In between poking around for properties and places to live (did I mention I had a closer look at the “dream farm” yesterday–yeah, more like “nightmare”), I did a little harvesting today.
Mostly I had planned to get my carrots out of the raised bed at the smokehouse, but I couldn’t resist grabbing a couple ripe Minnesota Midget melons and Tromboncino squashes from the Borrowed Farm garden.
This is only the second year I’ve grown Tromboncinos, and this season they are prolific as all-get-out. I’ve had some real lunkers that I harvested and left lie as compost, as well as quite a few younger and more tender versions.
I’ve stopped harvesting cukes altogether–the Summer Dance slicers got waaaay ahead of me, and I reaped enough picklers for a gallon of half-sour garlicky dills. That’s plenty for me.
After harvesting the carrots, I was trimming back the lone Coyote (cherry tomato, that is) that had broken loose from its bamboo tipi mooring and was taking over the entire 4×8′ bed, and thankfully lifted the parasol of dense foliage to see that my shallots were ready to come out.
While they’re not as all-purpose as garlic, shallots have the distinct advantage of forming clumps and maturing in one season from a bulb stuck in the ground in Spring. I got a couple pounds’ harvest out of just a few nice bulbs I had left over from last fall and pressed in along the edges of the raised bed sometime in late April or early May.
After carrot and shallot harvest in the raised bed left on vacation in early August. There are a few heirloom tomatoes still producing spottily, plus summer squash (Magda cousa and Papaya Pear) that are on their last legs. A couple of days ago, I started pulling sad little half-eaten ears from my Mandan Bride corn patch (such as it was after all the rabbit depredations).
I made the mistake of leaving the pulled ears lying on a bed of bamboo poles (pulled after the rabbits completely wiped out my bean crop), and today it looked like the squirrels had a heyday with that. It’s OK–there were a lot more sad little ears to pull, and this batch I brought back with me to dry down and maybe save a little seed from for the next attempt. No Mandan Bride cornbread for me this season, but there’s always next year.
Back in Twin Brooks, I started washing and chopping the lunker carrots for dehydrating. I’ve never dried carrots before, but I read that the bigger carrots are the best bet for drying because they’re a) drier to begin with, and b) less likely to be tough after rehydration.
I had both Bolero and Purple Haze varieties–they did quite well for being in the ground so long and not really ever being watered. M said he’d like the purple carrots (OK, he said he thought he might eat them), which was enough excuse for me to try growing them again.
I’ve gotta say–I had fatter, bigger, longer carrots this year than I ever had in the Vermillion gardens–the result, I’m sure, of growing them in raised beds and leaving them in the ground forever. The nice thing about carrots is, if you don’t have a place to put them or time to deal with them, they store pretty darn well right in the ground. Altogether, I harvested (total guesstimate) about ten to twelve pounds of carrots from a 3 x 4′ area.
Once the carrots were in the dehydrator, I turned to the business of feeding us–I’m not sure H subscribes to the whole, “why would I need to eat when I’m processing this much food?” philosophy, and I probably shouldn’t follow that idea too closely, either.
Luckily, before we left this morning, the farm mistress had welcomed us to eat some of their dinner leftovers for supper–and having witnessed the creation of that delicious dish of local chicken, squash, peppers, tomatoes, noodles, and sour cream, we were only too happy to oblige. With food this good, it’s hard to want to find my own place!
With supper ended, the sun going down, and H and I leisurely strolling the internets, Vega let me know it was time for her regular outing. We spotted the farm rooster in his tree, already settling in for the night.
So that’s why he gets up so early!