Monday, August 24, 2020

Harvest Monday - August 24, 2019

It's been one hell of a week around here, quite literally, with two wildfires burning just a few miles away and numerous others burning not too much further away. The smoke has been so thick that it's been hazardous to my health to go outside so I've only taken brief forays out to the garden to harvest or do a few quick tasks. And that's on top of the heat wave that didn't abate until mid-week. We don't rely on air-conditioning to cool our house, we can usually just open up windows at night to let in cool fresh air and that usually does a great job of cooling the house enough to get through the next hot day. But the smoke actually gets worse at night so our "natural" air-conditioning didn't work because we had to keep the windows sealed tight 24/7 which made for some very uncomfortable days and nights. And then to top it all off the possibility of more dry lightening and high winds is probably what prompted the county to declare an evacuation warning for my neighborhood last Friday and then an order to get out on Saturday. Fortunately we were given plenty of time to gather up valuables and get them out of harms way. We are also very fortunate to have a good friend who took us in, including our 3 cats. So here I sit on Monday morning, still feeling a bit dazed by the events but also feeling incredibly grateful for the kindness of friends and relieved that the severe weather was basically a no-show and very sad for those in my community who have lost homes and gratitude for the multitude of firefighters and law enforcement who are working so hard to battle the fires and protect our homes. I've got so many emotions swirling around inside of me, I just can't sort through it all yet. We can't go home yet but rumor has it that maybe the evacuation order will be lifted by Wednesday. Strike that! As I'm finishing this post I just got notification that we can go home this morning!

Anyway, this is a harvest post so I will touch on that if only briefly. My harvests weren't much different last week than the few weeks before with more zucchini and squash and beans filling the harvest basket. Jamaican burr gherkins and cherry tomatoes continued to trickle in. I also got the first ripe Odessa Market sweet pepper but that did not get photographed. And I harvested some huge leaves of Yellow Cabbage collards. It's hard to get a perspective on the size of those leaves in a photograph so there's my two feet to give you an idea. Those big leaves were not at all tough.

Yellow Cabbage Collard

Bye for now, I'm packing up and heading home!

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Harvest Monday - August 17, 2020

It's Monday already and I had intended to do a post about how the garden is growing before today but that just didn't happen. We are days into a severe heat wave at the moment with temperatures hitting 100ºF+  and every time I got out to the garden to photograph it nearly all the veggies were looking wilted and stressed (just like me!). I did get out there this morning before the sun started blasting everything so I got some decent photos which I'll be sharing later this week. In the meantime the garden hasn't stopped producing veggies, some of which I got around to photographing. 

The squash have been basking in the heat. Here's a representative shot I what I harvested on a few days last week. The Tromba d'Albenga was an unusually short specimen but the Tatume squash and San Pasquale zucchini are typical.

San Pasquale zucchini, Tatume squash, Tromba d'Albenga squash

I got one new veggie last week, some leaves of Yellow Cabbage Collards. I used those along with some San Pasquale zucchini to make a gratin of Zucchini, Greens, and Ricotta. Spinach or chard are usually my green of choice for that gratin but the collards were just as good. The photo doesn't give a perspective on how large the leaves can be, one that I photographed this morning is longer than my forearm.

Yellow Cabbage Collards

Tomato season still hasn't really started yet in my garden, just a trickle so far. The Jamaican burr gherkins are also producing a steady trickle.

Piccolo Dattero and Golden Sweet tomatoes
Jamaican burr gherkins

The only other thing that I harvested but didn't photograph was a big haul of Speedy arugula. 

Critter cam update. I've not had a repeat visit from the mountain lion but the list of critters is growing.

Sightings so far:

  • deer, 3 different bucks
  • gray fox, at least 2
  • possum
  • raccoon
  • mountain lion
A lot of the shots are blurry but good enough to identify what the critter is. Here's a couple of the better ones.

Gray Foxes

Blacktail Deer

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Harvest Monday - August 10, 2020

My husband Dave and I escaped to the Emigrant Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada for a 5-day backpacking trip last week so I didn't post a harvest report last Monday. The trip was amazing. We had perfect weather and other than the first day we saw hardly a soul.

Before we left I harvested a beautiful bunch of squash blossoms which I used in a Scarpaccia. Most of the blossoms came from the Tatume squash vines. Scarpaccia is great road trip food, delicious at room temperature and easy to eat out of hand. We munched it for lunch on the drive to the trailhead and then had what was left as an appetizer before dinner in camp the first night.


There were a few more squash and zucchini harvests before and after the trip, not all of which were photographed. Thankfully my neighbor accepted a bagful before we departed.

There weren't many overgrown squash when we returned since I picked the vines pretty clean before we left. One Tromba d'Albenga got to be big and it seems that one Tatume hid from me. The rest of the squash weren't blooming when I went through the vines before we left.

I'm still getting an assortment of beans but the purple and yellow beans are nearly done. I gave all of these to my neighbor also.

There's been a tiny trickle of cherry tomatoes and the Marzano Fire paste tomatoes are starting to ripen. The spiky little green things are a cucumber relative called a burr gherkin. This one was a freebie from the Seed Savers Exchange when I renewed my membership and it is simply named Jamaican. I've been eating them raw in salads but they are also supposed to be good for pickling and cooking. Most of the beans that I'm harvesting now are Brinker Carriers, another selection from the Seed Savers Exchange.

Here's a new addition to the tomato lineup - Brad's Atomic Grape. It's a super flavorful tomato but unfortunately the plants aren't very vigorous.

Brad's Atomic Grape

The onions are now fully cured and trimmed. 

Cabernet and Sierra Blanca

I have been putting a large container of water outside my garden because it seems that local wildlife have been enjoying it. My curiosity got piqued about just what it is that's been slurping it up. So I installed a critter camera aimed at the bucket (a large tub trug). The first couple of nights I wasn't surprised to see a couple of bucks but then the other morning I got quite a surprise to see this guy/gal below... 

The images are a bit blurry but there's no doubt that that is a mountain lion. I know they have been in the neighborhood, both of my neighbors have seen them, but I've never seen one myself. So I finally have my own proof that they are truly here.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.