Monday, August 24, 2009

Gah! Summer's nearly over!

I can't believe it's nearly the end of August already. And as awful a summer as it has been (on so many levels...), at least there's some good coming from it.

Here's what Madman picked in the garden tonight:

The big honkin' yellow cucumbers will end up as seed for next year. The paste tomatoes (Amish Paste and a few Debarao) are simmering on the stove right now, filling the air with sweet summer's scent. The green and red peppers are Ace - we chop the green and freeze them, the reds will be roasted and frozen. The long yellow-green peppers are Cubanelle, which is a variety we've never grown before. (Both peppers are plants we bought as replacements for our poor frozen seedlings last spring. We normally grow Ace, but Cubanelle is an experiment. I'm still mourning all the Ancho and Anaheim peppers we lost...)

The beet greens are looking good.
And the yellow onions are starting to bulb up!

The red onions, not so much...

Jean's Beans are coming along nicely,

as are the Vt Cranberry beans.

And we've got an Amazon forest of winter squash growing. They're now so overgrown and intermingled that we can't even get to the center of the patch. We peek and poke around the periphery, trying to get a count of the squash on the way. We'll have plenty of delicata, from the looks of things, and lots of buttercup and acorn. Butternut is represented, but we can't get a good look.
But here's the surprise we found tonight, along the upper edge of the patch, growing in or near last year's compost pile.
Normally, our delicata will fit in the palms of our hands. The variety we grow is a single or barely a double serving. This one is at least three times that big.
But the biggest surprise of all was hidden in the leaves a few feet away...

(Madman's hand and a beer bottle included for scale.) That thing is the size of a soccer ball. The markings are delicata, but it doesn't have the ribbing we know and love. Mystery squash...
Madman threw out some old squash seed on the compost pile last spring, and we had a bunch of squash come up (as well as tomatoes and tomatillos) that we just let go and grow. We won't know till frost kills the vines so we can trace them back, if this is something that sprang from those old seeds, or if it's from our acorn hills (which are closest to this area) and means our acorn seed from last year has taken a wonky turn.
Wonder what it's going to taste like?

And it's not all gardening (though it's close!)
I've managed to squeeze a little bit of spinning in. Here's some of that gray alpaca:
Notice the halo. I can't seem to get alpaca roving under control as well as the commercial processors. It might groom itself a little better when I commence to plying - I'm planning a 3-ply. Or maybe it'll just end up three times as fuzzy...

I think I could live with that...


pacalaga said...

It almost looks like a pumpkin.
My son wandered in when I was looking at your spinning and said, 'Oh, you have that mama!" I wish! ;-) Looks great

Diane said...

So tell me about those cranberry beans. I assume you dry them? How do you use them?

It looks like your root cellar will be full this winter.

Glad to see some spinning progress.

Anna M said...

Looks good! I'm going to hit the farmer's markets this saturday looking for some tomatoes for salsa. Wish me luck!

Laurie said...

Superb harvest. I too, would mourn the loss of the hot peppers.

Good question about the alpaca. Maybe they spin from more aligned top. I can't imagine their fiber lengths are otherwise uniformly long enough to get rid of the haze.

Bullwinkle said...

Excellent harvest! (I was just gifted some hot hot peppers (many varieties) and I'm now wondering how to preserve them.)

I'm also wondering where you found time to spin ;)

Leigh said...

Impressive pepper harvest. Were they in the hoop house?

Anonymous said...

I am seething with produce jealousy. :-) Especially the winter squash. I LOVE winter squash. Your spinning is beautiful. I've never tried spinning alpaca although I've spun llama. Whatever you make with it, it's going to be WARM!

Cookie said...

Love it all!

It's a compost freak. I like to think most gardens produce some of those every year. ;^)

Kate said...

Oooo looks good mom! My "harvest" ended up being some sage, a little bit of basil, and one bean... yes, just one. That poor little plant worked so hard on it, I still haven't had the heart to take it. 8)