pumpkins. These are the ones that were labeled as "Blue #2" and were from a local lady. They started off yellow and gradually turned a deep waxy orange with pale splashed striping. They're pretty neat, squat, round, ridged, and indented at the stem... but they aren't blue. This from two seeds. The one in the photo at the top right was picked previously and I believe is a small Connecticut Field Pumpkin. We have one very large CT Field left but it's still green, so we left it outside wrapped in a blanket and we are hoping for the best.
The last of the usable harvest included a handful of different bean varieties, one acorn squash and half a dozen radishes. I left the carrots outside, but we do have a few of those left to harvest when there's more time.
The blueberry plant came back in the house, and since I never got around to actually planting the blackberry bushes, they came back in as well. I will try to manage them over winter and plant them out in the spring. I have all winter to decide where to plant them.
And then there were tomatoes... lots, and lots, and lots of tomatoes. Six buckets full of tomatoes... some ripe, most green, but it was pick them or they'd freeze... So, we're going to see about having fried green tomatoes tomorrow. I've watched the movie (loved it) but never actually tried them. I wonder if they're battered up like fried eggplant (also very nummy). The big bucket of mint also came back in the house. I know it would come back if we left it outside, but #2 has plans to make his own homemade mint extract that he can then share with friends and family and perhaps sell as well, so we want it to keep growing. I've also been wanting to add a few leaves to a jug of lemonade, despite the fact that I don't like mint.
I was perusing a Facebook forum that I admin, and came across an ad for kittens. While I am not in the market for a new kitten, this one really stood out to me. I've seen a lot of cats. I've done rescue work, I've volunteered at a shelter, and I've worked in a pet store... and I can honestly say that I have never seen one with markings quite like this. Of course, I had to inquire. What color is this kitten? Is she grey? Is she a calico? She's adorable, whatever color she is. And those big blue eyes! Turns out she's a barn cat at a local horse breeder's stable. Well, I'm a sucker for unique animals... So... Maybe she will be joining us in the future?
Among the tomato harvest today, I found two beautiful perfect Chocolate Stripes tomatoes.
I am eating my words. Just the other day my husband asked me why I hadn't canned any of the tomatoes, and I complained that I hadn't had enough in one harvest to make it worth canning... Well - now I have enough!
As promised a long while ago - the elusive "Emmy" tomato. From all I could find there is only one photo of this variety, and it looks like a plain orange tomato. That's definitely not what I got though. These tomatoes are fluorescent orange with red markings. They look like a flame. Gorgeous! I haven't cut it open to taste it yet.
I also picked the one and only Great White tomato to ripen so far. It looks pretty yellow, but is seems all of my "white" tomatoes came up very yellow instead. The exception being the Fantome du Laos.
And the biggest news? Little Aspie received his "In Training" vest in the mail today. I brought him with me to Costco this evening and he did absolutely wonderfully. He did get a little scared of the dessert cooler, and we took a quick break, but otherwise he was doing an excellent "heel" and only needed to be corrected a couple times when he started to sniff out crumbs. I'm so proud of him!
Today's tomato harvest overflowed two cooking pots. I used all but one of the yellow tomatoes picked today and the last time I picked to make a yellow salsa. I'm not sure how it's going to turn out as I left it only partially made at my parents house. My mom will finish it up for me, but we had to head home. Early mornings mean early bed times! I've stopped measuring, counting, and identifying the tomatoes... There are just too many!
Our wonderful garden produced just one watermelon this year, and to say that it is a small one may be an understatement. It is literally palm sized, smaller than a softball. The plant died and left the watermelon hanging on the trellis, so I went ahead and picked it. Much to my surprise, it was delicious! Of course when sharing with seven people, we each only got about a dime-sized sample. I saved seeds in case I can get it to grow again next year.
A couple more photos from the garden today. One of the tomatoes had a face! This is the one we didn't use in the salsa tonight. And a photo of Aspie in the shade of the giant pumpkin leaves.
And in other news, Buck #7 went to his new home today. We also added two gerbils to our family; a mom and her six week old daughter. These are #1's "desk pets" that she has been asking for for several months. Since she keeps her desk area clean, and has been doing well with her school work, and wants to show her responsibility, when I saw these needed a home, I agreed.
Today I harvested our second pumpkin. The first was a Baby Pam Pie Pumpkin. This one I'm not sure. It's either a very large pie pumpkin or a pretty small Connecticut Field pumpkin. Either way, Aspie thinks it makes an excellent chew toy.
I was able to get little Aspie into the vet this morning. Two vets looked at him and there was much talking behind closed doors, but they agreed that he certainly has a broken jaw, and that the large lump is his bone attempting to heal. I got antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory/pain meds for him, and he will have to have his food soaked to soften it before he can eat. Jaw rest - no toys or chewing for three weeks so his jaw can heal. We have a follow up appointment for second round of vaccinations and a re-check on his jaw in two weeks. Fortunately, the vets agreed that with a few weeks of softened food and his pills, he will heal on his own. As he grows the remodeling for the bone should lessen so he will eventually take on a more normal appearance. Good news for Aspie!
