Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Mutiny of the bounty #gardenmn #vegetables

26 Comments

garden shot: brussels sprouts, green beans, peppers, tomatoes in distance

And so it continues …

It’s that time of the summer, when the harvest threatens to overwhelm. And since I’m not going in to the office, I have no one to share with.

I stopped weeding a few weeks ago, because once the weeds start going gangbusters, there’s really no point. They flower or do whatever they do to seed, then die. It’s just really messy-looking. Here’s a shot of our lovely giant ragweed in the raspberry patch.

Giant ragweed blooming in raspberry patch. Ragweed is about 10 feet tall.

Yes, it really is 10 feet tall!

Here you can see the marigolds are blooming now, along with the dill and cilantro (white flowers). The pumpkin covers its corner of the garden and is creeping along the edges.

pumpkin vines in foreground

Pumpkin taking over

Hubs cut down the foxtail grass that was challenging the tomatoes to see who could grow taller. Looks good, except now I can see how the tomatoes are bending under the weight of their fruit. And the blight is attacking them. Crossing my fingers I get lots of red tomatoes before the plants succumb completely.

Tomatoes way in back, along with cucumbers

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done, with picking beans and cucumbers an almost every day event. If I’m not in the garden, I’m pickling. I’m this *shows finger and thumb almost touching* close to pulling cucumber plants out.
Pickling is not for the faint of heart, either. It’s a full-evening affair.
cucumbers ready to pickle

Cukes washed and ready to go

Dill seed heads

Dill!

jalepeno peppers sliced in half

Secret ingredient!

cannery

Jars in the canner

First, pick the cucumbers. When you have enough to fill seven quart jars (because that’s what fits in the canner), it’s time. Wash the cukes, gather dill, and ready the “secret ingredient” — jalepeno peppers. I like to add a half (or 2 halves) to each jar for a little kick. Load the canner, mix up the brine, and away we go!

What follows is a marathon of jamming as many cucumbers into each jar as possible, adding brine, and processing. One seven-quart batch usually takes me a couple hours from washing cukes to processing. The last round I did I managed to process twice, so a dozen quarts (because I had enough cucumbers for that many quarts).

finished

Voila!

I’ve done 4 batches of pickles, and two batches of pickled green beans (because I can only eat so many and our freezer is, well, not exactly empty).

Ugh. Note to self: no pickling next year. Do NOT plant pickling cucumbers. Repeat, do NOT plant pickling cukes. Just plant those nice snacking cucumbers.

This week we also kicked off our first tomato harvest with BLTs. I love BLTs! Unfortunately, the bacon runs out, but thinly-sliced and crisp-fried Spam is a nice substitute. When we get enough tomatoes I’ll make some pico de gallo, cuz that’s what you do with garden-grown tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, and onions.

Now, if I can get some writing done amid all this garden stuff, I’ll be doing well πŸ˜€

Happy Writing!

Zoey sitting outside

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, six chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

26 thoughts on “Mutiny of the bounty #gardenmn #vegetables

  1. Your garden is amazingly pretty even with the weeds. Homemade pickles . . . yum.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One does tend to forget, when planting a garden, how much work the jamming, pickling, etc is. You are doing a great job, Julie, and I did enjoy reading about your gardening successes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your garden looks so bountiful, Julie! And all the work you’re doing preserving and jarring is amazing. You know, if your Muse got off his tailbone and helped out, you’d have more time to write. Think he’d do that? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s a lot of pickles. How long will it take for you and your family to eat all of them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, now that the kids are out of the house for the most part, it’ll take longer, but we’ve still got a few quarts left from the pickles I did a few years back, which was about, erm, 5 doz quarts, I think. These will probably last a couple years.

      Have a great weekend, Neil!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the energy. My sister sent me similar pictures of her garden and canning/jarring. What fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Unfortunately, the bacon runs out, but thinly-sliced and crisp-fried Spam is a nice substitute.–I sent this to hubby. He bought roughly 8 or 9 cans of Spam, or a Spam knock-off, at the start of the pandemic for fear of the apocalypse. Now I don’t know what to do with it all.

