|First squash of summer!|
Summer's first fruits are finally showing up here at the homestead, while the last of the fall crops are harvested. The last of the carrots came out of the ground yesterday, along with some of the onions and radishes I planted in October, if you can believe that. The cool nights here really help keep things in the ground for a long time, which is great when you want an extended harvest -- picking a few here, and a few there, as needed. The carrots will be blanched and frozen today, along with some more mustard greens. The rest will be eaten now, or in the case of the onions, hung up to dry and cure for use later on.
Big Ag is bringing home 20 pounds of apricots for me tonight, for canning and making preserves with this weekend. And my first cucumbers and squash plants are on the vine outside as we speak. I even found three or four raspberries and a couple of ollalieberries off my first-year vines yesterday, which I ate promptly, before the birds could find them.
Last summer at this time we were busy with two high school graduations plus packing and moving, so we weren't doing much homesteading, and it's funny how easily I forgot just how busy the regular routine of picking and canning keeps me, most days. It's hard work, but it's rewarding work. I've said many times that there's no sound better than that of a canning lid snapping into place after it comes out of the canner. It sounds like satisfaction from a job well done and the promise of good things to come, all at the same time.
I'm working this Saturday at the winery -- hopefully indoors, because it's expected to be 103 degrees outside -- but after this I will be cutting back to working outside the home just one or two days a month (whenever the winery needs help most, if they do) and using the rest of my time to begin putting up our winter stores.
Good work, done in pleasant surroundings -- anywhere that happens, you really can't ask for anything more.