Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday August 18, 2011

      Today was another whirlwind of a day! Because it was raining,we started by sorting a variety of plastic containers that had been donated to the garden. Tamara and Carly made a special birthday zucchini bread for Colin who turned 18 today. Then we went out to harvest tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. After that we bagged some (cooked & cooled) apples from Monday and put them in the freezer, along with the tomatoes we roasted on Monday. Then we started right in on another batch of tomatoes - slicing, salting and roasting until fragrant and delicious. We also added more cucumbers to our bucket pickles, managed to grate several gallons of yellow squash for freezing and sliced and froze two trays of hot peppers. Today was Julia's last day with us as she is getting ready to go away to Juniata College. I will really miss everything that she has contributed to the garden, not just this summer, but many years past.
      After our regular hours, Julia, Carly and Raina stayed to help with some before-school-starts cleaning and organizing. Raina and Julia totally reorganized the shed while Carly and I took everything out of the  kitchen cabinets and reorganized those as well. It was an amazing transformation in both cases. Thank you Julia, Carly and Raina!!!!!!                           -Celia

Mitchell, Pio and Willie harvest tomatoes
Is Pio juggling them?

Raw tomatoes, red and gold
Celia scoops out cooked tomatoes
Julia, Raina, Pio, Willie and Mitchell slice up hot peppers.
Note that they are wearing gloves to protect their hands

Beazy, the garden cat, in the Tithonia
Cards for Colin for his birthday and Julia on her last day
Carly made these beautiful creations
Colin with his birthday zucchini bread, freshly made, still warm!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, August 15th, 2011

      Today we did not turn on the irrigation when we arrived. Usually, the first person to arrive feeds the cat, opens the doors and turns on the irrigation. The four- plus inches of rain we got yesterday gave the garden a deep soaking and the entire garden had a robust and healthy feeling this morning. Our visitor today was Pio who is already working on the 20 hours of community service needed as a ninth grader this year. We enjoyed working with him and I think he had a good time too. ("This was more fun than I thought it would be!" -Pio)
     We started by harvesting lots of tomatoes, hot peppers, cucmbers, raspberries and a few summer squash, which are starting to really slow down, thank goodness. The tomatoes and apples are taking so much of our time that we don't have time to chop and blanch the squash. We worked on slicing apples for another batch of applesauce and also slicing tomatoes and cooking them down for tomato sauce. The cucumbers were added to the "bucket pickles" that we started last week and the raspberries were frozen for jam-making in the future. The hot peppers went into the refrigerator and will either be dried for hot pepper flakes or will be incorporated into our extraordinary hot 'n sweet pepper relish. But for Wednesday, it will be corn, corn, corn. We will be receiving 500 ears of sweet corn which we will peel, blanch, cut, bag and freeze. If you'd like to join us for this community-wide event, please do! We will start at 8am this Wednesday in front of the gym. See you there!                   -Celia

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Willie cores tomatoes to be cooked down for sauce

Beautiful tomatoes!

Mitchell, Pio, Carly and Julia slice up apples to be made into applesauce

Pio helps with the slicin' and dicin'

Red hot peppers

Colin and Tamara harvest raspberries

The garden cat loves Tamara

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Another whirlwind of a day! We were all over the garden doing everything from harvesting to fertilizing to watering. We are definitely in harvesting and preserving mode. We sliced, cooked down and bagged eight huge trays of tomatoes. Once we tasted them, we couldn't stop eating them - we even drank the juice which tastes like a power-shot of nutrition and good health. Yum! We also grated and froze 5 gallons of yellow squash and picked up apples from the ground to be made into applesauce next week. Mitchell and Shay spent most of the time burning our brush pile which contained mostly apple prunings. It was a huge job but now the area looks neat and clean. We even started a new batch of fermented pickles with extra garlic and dill because we have eaten almost all of the previous batch. And those three dehydrators full of Holy Basil from yesterday? They are now dried and bagged and ready for tea.          -Celia

A tray of tomatoes ready for roasting

After roasting - delicious!

Sunflower heads are drying

Cucumbers, dill and garlic from the garden are combined
in a new batch of fermented pickles