As summer wanes, and the expansive days of summer fade before our eyes, I am beginning to feel that same briefness in the garden. While we still have a great deal coming out of our garden, and the tomatoes are finally beginning to come along, I feel a pull towards the space inside our home. At this time of year, my body grows weary from all the hours spent out in the garden. And while I still adore being in this space, I look forward to the days of nestling in with a cup of coffee, good book and some crocheting. I often think this is why God gifted us with the seasons. They allow us time to recharge our minds and bodies before venturing out again.
This past week in the garden has been quite bountiful. Our second round of strawberries are still coming in the door, along with our long-awaited raspberry crop. The tomatoes are starting to ripen and we have been eating them fresh off the vine, most of them never even making it over the threshold. The lemon verbena liqueur that I mentioned a couple weeks back, is now completed and I look forward to the cocktails and baked goods we can make with this citrusy elixir. More herbs are being dried, and beans frozen. But perhaps our greatest delight of the week has been our apples. As I shared before, the Japanese beetles have devoured the leaves of our apple trees. We reached a point this week that there were more dead leaves than living and I feared if we didn’t pick our apples now we may lose them. So pick we did. And pie we made. It was a great week in the garden.
It’s August! This means we have entered the jungle-phase of the gardening season. In order to move about the garden, one must weave in and out of the labyrinth of branches and vines. And while doing so, one may come across our cat sleeping amongst the beans, or perhaps a groundhog who has found his way into our tomatoes. (Talk about a bit of a fright when not expecting that guy. Oh boy.)
But amongst this tangle of vegetation there is a great deal happening, and our kitchen is finding itself brimming with our garden’s bounty. The tomatoes have now grown taller than me (and standing at 5’11” that is saying something), and for the first time EVER we have been able to grow broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage! We planted ever-bearing strawberries two years ago and we are now reaping the rewards of an amazing second round of these lovelies.
A few weeks back, as I mentioned in this post, I hung some herbs to dry. This week my girls helped to take the leaves off these dried plants, grind them by hand, and then can them for the winter months.
Also in the herb department, our basil and lavender are just beautiful this year. I decided to try out Ashley English’s Lavender Lemonade from her book //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=makofahom-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=1611801281&asins=1611801281&linkId=XB3HIFBW6PW65FC3&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true“>Quench (using stevia to replace the sugar) and it was delicious! I have also been making basil-lime water infusions and it puts a whole new face on my family’s hydration needs.
I pulled most of our carrots this week and tried my hand at lacto-fermentation. So far, there is a lot of fermentation goodness in the form of carbon-dioxide bubbles rising to the surface of the jars when I burp them each day. I am very excited to taste these in a few more days.
Coming up next week, I hope to share with you some of the recipes I have been working on, which feature so much of this garden goodness. Until then, enjoy the remainder of your week!