Saturday, September 28, 2013

Putting Up for Winter

Phew! Nearly every day that I'm not working I'm doing some sort of preserving or crop processing. Recent events:
Canning tomatoes, tomato sauce, pears, peaches, green beans.
Seed saving quinoa, peas, beans, dill, mustard greens.
Unfortunately, all this doesn't leave much time for blogging but, rest assured, we are very busy around here.

Upcoming tasks: transplant winter crop sprouts, plant winter peas, finish greenhouse, seed goat pasture, cover creeping grass in orchard.

We got a beautiful sign!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Exciting Progress

We began processing tomatoes for canning this morning then I went to the garden and helped dad with covering the greenhouse (isn't it gorgeous!) then we went to the fair again and picked up the most beautiful sign I could ever hope for! Phew! Time for bed. Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Recent Happenings

Dad is making progress on the greenhouse. He is planning to make a "rocket furnace" to heat the greenhouse and run the hot exhaust through a floor of gravel and cement chunks. I'm pretty excited! I'm also very pleased with the crabapple tree. It is doing so well and the apples are almost ready! Do you have a favorite crabapple recipe?

Today I harvested a single head of quinoa. I'm amazed how much is in each head! But I will definitely need to work on the efficiency of separating the seeds from the flowers since they don't pop out like many other seeds. Mom and I worked most of the day to prep and can two boxes of fresh green beans from Carpinito Brothers. Next up: peaches and tomatoes.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Momentous Occasion!

Shoshana had her tracheostomy tube removed this morning! She now has a gauze dressing over the hole and it is expected to simply close on its own. If not, a simple procedure will help it close. We have to stay one more night in the hospital to make sure that she will breathe easily while asleep but then we go home! Already, we have walked to the playroom without bringing 20 lbs of equipment with us, there is no extra breathing hole that we need to suction and two other machines at home are now obsolete. Besides, she has been eating a lot more just in the last few weeks. I wonder if capping the trach had something to do with that? Maybe having that tube in made it uncomfortable for her to swallow? In any case, she is doing wonderfully and I expect we'll be home without any issues tomorrow.

In discussion about Shoshana's care plan the hospitalist mentioned that her sister in India was recently diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. Our efforts with Shoshana opened a long conversation with her about diet and cancer and I had the opportunity to share about the Sustainable Renton gardening session at the Community Farm this weekend as well as the resources I've found most helpful. Though it still hurts to relive some of the most stressful times of my life it is a beautiful thing that my experience can help make someone else's experience easier. And I may get to see her again!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fall Garden

I can't believe it's already been a month since my last post! Things have been very busy here, obviously.

There have been a few clinic visits.

New friends.

Lots of snuggles.

Many various garden salads. This one is lemon cucumber, cherry tomato, purple bean, and balsalmic vinegar. Yum!

The Pristine apples ripened first and the 15 or so of them were eaten in two days, they were so delicious!

The first flying in a long time.

And hair do-ing.

And lots of canning! Dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, green beans, beets, pears, and peach jam.

The crabapple tree is so heavy-laden we might actually be able to preserve a few pints of jelly.

The quinoa is growing so prolifically it's having a hard time standing up.

In fact, during a thunderstorm a few days ago the heaviest heads snapped off. They're not quite ready so I strung them up in hopes they could dry out enough to be useable.

Almost every day that I'm not working I am spending time either in the garden or preserving produce. One of the new things I'm adding to the tasks this year is harvesting seeds so that I don't have to keep buying them. Yesterday I did my first threshing and winnowing of pea seeds. Unfortunately, many of them had cracked seed sacks which makes them unable to germinate.

We have transplanted the last of the fall sprouts: broccoli, cabbage, fennel, carrots, beets, peas, lettuce, kale, and overwintering onions. I have yet to plant the garlic sampler I got from Nichols Garden Nursery to help me decide which kinds to cultivate; I am especially excited about that experiment!

Once the weather turns sour enough that grass stops growing we will add another layer of newspaper and wood chips to the area in the orchard that wasn't done quite properly and is now overtaken by grass. We have found that in the areas covered properly weeds are almost non-existent! Only one certain kind of grass manages to grow from underneath and it is exceptionally easier to pull out from wood chips than dirt. Also, any weeds that float in are shockingly easy to pull. I've pulled more giant dandilion roots this season than in all of my gardening seasons before. One of these days I'll actually videotape how easy these wood chips are to manage. Some areas I haven't touched once since laying them down and they are still weed free!

If you are interested in seeing how the wood chips are laid down Sustainable Renton is hosting a Back to Eden Gardening clinic hosted by me! This Saturday, Sept 7th, 1-4pm. Meet us at the Community Farm location in the Highlands:
11840 148th Ave. S.E., Renton, Washington 98059
We will be building a plot for the community farm and you can learn along with everyone else!

Other events coming up I am really excited about are the seed saving lesson on Sept 13th at 6pm and the Harvest Mayhem party Sunday, Sept 15th from 4-7pm at the same location. Will I see any of you there?