Another delightful day on the farm! The weather today made it easier to conduct some chores in the field which would have not been so fun if it had been 95, 100 or 108 degrees as was the case last year.
Today was not unlike our spring and fall mornings when we wake up to refreshing outdoor temps, open the front and back doors on both sides of the house and enjoy the cool cross breeze and the fresh air for several hours in the morning.
Dave typically makes a big pot of coffee for us to enjoy while reading the papers (he, the STL Post Dispatch and me, the NYTimes) and listening to the news and weather report. We planned our day together over a nice breakfast which I typically try to make extra special on the weekends for Farmer Dave. Don’t think that I’m on the same rations list he is…far from it!
Today’s list presented us with some perennial chores as well as the continued task of ‘Putting Things By’ in the kitchen. The weather prediction is crazy – low temps in the mid 50s, and highs in the low 80s, followed by a spike to nearly 90 degrees expected towards the end of the week! If temps don’t change here soon, we will be living in the high rent district of a resort town!
So, after his lovely breakfast, Dave went out to work on the continuation of the strawberry patch renovation. Do remember that strawberries are nearly like weeds. They are so prolific that you actually have to cut them away every so often to control the growth of the patch. You may remember that in an earlier post I recorded a couple of weeks ago, we aggressively mowed the patch down as the initial step the yearly renovation. The second step occurred today and that was to re-establish order in the patch by tilling the area back into a row-like orderliness. The best part of the work done today, was that our old Mantis brand tiller, which we use for smaller areas such as this, did not hesitate to start up and worked like a champ thru this chore. Here is Dave working the tiller.
Next we will water and lightly feed/fertilize the patch and then it will be put to bed for the season with high hopes of a wonderful and plentiful harvest next year.
While Dave was working on this project, I weeded the most obvious offenders in the strawberry patch. I can’t seem to keep these nasty offenders off the property! Who ever designed nut grass? Without any herbicides, we can only try to do our best to control it; my number 1 nemesis!
I then turned my attention to picking the last (or nearly so) of the blueberries. I can’t believe how long these fruits have continued to produce but our schedule for ripening of these 5 varieties of blueberries is from Mid July thru September 1st so I should not be surprised to continue to find fruit on these canes. Although there was less than a pound to pick today, there is no way I would leave any of these berries for the birds or other critters to consume. While in the patch, I saw several tree frogs, grass hoppers as well as what looks like an untimely death of a feathered creature inside the blueberry netting. The best image was of Farley, who chose to join me in one of the rows where I was picking and indulge in his version of sunbathing.
While these activities were on going, both Dave and I had our phone timers set to scuttle about to change hoses (that were watering trees) as well as stirring (the contents of the stove top indoors). I began the day by processing 16 pounds of tomatoes this morning for another round of ketchup since this is something I can process in a water bath while I wait for my new pressure cooker to arrive. I won’t bore you with the process but I started with these lovely tomatoes and ended up with the miracle of 9 half pints of ketchup.
I also cut up another 4 pounds of gorgeous green peppers which I froze for future use this winter. Easy peasy! Again, faced with an over abundance of Black Beauties, AKA eggplants, I made another double batch of egg plant parm patties and froze them for the future winter use.
As always, I managed to create a huge mess of dirty pots and pans which required several sessions of clean up and dishwasher cycles. This constant mound of dirty pots made me think of my friend, Mike, aka Mule, who brews his own beer in his kitchen. Surely, Mule makes a mess as large as I regularly do? I think we may be on the same page since anyone who makes his own beer/ale, must feel much the same as I do about making my own ketchup!