Blackberry Mountain
What's going on? 07/06/2011
 
A lot has been going on lately...
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We hosted lunch for Jeremy's family recently.  Many had not been here since we got all of the animals.  Things got interesting when a few decided they wanted to milk Roses.  Jeremy's dad and brother even tasted FRESH milk.

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I have been harvesting lots of herbs and preserving them in different ways (more on this to come).  This is a batch of sweet and dark opal basil that I turned into pesto and then froze for use at another time.

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We have been having lots of evening campfires.  Eggs is enjoying this one while she recovers from being spayed (MJ was also spayed).

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Dinner on the campfire is one of our favorite things.  This time we had sauteed squash/zucc, salmon with basil, and flatbread (it looks odd but tasted great).

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I am most proud of this photo.  Jeremy has been working to grow corn for the past few years and has not had much success other than a few pieces of corn.  This year it looks great and is starting to produce (if we can rid ourselves of those stinkin' Japanese Beetles). 

 
Sweet Summertime 06/20/2011
 
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Summer is here and it shows on our “farm”.  The garden is growing and producing its first fruits.  We are getting cucumbers, squash/zucchini, green beans, and potatoes.  These are piling up quickly so I started pickling last week and plan to start canning this week.  I have a lot of basil, mint, oregano, and perilla too.  I’m drying these herbs for teas (for medicinal purposes) and for cooking later.  Some herbs such as, chives and basil, will be frozen as well.  As soon as I get the right ingredients from the store I will make basil into pesto…green AND PURPLE this year.  All of this is so exciting but it also means BUGS!  Our corn is taking a beating from Japanese beetles so Jeremy spends a lot of time smashing them in hopes to keep more from coming.  Last week we picked our first blackberries.  We picked about 2 lbs during our first round.  Our land is covered with blackberries and that is where the name Blackberry Mountain comes from.  I hope to make jam and cobbler and freeze the rest (After eating a fair share).  It’s so great to be getting so much produce and being able to eat some now and store later so that we can taste the summer all year long.  Hard work in the spring and summer pay off!

 
 
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I’m a slacker when it comes to gardening.  We have had a garden for three years now but I typically get excited doing research and planting but fail to plan like Jeremy.  He has been the garden designer, he sort of fell into that position when I didn’t make efforts to do so.  He has encouraged me to try something myself so that I can research like I always do but to follow through with planning, planting, and harvesting after I nurture and care for plants.  A while back he gave me an herb garden for Christmas.  This meant he would dig my garden plot and the rest was up to me.  Basically he gave me the gift of garden creativity and freedom.  The first year I bought herbs familiar to me without much knowledge except which were perennials and annuals.  They grew and I harvested them, but had too much of some and wasn’t sure what to do with others.  In the end I figured I would lose them all because the goats had finished many plants so I ended the season and would try again.  This spring while surveying our backyard and planning our garden I noticed a few old friends had returned—Greek Oregano, German Thyme, Spearmint, and Peppermint had come back stronger than before.  Nature is a better garden than I am—this does not come as a surprise but it was truly unexpected that those plants would return.  In addition to my herbs from last year I started Sweet and Dark Opal Basil plants from seeds a few months ago and have been watching them grow.  Along with those seeds I also planted Rosemary and Lavender.  These are supposedly much harder to start from seed and so far that is pretty accurate.  I believe I had success with a few Rosemary seedlings and one Lavender but time will tell. 

Why grow herbs?

I wasn’t sure of this when I got the gift but after researching and growing my own I realize they are great for edible and medicinal purposes.  I admit I do not fully use them for everything at this time but I hope to try more over time and as I learn more.  As the summer goes on I will add more information and photos about herbs and their specifics.  If you don’t have anything growing, why not start with a few herbs in your window seal?

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