This week we have had an excellent tomato harvest. Thursday I harvested 53 tomatoes, and today I got another 66 tomatoes!
Thursday's tomato harvest (clockwise from top left): two Great White, three Fantome du Laos, one Rose Beauty, ten Lemon Drop/Snow White, 11 Maglia Rosa, seven Pink Sunshine, two Tiny Tim, four Large Barred Boar, eight Blondkopfchen, and five orange tomatoes that are a mix of Homestead and Silvery Fir Tree. That's a grand total of 53 tomatoes!
Today's tomatoes, clockwise from top right: Fantome du Laos (x1), Blondkopfchen (x33), Tiny Tim (x1 above Blondkopfchen), Homestead (x4), Maglia rosa (x16), Snow White / Lemon drop (x1), Pink Sunshine (x2), Uluru Ochre (x1), Giraffe (x2, still green), Rose Beauty (x3), Silvery Fir Tree (x1), and Rozovyi Flamingo (x1)
We've got so many tomatoes that some have started to go bad. So I decided to try my hand at homemade salsa to use up some of the older tomatoes before they started to go bad.
3 cups tomatoes (chopped)
1 cup yellow onion (chopped)
1 yellow bell pepper (chopped)
4 Tablespoons green jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (minced)
1/2 tsp cumin (ground)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 can (6 oz) organic tomato paste
~1/4 cup white vinegar (I didn't measure this exactly)
1 Lime (just the juice)
Salt to taste
Mix together, cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours. Enjoy!
I made the mistake of not letting it sit long enough and it tasted horrible. I felt bad serving it but wanted to share with my parents. I brought it over today (made it yesterday) and it tasted awesome! Letting it sit is really the magical step! Don't forget! This makes a mild chunky salsa. Increase the jalapeno pepper for a spicier salsa, and chop the ingredients finer for a smoother salsa.
I am an admin on a Facebook group that a friend of mine started. There are over 6000 members and all posts are moderated. My friend messaged the other admins to warn us about a lady posting a pup with a severe facial injury. I didn't see the initial ad, but she seemed very upset about it. I asked her if she felt that it warranted a cruelty or abuse investigation. She said it very well could. Of course, my years of rescue kicked in and I messaged the lady. I kindly told her that another admin had asked me to see if I could help and that I was willing to take the pup to the vet and take it in if it was still available. Initially she said that someone was going to pick it up in a week. She sent me photos of a puppy with an obvious swelling of the jaw inside the mouth. I told her I'd pick him up if the other person backed out.
Late Wednesday she sent me a Facebook message saying the other person wasn't responding and I could take the puppy. I picked him up the next day.
He is half black lab and half Olde English Bulldog, just under 8 weeks old, and he is a snuggle-buddy.
Now, as of Monday (9/7/15) when I initially contacted the breeder, she told me the pup had been attacked by a larger dog. She didn't say when, but she mentioned that it was "looking better" which would tell me it had been at least a few days time. It looks pretty bad, but he can eat and drink and (as much as it astounds me) it doesn't seem to hurt him. I picked him up Thursday evening, and my vet was already closed. I called immediately on Friday and was told they had no appointments and that I should find another vet. I called another vet who said they wouldn't see new patients for at least another 3-4 weeks. I found a third vet and emailed photos. They got back to me expressing concern that this could be a bone infection and that he would need to have x-rays (which would require sedation), and antibiotics... but they too were overbooked and couldn't fit him in. I must say that in all my years doing rescue work, and dealing with emergency situations and odd problems - I have never had this much trouble getting a vet to take my money!
After several phone calls, I called my regular vet back and asked for their next available appointment. They said they had one available on Wednesday. I said I'd take it, but when they asked what they'd be seeing the pup for and I explained it again, they told me I couldn't have the appointment and that I needed to see someone sooner - but again, they were too busy. So later in the day I had my husband call in and make an appointment, except by then the soonest they had was Friday! He told them it was just a "first puppy exam and shots" and they scheduled us in. My vet holds three spots a day open for "emergency scheduling" - meaning things like this that need to be seen today but aren't life threatening. So I will continue to call every morning at 8:30am until either we get a space and can get him seen, or until Friday when we are scheduled. I won't give up on this little guy! We've named him Aspie.
And in other news, today we traded two of our bunnies (buck 6 - my favorite, and Doe 9) for a Flemish Giant doe for #1. She had one that had to be returned to the breeder due to tooth problems, and then her replacement we had to give away when we had a family emergency shortly after #5 was born. She's thrilled to get one again. This one comes from a 21# mom and an 18# dad and a litter of 17!
