Sunday, September 6, 2009

Home at last!

After three weeks on the road, we are home at last! Gosh, I cannot describe to you how good it feels to be in your own space. Surprisingly, my home feels quite alien to me, but Im sure a little dusting here and vacuuming there and it will feel like home again in no time.

A cursory glance at the vegetable garden brings mixed news. The tomatoes took the brunt of the mixed part of the news, Im afraid. For the most part they look good, but any part of the vines that protruded out beyond the safety of the temporary fence were munched by bambi. Even though people came by to pick during our stint away, there were still many rotten tomatoes on the ground and I still managed to pick myself a bushel this morning of lemon plums, cherokee purples and better boys. There are many green tomatoes on the vine still to come, so hopefully they will ripen before I leave again in two weeks. Exciting news is that out of nowhere we have a single squash that looks beautiful. Im not totally sure of the variety but I think it may be French, the first inch of the neck is yellow and the rest light green. The cucumber vines have died off for the most part with these giant orange cucumbers swelling until they burst. Other exciting news is that unexpectedly the soy bean bushes are covered in soy beans!!! They are a little small right now, but we will probably be harvesting our first crop of edamame next week! Oh and more great news, the green bean vines went crazy! I have an entire colander of green beans! Some of them are a little large and might have to be boiled but still, very excited about the prospect of fresh green beans all week. Oh, and another handful of speckled butter beans, so perhaps Ill have to make a soup of some kind.

Things to change next year regarding my vegetable garden: Do not have a bean trellis made of chicken wire as I did this year, as I cannot get underneath it to see what is down there; I love having the marigolds along the edge, its pretty and shades the base of the tomatoes and prevents weeds (they are about 2 ft tall!); dont grow the kind of cucumbers I grew this year, no body seems to like being given an orange cucumber, I wonder why! Shade all the base of the tomato vine, especially when it is young. Most definitely get the cherokee purples again next year, they are not only huge and beautiful but full of delicious deep purple flesh! If you learnt anything new from your garden this year, please pass it along...

While we were gone, we made new plans for the back yard. I know we decided not to start any new projects, but it sometimes feel like we started something in the back that we didnt finish and believe it or not, this was not my idea. So we are extending the deck out to the first terrace, getting rid of all of the grass to the side of the house and putting in raised raised beds for raspberries, blackberries and vegetables. The patch that I usually keep for vegetables to the other side of the house will be leveled again and raised and we will put blueberry bushes in there. My new effort is to get chickens in the woods, but if we are going to spend tons of money making gravel paths around our new raised beds, I guess I will have to wait for a chicken pen, as its going to be huge. I cant have truly free-range eggs because of the packs of ranging dogs in our neighbourhood but if I can give them a 20 m square pen, they should be happy! Danny is onboard already, so now we just have to save up and have time at home to get a pen built!

The most saddest news in the garden is that my potted wisteria that Danny bought me for my birthday 3 years ago, the one that bloomed for the first time this year... it looks like it may have died of thirst. So sad, we will just have to see if it comes back next year. One of my back yard hydrangeas seems to have taken a turn for the worst but everything else out back seems to have survived the three week drought well.

Sometimes I consider my freezer hoarding of food a little obsessive, however it is really nice to be able to come home from three weeks away and not have to go to the supermarket if you dont want to. We can have a fresh summer vegetable pasta for dinner, and even have frozen fruit crumble for dessert if we want and know that the only thing that ever originated in the supermarket is the pasta, black pepper and olive oil. We had cinnamon rolls from the freezer for breakfast and could have zucchini bread as a snack and tomato sandwiches for lunch if we so chose, although considering its already lunchtime and we just ate, I doubt we will eat again before tonight! It takes a lot of up front work, but I love being prepared!

Ive been inside too long now, back to tidying up that vegetable patch so that I can move onto another flower bed!

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