As much as I love sitting down to release my random thoughts in the form of words, this time of year, time spent at the computer can be a bit scarce. As goes life on the homestead, summer time is harvest time. And harvest time takes lots and lots of time!
We're still just really beginning the process of storing up food for the winter, but in the eight weeks that we've been back in Washington, I'm still pretty pleased with our progress. Anyone who stores food knows just how much energy and time can be easily sucked into the process of freezing, dehydrating, fermenting, and canning. By the end of August, I'll no doubt feel like my soul and all it's energy has been sucked out of my body through the vortex of my canner. It's rough.
But still I love it – it's just the price that we pay for eating the way we do. Fresh and local.
Thus far, we've put up:
– 18 quarts of canned cherries
– 18 quarts of canned peaches
– 10 gallon bags of frozen blueberries
– 6 gallons of frozen peaches
– 2 gallons of frozen apricots
– 10 pints raw, cherry freezer jam
– 5 gallons frozen green beans
– 1 gallon bag dehydrated cherries
– 1 gallon bag dehydrated apricots
– 1 gallon bag dehydrated peaches
– 3 quarts lacto-fermented pickles
– 2 quarts lacto-fermented sauerkraut
It's small potatoes (get it? potatoes? teehee) really to the amount of food we'll actually consume this winter, but it's a start. There is still plenty of time for harvest (not to mention the fifty meat chickens and quarter-of-a-steer that will be placed in our freezer this fall). Lots of vegetables have yet to make their beautiful appearance – such as the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beets, corn, and squash. All of them are doing well in our garden, we're just playing the waiting game as we're in a slightly mellow-weather-rut that's stunted growth a bit.
And yet still, we've been blessed with an abundance of fresh greens:
Collards, kale, beet greens, and baby spinach are doing fantastic.
As is this new variety of lettuce that I LOVE. It's the first year I've grown it and I'm loving the fact that it's been grown in super hot weather, in full sunshine, without bolting like normal lettuce. It's called oakleaf. I'll be growing lots of rows of this next year during the hot months.
I have so much fun puttering around in the garden, especially as we work on building another large 200 square foot bed this weekend. The anticipation of next year makes me gitty. Is it weird I'm already looking forward to ordering new seeds?!
I'm also trying to plan out the fall garden of greens, lettuce, garlic, shallots, leeks, onions, and potatoes that will overwinter.
I'm so thankful the Lord has gifted us dominion of the earth and over it's soil. There is something about gardening that touches a piece of my soul. And as I haul Kula's poo up to the new garden bed, I am awestruck at just how incredible the good Lord has designed this earth to function. We need not fight it – or change it – but study it, nurture it, and allow it work as it does best.
And then eat it. Ahem.