Friday, August 19, 2016

My Crooked Little Country JUNGLE

Remember a while back I shared some photos of my crooked little country garden?

Well, it's out of control. 

Seriously, it's a jungle. I can barely get in the gate now. 


The Morning Glories have taken over the fence around the garden. 

And the arbor. 

And the gate. 

I'm pretty sure one was on its way up my leg while I was standing there trying to open the gate. 


But you know what? I'm ok with that. 

I love Morning Glories. Love, love, LOVE. And when I look over to the backyard from my deck in the mornings, the sight of all those bright purple flowers bobbing in the sunshine is just the ticket for starting the day off on a bright note. 

Seriously. Summertime in the country, right here. 


Before long, the jungle of green and all the bright colors will be replaced with dried up brown, and the gardens will be bare once more. 

For now, I will enjoy every out-of-control moment in my crooked little country jungle. 

Beside what's going on outside the fence, there's lots going on inside the veggie garden as well!


The red onions are practically jumping out of the soil at this point. However, since the tops haven't begun to wilt, I'll leave them for another while, and hopefully I'll have some really nice sized onions to store for the winter. 


We've been able to harvest fresh lettuce all season long - it's been wonderful! My sweetie's garden had the early season lettuce, while mine was being eaten by slugs. Now my garden is producing lettuce like crazy, and we can re-seed at this point for late season eating. 

I can't stress how lovely it is to go out to the garden to gather the evening's salad. Heaven. Fresh lettuce out of the garden has a taste that is simply incomparable to supermarket lettuce. 


The zucchini and yellow squash are still producing like mad. No sign of any eggplants, though - I think they got smothered by the extremely robust squash plants. 

We've got cucumbers galore....and tons of baby cucumbers on the vine. 


The beans have climbed to the tippy top of the bean pole and are flowering and producing like the dickens. I should have a great stock of assorted dried beans at harvest time!


And FINALLY, at long last, we are harvesting tomatoes.....and tomatoes....and MORE tomatoes!!  I am certainly not complaining, I can't wait to make more awesome roasted tomato soup for the freezer, as well as a huge batch of easy peasy tomato onion butter sauce. It's absolutely wonderful to come home from work on a chilly night and pull a container of home-made sauce out of the freezer. Within minutes, I've got a saucepan of summer goodness to ladle onto heaping bowls of steaming pasta. 

It's all about stocking the freezer, for the long winter months ahead. All the hard work we put into planting and nurturing the gardens, and harvesting and preparing the fruits of our labors for the freezer...it's all worth it on a cold snowy day. 

And to think it all began with tiny seeds brought to life in my utility room

This girl from New York City can't get enough of that thought - it blows my mind. 


The larger heirloom variety tomatoes have yet to ripen in my garden, but they are coming along very nicely, mingling with some beautiful Nasturtiums that popped on through the garden fence for a visit. 


These little orange Sun Gold Tomatoes are sugar sweet. It's hard not to just eat them all right there while working in the garden, warmed by the sun. 


The ripest ones went into a cucumber & tomato salad last night, but there are many more waiting for me to give them the attention they deserve. 


Some of our garden fresh veggies went into another huge batch of Zucchini Corn Chowder last night. 


In addition to our home-grown veggies, there was some locally grown fresh corn that needed to be used. 

Yes, please - I love corn!


Half the corn went into the chowder, and half into the freezer for another day. 


One of my biggest struggles at this point is finding containers WITH lids to freeze all this goodness!

I'm curious - where do the lids disappear to? Do they go to the same place as lost socks?


I managed to round up a random assortment for last night's soup, and there are 12 containers of chowder in the freezer now, just the thing for a quick and healthy meal. 


I had to enlist my daughter's help in dealing with the absolute mountain of fresh green beans. She sat at the counter and trimmed and sorted beans for ages, fortified by a cold glass of Pinot Grigio. Family time!


Like mother, like daughter....I have my trusty compost bucket by my side while chopping veggies, as well as an ice cold glass of bubbly Prosecco!


At the end, we had a good stockpile for the freezer. I don't blanch the beans, they are simply washed, and trimmed, and put in freezer bags when they are completely dry. Make sure to squeeze all the air you possibly can out of the freezer bags....I actually portion them out in smaller freezer bags, and put those smaller bags inside a larger bag. Double protection against freezer burn. 


This morning I started another batch of home made chicken stock, as I have plans to make some more soups this weekend. 

You can find my instructions for making chicken stock in this post. My chicken stock is never the same twice....it depends on what I have on hand to throw into the crock pot. Today it was 2 chicken carcasses, 2 onions, 1 head of garlic, some mushroom stems from the freezer, celery, carrots, and some fresh herbs from the deck: thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, and dill. Last thing I threw in was a handful of whole peppercorns and some Vermont Country Seasoning

Love that stuff. 


The broth will cook on low in the crock pot for a minimum of 24 hours to let all the flavors develop. 

By tomorrow afternoon, it will be ready for use in my next experiment

Because, there's still this to deal with. 


And that's in addition to the tomatoes....and the tomatoes I haven't picked yet....and the harvest my sweetie pulls out of his garden every single day. 


This is Sweetie's harvest today, photo taken on his cell phone and sent to mine. Look at those gorgeous leeks and carrots - I love it!

I think there's going to be another batch of Summer Garden Bolognese this weekend as well. 


Wow, I'm going to be busy. 

I think I need a sous chef. 

Any volunteers? 

