Tag Archives: Gardening

Catch and Release

9 Oct

The forefinger largehairy caterpillar eating on the Milkweed fell off the plant I picked so it did not come home to be photographed.  It sure was not a monarch larva.  It was a caterpillar.

The red darning needle dragonfly was rattling under a piece of grass.  Freeing it, holding it in my hand, wondering if I should set it free or keep it for cards.  It was a spectacular  bright red.  It flew off just then and I was happy the decision was made for me.

The Black Swallowtaillarva went back out into the dill and promptly disappeared.  It overwinters as a pupa so perhaps it got ready for winter.

We found one Katydid still alive and kicking in the long grass verge on the side of the corn field.

Earl and Merle Squirrel have increased their range dramatically.  They now go over the lower roof to the west side of the house, they meet us at the door, and this afternoon Earl was on top of the freezer in the back room; I gave him a chestnut, got hold of him and he jumped onto the door and up over the roof.

Jay took Isabelle hunting Saturday and they came home with one goose.

 

And while we were cleaning up the garden, we thought maybe the answer to higher food prices is to feed out the turnips.  One of these would feed a family for a couple days.  Or even longer if no one likes turnips! Turnips as large as your head.


The First Frost

6 Oct

Yesterday morning stepping outside  in the predawn was like stepping into a refrigerator.  There were still a few intrepid insects singing.  A couple early birds.  When the sun came up the crows, squirrels, chipmunks all started their morning calls.  We walked to within 100 yards of a buck feeding  on the corn left in the field.  For breakfast: my mother’s homemade blackberry jelly on home made toasted bread.

Yesterday during the day the east cornfield was harvested.  It was clear sky all day and into the evening.  I harvested the rest of the peppers and most of the tomatoes.  Jay covered the red raspberries with a tarp.  I cut dill.  And while doing so came upon the first (for us to see) Swallowtail larva of the year.

The dill plant with it attached was brought into the house.    The green-red blown hydrangea blossoms were picked and hung.

The Monkshood was just coming into bloom:

Easy to see where Aconitum got its common name, eh?

This morning was like standing in front of the open freezer. The grass and gardens were covered by thick white frost. No insects singing.  Birds were, though, in a frantic “Thank God for the sun” kind of way.  Geese were landing in the newly harvested field.  We walked fast.  How did the spiders work so quickly since the field was harvested yesterday to string innumerable filaments of fine silk down low to the ground amongst the stubble?  And what happened to the spider which had strung a heavy thread of tough silk right at head height on one corner of the field?

Bits

10 Sep

The view from the South end of Mill Street was impressive, too.

 

Yesterday I found 16 Monarch Butterfly larvae on milkweed plants in the fields above the house.  This morning the count was 32.

And  noticed this up in the broken white spruce tree, our large ‘bonsai’.

Look at the apex of the lilac .

It is a sunflower.

A snipe flew out of the corn a couple mornings ago.

23 was the largest number of blossoms on the Morning Glories in one morning.

The rains battered the tomatoes.  They are on a definite downward autumn death spiral now.  And the Autumn Crocus are beginning to bloom.

12.5 hours and 333 miles

20 Aug

Those are the bald measurements of the day Isabelle and I spent going up to Uncle Harold’s memorial service.  In the process we stopped at the farm twice, stopped to take Aunt Janice with us and then deposit her back home, and went for a quick shop at Sephora at a large mall on the way home.  Oh, and ice cream cones for supper along the lake.

Uncle Harold was a large man who did a lot of things large.  He loved to fish and hunt.  He loved to eat.  He grew vast crops of fruit and vegetables.  He grew pigs to which he fed the rejected ice cream from the plant where he worked.  He grew mammoth sized turkeys.  Who ever heard of cooking a 42 pound turkey? Harold is the tall one in the center.

Harold is on the far right.  He helped people in the same manner in which he did all other things:  largely, joyously, generously.

Harold in the middle.  Jay on the left, Daren at right, and our first dog, Boomer licking his chops  over the large buck.

His last month was, as his daughter aptly put, “brutal”.  For him, for his wife, for those who loved him and watched him suffer.  He died on the day and at the time he usually met his best friend each week for breakfast and then a fishing outing.  This week it was his Savior.

Since we left in a rush early this morning I forwent making breakfast.  But here was yesterday’s: Uncle Harold would approve if meat had also been involved.

Before.  Yes.  It is orange.

Ready to eat.  The orange tomato was slightly sweeter than a regular red.

Tomato, Wasp, Raspberry, Deer Eating Corn season

18 Aug

If you are a pale gray or white small moth, though, you better watch out.  The birds are eating you.  I find their wings in the mornings on walks.  The deer rip off the young corn cobs and take one bite before leaving them lay on the ground.  Or they break off the top of a smaller stalk and chew on the inflorescence and young leaves.  Either way, the edges of the corn fields near the woods are mangled and battered.

It is tomato sandwiches morning and noon for me these days.  Don’t knock an open-faced sandwich of toast, mayo, and fat red slice with salt for breakfast until you have had it!

Three different wasps this week have made my acquaintance.  One was already dead.  The other two species died .  The ichneumonid  wasp and the dead wasp I have yet to key out which is metallic blue with lovely tight “c”-curved antennae are being readied for use in cards.  The yellow-jackets were showing way too much interest in my window washing for comfort and were poisoned.

Yesterday we harvested the first watermelon.  The first we have ever successfully grown.

It weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces. 

And it was very good warm.

Strawberries, Malva, Lunch

10 Aug

This morning all the wild strawberries had collected dew on each leaf point:

In the garden the Malva sylvestris is in bloom:

This variety came originally from the British seed company Thompson and Morgan and had a name, now lost in the mists of time.

Since the tomatoes are ripe most days I am eating open-faced tomato sandwiches for lunch.  Necessary ingredients:

Tomato; bread, preferably homemade; mayo, ditto; and today shallot, homegrown.  The shallots I started last year from seed.  They were planted as sets this spring and have turned into lovely large shallots.  The mayo i made with garlic and used pomegranate vinegar–a drinking variety I found at the local Asian store.   Yesterday I used Russian tomatoes from Audrey.  They were fabulous, though small.  To fill out the space on the bread I cut open some Sun Golds.

Yum!

Oh, and the two campers arrived safely home this evening for supper.

What’s Cooking?

2 Aug

Nothing in the oven.  Too hot.  But recent repeats since they are all in full harvest now include green beans with homemade Italian dressing:

 

Potato salad with fresh onions or shallots and Sungold tomatoes and fresh garlic mayo:

And glazed blueberries as dessert:

The raspberries are coming on now, too.  And the heavy cream–hah!  This is an easy dessert.  Take about 5 cups of blueberries.  Make a glaze.  Pour hot glaze over berries.  Cover with very lightly sweetened whipped cream.  Or yogurt.  Enjoy.

Instead of plain water I tried this summer hard cider from Woodchuck which contains blueberries.  It made a great glaze.

One cup liquid, 3/4 cup sugar, 3Tablespoons cornstarch.  Mix all together before heating.  A glaze is essentially a blanc mange (pudding) made with water (or in this case hard cider) instead of milk.

The glazed berries.  The above glaze was more than enough for 5 cups berries.  I cut the recipe in half for berries for 3-4 of us.  Other berries can be used.  The idea came from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook given me by my mother when I was a young teen.  The strawberry glaze pie.  No pie shells baked now in this heat!  Have done so other years and filled the shell with this mixture.  But is just fine and fewer unnecessary calories with just the filling and cream.

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