Sunday, June 10, 2018

Garden Log --- June 10, 2018

It's been an entire month since I've done a garden update. I guess I've been in the busy season right now, what with maintaining the garden, picking, and processing it all.

Right now the garden is looking pretty sad - despite watering daily, it's been so hot and the garden is showing it.  I'm still bringing in produce daily, but just staying out there very long is hard.

Let's see ... what's happening right now....starting with tomatoes! So far the tally is at 26 pounds. We've been eating lots fresh, and I'm freezing all the excess.  No jalapenos so far, so I'm not able to make any salsa yet.

The green beans are being picked about every 4 days - about 15 pounds so far. This is one of the reasons we garden -- just love these fresh beans straight from the garden. I've put a lot of these in the freezer. 

The peppers are finally getting going -- they like the heat. These are the Sweet Red Cheese peppers, so waiting for them to start turning red! There's one jalapeno on that plant, and I've spied a Habanada coming along. The hatch pepper plant has one pepper on it (I started that plant from a grocery store pepper!) and the Sugar Rush Peach plant is covered in small flowers but I'm not seeing an actual pepper on it yet.
The cucumbers are a bit disappointing this year - spotty and very few of them. The plants all seem to be struggling.  We've picked about 3 pounds of them, but not enough to do much with other then eating fresh. It's just not going to be a good cucumber year.
Carrots are looking great - these orange ones are the Shin Kuroda and the deep purple is called Black Nebula and they are all delicious!

I finished up all of the peaches that we got from the Rio Grande peach tree by drying them. Ooohhh....I've found a new favorite way to eat peaches. Just like little bits of sunshine. So good!

 I packaged these in 1.5 ounce packs and vacuum sealed them as treats. Delicious! That tree gave us almost 150 pounds of peaches. Just amazing.
 The watermelon plants are really starting to take off out in the field garden. 
The beets are maturing and I'm waiting to get enough to make some new pickled beets for 2018.  So far I have about 2.5 pounds and need about twice that to get going.  It won't be long. 

And finally, the key lime tree is starting to bloom! I'm excited to see how many of these buds actually form limes.

That's it for now -- more coming since the okra and corn is coming along.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Visit with Judah

Molly and Marshall are visiting San Antonio and we got to visit with them and their little Judah.  He's almost 9 months old now (where does the time go?!)  He's a real doll, sitting up now and able to pull himself up to stand.  It won't be long before he's taking off.  

 Marshall and Judah
 Molly and Kathy 
John and Judah
 Colleen took these close ups with her IPhone 8.  It has the best camera, and 
she's so good with using it to take some fantastic pics.

 Kathy and Judah
 Do you recognize the house? Yes, they're staying at the Barrera St. house. 
Had lunch with Mike & Kathy and Colleen afterwards at The Patio.  Great burgers and dogs!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


The plums have all been harvested and we got a total of about 22 pounds of plums, mostly from our older Methley tree, and about 2 pounds of the total from the Santa Rosa trees in the orchard.

On Tuesday I made two quarts of plum cordial with some of them. 
 Wash and score or poke holes in the plums, then pack in a sterile quart jar.
 Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
 Pour to cover with white vodka (you can use rum, gin or even whiskey)
 Cover and put away for 30 to 60 days. 

Then I put 6 trays of plum halves in the dehydrator.  They are very delicious little prunes now, and I packed them into 1-1/2 ounce packets using the vacuum sealer.
 Halved plums on the dehydrator sheets.
 Divided into 1-1/2 ounce packages.
Vacuum sealed.

Today I cut up 4 more pounds and started a batch of plum wine. Tomorrow I'll add the yeast and stir daily for five days, then transfer to a carboy. 

Now I think I have just about enough to make some Plum BBQ sauce.  I need a few supplies from the grocery store to make that, so probably won't get to that until the weekend.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Piles and Piles of Peaches....

I'm remembering the old saying, "be careful what you wish for!" Well, I've always wished for fresh peaches right off my own trees.  And I'm getting my wish -- to the max!  

There are trays and bowls of peaches all ripening in various stages on our kitchen table.  So far we have 96.2 pounds! Oh my!

I've been cutting them up and freezing most of them, along with making a couple of peach cobblers, and a peach tea one weekend. I'll be doing that again -- it was delicious!!  

 Pickin' the peaches...

I decided to try making peach wine again -- this time with a new recipe.  This one doesn't have orange juice in it, which is what I think gave it that odd taste that I didn't like.  This recipe uses tannin as an additive to give the wine body. I started this in the wine bucket on Saturday, and then mashed the peaches and added the yeast today.  As usual, this will be stirred daily for 5 days.  
 Starting the peach wine "must."

Next I tried my hand at jam again.  I swear, I can't seem to get this right. If this batch doesn't jell, I'm done with jam! I follow the recipe to the letter, but still have so much trouble with this skill.  

 Boiling the peaches with the pectin.
 Pouring into the 8 oz. jars.
Sealing and water bath.

Next I'll be juicing a big batch of these to use in peach tea, peach Bellini's, and slushies. Sigh...

Starting Mulberry Wine and Bottling the Cranberry Wine

Unbelievably we've already harvested about 14 pounds of mulberries from our two Dwarf Everbearing Mulberry trees that we planted back in 2014.  They really are very delicious.  I've been freezing most of them, and have made a few cobblers, but there's just way more then we need.  Thankfully the trees are starting to slow down now! Whew!

I took 6 pounds and started a batch of mulberry wine
 The "must"is started in a bucket.
 The next day the wine yeast is added, along with a yeast nutrient.
For the next five day the must is stirred once a day.
 On day 6 the solids from the bucket are strained out, and the wine is 
transferred to the carboys.
Isn't that a pretty color?!

Now it will sit in the corner for about three months.  Monthly I'll check it, strain off the sediment, and add sugar if needed, then return to the carboys. 

Meanwhile, the cranberry wine that I started back in December was ready to bottle (rack.) The two carboys made a total of 8 bottles - and it's pretty darn good fresh, but it will take several months to mature.  I'm planning to break it out for the holidays, giving it 6 months in the bottles.

Mother's Day 2018

I had a lovely day! First I got some flowers and a ribbon on Thursday from my daughter and her family, because they were going to be in Houston that weekend.  Such pretty pink roses and lilies.  The ribbon (Plant Lady!) she said she saw and just had to get for me, and I love it!
Then on Sunday we had a wonderful visit from Max and his parents - some swimming, and a delicious dinner that they brought and then BBQ'd for us.  I also got some more pink roses and some scented soaps.  I'm one lucky Mom!