Growing season

Growing season is fairly long here in Texas. We live under oppressive heat for much of the year, and our winters are relatively mild. Every few years, we see a hard freeze that lasts a few days, or an ice storm that shuts down the entire world.

Our climate means that things can be planted almost anytime and they will sprout and grow and make flowers and fruits and vegetables. We are in the midst of the vegetable gardening season, and we have things starting to produce all over the place.

Apparently, Mr B planted some corn. On top of the lateral lines for the septic system.

I have more itty bitty squashes and zucchinis.

I have teeny tiny tomatoes.

teeny tiny tomatoes

I have more cucumber plants that I didn’t know I had planted.

cucumber plants

I have unidentified things growing in little mounds. The mounds mean that they are not weeds, they’re something I deliberately planted.

And Mr B got out there on his big orange dirt mover and made me some rows for planting beans and peas, which Sunshine says he’ll help me plant when he gets home.

I’ve also done some research into how to do the four sisters companion planting thing the Native Americans have done for centuries, and will be having Sunshine help me plant corn, squash, beans, and Rocky Mountain Bee Plant for a fall garden.

I still don’t enjoy all this planting and harvesting and blanching and freezing; but I still find comfort in all of the repetition, so I guess I’ll keep being the one that does the majority of the gardening.




More Freegan Zucchini

The neighbors are bringing us a lot of zucchini.

Not only is the quantity of zucchini squashes large, the size of those zucchini squashes is large.

Photographic proof.

I don’t know what the fuck they’re feeding these zucchinis, but this shit is ridiculous.

I’m going to have to go through those pins that Tia is finding me for ways to cook zucchini that aren’t stir fry.

Musical chairs

We moved the compost heap from its original location a few months ago. We wanted to put it in a more shaded spot. We had it on the eastern side of the front pond. Then Mr B took out the pond and left the compost heap exposed to the brutal Texas sun.

side note: the compost heap was also in an unconvenient location for us to keep it moist. We had to carry buckets of water and fuck that

compost new location again

This past Thursday, Mr B hopped on his tractor and moved it to the front of the property for me. There is a semi-shaded spot under a tree, and it is right next to the new water faucet we put in during the great septic system debacle.

Now all we have to do is get some sort of shade structure in place on the southern and eastern sides of it.

Vegetable Garden

The garden is slowly producing food for us. We’ve brought in and preserved broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, and collard greens. We also harvested the potatoes and stored them in the underground storm shelter. Today, I harvested some cabbage that was ready. Mr B says he’ll cook it up and we’ll get it frozen or canned.

As I wandered the property looking at wild blackberry vines and my garden, I’m seeing a lot of promise for a lot of food soon. The blackberries are blooming, and there are little green and pink fruits too; I’m keeping an eye on them because that’s free fruit I can freeze.

I have blooms and small squash happening.

My Lima beans and snap peas are blooming. I can’t remember which is which, but that’s ok for now. I’ll know which is which when they get ready to harvest.

I have cowpeas growing out there! I thought all the cowpeas didn’t survive the transplant process.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s also kind of exciting. Now I’m off to take a nap.

Harvesting and Planting

As things run their course out in the garden, I am removing them and planting new things in their places. Almost all of the cauliflower has been harvested, and an entire breed of lettuce went bad in the rows. I planted peppers in the spot vacated by the cauliflower, and lima beans in the spot vacated by the lettuces.

Yesterday morning, Mr B got out there and dug up all of our potatoes, as they were planted close to the pond that is about to be filled in and he didn’t want them destroyed by the bulldozers. When Sunshine got home from work, he and I went out there to gather them from the ground where Mr B left them to let the dirt dry so it knocked off easily.

Mrs B snapped a couple of pics to entertain you with.

All of the bending and crawling and stooping aggravated my hip, so today I am doing a lot of nothing. Except binge watching. I’m doing a lot of binge watching Netflix today. Because I don’t want a repeat of the excruciating pain I went through after the great septic system debacle.

final note: I went to the back of the property this morning to look at the blackberries that grow wild out there. They’re blooming, and most of them have little berries starting to form. I’ve done my research, and learned several methods of preserving them. I will probably freeze the vast majority of them, but I have found a recipe for blackberry syrup that I’m eager to try. And Tia has found me some recipes for blackberry breads and desserts, which is one of a million reasons that I love her.

