I only added the "sorta" part at the top because work absolutely sucked today. I drove the lovely 44 miles to this job in Cleveland, that takes an hour with traffic. I get there at just before 7am, waiting patiently for a pipe delivery. YAY I can finally start the 1st and 2nd floor! I sit in the truck, sip coffee and read some Reminiss magazines my mom sent for Lisa. Bored with that, I go inside and start walking...and sitting...and waiting. Five phone calls later, my pipe finally arrives, at 2:45. Yep....boring rotton day at work, but enough of that.
I get home from work, set my lunchbox on the counter, get a glass and open the fridge for some iced tea. There sitting on the top shelf was a large bowl full of fresh strawberries. Yep, after 2 days of rain and sun today, they came on like gangbusters. Lisa got home and went to check on them, and there they were....fresh berries in all their glory. It looks like there will be that much more tomorrow, and probably more Friday or over the weekend. Not quite enough to make any real quantity of jam, but definitly enough for some tasty treats from the garden. Now that poor mr chipmunk met an untimely death via the good old sheridan pellet rifle, things look good.
After seeing the new berries almost ready, I decided to get out that last 40 foot row of sweet corn. I just HAD to try out my new toy. I had stopped at my parents on the way home yesterday, and as I was leaving, mom mentioned this old cultivator the neighbor gave her...yanno, the old single wheel/single blade push type. She showed it to me, and its rusty and has a flat spot on the old iron wheel, but other than that and a cracked wooden handle, its in good shape. She told me she was going to paint it and stick it in the flowerbed....umm nope, I'll be taking that to USE,lol. The soil in our garden was tilled this spring, and is full of grass clippings and other organic matter, so its clean and easy to move. That old cultivator lopped a perfect line in the soil 2" deep for my corn seeds. I'm gonna like this thing! I think rather than try to straighten out the flat spot in the old iron wheel, I'll replace it with a 24 or 26" front bicycle rim and tire. I'll also remake the 2 handles from some redwood, sand them glass smooth, and seal it good. I'm not sure about paint yet, but what the hell, I dont see it getting much use this late in the season, so it may get dismantled and sanded piece by piece. One more item on my "return to the past" tool collection. It will look good next to the old crosscut saw and corn knife I got from my friend Jimmy. Still gotta work on the neighbor about that reel mower though......
The rest of the garden looks really good. All that needs replanted is broccoli, green chilis ( lisa mistakenly got the red super chilis again), and some celery. Other than that, nothing to plant till fall when I get some garlic. I think we'll be giving away some tomato plants, since there are close to 30 that popped up from last years tomatos laying on the ground, oops lol. Ah well, never can have too many tomato's. Especially when Lisa ends up making spagetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, stewed tomatos, and salsa.
The 2 blackberry plants that survived look great. One is full of blooms, the other has some open blooms and a lot of tiny little berries. Mmmmmmm blackberries, gotta get about 10 more of these babies, plus transplant probably 30 wild ones from moms this fall. The new strawberry bed looks good t00. I took some time to sink the timbers to ground level so its easier to mow, then picked off all the little blooms so the plants will grow strong for next year. If this one fills itself with runners like the small one did, next year we should have enough to make a lot of jam from our own pickings. I'll be very happy when we can get to that point where we dont have to pay for any produce at all, not even the pick and pay kind like we do with strawberries.
We got the new Countryside in the mail yesterday, and of course, I had to read it first. There's a great article in there on canning outdoors. It got me thinking, and now my grill/firepit plan has slightly changed to allow outdoor canning. It just makes sense. Generally its still pretty hot outside when its time to do a lot of canning, and having the stove going all day makes it even worse. Canning outdoors would keep things cooler, closer to the garden, closer to the compost, and be more enjoyable than being stuck in the house. All I need is about 10 more blocks, sand, and more mortar. I'd love to find a big piece of flat plate steel to make a removable door, but that can wait till it happens. For now, I'll just use blocks turned sideways to allow or stop airflow.
Another article in there was on drying foods. Either with oven, dehydrator, or fireside. Yep...another reason to build my giant grill thingy. I'm still going to make a solar dehydrator from a few of the other windows, and Lisa still has the electric dehydrator, but its me, I gotta try something different. Now to start scrounging for firewood.......gonna need a LOT.
Enough babbling for today, time to go sit and stare at the Lehmans catalog again...hmm, my birthday's coming in a few months.
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