Friday, July 10, 2009

race against time

we are in the thick of it. our garden is quickly being consumed by death. we are working diligently to out race the majority of it. we have been harvesting summer bounty and putting it up.

this is our current garden pantry
pickled beets
regular beets
pickled cucumbers
green beans
tomatillo salsa
quantities will be added once tabitha wakes

this is the canner of dreams sitting on hubert. yes, our stove has a name.

it sits over two burners and heats up very quickly.

i bought tabitha a new probe thermometer. one of the best fifteen dollar investments i have ever spent.

onions are being processed

this is two five gallon buckets worth. i filled the dehydrator and plan to work these up over the course of the next two weeks. they will be eaten fresh in pico, added to the dehydrator and used in any salsa that we can manage from our tomato plants. this little device has saved me hours of time.

it is scary to use but worth the mustered courage. it was a gift to tabitha but i use it almost exclusively. tabitha's history with sharp objects keeps her safely at arms length from this thing.

this is our row of cherokee purple.

we have gotten two naturally ripened tomatoes from it so far. green fruit is hanging in clumps. it has the blight but is still fighting the good fight.

this is our worst affected area.

these are the yellow pear plants and seem the most susceptible. we'll never grow these again.

these are our amish paste plants.

they seem to be fighting the best fight.

we have been getting a few tomatoes daily and expect a deluge any day now. they are only mildly blighted. this row is our best hope for canned tomatoes.

these are our omar lebanese plants.

they are beginning to trickle in also.

we are eating salsa, fresh sliced and generally gorging ourselves on tomatoes.

this bowl was mostly full a few minutes ago.

one of our primary defenses is to shore up the healthy plants. compost tea is our attempt at a solution. this is my remaining pile of compost.

here is the steeping bin.

this is the filtering bucket

this is the final result.

this is very concentrated and we usually dilute it 1/4 tea to 3/4 water and generously water each plant.

another defense we have recently employed is cutting strips of black bill board tarp for between row mulch.

our bean arch looks nice but high temperature have stunted our blooms. bean production has fallen sharply.

the sweet potatoes seem to like the plastic mulch.

this row of cucumbers has all but died from mold. it is spread by cucumber beetles.

this is our second planting that we have hope for.

the white stuff is called surround. it is basically clay powder mixed with water and sprayed in several applications on the plant to coat it. these guys are growing exclusively in compost. plus they they had the advantage of a row cover until they nearly burst forth from it. row cover technology might enter our lives in a big way next year. this egg plant struggled and struggled.

row covers would have seriously helped this guy.

my hair plugs for root cellars seem to be taking hold.

this is my bottle stash for kombucha.

i need to bottle some badly.

i also scored this 140 gallon stainless tank the other day. i have decided to use it as my solar storage tank instead of the bulk container because high temperature cannot affect it.

it had a small dent and i was scared it woouldn't hold water.

it had been leak free for several days.

these tomatoes are huge i can't wait to slice one of these and hide my burger under it.

tabitha's parents have borrowed the chicken plucker and love it too. we are not crazy. it really is amazing. on saturday they are killing their last fifteen chickens and will be hosting a viewing of said plucker. tabitha has named it "mother"

wednesday we spent the afternoon in the hospital with toly. he had a five minute seizure and then spiked a super high fever. this is is his third one and the fever is supposed to come first for it to not be extremely scary. he got a complete work up along with a ct scan. we have discovered that toly has an extreme resistance to ketamine. it took them three progressively larger attempts to get him knocked out enough to get him calm for the ct scan. he never completely knocked out like he was supposed to. the entire staff was baffled. he did get really funny and cute all hopped up on ketamine. asking perfect strangers if they liked different stuff. "you like cookies?" "you like honey?" toly rarely talks to anyone except our immediate family.

he seems fine now but have no definitive answers and probably never will. we are being referred to a specialist for further testing.
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