Summer Harvest

We’ve been here for nearly 7 months now — more than half a year — and while I’ve learned so much already, there is still much more to learn. Meanwhile, we are discussing what projects we need to do once growing season winds down.

My main focus right now is the summer harvest. I have been picking some berries here and there for a while now, but they are now starting to peak. I went out yesterday after 3 days of heavy rain, and the blackberry bush was bursting with ripe berries. There are some black raspberries mixed in here, too.

This is about three breakfasts’ worth, and most of it went into the freezer. (The rest went with my yogurt and granola this morning.)

I don’t even know if I’m going to end up making jam. I eat berries nearly every day, and I would like a rather large stash for the freezer. (Buying frozen berries at the store is expensive.)

This morning, I harvested the potatoes and carrots. I didn’t get nearly as many potatoes as I expected, but that’s fine. It’s a manageable amount for a household of two, and it just means I won’t have to parboil and shred and freeze the potatoes for hash browns — that was my plan if I had a huge amount. (And I wasn’t relishing the labor involved, to be honest.)

The carrots were very small, and that’s because they got a bit crowded. Other things started sprouting up in the same raised bed that I had a difficult time controlling. But I have enough carrots to roast for one side dish, and I have more seeds so I can get in one more crop (if I can keep the weeds under control this time).

The cherry tomatoes are coming along, but the Cherokee Purple tomatoes don’t look so great. The plant looks healthy enough. It’s just not producing a lot of tomatoes, and they all look small and deformed. Though I don’t really care so much about that, so long as they’re edible.

Nothing beats a fresh tomato and cheese sandwich for a summer lunch (on good bread with grainy or Dijon mustard). It’s just that I grew Cherokee Purples a few years ago, and they were large and beautiful, and the plant was extremely productive.

I am finding volunteer tomato plants everywhere now — either grape or cherry tomatoes, I think — though few of them are actually producing any tomatoes. I’ll keep them and see what happens. I am hoping to get enough cherry tomatoes at one time to dehydrate them since I love dried tomatoes, too. But I never seem to get more than 2 or 3 to ripen at the same time.

I will be very surprised if we have any apples this year. Some are rotting and falling off the trees already. The rest are spotted and misshapen. I have yet to see one that looks edible. (At least to humans … the deer might like them.) These trees might be nearing the end of their natural lifespan, or they might be plagued with disease and/or fungus.

Regardless, I have decided to remove them all this fall. At least 2 of them are half dead already. I’m not sure I want to deal with fruit trees. We’ll still have some: cherry, peach, mulberry, pear — but the mulberry was the only one that really produced anything, and that’s actually the neighbor’s tree. It just happens to be growing by the fence, so a lot of it is in our yard.

In other news, I am picking out paint colors for the interior of the house. I’m tired of white walls. (The only room I’ve painted so far has been my office, and I still have to touch up some areas where I either didn’t add enough paint or paint got where it shouldn’t.) The front room/hallway will be next for painting.

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