July 23, 2015


Canning season! It’s such a conumdrum. You go out to pick fresh fruits or vegies and get all excited about the sweet treats you’re going to make. Then you spend long afternoons in the kitchen, boiling things and generally making hot days even hotter. You don’t even sweat off enough calories to balance the aforesaid treats. And then you have to clean up!

Yet we still do it, every year. Maybe for the taste of summer during cold winter months. Maybe for the pride of giving your family something special. For me, it’s because of my son. Like all teens, he has a hard time admitting I do anything right. Except for my blackberry jam, that is.

So, look out, kitchen — here I come!


In Bed 5, most of my transplants are hanging in there despite the warm weather. Only, the echiveria I got is really not liking it. I assumed a succulent would tolerate the strong sun. Perhaps I should have hardened it off first. Good thing I only spent $5.


The Triple Crown Blackberries have slowed considerably. This is typical, as summer heat causes the longer canes to cut off growth before the berries mature. I’m giving them a good soaking today, and I’ve trimmed off the most wilted canes so the plants can concentrate on healthier ones. Even so, I gathered enough berries to make 1 qt of puree. If I wasn’t out of pectin, it would already be jam.

However, I did have enough canning salt to make 2 pints of Bread & butter pickles. Today I plan to blanch and freeze my wax beans and kale. I’ve also harvested seed from my cilantro, and I’ll be grabbing seeds from my blue columbines to start next year.

In the vegetable patch, I have lots of male flowers on my squashes, but no females yet. The carrots are gigantic, some with a 2″ diameter. Heads are starting to form on the cabbage, both the Early Jersey Wakefield and the anonymous ones donated by my husband. Given the number of Cabbage White butterflies in my yard, I was a little worried about that.

Indoor Forest

I have just one sprout on my Mexican Hats, none on the Milkweed. The air conditioning might be cooling the room too much. I’ve plugged in the heating mat to see if that makes a difference. But, what the heck, I also threw down some seeds outside to see if they sprout faster. It never hurts to try different things.


Essentially, my bumblebee house is in place. I took a spare plastic pot, about 9″ across the mouth, terra-cotta colored. As planned, I dug out a spot in the iris bed. I then gathered several handsful of pebbles from the soil for the base and a small square of bird netting on top. Then I raked the lawn for thatch, let it dry a day or two, put that in the nest, and set the pot in place upside-down.

Many bumblebees like to nest in the ground, so it’s buried to half its height. The air holes are all on the top. To keep water out, I placed more pebbles and used them to hold up a couple of pieces of spare oak flooring as a roof. Initially, the roof fell off when I dragged a hose by. I set an old brick on top, which should hold up against the hose. Now to let it weather in and see if the bees like it.

Until next time, take some advice from the Beatles and “let it bee.”


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