Growing and preserving my own food

So I’ve got the hang of this blanching thing, and I’ve been slowly but surely rounding up all the cauliflower and getting it stashed in the freezer. I think I’m going to try some mashed cauliflower at some point in the future. It has to be better for Sunshine’s diabetes than mashed potatoes, right?

Well, Thursday, instead of taking it easy before a marathon day at work on Friday, I decided to go harvest more cauliflower and get it frozen. Turns out, most of it was ready.

cauliflower almost done for this cycle

After I got done with that, I wandered the garden trying to see what did and didn’t start growing from the sprouts I grew. A lot of things didn’t grow: carrots, peppers, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, a significant portion of my snap peas, and some of the lima beans. I’m sure I’m forgetting something else, but fuck it.

I found a tray of squash sprouts that nobody had planted, so I planted those in the empty spot where the okra sprouts didn’t grow.

planted squash

I realized that there was nowhere to plant half of the stuff I needed to plant, because Sunshine and Mr B had planted a lot of turnips in the garden. I went to sunshine crying about how there was no room to plant anything I like to eat because the entire garden had been planted with things he and Mr B liked to eat, like lettuce and turnips and shit.

Sunshine wandered out to the garden with me and helped me think and plan. He took a look at his radishes and said that they were ready to be harvested, so he helped me pull those up and we found this monster potato sized radish growing in our garden.

I decided to plant peppers where the cauliflower came out, and multicolored carrots where the radishes were. I went over to the far northwest corner of the plowed area and planted eggplant and okra.

planted eggplant and okra

I had a little space free at the end of a row of lima beans that I used to plant some kohlrabi for Sunshine since he likes turnips and radishes and shit so much. I still need to find space to plant some green beans, black eyed peas, and other bean type stuff. Like, I still can’t figure out why we have so much lettuce and so little beans in our garden. Maybe as some of the lettuces run their course it will free up space for beans and peas and shit.

Learning new skills

Yesterday, I got disgusted by all of the food that was going bad on the plants in the garden, so I dragged my ass out there and harvested some cauliflower, broccoli, and green onions.

I crawled through the still muddy garden with my handy Chicago Cutlery all purpose knife and gathered up the broccoli and cauliflower first.

Then I had to consult the internet to find out exactly how to blanch something. Mr B happened by as I was trimming and rinsing the veggies and kindly offered up the use of some of his cajun cooking equipment.

He even stayed and helped with the actual blanching part, but had to jet off to an appointment and couldn’t stay to help me package it in containers.

ready for the freezer

As you can see, I don’t always spell correctly when I’m running short on spoons. It takes a lot of braining to make the words go, and when I’m struggling to breathe I just can’t be bothered.

After I got the broccoli and cauliflower put in the freezer, I went back to the garden and harvested green onions. Mr B told me not to pull the onions out of the ground yet so that they could grow a little bit bigger. The green tops will regrow, which means that there will be more green onions to harvest in the future. Apparently, Mr B really likes green onions. Good thing, because I harvested a bunch.

green onions

If I never see another green onion for the rest of my life, that’s perfectly fine with me. Because I’ve said that, my boss will probably have a new shipment of green onions waiting for me tomorrow. I cut green onions until my hand was bruised and my fingers were numb and didn’t even get halfway through this crate of green onions. Thank heaven Sunshine made it home from his clinic appointment in Oklahoma and offered to help me finish the task. We used our handy seal-a-meal thingamajigger and got the green onions put into the freezer next to the containers of broccoli and cauliflower.

I’m supposed to be on strike, but I could NOT let all that food go to waste in the garden. It would mean that all of the energy I put into helping Mr & Mrs B plant that shit would be a complete waste. It also would be contributing to the food waste problem we have in this country, and that is not OK with me.

In the end, I learned some new skills, and that’s always a good thing.

final note: Sunshine has already been forewarned that we are probably going to have to repeat the whole process for broccoli and cauliflower again on Saturday. There’s a lot of small to medium bits still on the plants that I don’t want to go to waste. Also, since Mr B is the one that like green onions so much, his ass can cut all those fuckers up next time they get harvested.