so far nobody has arrived, but perhaps this
week... i'm still out picking fresh berries
for us to eat every day i can get outside.
i know what you mean though, so few people
actually will do anything these days that
involves much effort. when they get hungry
enough they'll have to figure it out.
later this year i'll probably turn under
half of what is in these patches, i sure
don't need this many plants and the soil
will appreciate the organic matter. in spots
some of them are getting rather weedy so that
is how to deal with that in a pretty time
4 cups of sugar instead of 7 per batch and a
better overall flavor (not cooking it leaves a
lot more of the strawberry complexity intact).
we don't have much freezer space either and i
understand the conundrum, but for the strawberry
jam supply for the next year we do have that
i've already given away most of the jam that
didn't quite set right.
I buy strawberries at the market for my wife, I do not like the taste
and texture of modern strawberries. The one's my mother grew back in the
forties and fifties were small with lots of flavor. I guess, as we age,
our tastes change. Some things I used to love to eat now are not so
tasty to me. Dear wife loves mangoes, I despise them but love papaya.
First time I ate a papaya was in Bangkok in 1981, fell in love with them
and still buy one at the market every once in awhile. Most fruits are
enjoyable to me as I eat a lot of fruit.
I wish you were close by too. You would be welcomed with open arms.
I'd even shove a basket at you so you'd have something to carry the
blackberries in. :)
Giving them jellies and jams is a nice payback. I hope you get to
pick tons of fruit this fall and visit with old friends. Have you
been back since you moved to Texas?
At least twice a year we go back, lots of long time friends there. A
couple of them are coming here next weekend. You stay close to people
for 24 years and you sort of get attached at the hip. That 24 years in
Louisiana is the longest we have lived anywhere in 54 years of marriage.
We've live in at least three states and two foreign countries over those
years and have made friends in all of them.
Our garden does weird things, one day there is a tiny zucchini, two days
later it weighs over two lbs and is still seedless. Harvested and
shredded half of that one for zuke bread and casseroles. The other half
will get cooked into a casserole today. Same with Ichiban eggplant,
maybe three inches long today, eight to ten inches long tomorrow. I
guess it our watering cycle that pumps them up. I'm still waiting for
the Hopi lima beans to fill up, anxious to try them, may end up drying a
bunch and put them in a big jar for winter beans and cornbread or beans
and rice. Staples here in the souf'.
Ours goes in cycles as well. I guess it's from lots of rain or after
a good watering. Then the plants go completely wild. For example, we
planted a luffa in one unused corner of the garden and it sat there,
all meek and mild. Then we had a fairly heavy rain one morning. I'll
swear that the next day it was three times its size, sending tendrils
all over trying to climb a bamboo pole, the fence, anything that was
standing still. FrankenLuffa! Maybe that kind of growth spurt is
normal for a luffa (this is our first time growing it) but I've never
seen anything like it. If it doesn't produce huge bath sponges I will
be very disappointed.
Baby luffa are edible, sort of like okra, grew them one year and ate
enough of them not to grow anymore. Still got some luffa sponges from
that twenty year ago experiment. Also grew a gourd that tasted like
squash, can't remember the name of it. Grew Armenian squash one year,
they got huge but were tasty, just took up a lot of room. Back then we
had 12,000 square feet of property and could afford the space. We've got
half that now and it is crowded.
My son in law shudders at the mere mention of mangoes and has told me
that he will eat anything EXCEPT mangoes. And he was so darned emphatic
about that EXCEPT, that I have to put it in caps.
He grew up in Qld and so can't stand the smell or the sound of them
dropping on the roof or being expected to eat mangoes at every meal. I
also have a neighour who will eat them but turns green if she mentions
the smell of rotting mangoes - she too grew up in Qld.
I've never been to Queensland but can understand to much of one thing
can be a big turnoff. My folks had a big garden and grew mostly corn and
various beans. It was years before I could eat corn or beans after I
left the homestead. I still don't like mangoes though, not even the
smell of them. Our stores stock these tiny little Mexican papaya, I wish
we could get some of those foot long ones from Thailand. Little lime
juice on top and dig in.
Taking the day off from gardening, got a quarter inch of rain yesterday
and the damned grass grew another two inches. It did help the squash and
eggplant, we are being swamped by Ichiban eggplant, already have a
freezer full of moussaka fixings and eggplant fritters. Gonna have to
call in the grand kids to get rid of some of them. Stink bugs are into
the tomatoes, been hosing them off and pruning tomato limbs to let in
the sun. Tomatoes we pick are ugly.
and they are not picked anywhere near when they
are fully ripe, in order that they have a chance of
surviving picking, packing, transit, storage, etc.
the berries i picked today, many of them were
so ripe that another day they'd be too ripe.
stacked in the sink they'll mash each other and
drip, but they are very sweet and smell wonderful.
i'm trying to make my first batch of fruit
leather tonight. not sure how it will turn out
some people do not like resinous notes (which i
do taste in mangoes when i eat them). i love 'em
and wish i could have a mango tree.
Mangoes and avocados grow well here in Harris Cty, TX, except for the
rare year when we get a couple of hard freezes. I put four dwarf
Barbados cherry bushes in the front flower bed, both in hope of fruit
and that they won't grow over three or four feet tall. That's so I can
sit out and drink my morning coffee while watching the world go by. The
cherries have been in the ground over a year and haven't grown an inch.
Maybe they truly are dwarves. <G>
and some plants can sit for a while looking like
they are doing little, but they are quite busy
under the surface in sending out new roots and
getting established. like usually the tomatoes
we plant look like they do nothing for the first
three weeks after they've been transplanted.
then we get some hot days and some decent rains
and they start taking off. i think ours have
grown about a foot the past week.
That's certainly true for bamboo. We have several varieties here and
planted one last year that seemed to sit and sulk all through last
spring and summer and set out only one culm in the fall. It resumed
sulking during the normal winter dormant period and then went
absolutely crazy this spring sending out many culms several feet
distant from the center of the original clump.
We have one variety that's edible, but we don't have the heart to eat
it. Its purpose here is to provide screening from the road.
Yes, way! :D That's two hours more than we can do some days. We went
out to water the veggies and orchard this morning at 7 and to check
the new drip hose in the tomato bed. We decided to pick a few
blackberries from the bushes close to the garden as well. One hour
later we were both drenched in sweat and debilitated by the heat. By
8am it was unbearable. Summer is here on Saturday? Dagnabbit, I've
had enough of the heat already and am ready for fall again! :)
Arg, I feel your pain. I'm battling some caterpillars in the tomato
bed now and something stealthy is munching on one of my peppers.
it was hot and a bit humid yesterday. the last
of the gardens planted (finally!). when i was
done, i was done for the day. supposedly today
will be a hair warmer. i'll be weeding, picking
some strawberries, thinning and transplanting
first though i have to wait for the fumes from
the neighbor spraying his corn field to blow
our critter challenges are more furred and four-
footed these days, the tomato worms come later in
late July and August. looks like if i want to keep
any crocuses at all i'll have to put them in cages
when i plant them.
do you have pans of water out for the animals?
sometimes they are chewing not for the nutrition
but for the water.
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