    I wonder if any other commenters on here want to take bets with me on whether or not you will actually manage to NOT buy pickling cucumbers next year… πŸ™‚

    Hello, Zoey, my darling. Meow mew mew meow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha! Now you need nice ripe tomatoes to go with your Spam-L-T πŸ˜€ When I was a kid (back when Spam was cheaper) we used to dice it up and put it in our Kraft mac and cheese (because hotdogs just weren’t quite right πŸ˜‰ )

      Heh, as for cucumbers, now that I found the nice snacking ones, I won’t feel compelled to plant pickling cukes (and no, I’m not crossing my fingers behind my back)

      Oh, man, my son brought his kitten over last week. And of course, just like when I met my blogging friend in real life, I forgot to take pictures. She is a cutie! And tiny! And Zoey did not like having her anywhere near. My son has his second kitten now, but he hasn’t brought the two of them home yet. Maybe next week.

      Zoey says hi!

      Have a great weekend, Betsy!

      Like

      • Spam and mac and cheese—that sounds like a winning combo.

        Thank goodness for snacking cukes. Sounds like a major time saver!

        Oooh, kitteeeennnnn!!! Next time he comes with both, pictures, woman! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You get an amazing bounty, Julie:) I used to watch my grandma can cucumbers and relish. I always say I’m going to but never get around to it. Nothing quite like home garden canned! Have a great rest of the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lol. You’ve been busy, Julie! It’s a lot of work, but how rewarding to eat food that you grew and canned. I’ve been freezing green beans and giving away lettuce, cucumbers, and zucchini by the bushel. Lol. My daughter finally told me to stop bringing over bags full of vegetables. It’s a great time of year. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JalapeΓ±os in pickles sounds AMAZING. I may go get some cucumbers just to try that.

    A bounty of tomatoes in my family always resulted in lots of marinara sauce. Can’t complain about that. But pico de gallo is also delicious.

    You’ve got a lot of delicious and healthy snacking ahead of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, but those Doritos are still so snack-a-li-cious πŸ˜€ Jalapenos make nicely-spicy pickles. I’ve been adding them for years. This year I got through three batches of pickles, and as I’m working on #4, with hubs being very helpful by prepping the veggies, he says: did you check the jalapenos? Here’s the thing, sometimes our jalapenos are OMG-hot, and sometimes they laugh and say “fooled you! we’re not hot at all”. And of course you can’t tell until you taste them. Yeah. So I taste one. Then another. Not hot. At all. Sigh. So, this year my pickles may not have that “kick”. Oh well.

      Hubs makes great spaghetti sauce, but daughter loves pico de gallo, so every year I start with pico de gallo, then if/when we get a lot of tomatoes that need to be used, I turn it over to hubs πŸ˜€

      Have a great week, Staci!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. WP won’t load the “like” button for me, but I definitely like this post. Wow, is that a LOT of cukes! I can’t imagine doing all that pickling. On the other hand, I envy you the BLTs with those home grown tomatoes. I use Dijon mustard instead of mayo (yeah, I’m weird), but otherwise there is little that beats a fresh BLT. What an amazing harvest, Julie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I finally drew the line for pickling. I did a double batch earlier this week, then hacked back the cucumber vines. Whew! Oooh, Dijon mustard. I’ll have to try that πŸ™‚ I made some pico de gallo the other night with fresh tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Yum!

      Happy Writing, Mae!

      Like

  11. I used to love pickling cukes but now, without a garden, don’t bother to pay the prices. I will make tomato preserves next month, yellow tomatoes, one red, sugar, lemon and oranges slices and stick cinnamon. In the middle of winter, on a slice of toasted homemade bread…yum!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like the pickles, but not necessarily the pickling part. I get tired of trying to jam as many cukes into the jars as possible. Tomato preserves? I’ve never had those, but they sound good, especially in the middle of winter, and on homemade bread! I grew up eating fresh tomatoes sliced with salt and pepper. My mom served them as the vegetable for meals. Love them!

      Happy writing!

      Like

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