Bigger in Texas

When I was out and about searching for seeds for beans to plant, I saw a package of the weirdest green beans that I had ever seen. It’s called the yard long green bean or something.

Of course, being the weirdo that I am, I had to buy some and give them a try.

We picked a couple the other day and ate them raw just out of curiosity. They’re really sweet. I think that this shall be the green beans I plant from this day forward. That’s a lot of green beans to can from not a lot of plants.

 

Filling the shelves

I’ve progressed from jam to pickled things. I pickled those chard stems and turnips. I pickled some sweet Armenian cucumbers. Then I found out Mrs B likes pickled okra, so I made her some pickled okra out of some backdoor okra from work. I still had Armenian cucumbers to do something with, so I made some spicy pickles with them. I also pickled some asparagus.

I’ve seen so many different pickled recipes that I’m beginning to wonder what DOESN’T get pickled. Somebody stop me before I pickle watermelon rinds, because that little “ping” sound of the lids sealing is kind of addicting.

Learning to pickle things

So I decided to try learning to pickle some things. I started with pickled chard stems, which I have now tried two ways. Mr B like both of the formulas I tried, but he said that the second one was even better. Sunshine got to sample the second formula, and he liked it too. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures. Maybe next time, after we grow our fall chard.

The other thing I have tried pickling was turnips. Sunshine loves turnips; however, the turnips were going soft and rubbery before he could eat them all

side note: that’s what happens when you plant as many fucking turnips as Sunshine planted, but that’s a post for another day

so I decided to try a pickle turnip that Tia and I found on the internet.

pickled turnips

side note: here’s the link in case you’re interested

Sunshine and Mr B tried them last night and said that they were really good.

I’m glad I’m finding ways to preserve foods that don’t require a freezer, because freezers are quite electricity intensive, especially here in Texas.

Practice makes perfect

I make a lot of jokes about how Mr B moves a lot of dirt. While it is true that he moves a lot of dirt, sometimes he’s actually moving dirt for a purpose that I can discern. Sometimes, I think he’s just playing with his toys. Either way, he’s had a bit of practice with his tractor. He’s gotten fairly good at precision maneuvers with it.

He used it to help me turn the older compost heap this week. I was going to remove the entire fence from around it, but he said I didn’t need to do all that.

freshly turned june 28 2017

He was right. He turned that compost heap without tangling up in the fence. I was grateful as hell for it, too; turning the smaller, newer one with shovel & pitchfork was brutal for me so I can’t begin to imagine how awful it would have been to try and turn that big bastard alone.

The newer compost heap probably won’t remain the smaller of the two for long. It’s growing by leaps and bounds every weekend when I bring home all of the backdoor food my boss tells me to get rid of.

new heap june 28 2017

It’s also growing by leaps and bounds due to the addition of all of the dead or dying plants that have given us all they can give for this gardening season. We’re slowly removing plants when they are done producing to try and prepare for Mr B to rearrange the dirt in the garden area. In his defense, it actually needs to be done. There are a few low spots that hold water after it rains, and we lost a lot of vegetables to that standing water and poor drainage this spring. We’re aiming to have all of the dirt rearranged by the end of July, which means we may have to sacrifice some stuff that could potentially produce more food for us. We need to be set to plant our fall crops by the middle of August according to all of my research.

It’s kind of disgusting to me that I may have to let him plow under some things that could potentially provide more vegetables for us, but I’m trying to look at the upside–he will get rid of the standing water spots so that I don’t lose a lot of food to heavy rains. Torrential rains have become the new normal around here when we’re not in drought conditions, so we have to plan for how to keep it from being as problematic for us in the future if we want to continue to grow our own food. And in the end, becoming more self-reliant was a major goal of ours when we came out here.

final note: those compost heaps stink to high heaven. Mollie rolled in the ripest, juiciest parts of them and the stench of her almost made me yarf. Poor Mollie got the bath to end all baths and was mad at me for the rest of the day. I’ve got to plan around the compost heap and the wind when I start planning the next planting, because I am tired of trying to harvest food downwind from that foul smell.