I updated the photos on the Rabbit page today. I think tomorrow when we go to visit my parent's I will bring a couple with so they can make the great escape out in the country. Seven nearly-adult bucks in one cage is not going to end well and I'd rather be proactive and not wait until they start to fight.
The garden was good to us today after the last day and a half of rain. We got one Large Barred Boar, three Homestead, three Maglia Rosa, five Pink Sunshine, five Silvery Fir Tree, seven Lemon Drop, ten Snow White, and forty Blondkopfchen.
The raised bed also provided one acorn squash and one last Royal Burgandy bean.
The garden provided us with one Large Barred Boar tomato with three more that will be ready soon, three Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes, with at least one more that will be ready tomorrow, and 16 Blondkopfchen tomatoes, with hoards more on the plant. The Nicholaevna Pink and Pink Sunshine tomatoes are almost there as well as some Snow White and Lemon Drop.
I made dinner tonight. I got a cooking twinge last night and decided I needed to make soup using as much of our own produce as possible. When I pulled carrots, I was disappointed at how small they all were, but I did get one nice one.
This morning I grabbed a bag of dried beans (16 bean mix) that has been sitting in the cupboard for a few years. Seriously, we've never cooked with dried beans that I can recall, but I picked up a few bags to use as seeds to plant our own. I read the package instructions, sorted through the beans (though I'm still not sure what it is I was looking for), rinsed them, put them in a pot of water, boiled them for a couple minutes, and then let the pot sit (covered) for a couple more hours. I drained and rinsed the beans and set them aside. In the big pot I chopped up a few of our very tiny onions, and put some soy sauce in the bottom of the pan so they wouldn't burn. I assume this is sauteed, but I didn't use oil. Once they were lightly brown (I'm not sure if that's from cooking or from the soy sauce, but they were softer), I cut up one small radish (from the garden), the small handful of carrots our garden gave up, and a stick of celery (from the store, chopped up). I added one can of Swanson Chicken Broth, the beans, and the spice packet that came with the beans, then I put it on low heat while I prepared and added the rest of the ingredients. I added a few fresh beans, a single pea pod, and a handful of small yellow tomatoes (I believe they were Blondkopfchen, Lemon Drop and Snow White), all cut into bite-sized pieces. As I added the Champion collard greens, and Red Russian Kale, I realized there wasn't enough liquid, so I added a can of Cream of Chicken soup. I added in a few fresh mint leaves and a few sprigs of parsley (both from the garden). I left it at medium heat for a while. Tony noticed it was condensing down, so I added another can of Cream of Chicken soup. About the time Mabel was attracted to the pot, the carrots were soft and we sat down to eat. Fortunately, it tasted a lot better than it looked. It was actually pretty good. Just #2 didn't care for it and made himself some left overs for dinner instead. Tony, #3 and #4 all asked for seconds! No leftovers at all from this recipe. I may double it next time and cook in two pots, but I'll need more from my garden (which is quickly failing this year).
In a rarely seen show of tolerance, I found our entire feline family curled up on the couch today. Yes, that's right - all six, peacefully lounging! Of course I had to snap a photo. Mocha and (Nether)Quartz will be looking for new homes soon. Mocha isn't doing well with Roland in the house and would be better suited to a home where there isn't a canine bully (even if he thinks he's just playing). For those who didn't read previous blog posts, Floki is the daughter of Henry and Mabel. Trinket and (Nether)Quartz are the daughter and son of Henry and Mocha. Floki, Trinket, and (Nether)Quartz are pretty special. We lost three from each litter, making them survivors. Mocha is spayed now (after emergency c-section and $300+ vet bill), and (Nether)Quartz will be neutered 10/4 (at 11 weeks old). Mocha will be available to a new home anytime after the kittens are weaned (they'll be 8 weeks old 9/13), and (Nether)Quartz will be ready to go anytime after his neuter. Asking $150 each for them to approved homes if anyone is interested.
The bunnies are nearing adult size now. This is the hoard whenever I open the cage to check on them. They rush to greet me, and are always happy if I bring them handfuls of kitchen scraps or grass and dandelions. I'm going to have to thin them out soon. I can't keep seven bucks in one cage, and I am not keeping seven bucks (in addition to my breeding buck, Bennett - their dad). I may drop the asking price to $15 each and give it a week or two, but then I have to start slaughtering. :( Sad because they're really pretty rabbits. I think if they don't find homes, one or two of my favorites might "escape" out at my parents' house. Now that all the big dogs have passed away (and the last one moved away with my brother), there's nobody to chase them.
The garden provided us with another yellow tomato (I believe this one is Snow White, despite it being more yellow than the Lemon Drop tomatoes I've been picking). The one on the right is my first Large Barred Boar tomato. It's a little deformed, but that's because this one grew wedged between the stem and another branch that was twisted around the support pole. It cracked and I figured it was time to pull it. It's not completely ripe yet, but I'll leave it with the other two I've got set aside to ripen indoors.
Amanda's blog about everything, important and trivial.