Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tomato, Elderberry, and Pie Tree Harvest

Tomatoes galore!  I have been eating them for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  Today, we even had a juice made with carrots, celery, and tomatoes.  

Ever since I started eating tomatoes from the garden I don't like the ones from the grocery, so I do without all year and then try to make up for lost time by over doing it when they are coming in from the garden.  It's wonderful.  The heirlooms really are better, even if they don't make as many fruits as the hybrid kind.  But really, I like them all!  

Brandon and I spent the evening at the little farm, and I got apples!  I wasn't sure if the apples were ready, but since the bugs seem to be enjoying them I decided to pick as many of the red ones as I could reach.  They are small, and very tart, but I think they are going to be worth the effort because these seem similar to the apples I used to get from Brandon's parents trees, and they made the best apple pies.  I half filled a five gallon bucket, but there are still plenty for the bugs and other wildlife since I couldn't reach most of them.  The poor tree has a wild grape vine growing over half of it that needs to be removed.  Maybe some day I will figure out how to prune the tree so it will last a long time.  I would hate to loose my pie tree.  

After picking apples I used some colored tape and flagged some of the baby ash trees that have sprouted in the fields.  The flags are supposed to let Brandon know not to mow them, but I'm not sure the trees are tall enough for him to see, and I think a few of them got cut anyway.  I wanted to save these because I've been told that ash can be cut for firewood in just a few years because they grow so fast, and that new stems will sprout from the cut stumps, so if managed properly, a small ash grove can be a good source of firewood.  I'm not sure a dozen trees constitutes a grove, but at least its a start.  

The elderberries were ripe too, so I picked several bags full.  Now I just have to decide if I should make jam or wine.  What to do?  Both, I think.  

Can you see the praying mantis? 

After many trips for supplies and much research, Brandon and his brother finally managed to change the tire on the tractor.  Who would have thought that it would be such a challenge?  The tire rim is so rusted and warped that the mechanic that Brandon took the new tire to couldn't use his fancy machine because he said it would just tear apart the rusted old rim.  Somehow Brandon managed to get the tire on the rim himself.  I have no idea how, but I do know that duct tape was involved.  So while I picked fruit and tied bows on trees, Brandon spent his time killing all the pretty flowers mowing.  

Recently I spread the pieces of carpet that came out of the house on the ground, in strips, which will hopefully kill the grass.  If this plan works, next spring I should be able to roll back the carpet and plant right in the bare soil.  No tilling, no soil prep - my kind of garden!  If this plan doesn't work, we will have enjoyed looking a nasty old carpet in the lawn all fall and winter for nothing.   

Now I just have to find the time to peel apples and pick tiny elderberries from a million little branches.  

Once again, we had a beautiful sky as the sun set.  

And even a lovely moon peeking from the trees.  

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