Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September 3, 2008

Well, today felt wierd.  The weather's great and I've got the next few days off.  I can't believe I've got a summer!  I don't know what to do with myself?

Tonight was a race to get to preschool orientation.  This is the first year both my boys will be at school, just not in the same class.  Logan is chomping at the bit to get back, and I heard from his friends parents that they're anxious to play with him, which was good to hear.  And Owen is so ready to go to school, he already knows the songs and even knows his way around the school (shh, he's not supposed to have been there), hehe.  Anyway, the new parents are great overall, tons of new folks, which is important to us as my wife's the chair of the board. 

Anyway, my mother reports that the blackberries are ready to start to pick, so I'll get out the machette and help her this weekend.  I can't wait to harvest away and then hack back a third of of the bramble to start the three year pruning cycle!  My main concern is that Mother Nature will give us enough harvest to keep us in my favorite jelly for the next year.

Researching local Freedom Gardeners I found a novice homesteader (Sandygogreen) in Woodinville that's really going all out right off the bat. Brave of them, but increadible results.  Ah to work in the software industry.  I love what they've done with their property.  It's going to be amazing when it's all teaming with life!

I also found the Shibaguyz of Seattle that have nearly 30 containers in their townhome back yard getting local and national attention.  Pretty amazing!  In reading up about them, it seems there is a movement to revive Victory Gardens.  Though I like the PTF folk's Freedom Gardens moniker better, a rose is a rose.  I also found that our state's Senator Maria Cantwell is on the agricultural committee that controls things like gardens nationally.  I may very well drop her a note to make sure she knows the benefits of growing at least a portion of your own food and trying to eat locally (otherwise known as the 100 foot and 100 mile diet).  Apparently if every family in the U.S. ate one meal a week locally, we'd reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 1.1 million barrels for every week that happened!  Very cool.

So, this weekend I've got off, and I hope to harvest blackberries, more cukes, beans, tomatoes, onions and broccoli.  And maybe I'll pull a lower board and check for potatoes.  Not sure.  I will defintely install my hoop cover brackets on my beds and cut my plastic to fit for ease of setup later.  You never know when a frost will hit once October rolls around.

On the pickling front, the pot smells JUST like dill pickles now, which is a very good sign since it's only been a week, not a month. 

As for my bread baking, my mother tried my bread and loved it, so she took home the rest of the loaf to let my dad and aunt try it.  That means I need to bake more.  Great! I was looking forward to perfecting the process to get the best results.  If first you don't succeed, try, try again, and gain weight from all the "failures", hehe.

Well, it's late, so off I go.  Enjoy your garden!


  1. Great post and blog...isn't amazing how many of us are thinking/writing along the same lines?

    Am wondering if you'd be willing to guest post a bit on my blog about square foot gardening? I have the book, but I kind of do my own thing. But I had a question via email from a reader about it and was thinking it's time to talk about it.

    I love hosting guest bloggers--it's the blog equivalent of cross-pollination. ;-)

    Lemme know.

  2. If I wasn't going out of town for the next few days I would be planning my sourdough starter- you've inspired me. My hubby got all my veggies on drip so that we could be gone for a few days, so I will be checking your blog from Arizona. Hopefully I won't find a football sized zuke upon returning. Just harvested two for bread to bring with us.

    I am also anxious to learn with you about the cukes, must be great to have that smell in your garage!

    Can't wait for pics of your harvest this weekend!

  3. Enjoy your time off! I did that last weekend (made it a five day weekend) and I am sure wishing I could do the same this weekend - as the weather is supposed to be outright gorgeous!

    We seem to be flying through the bread this week ourselves ... definitely going to have to do the Friday night bread start this week - as I am concerned we will use up the last of the loaf we are working on by the end of today and the extra loaf I thought I had stuffed away in the freezer seems to have dissappeared without my knowing it as well. Weather is going to be too nice this weekend to do more than just bake the weekly bread... but one of these upcoming rainy day weekends, I need to do an extra baking effort day and restock the freezer with a few extra loaves for emergency resupply.

    Sounds like the breadtopia version of the no knead bread is good. I may have to give it a try.

  4. Hey Dude! hope those blackberries do well for ya! Let me know how that broccoli turns out, I can't wait to try mine later. Also, I've never heard of anyone making pickles that way...interesting. Oh well, there are several ways to do it, I just haven't been exposed to all of them yet. Can't wait to see more pics from your garden....

  5. Susan: Wow, your trip sounds better than what I'm doing. I'm just hanging around the house with the family and my garden (which I do every weekend, so it's not particularly amazing, just fun). Go forth and ferment when you return! And yes, as a person that doesn't particularly care for pickles, it smells incredible in there!

    DoubleD: I totally agree that baking bread on a hot day is less fun than I'd hoped, especially if you stand there worrying it to death in front of the hot stove. hehe. Some day I'll have to learn a thing or two from you about baking all your own family's bread supply! Sounds like a ton of work, but fun, at least for a trial run.

    EG: Me too on the blackberries. I was talking with my mom and when I was young we would harvest or buy fresh in bulk and preserve tons. Now she doesn't want to buy anything, so it's harvest or we go without.

    I'm curious how you've heard to make dill pickles? There is a short way where you pack the pickles in the vinegar and spice brine in jars, add a sprig of dill and can them, allowing the marinade to soak post-canning. I'm trying the long and slow way first, then I'll think about the short method.

    As for the broccoli, it tastes MUCH better than the last time. I had some with dinner the other night and wow! I may just have to plant more. And for pics, yeah, it helps if I get home before dark though, hehe.

    Dan: Yeah, I expect it to get stronger as it ages, which is a good thing I think. I can always remake the starter if need be. Yours that developed hooch on the top could be drained off and fed 2 times a day until it came back. Apparently, according to Eric at Breadtopia, unless you freeze it without drying it first (he shows you how) you can kill it that way. As for the pineapple, I just bought the cheapest can of pineapple rings in unsweetened juice and used that. We've been adding a ring to our smoothies to give it a kick. I can't wait to start another loaf as soon as I replenish my bread flour. It takes some planning because you have to time the overnight proof to exactly 18 hours. Good luck with yours!

    Jen: I symphatize with you on that. Our blackberries are what I think of as several weeks if not a month behind schedule. Others I know have already picked a season's worth weeks ago. My mother asked me to check on them mid August and was shocked when I said they were still green. I think we're premature now to pick them, but we'll start this weekend by at least cutting a path to get there. We'll see what we get for harvest.

  6. Your starter should get better and better overtime so defiantly keep it going. I kept one going for about 6 months but then let it sit to long in the fridge and it turn to beer almost, not sure but I don't think it can be used after this.

    I am going to give the recipe you tried a go the next time I make it to the store, I don't have pineapple juice on hand. Although I think I would use a bread recipe that needs kneading.

  7. I'm jealous of your blackberries. I'm beginning to think they're growing everywhere BUT our yard! I was at T&J's house two weeks back, and the branches were just groaning with dark shiny berry goodness. I made three pies: one for them, one for me, one for the freezer. At home, yup, even in full sun, the berries are still all green and hard as nuts. Well, nuts to that! ;)