Thursday, July 26, 2007

preparing for the harvest

i still have canned tomatoes from last summer's garden lingering in the cabinets. so, i've been trying to use them up to make room for the coming tomato crop. we have less plants this year, but we (we being fox) have been much more tentative to the plants and i think we may get a more robust crop than last year. we even have some tomato plants that have sprouted up from last years seeds either from tomatoes that had fallen or that the chickens got. it will be interesting to see what crosses they are. they are inches taller and much stronger than the plants we put in intentionally--got to love that hybrid vigor!

sunday i topped our local beef/pork meatloaf with a jar of homemade stewed tomatoes (everything but the vineagar, salt, and pepper from my garden)--here is is about to go in the oven:

and last night i busted out the last jar of yellow crushed tomatoes and we had it with eggplant from our garden and squash from a friend's garden. i love canning yellow tomatoes. they really make a nice sauce and they look so lovely in the jar:

Saturday, July 21, 2007

being a local hero

i've been slacking on my blogging to be sure. it has been a busy summer!

i've been really enjoying El's entries on her participation in one local summer. since i'm in the middle of writing my thesis, i have hardly spent any time in the kitchen or the garden this summer. but, i did want to post a bit about how living on 5 acres in a ruralish town has allowed me to begin to depend less and less on things from very far away.

we've been raising our own eggs for years and i have not bought eggs forever. in fact, i have an aversion to 'outside' eggs. i sell eggs to my entire department, neighbors, my vet, even my therapist! it always strikes me how much people 1) really LOVE fresh eggs, and 2) love getting eggs from someone they know who actually cares for the chickens. they like supporting me and my efforts to raise happy chickens and i get satisfaction in providing them with a product that i put my own time and effort into.

even though our town is right on the outskirts of a urban center, it is still quite rural. in fact, we are so very lucky to have a dairy right on our street! fresh milk in glass returnable bottles--i love it. it is one of the absolute best things about living here. recently, while i was stopping to get some milk the dairy owner noticed i almost had a flat tire and offered to pump it up for me. i pulled around back and he noticed the hay i had in the back of the truck. i usually buy my hay from the local feed store but the hay is imported from canada--it isn't local. he told me that he bales and sells his own hay and showed me some. i was sold! so now, right on my street, a source for local hay! here is a shot of louise enjoying some of it:

i've been getting my meat for years from a local farm. it is quality, fresh, naturally raised meat. you can see the animals and the family who raises them. i go once a month to buy my poultry feed from them and while i am there i stock up on meat. here is our booty from today:

and finally, my three sour cherry trees produced a small crop of cherries this year! it was our first fruit ever and to celebrate i made a small cherry pie. i am really looking forward to the next few years when we really start getting some fruit production and i'll be able to dry it, can it, and store it for the long winters. in the meantime, i am starting to buy lots of local berries to start canning preserves.

now, if i could only get these two hitched to a wagon so i wouldn't have to fill my gas tank so often!