It is the end of August, temp is 97 degr. and I raked oak leaves (6 big bags) and cleaned out the bed with cucumbers and the tomatoes.
My early girl tomatoes are not ripening on the vine. My apples are dropping from the trees in record numbers, some are ripe and some are not. Don't know what to think.
My tomatoes, are slow to ripen, split and rot. Get enough for BLT's and salads, but doubt if I will have enough to can/freeze. Have pulled all but one pepper plant, they just weren't producing. Pulled the summer squash because they were OVER producing and no one wanted any more and I had already frozen a bunch shredded. But the red raspberries have gone into overtime production. Normally I barely get enough to eat out of hand. This year- I have made three pies, one batch of jam, one batch of wine and I am still picking. Yum!
I was sort of wondering the same thing. Watermelons, cantelopes, and blueberries were awesome this year. While peaches and tomatoes, were mealy. It has to be just the right weather for one and completely wrong weather for the other??? Maybe? I just hope it's a milder winter for us this year than last. It was so bad.
Leaves are falling from many of the trees here because there has been less than 2" rain since last October and they are just finally giving up and dying. The humongous tomatoes plants, even the extra early type, are finally beginning to set tomatoes - really can't see them maturing before frost. Hot peppers, squash, okra (especially the volunteer plants), cucs, watermelons, and blackeye peas have done great. A strange and trying weather year. Sure hope it doesn't repeat next year. Have run the wells nearly continuously until we had one go out - sure didn't want to spend the money to drill a new one, but the driller will be here either this month or next. We're lucky that the one really good well will produce enough water for 4 households and the stock tanks to hold us until the new well is drilled. Price for drilling has shot up $4 a foot more since last year. We have heard several forecasts that have said we will have the La Nina (dry) again next year here. We are trying to find and buy up enough hay to hold the cattle through next year, just in case. Oh yes, we're still breaking temperature records. High today is supposed to be 102F.
Enough moaning from me - prayers for those who are recovering from Irene, fires, and other disasters.
I am roasting, milling and freezing four jelly roll pans of tomatoes every other day for the foreseeable future, and put up 14 quarts of cucumbers before I gave myself permission to stop. I hardly had to water the garden at all this year, and don't remember a better year for tomatoes in particular.
My peppers are only doing mediocre, since the tomatoes overtook everything this year. Eggplant is thriving. I have some comically skeletal broccoli plants left over from early spring. The bunnies keep eating them, but they refuse to die.
My dill, arugula and cilantro have gone to seed, and if I remember to pull them, I'll get a second crop soon.
The "autumn joy" sedum has begun to pinken, and my asters have set buds, but not opened them yet. Trees aren't showing any signs of changing color or dropping leaves just yet.
I think this summer was hotter than normal, but we seem to have gotten enough rain to make it work out. Though there was a short dry patch earlier this summer. I haven't been paying attention, but if I had to guess based on how claustrophobic I feel on country roads, I'd say the WI corn crop is going to be exceptional this year.
Steve and I are going to be drilling a well in the next couple of years. We just bought our retirement property: 56 mostly wooded acres on a gently slope. We'll probably have to drill 400 feet through limestone. There's some corn on the land now, and when the guy who leases it takes it down, we'll ask him to plant soy next year (to replenish the soil), and then likely return it to prairie the following year. We'd like to pick a building site, but that's impossible with sky-high corn. We'll spend the next two years getting to know the place before we build the getaway, which will become our retirement home.
I'm happy for you Michelle. I know you both like to hunt, and there is a certain peacefulness one gets away from the madding crowd. Our county makes one turn in a 'well log' when you drill. Our primary source is spring water, but I ran my g'houses off an irrigation well and we had to go down quite a way, and then hit a perched water table anyhow. It is a fast recharger, so it still handled the irrigation. The really ironic thing is that we have at least three springs on the property, and I know an old dug well out by the chicken coop because the pump was still there. Elderberry trees grow around there and the old-timers dug for wells when they found stands of them because the folklore says you'll find water within fifteen feet of the surface if elderberries grow wild.
I'm rambling. LOL. I guess what I am trying to say is that you may get a fair idea of the geology of your area by looking at well logs near the area where you want to sink. Have you ever tried witching? I have witched a few and thought it was so much phooey until I had the branch yank and bend over double to the ground. Scared the beejeebers out of me.
My garden stank this year. Prolly the worst one I ever had and I depend on it for seasonal food and canning. Luckily I canned a chitload last summer, enough to take us through this winter. But next year's better be good. LOL.
Hope you don't mind me rambling on your thread Anneliese.
Is witching another word for dowsing, Suzy? My inclination is to dismiss it, but I've heard several strongly positive anecdotal accounts. I won't rule it out as one of many ways to look for water, once we get ourselves situated. We do have elderberry growing wild. (And raspberries, both black and red, and mulberries, and muscadine, and more. I may go out there today with a bucket and see if I can pick enough of various things to make a "wine" of sorts.) There's a ginseng buyer not a half mile from the place, and WI is full of wild ginseng, so I'm going to explore for some of that too. And I simply can't wait for morel season next spring!
I think of you whenever I can anything, Suzy. Thanks again for taking that frantic phone call from me a few years back when I was as overwhelmed as I was clueless. Moderation is the key. As is giving myself permission to do only so much. When I started to obsess about canning EVERY LITTLE THING, I got so paralyzed I couldn't do ANYTHING.
I'm seriously considering buying a pressure canner so I can can some meat (specifically venison). Processing it so much of it is shelf-stable would be a boon if we were to lose power for an extended time.
Ugh. Enough rambling! The rain has brought the temp down to 74*, and there's finally a break in it, so this is likely to be the coolest it gets all day by 20* or so. I have tomatoes to pick!
Get that pressure canner, Michelle. It's worth its weight in gold. I sometimes pressure can stuff I can safely hot water bath, because it's out on the counter handy, does it up faster and I don't have to fight a forty pound kettle of water.
Yes........venison is a good meat to can. It makes a convenience food because it's already tender and ready for stews and other dishes. I also can meat for the stock so it's ready on the spur of the moment for other dishes I cook like noodles. The good roasts and steaks find their way to the freezer, but the tougher cuts are great for canning. I even can a small run of soup beans for things like burritos where I don't want to spend hours cooking a small pot for one meal. I'm getting ready to can potatoes in a week or two. It's great to have some jars on hand to plop around a roast without peeling.
Witching a well is the non-politically correct term for dowsing. ;-) I know a man who gets called out very often to witch wells. He uses a forked peach branch. I used a willow branch to dowse our well because it's associated with searching water and it's my tree totem. The driller never blinked an eye when I pointed to the spot. I guess he runs into that pretty often...but then again this is Appalachia. LOL.