Welcome to this week’s homestead update.
As I mentioned the other day, we went camping at Lake Sherwood campground in West Virginia. As most people who have grown gardens know, I ended up with some big zucchini squash after ignoring the garden for 2 weeks. The biggest is in this picture, it’s about 14″ long, but over 4″ in diameter. This will be too tough to use for anything but zucchini bread. The okra in this picture were the first pods, so while small, were still too woody to eat.
But I was able to harvest a smaller zucchini that was the right size to make something good. I made up a batch of Italian Chicken Pasta Toss like I’ve made before. For those that don’t know, this started out coming from the Pampered Chef Light & Simple cookbook. I was able to use some of the peas that we blanched and froze a couple of weeks ago. But I added in the zucchini and okra I picked the other day. I also used one of the potato onions and some of the garlic from the garden. I didn’t supply the red pepper or the tomatoes since I haven’t harvested either.
I was also able to do some foraging for berries. The round berries in the picture are gooseberries. I planted this plant when we first moved in and I didn’t plan on harvesting any of these. I harvested some of them the other day. Also while mowing I noticed that there were some wineberries ripening on the plants.
For those that don’t know, wineberries are an invasive species in the Mid-Atlantic area. They are basically an Asian raspberry. But they grow well and taste great, so I’m not going to try wiping them off of my property. Each year my daughter and I harvest a bunch of these. The other day we were able to harvest a big batch of them. That’s about 2 quarts of berries. I end up freezing most of them to slowly eat throughout the Summer. They produce for most of the Summer, but late in the Summer we have to fight the yellow jackets for them. But this time of year they are free for the taking.
I popped open a jar of the pickled garlic scapes that I made a couple of weeks ago. I opened the ones that were just scapes, vinegar and pickling spices. I have not tried the ones with the extra garlic cloves and dill. I’ll try those next. I’m not a big pickle fan, but I like these. It could just be that I made them, but they have a very slight garlic taste plus the pickle spice and vinegar. I will make these again next year.
I’ve been using a bug trap made from an empty water bottle and some soapy water to catch the Japanese beetles. It works great since their natural defense mechanism is to drop off the leaves when startled. So I put the bug trap under them and knock them off the leaf into the soapy water. I don’t have a huge infestation, but I’ve caught about 2 dozen of them this week. I’ve heard that I can make a Japanese beetle repellent by using a blender to grind up the dead beetles and spraying the plants with it. I’ll try that once I track down a spare blender.
When I harvest onions and garlic, I like to use a baby gate to cure the onions or garlic. I stopped by the Good Will store last night to see if they had any baby gates. I didn’t find a baby gate, but they did have an Apple Peeler Corer Slicer on the shelf. I listed this in one of my Lehman’s Wish List posts. It looked like it was never used. Of course I bought it. It was just $4.50 instead of the regular $20. I’ll use it when I make some apple butter and apple pie filling this Fall.
Other than the incredible heat, that’s what happened on my homestead. How about yours?