Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Has Been Kind So Far

It's definitely starting to look, if not now feel, like Fall.  We've been lucky the last couple weeks with unseasonably warm weather.  Peppers and tomatoes are doing their level best to catch up with where they should have been.  I canned 13 quarts of the tomatoes we brought home from (didn't sell at) market, and we have a fine batch of salsa.  Even the Fairy Tale eggplants, who usually peter out by now, have been hanging in there.
The rodent problem continues to be epic.  I can't remember if I've already discussed this, but we think maybe when the grain is in the field near the garden the rodents are worse.  Anyway, Teri and I are developing plans for additional barn owl boxes to be constructed and deployed over the winter.
There are a doe and two fawns who make the rounds from our front yard to the cucumbers to the green beans daily, or perhaps twice daily.  I'm afraid it doesn't look real good for the mom.  She isn't scared of people, and only really cares about Andy when she fully commits to the chase.  This weekend is Shawn and Ed will be hunting for bucks, but later they can go for does.  We've decided we don't really want this doe to teach another generation of the wonders of lawn and garden.  They're white tails for those who care.
Potato harvest continues slowly.  Last night we made grilled salt and vinegar potato slices from 101cookbooks.com.  They were good!  Having a mandolin makes the slicing a snap--a kitchen tool I don't use much but surely value when I do.
There's been a water crisis.  A broken pipe has seeped for a few years, but suddenly it was worse and the other day Teri's pump started screaming.  All water was turned off.  Turns out it was just a relay, which Teri fixed without trouble.  However, Teri dug a giant hole to uncover the leak, and the result is to cut off water to Gladys' house, from where we got the water for the garden.  Shawn fixed the leak from the gravity fed reservoir, but now more leaks are evident.  Anyway, we have a geri-rigged fix at the moment and will be getting brand new water lines to the garden in the next few weeks.  The peppers and baby radishes are happy to be getting some water.

It's field burning season in the Grande Ronde Valley.  I don't think the particulate matter has helped my cold any.

Shallots ready to be planted.

Ozzy loaded and ready to go--just waiting for the cilantro.

Carrots on our new carrot table cloth in the Saturday morning light.

Behind the scenes view.

Talking to good customer Steve and his mom.

Produce early in the market--Aunt Ruby, Green Zebra, Wapsipilicum Peach, Black Krim, Kellogg's Breakfast, Anna Russian, plain old tomatoes, and the eggplant.

Having removed the awning at the end of market.

Picked over.  We sold out of zucchini--who ever heard of such a thing!

I felt a photo of the Harvest Moon, even a crummy one, was required.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Now That's More Like It

And what a fine week it was!  Seemed like a normal August day now that we're approaching the Fall Equinox.
In Pendleton, they're celebrating the 100th Round-Up, which means a holiday for us!  We spent our free day canning tomatoes (14 quarts) and freezing corn.  On tomatoes, I just need to say that Anna Russian is doing me right this year.  Anna is a strange plant.  She germinates great, grows up ok, but by the time she's transplanting age, she looks terrible.  Kind of whispy, kind of limp.  Somewhere along the way she usually pops out of it and the plant looks great.  This year, she is producing more and better than anyone else.  It's  a great, large, ox-heart style tomato.  It's good in a salad, on a sandwich, canned, in sauce--all around tomato.
I have no complaints about the corn this year.  It's later than usual, but it's on and it's good.  We froze 60 some cups, which should get us through the year, are able to eat our fill daily, give some to friends, and sell at the market.  Can't ask for anything more than that.
Our tables at market were full to overflowing.  We had many compliments on how nice everything looked, which always makes me feel good.  We had 13 empty yellow totes, always a good sign that things are selling.  Also, one of the artichokes is producing crazy amounts.  I took about 15 in and they all sold.  That pays for a few years of artichoke seed.
Yesterday Karen and Ralf came over to help pick serranos in anticipation of canning.  They introduced Shawn last year to pickled smoked serranos, so this year extra serranos were planted.  Today they returned and we fired up the smoker and smoked four or five smokers full of peppers.  Then pickled them.  Totals: 17 pints, 10 half-pints, and 7 quarts (the latter were mostly jalapenos and mariachis).
While Karen and I were at that, Shawn and Ralf picked up bales of straw.  After our bad experience with weed-laden straw, we were motivated to use Teri's straw.  Teri had such a tall wheat crop that she wanted to get some of the straw off.  She found someone to bale in small bales (not easy to find), and now they need to be picked up.  Shawn and Ralf almost finished the job.  I think we have enough garlic mulch for the rest of our lives.  I hope Teri's barn is happy to be used for more than owl housing.

