Weather: upper 70's today, cloudy, off and on showers which prevented me from picking beans today...I picked cucumbers (most notably) in the rain. Chipmunk, who was out in the garden with Andy and me at the time, was not amused. This surprised me, because he will cheerfully dunk his head in a mud puddle. All last week it felt like summer with highs in the 80's. We even had to use fans. But this week it looks like temps will slump into the 60's, with overnight lows dipping into the 40's. Fall, I guess.
In bloom: Well, my rosebush is still going, which is hard for me to believe. It likes the chickens. Otherwise, the field is full of goldenrod, black-eyed susans (Pip calls them "black-eyes"), and the first asters.
Photo by Katydid
In the Barnyard: It's been a while since I posted a Country Diary. About a week and a half ago, we lost two of our turkeys to what we think must have been raccoons. (Only raccoons tear off the head and leave most of the meat untouched.) So Andy spent one very long Sunday converting the the frame of a larger chicken coop he'd been working on into a turkey coop. It looks a lot like an aviary.
But Andy says not to give Katydid ideas.
The poor turkeys... they are really not meant to be cooped up like this. What we've discovered is that heritage turkeys are excellent flyers and, unlike chickens, they don't particularly care if they make it home to roost or not. When we let them out of the coop to forage on grass, they will fly up about twenty feet into the tree behind the woodpile on the right. I guess raccoons can't get them there, but still. Another worry we have is that there has been a wild turkey hen hanging around with her poults since we put the turkeys out. The other day I looked out the window to see the wild hen having a bit of an alteraction with our Bourbon Red hen, who might have been trying to tag along.
The wild hen is becoming increasingly less afraid of us, though. The boys and I came upon her and the poults in the garden a couple of days ago and were able to come quite close before they all flew away.
The turkeys do have interesting personalities, though, and if you ignore the bald heads, the rest is beautiful and graceful.
Our Naragansett tom...
Blue Slate hen in the left background and Bourbon Red hen in foreground...
Close-up of one of the Blue Slates...
In the Garden:
It's not a banner year. There's very little to freeze or can, and the blackberry bush seems bent on ripening only a pint of berries at a time. I put away 2 qt. of beans and 2 1/2 qts of squash last week, and that was the first all season. I had to use farm stand tomatoes to make freezer salsa with my peppers.
Of which there have been quite a few. The peppers have actually surprised me this year. Usually our pepper production is not good.
The tomatoes are such a disappointment that I'm not even going to show you a picture. They started out beautiful and lush. And then -- late blight struck. It's epidemic in the Northeast this year. I couldn't even go into the garden for days. Some of our tomatoes seem to be pulling through okay, but most aren't. I can't can the green tomatoes (as pickles or whatever) because canning potentially diseased produce doesn't sound smart to me. If you pick the tomatoes green and leave them in the windowsill to ripen, most rot anyway.
I have to tell you, it's heartbreaking.
Here's what our late August harvest looks like, sans tomatoes:
That's what I picked in the rain today, along with a bunch of okra Andy picked last night. Apparently we had forgotten about the okra patch for a few days. Those long purple things are eggplants.
A funny curlicue one using my garden journal as background...
A comparison of cucumbers... Marketmore slicer on top, Homemade Pickles on the bottom. Homemade Pickles is a producer. Even in a wet, mostly cool summer, it will give me more cucumbers than any other variety. I sliced up the pile of cucumbers I picked this morning for refrigerator sweet pickles.
And some homemade salsa, using all home-grown ingredients except for the lime juice.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with all the rest of those peppers and that giant striped zucchini!