Monday, September 25, 2017

Juicing, Drying, Preserving

It's that time of year - the garden is winding down, but there is still a lot of work to do.  I don't do any canning any more - but I do preserve a lot of what we grow.
We have five different apple trees, all different varieties.  Since we can eat about a single pint of applesauce in a year, I had to figure out something else to do to try to preserve them.  Drying is the ticket for us!  When we travel, it's nice to have a big jar of them for snacks.  Most of the grandchildren prefer dried apples to fresh ones.
I save containers all year to store dried apples.
My son and daughter-in-law gave me a juicer for my birthday, and I've been enjoying experimenting with it.
Today I used cucumbers, kale, carrots, beets, grapes, tomato, and apples for my juice.  I make juice about once a week, and make enough to freeze some for when I don't have so many veggies and fruit to choose from.  This was the best mix yet! I drink about 4-6 ounces every day, and keep enough in the fridge for a few days at a time.  I haven't done a juice diet yet, but am thinking about doing that for a few days.

I put the compost that results from juicing out for the birds. 
This year I've had some beautiful annual flowers, and with the extended dry weather, I've found many seeds that I can store for spring when I'm ready to plant annuals again.  I'm also saving bean seed from my Kentucky Wonder beans and all the various squash plants that have produced so abundantly this year.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Trying to Save the Rhodies

I've lived in Washington for most of my life, and I can't remember a stranger weather year:  wettest winter and spring on record, followed by driest and hottest summer on record.  Luckily, we have an irrigation system to the garden from the lake that is mostly underground.  I've had to clean out the foot valve at the end of the dock a couple of times as the lake level has gone down and the valve ended up on the bottom in the mud.  But by diligently watering nearly every day for a couple of hours at least, the garden has thrived.
We've had a lot of meals that were just veggies from the garden stir fried together.
But the water only goes as far as the garden, and we have about another 1000 feet of driveway to the road.  Years ago we found a Rhodendron farm in Marysville that was going out of business, and we bought several rhodies for the entry.  They've grown and gotten absolutely beautiful over the years.
They are really drought resistant, but this year was more than exceptionally dry, and they were starting to look really sad.

Ron rigged up a 50 gallon barrel in the tractor bucket, and brought it to where the water ended so we could fill it.
We brought three loads of water to them and hope that will be enough to keep them alive until we finally get some rain.
Our summer is winding down now, and for the first time in several months, they are predicting RAIN - not just a 10% chance of scattered showers, but real rain.
I'm ready!