The last week was challenging with these wonderful cukes. I kept picking, and picking, and picking. I couldn't seem to get them early enough. One evening, they would be a bit on the small side for picking, so I'd leave them. By the next evening, and sometimes even the next morning, they were huge! I was having flashbacks to the last time I grew zucchini!
Despite all this picking, I somehow missed one and ended up with a monster.
The smaller pickle is actually one
that is already on the large size.
It was hard to capture the size of this sucker, so I placed it in my hand, for reference.
I figure I'll put that one in a gazpacho since I also have no shortage of tomatoes.
By Saturday, I had gathered everything I needed to make pickles. There was no way I could eat that many and I had given away a lot already. It was time to "put up" as they call the act of preserving summer's bounty. I've never made my own pickles but have always wanted to, so I was excited. Ha ha, yes...this kind of thing makes me very happy! I've made a ton of different salsas, chutneys, hot pepper jelly, fruit jams & jellies, pickled beets, turnips, and mixed vegetables...I'm probably missing something. This is all stuff I've learned as a late teen or adult. My mother thinks it's amazing and doesn't understand where I get it from, but is happy to reap the rewards ;-)
Weighing out the cucumbers. I only had about half the amount most recipes call for. No matter, 4 lbs would be plenty.
The "gear" all set out and ready to go. The pickling brine with pickling spices were already on the stove.
Dill, mustard seed, garlic, and utensils.
I fully intended to take pictures of each step but once I started there was no way to stop for a photo.
I have learned the benefit to harvesting while the cucumbers are still small. It is hard to fit them in the jar when they are that big! So, I did two jars in spears, one jar of "slicers", and two of whole, smaller cukes. I was left with some odds and ends and one whole cuke, so I sliced the cuke in coins, added the other, um, remnants, to a jar and pickled them too. No point in wasting anything after having them in brine all night!
Since I had an extra long weekend, I took the opportunity to spend more time in the garden today. The carrots have needed some attention for awhile, so I pulled more of them. It seems today was the "ugly" carrot day. I've been impressed so far with the shape of the carrots I've harvested. They have all been well-formed and straight, I expected more misshapen carrots. Today, I got them. I also pulled something else...the top looked almost like a carrot but was noticeably different from the others. I think maybe a wild parsnip?
One of these things is not like the other.
You know how carrots that have grown funny sometimes look like a pair of legs? Well, I had one that looked kinda cute.
Looks like a lovely [carrot] lady from behind, doesn't it?
That is, until you turn it around!
Oh my! Lol, couldn't resist.
Equally scandalous, at least to me, is the number of apples I have to clean up. My apple trees were left alone for far too long and therefore are not good trees. I appreciate having large trees out back and also the privacy they provide. However, I don't appreciate the large number of apples I have to rake up every week. I can't even eat any of them since the tree is way too tall to harvest from and the ones that hit the ground are not really edible.
I rake them into piles that I can then shovel (delicately) into a bucket, which I then transfer into a variety of places - our backyard compost bin, the city compost bin, and the city yard waste bags. You see, there are too many for any one place! I should find someone with goats and ask if I can borrow them for an afternoon!!
I wish I could get a photo that captured just how many apples there are.
Keep in mind I cleared the ground only a week ago!
The raking is annoying, at best, and stressful since there are so many wasps and other bugs around. Naturally, they love the rotting apples. To add insult to injury...or rather add (potential) injury to insult (having to clean so many rotten apples), more apples are falling as I work. Many narrowly miss hitting me. I had an arbourist out last week to look at a few trees and he confirmed these apple trees aren't worth trying to rehab.
Ok, so I don't love cleaning up rotten apples. But at least it smells nice while you're doing it. Apple aromatherapy, lol. And this space is mine. I try to remember that just a year ago I was in an apartment with no yard at all and trying to grow things on my balcony! Makes me want to hug an apple tree. Almost.