Most of the big red ones are Anna Russians.
In the can, which is really a jar, but not ajar.
This is how many ears it takes for 60+ cups.
Teri gave us a cool corn kernal-removing implement.  The brush is supposed to remove silk--doesn't work so well for that.
One of the big bowls o' corn.
Corn processing debris.  Andy (our dog) loves corn; she enjoys the amount that ends up on the ground.
Serranos getting washed.
Serranos, jalapenos, and mariachis drying.
Serranos getting smoked.
Serranos awaiting brine and lids.
Serranos ready for their steam bath.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Gone Fishing

Well, not fishing, but floated down the Wallowa River in our kayaks today.  It was good fun and neither farm- nor archaeology-like.
So, no farm blog post today.  I may be inspired later this week--we get extra time off for the 100th Pendleton Round Up.  Let 'er buck!

Monday, September 6, 2010

37 Degrees this Morning

I suppose 37 degrees is better than the 36 that was forecasted.  Kind of a crazy week, ranging from highs in the 50s to one day in the 90s.
I finally found something to can.  Over the last couple of weeks I've been informed that two people in my family are particularly partial to apricots.  Teri has an apricot tree that's just ripe-ish now (crazy), so I made up some "Apricot Sauce" as Shawn decided to call it, given its general similarity in preparation to apple sauce.  It was inspired by a dinner at Karen and Ralf's, which ended deliciously with ice cream with boiled down apricots on it.  Makes me feel better to have at least something new in the root cellar.
New gopher issues have arisen in the melon patch.  One watermelon down, with some almost ripe melons killed.  On the cantaloupe front, none are ripe yet.  Some may have been close, but various creatures have gnawed their way in and hollowed a few out.  Cantaloupe are ready when they easily slip off the stem.  Usually you can tell they are close by color.  I am ever hopeful, but continue to be disappointed.
We actually are getting a few tomatoes.  I'm trying to decide whether we need more salsa or if I should can what will likely amount to 1 quart and maybe one pint.  Seems pointless, but perhaps I need to adjust my expectations.
We had a couple of requests for winter squash, so I think we'll take some next week.  I gave the acorns the fingernail test, but their skin was still soft and yielding.  However, if people are going to eat them right away, it doesn't matter.
We dug some of what are definitely Red Thumb potatoes and they were gorgeous.  These potatoes are in the best spot both in terms of soil and the watering system.  Shawn also dug some Norland Reds, which are in a worse spot and show it.
Garlic cleaning continues, mainly thanks to Teri.  I think we're done with everything except Chesnok, Inchillium, Polish, Transylvanian, Oregon Blue, and Zemo.

WARNING: Some (well, one) photographs may not be appropriate for all viewers.  But it's pretty funny.

Apricots on their way to becoming sauce.

I quite like my upside down canner.

Elephant garlic seed.

If you squint you can see last week's planting of radishes.
This is our seeder.
It has plates with different size holes for different size seeds.  It works reasonably well and is way faster than doing it by hand.

This week's tomatoes.  There are some Green Zebras, Aunt Ruby's, Anna Russians, and a peach-style.

Teri came up with this deer fence idea.  I wish we'd thought of it months ago.

This is what the deer fence will hopefully protect the cucumbers from.

There are pumpkins in there!

The garlic cleaning debris pile.

Karen and Ralf were taken by the carrots we gave them.  Apparently additional photographs will be forthcoming.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mostly Photos This Week

The wasps and bald-faced hornets (above) have reached the sweet tooth time of year.  I'd prefer they eat the hummingbird food to the peaches and apples still on the trees.

We harvested our first corn.  Only the bi-color variety was really ready.  But next week...

Slicing cucumbers, English cucumbers, and pickling cucumbers.

Washing the radishes and beets.  No one wants a dirty root vegetable!

Elephant garlic.

I dug a few fingerling potatoes.  The weather was miserable on Saturday (high of 63 on the last weekend of August), so it felt like one should eat potatoes.

This is where the potatoes came from.  I wasn't too impressed with the yield.  I will say that the hilling meant that none were sun-scalded, but they were none to plentiful or large.

I just like this array of vegetables.

Our stand this week.  Note Ozzy the Farm Truck (1950 Chevrolet) in the background.

Yes, the regular eggplant are in with the fairy tales.  Until they produce enough of themselves they have to share a basket.

Beans from Arrowleaf South--Shawn's parents are better farmers than we are this year.

Jalapenos were so popular that I didn't manage to get the photo in time.  Also, we're almost out of kohlrabis (to the right).  Need to pick more jalapenos next week.  People like them best.

Grey shallots.  They've had a bad couple of years--a long story which is better left untold.  They hung in there though and taste good.

I think customers arrived so I didn't get the rest of the garlic photographed.  In garlic news, we've finished cleaning the Wildfire and Thai Fire (these two are sold out), the Georgian Crystal, Premium Northern White, and Romanian (have been at the market).  This week we finished Thermadrone and Metechi and Teri tells me she went back out and started on the Nootka Rose.  For the last three, once we pull out next year's seed we should have them at market.

Squash blossoms are stunning.  People were excited to stuff them; most sold to people who were going to use them.

From the left, beets, tiny cilantro, tiny radishes, bigger cilantro, leeks, beets, potatoes.

When onions are ready for harvest, the tops fall over.  Then you pull them out and let them cure.  The top will die back and then you trim it and the roots and then it's ready for storage.