Friday, August 31, 2018

waving a trowel

Greetings from the gardens! We've had several days without rain, but some extreme heat and humidity - Heat Index of 100F or higher. Today was lovely by comparison, and I spent much of the day very happily puttering in the paddocks and the gardens.

Plants that struggled to grow through the weeks of deluge have been rallying and are now growing and blooming at a great rate. I've brought a few pictures from the garden to share, but first: a question for the chard-lovers among you.

How do you like to prepare it? Some of the chard plants are now growing fast enough that - by moving briskly - I can occasionally pick a few leaves before the bugs devour them.

So far, I've taken my usual approach to a vegetable: eating it raw. This is sometimes as far as I need to go - lots of things are delicious raw. But with chard, well, I'm positive there is a better way. Alternative suggestions welcome and requested.

The highbush blueberries by the workshop are done for the year - and a surprisingly fine year it has been for these precious gems, considering all the days of hard rain. Quite often I picked my daily handful by running out between rainstorms.

My last little handful of 2018 was enjoyed earlier this week, and I left the few remaining berries ripening on the bush for the wildlife to enjoy the next day. Fair's fair.

I say "wildlife" not "birds," because I'm not sure exactly who I share the blueberries with anymore. I even saw a tiny mouse in the birdfeeder, five feet off the ground, the other day. Shinnying up that pole and then vaulting over to the feeder is quite a feat, even for the intrepid squirrels and a thrill-seeking chipmunk. When I walked past the feeder and saw a mouse peeping at me from eye level, it was quite a surprise.

Speaking of tiny things, I've discovered three Minnesota Midget Melons in the garden so far. The largest is about the size of a softball, as expected. People who have grown these melons describe them as "individual-serving." I'm hoping to find out, but it will be a while before they ripen. Meanwhile, they remain as safe as possible from predators, hidden in the undergrowth.

Massive vines are producing my favorite winter squash - candy roaster - in the undergrowth as well, but some individuals are no longer able to hide very well. This one is probably 20 inches long and it appears to have grown considerably larger each time I see it:

But today I noticed this little candy roaster on a trellis, cleverly disguised to blend in with the neighboring pole beans:

I'm still picking pole beans every day or two, eating some and tucking some into the freezer. My fondness for bean salad is unabated:

So good.