Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Brining pickles,mistakes,triffid spinach,molting hens

Learning is important! I just wish I didnt have to lose a half a bucket of homegrown cucumbers to learn that you cant use iodized salt when brining pickles.... blecccch, what a slimey mess! Oh well...onward and forward, The chickens have stopped molting (thankyou heatwave) and have begun laying again. They are still unhappy about being penned up for the summer(cant have 'em trashing the garden) but they understand the new routine... They now head straight for the second pen in the evenings without too much dawdling. We had to figure out a way to let them forage in the grass because the three of them decimated the ground in their 10x14 pen within a few weeks. Destructive little darlings ,they be! I dont care what 'The Chicken Tractor" says, When we let them out, they head straight for the garden and begin ripping it up.. If we had allowed them free reign in the backyard we wouldnt have the abundance of green beans that I now have to preserve for the winter. This is going to be a tough one cuz Jimmy hates frozen and canned green beans. But loves 'em fresh. I havent had to be a sald nazi since early june because part of his daily routine in the summer is foraging in the garden and eating the beans straight off the vines. He's almost as bad as the chickens, but at least he leaves the vines intact! I'll be foraging today for cheap pint canning jars. I'm going to try and pickle some of our beans, maybe he'll eat them that way. Thanks to our recent heatwave, we have red tomatoes in Jimmy's tomatoe forest (I told him he planted them too close together). We practice a combination of traditional and square foot gardening. Sometimes our spring enthusiasm for getting itty bitty plants in the ground comes back to bite us in August when all those itty bitty's turn into giants and the backyard becomes a jungle. My new zealand spinach is turning into a triffid bed and I'm sure one of these nights it will slither through the bedromm window and eat us in our sleep! Once again... onward and forward..... Harvesting,canning,preserving and drying time is here. I want to get aheasd of it this year so I dont get overwhelmed and have to do everything at once like last year.