Or at least make compost out of it.
It’s that time of year in the garden. Of doing the final tasks.
What amazes me to no end is that the final tasks never actually seem to end. I’ve been doing these final tasks for what seems likes weeks now and I’m still not done!
Harvest the apples
- Dig the carrots
Cut the raspberries
- Harvest the kale almost done!
- Dig the beets
- Finish transplanting the herbs almost done! Just found 2 more…
- Put the tools away
- Clean up the pumpkin beds
Burn the diseased tomato plants
- Cook and freeze the kale
Make applesauce and apple jelly Make piesdidn’t make pies. just froze the apples with sugar to make into pies.
I’m probably missing stuff. But even then, as you can see, I’m not nearly done. Harvesting the kale, it should be noted, is about a six hour job, since I strip the stems out of the leaves before I cook it. I tried leaving the buggers in last year, but they seriously depleted our eating enjoyment. So I listen to my book on tape, hunched over a bucket for hours while my shoulders tense up and I cut the leaves from the center stems. I have one more pile to stem before cooking it all and freezing.
Is it sick to say that I enjoy it? I actually told my friend this very morning that I feel guilty for spending so much time at it, because it seems like I am creating busy work just so I can sit on my big butt in the sunshine of my front step and listen to my audible book. (which is coincidently, “Bury Your Dead” by Louise Penny)
“Do you eat the kale?”
“Would you miss it if you didn’t have it in your freezer this winter?”
“Then why in the Hell would you feel guilty about it?”
“Ha ha (nervous laugh). Right. Thanks! Bye.”
Mom? Are you reading this?
I blame my mom for my guilt. I inherited it from her. It’s genetic. I just don’t want her to know that. I’d feel guilty. And she’d feel guilty for making me feel guilty…
Anyway, I’m feeling crazy-behind. I have so many pretty pictures of harvesting.
So I’m condensing. If you want to see more or hear more about any individual event, leave a comment and I will comply. It’s just hard to know if I should write about apples again, for example, after writing three posts about them last year. Or planting garlic again. You know?
I do these things every year, but should I write about them every year? I subject my friends and family to repetitive litanies I guess. I suppose I could do the same here. But I’m feeling lazy. And so I’m going to do a power-post condensed harvest version.
Here we go.
Today, I planned on finishing the kale leaves, but when I went out to the garden to cut the remaining stems, I got waylaid by other tasks. For example, I strode into the garden and saw my garden fork stuck in the garlic bed and said out loud, “Shit! I forgot to plant the garlic!” And ran inside to get the garlic to plant. That took about an hour. And the following two hours were filled with digging weeds — totally pointless at this time of year I would guess, and dealing with those rabid, disease-riddled tomato vines. Ugh.
Here are the three types of garlic I planted
Aside from the fact that, like my face, my hand looks much better in person, can you see the size of the clove on the right? It is HUGE! It’s also the only variety I know for sure by name. It is called “Music” and is a hardneck variety. I planted it for the first time last fall and harvested my first bulbs in June. Very fun. The others are a smaller-cloved red softneck variety and also a red hardneck variety. I’m just grateful to have gotten them in the ground.
Oh my gosh. I just remembered right this very minute that I should also have planted shallots! Will my list never end?
- Plant shallots
Last week I worked on my very sad apple crop.
Yes. They really did look like that and yes, I really did use them.
Here is why you can’t always judge books by their covers. Or apples by their skin:
Like with the kale, I got to listen to hours of my audible book. For the apples, it was “The Year of Living Biblically.” I pretty much burned through the last 6 hours of the book. It was a little repetitive, but good. I do recommend!
I separate the “good” apples from the “jelly” apples. The best good apples go into pies. The other good ones get made into applesauce. The borderline apples go into the jelly pot. Not to worry, all you people I have given jelly to: the green bin is NOT the jelly pot. Those went into the compost pile… And yes, Lola did eat her share of apples.
Speaking of Lola, here she is finding some volunteer snap peas that sprouted after my disastrous summer crop. She hunts them like she does phesants:
After sorting, cutting, and peeling the apples, I made the sauce and boiled the peels, cores and borderline gross apples into juice.
Here is something to bear in mind. When a recipe calls for a “heavy bottomed pan?” This is why they do that and what happens when you do and don’t follow directions:
The next day I canned the applesauce and made the jelly. My beloved, beloved apple rosemary jelly:
You can read all about it here, if you like.
Oddly, this year, my final batch did not set up. It made no sense. No sense at all. Same juice from the same batch of apples. Same ratio of sugar to juice. Same everything. The one and only thing that was different was that I actually stood in the kitchen and watched over that batch, making sure it didn’t boil too hard.
Which leads me to the conclusion that it must have to boil hard in order to set up. I knew you needed a rolling boil for added pectin jellies, but I didn’t know that about natural pectin ones. Live and learn, live and learn.
I took a few days off from outside garden work and got back to it this past weekend.
This was sort of fun and unexpected: after-the-frost strawberries! Who knew?
They seriously tasted like candy. Ridiculously sweet. Next year, I’ll have to remember that and be looking for them. Far less bugs to compete with at this time of year, too.
With that, I’m taking my last sip of wine and heading off to bed with visions of sugar-strawberries dancing in my head.
(that almost gets me excited for Christmas!)