Posted by: oceannah | July 9, 2013

50, the 4th & the freezer

sunrise ovet the Atlantic ocean

This sunrise greeted me on my birthday. We spent a few days celebrating at one of our favorite spots on the shore.

Summer is here in full swing after a very spastic spring.  I’m officially fifty years old now, and feeling terrific about making it to this birthday…once upon a time a brief 10 years ago, this landmark was no certainty.

We celebrated the fourth in a rather sedate manner.  After harvesting a row of broccoli and preparing it for the freezer we relaxed and listened to a radio broadcast of a reading of Lincoln’s second inaugural address.  Often we head to fireworks but this year we skipped the crowds and chaos for a mellow evening.

As global weirding of weather continues, patterns, be they dry or wet are tending to stick around longer than normal.  We’ve seen this unfold right here on our little homestead.  A Spring that alternated between weeks of wet and weeks of dry.  Now with Summer full on, we are having extended periods of very hot humid weather (unusual for the mountains) followed by more rains.  It is interesting to be a gardener in these days.

Speaking of gardening, ours is flourishing.  Our decision to use a heavily mulched system this year is proving positive.  The one glitch out there is that a packet of seed that I planted which was clearly labeled ‘lancianto kale’ grew up to be collard greens.  All in all not a terrible burden, but I already had a row of collards.  There’s also the usual ups and downs out there.  The flats that were seeded out for the fall crops mostly did great with the exception of the Brussels sprouts.  Pretty much a complete failure of the flat, only three seeds emerged.  I ended up purchasing another packet of seed and although it’s late I got them plunked into new flats about 12 days ago.  With 95 days to maturity, they might make, or they may not…the perpetual gardening gamble.


strawberry jam home canned

We had a good strawberry harvest and put up some jam made without any added sugars/sweeteners. It’s a bit less firm than regular jam but the taste is pure strawberry


strawberry jam cooking

cooking off the jam








broccoli row

A nice row of broccoli to harvest.

We froze about 2/3 of our spring broccoli crop in 1.5# bags.  The remainder is for fresh eating.  We'll have a larger crop for the fall.  There's also a wee bit of cauliflower and two small bags of tat soi.

We froze about 2/3 of our spring broccoli crop in 1.5# bags. The remainder is for fresh eating. We’ll have a larger crop for the fall. There’s also a wee bit of cauliflower and two small bags of tat soi.









kale and radicchio

The kale is growing great! Next to it is a row of radicchio.


drying nettles

These four nice bunches of nettles will be mixed with dried peppermint for an awesome and healthy tea all winter.








frozen strawberries

The remainder of the strawberries in the deep freeze. 

basil pesto frozen

Timing is everything. I got some basil from a local farm but did not have olive oil in the house…I used butter instead and it turned out just as yummy.









what’s a garden without a few flowers?




elderberries are blooming and should be a good crop.







That’s the garden wrap up folks…  I hope you all are enjoying the summer 🙂




  1. Despite the weather…an abundance of beauty and yumminess! 🙂

    • Indeed we are blessed with abundance Audrey. Thanks for popping in 🙂

  2. Happy belated birthday Anna; we had dreadfully wet weather this year which rotted a lot of our seedlings and My Dad’s not sure his flowers are going to be up to entering the local village show this year which will be a shame

    • Oh drat Dallas…although since it’s a local show all the other gardener’s are in the same weather fix, so Dad should just plan to go with whatever he’s got!
      Thanks for the B’day wishes, I’m thrilled to be 50!

  3. Re: resprouting Sprouts (ha! love it. that sounds great! Sibilance AND Allitération all in one; ) But, of all the “failed to germinate”s (that you could’ve had) this one was the best… (Seeing as Brussels Sprouts will keep going until they freeze in place; )
    Pesto with butter? OMG, can you see my eyes rolling back in my head?; )
    Oh my, what a GORGEOUS peony! Singing: “She is handsome, she is pretty, she is the Belle of Belfast City… Please, can you tell me, who is she?” From The Rankin Family (1980’s)
    Check out this video on YouTube:
    An amazing year for Elder Flower (and, fingers cossed, pollination as well?: )
    Love walking in your garden, thanks.

    • “She is a courting 1-2-3, please won’t you tell me who is she” LOL, that’s one of my dd’s fave songs.
      Deb you’re such a language geek…LOVE IT! Just this morning dd asked what sibilance means (she’s just finishing To Kill A Mockingbird) 😉
      I think the Bsprouts will make…well, at least if they germinate and are not say, cabbages!
      Happy to share the garden tour my friend!

      • That is just TOO funny about your DD & this song – The Rankin Family is one of my absolute, long-time favourites: ) But seriously though, can you tell me, do you know who she is? Your gorgeous Peony, I mean… What’s her name?

      • Alas Deb I cannot tell…not because I’m keeping a state secret, rather because she came from a friends farm as a wisp of a thing and has blossomed into a buxom beauty. I call her Kaycie’s peony.

      • Ah well, if you ever do find out, let me know – as I shall for you…
        She is exceptionally lovely (I have a bit of a paeonia fetish; ) Thanks for sharing!

  4. HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY… I’m behind you by 5 months 🙂

    • one hundred thousand thanks dear Sandi 🙂
      50 will look FAB on you!


  5. two things…Happy birthday as well, Having already crossed that line myself, I have to say, it just keeps getting better…Secondly, I too decided to heavy mulch the garden this year for the first time…I mean, really intentionally put a heavy blanket of old hay on everything, and am loving the results so far. I had re-read some old Ruth Stout articles (the mulching guru) which got me fired up to enjoy the long term benefits .

    • Thanks so much DM for the birthday wishes…I believe it does keep getting better….or perhaps our appreciation muscle is a bit more developed 😉

      Ruth Stout is also our inspiration for the mulching! I loved reading her book this winter. She’s the kind of neighbor I wish I had. We were a bit less prepared than I would have loved so the onions got side dressed which was difficult, and our garlic was mulched last Oct with pine straw, but compared to the hay mulch, certainly not enough. I’ll have a pop over to your blog to see your gardens 🙂 Mulch on…


  6. A belated Happy Birthday! My hubby also turned 50 in July…sounds like you’re doing better with it than he… Beautiful sunrise, a great start to the day and the decade. xo Viv

    • Thanks so much Viv 🙂 Hard to believe how fast time goes these days.

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