30 comments:

  1. I can't believe all that your garden is producing right now - great job! I feel like a slacker...all we planted this year was four cherry tomato plants! I am up to my eyeballs in tomatoes now, too but that's fine. Plenty of ways to use them up. I'll have to check out the links to your recipes - the zucchini corn chowder, too. Sounds and looks delicious.

    Your Morning Glories are indeed glorious. I tried growing them one year, but we have too much shade. Our property is tiny - sunny real estate is rare here!

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    1. All the hard work pays off at harvest time, Melanie, and even though it keeps me so busy putting up all this food, it's so amazing in the winter months to enjoy the veggies we grew in the summer months. It never gets old for me!

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  2. Hi Deborah...really enjoyed this post. You have given me a few ideas for my monster harvest here. It's so fun heading out before dinner to pick the veggies you want. Everything is SO delicious. We had carrots from the garden tonight finally. Our tomatoes are ruling the world now. Deb

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    1. Oh yes, and your arbor is gorgeous.

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    2. Ha ha, yes, isn't it funny when your whole menu revolves around using up all that the garden is giving you at that moment?

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  3. I love your garden and all it produces! I'd happily take some of that squash off your hands so that you would have less to deal with. ;) My zucchini and yellow squash plants are just stunted and struggling this year, as are the beans. The cucumbers however have a mind of their own and are producing like gangbusters! I've been eating those Sungold tomatoes fresh from out garden too. My mom got me turned onto them a few years ago and now I have to have them in my garden. :)

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    1. My cucumbers are not as robust as last year, this year it's all about the zucchini and squash. Weird how it rotates, isn't it?

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  4. The morning glories and the arbor make it look like a wonderful cottage garden! :) I had to laugh about the lids...I have no clue where they go either! :)

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    1. I had to buy a bunch of freezer containers at the supermarket yesterday, Deb - in preparation for a cook-a-thon this week!

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  5. I love our morning glories, too. They cover a wall of my garage with their pretty purple flowers and always improve my late summer view!! Lovely.

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    1. There are some who say they are invasive, Kim....I say, "Bring It On!"

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  6. Oh my so much goodness. It all sounds delicious.

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  7. I just shared all this goodness with my husband. We are talking about you. Ha.
    Your gonna be all set come winter. I love your cooking and freezing methods.
    Lisa

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    1. Ha ha, I guess that's why my ears were burning, Lisa! :)

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  8. Deborah,
    This winter you are going to have such yummy treats to eat. Your garden is gorgeous with so much beautiful fresh veggies. That corn chowder looks so good. Warm bread with this soup on a cold winters day will be fabulous. You go girl.
    Kris

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    1. Thanks, Kris!! It will all be worth it in those long months of winter!

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  9. Out of control is lovely! I am envious of all your garden goodness and preserving!!!! Nancy

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    1. I'm sure you are missing your garden, Nancy - next summer you will be growing lots of things in containers on your new patio!

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  10. Your garden is not only lovely it all of it's crookedness, but it is producing joy and plenty of goodies to enjoy and from the freezer lately. Way to go girl!

    You inspire me. I wish I had half of your energy, of course, you might be half my age, and that does make a difference. :-)

    Have a nice evening and a lovely Sunday. I think it's about time for a glass of Merlot. I am beat to poop from 3 hours of cutting in and rolling paint today, at friends new house. They have high ceilings in the living room and I painted two walls using a roller after cutting in. There was also a foyer to be painted, plus utility room, kitchen/dining room, which had normal height ceilings. I had to quit as I just couldn't do any more. I crashed for a nap when I got home and my feet & knees were screaming and hand stiff and sore too when I woke up. I massaged in some Blue Emu cream and that has helped quieten the screaming. A glass of wine should top it off.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Wow, Lorraine, and you say you wish you had MY energy? I think I could borrow some from you!!

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  11. Pour me a glass of that pinot grigio and I will gladly be your sous chef! Your garden is lovely. I just love the morning glories! We have some morning glories that are native here and are white - just lovely! I am going to be checking out your tomato and onion sauce - Just the ticket for me because I have too many of both! Thanks for the wonderful inspiration!

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    1. How quickly can you get here, Vickie? :)

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  12. I'm totally inspired by all your cooking and storing food in the freezer. I need a stand alone freezer. The only one I have is part of the refrigerator. So far, I've only stored frozen zucchini. Not much room for anything else.

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    1. I invested in a stand up freezer when I bought this house and had it delivered before I even moved in! I wanted to make sure I didn't lose any of my food out of the chest freezer in the house I was renting previously - and it was the greatest investment, for sure!!

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  13. Sweet girl, your gardens have been busy producing...and you can take a bow...all your hard work starting in early spring . I am absolutely impressed with your crops and all your good cooking. Your veggies look so good too. I love the beautiful squash. It sure is pretty at your homestead. Blessings to you , hardworking girl. xoxo, Susie

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    1. Aww, thanks so much, Susie! Your comments are always so inspiring and I truly appreciate them!! xo

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  14. oh my goodness......it's all amazing! you did a GREAT JOB this year! my favorite is the beautiful morning glories tho...I have always loved those. Mine didnt fare very well this year I'm afraid. So I'm going to just enjoy yours!!

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    1. The ones on the deck are fading now, the pots are so root bound at this point. But the ones around the veggie garden are truly insane, so they more than make up for the ones on the deck! It's that time of the season, when things start to look 'scraggly' - oh well, it is what it is!

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  15. OMG i could totally make a fenced in garden area in the one part of my yard like this. Can you show me (you can email me if you want) more pics of it and how its set up like the fencing etc? Thank you so much!!

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