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Showing posts from September, 2021

It's Time for Apples and Pears

There are numerous old fruit trees on our property, including apple, pear, cherry and plum. The trees' enormous sizes and moss-covered, gnarled branches suggest they are likely at least 40 and maybe up to 70 years old.  Each year since moving here, we have been blessed with fruit from all of these old, beautiful trees.   Yesterday, it was time to harvest the apples and pears. A few of each had fallen to the ground to be consumed eagerly by the deer.  So I took our ladder out there with several buckets and began working my way around each tree, avoiding spider webs (there were several with enormous spiders on them), and using a fruit picker (one of those wire baskets on a broom  handle).  There were only 22 apples on the apple tree, but all were giant-sized.  The pear tree was loaded, however, and generously gave us about 75 pears this year.  I brought the fruit inside and put the two ginormous containers in our mudroom next to the buffet cabinet that my father-in-law, Richard, buil

Found! Secret Nest of Rogue Hen

Our little white bird named Angel is not so angelic after all.  This rogue hen escapes the chicken pen every day and sneaks off, going somewhere else to lay her eggs.  Since she doesn't show up until late in the afternoon, we assume she also forages for a good part of the day.  By the time we discover her, she is leisurely walking along the fence line, pecking at bugs and looking for a way to get back into the chicken run.   I still can't figure out how she is escaping.  There are no gaps along the bottom of the run, the top where she had once jumped over is now covered with netting, and the hole she dug at the gate has been filled.  She is one sly little bugger.  Her petite size makes it easier for her to slip out. Why does she find it necessary to escape?  There is plenty of food every day, including a big bucket of garden scraps most days. It's not like she has crowded conditions to live in or anything neglectful like that.  Our 11 chickens and 6 ducks have an abundant 5

Late Summer Harvests

A few weeks ago, it seemed like the tomatoes would never ripen, and now suddenly here we are with tomatoes everywhere in the kitchen!  I love this time of year when we can eat flavorful, juicy tomatoes from the garden. The gigantic Mortgage Lifter tomato reseeded itself in our garden from a couple years ago.  This tomato plant produces enormous tomatoes!  The variety was developed in the 1920's, and during the Great Depression it was said that growing these tomatoes could help you reduce your debt because they produced so much.  Each fruit can weigh as much as 2 pounds.  Today I had to empty the giant white ceramic bowl on the kitchen island (by processing all the tomatoes in it) so that I could make room for more tomatoes. Up until now, I had just been filling this vintage blue dish every day with our meager tomato harvests. The cherry tomatoes started ripening first.  Matt's Wild Cherry has returned as donor tomatoes in the garden, as have the yellow plum tomatoes.  The new v