Tag Archives: fruit

Overgrown Rhubarb

Three years ago I bought some rhubarb tubers for my garden.

New rhubarb started in 2015,

We had some extra old tractor tires that I decided to use for the rhubarb bed.  I didn’t put them directly in the ground because we have such a problem with wire grass.  Wire grass regenerates itself by spread roots underground and it’s really hard to get completely out of any garden bed and flower bed.  I laid black cloth under the tire and then filled it with garden soil and manure from my chickens and rabbits and mixed it up really good.

I expected it to grow but not as much as it did.  The tire bed is 12 inches deep and  44 inches around.  Three years later the bed is too crowded and my rhubarb it way too thick.  I dug out two of the four plants in the bed and and divided the tubers into six pieces each and started a new bed near our quince tree in the corner of the garden.

One small patch beside the tire bed. I cleaned out all the grass, worked up the soil with a spade and fork and added a little dirt from the garden edges.

The tubers are 12 inches apart  in  up and down the bed and across the bed.  I fenced it off to keep the chickens from digging it up since we haven’t fenced off the garden yet.

Wonderfully rich soil and some rain showers should give the new beds a great start. I don’t expect to get anything from them this year but next spring should prove very fruitful if the weather cooperates this year.

The tubers in the tire bed have twice the room to grow and now maybe they won’t bloom as quickly.

Now there are only two bunches of rhubarb in the tire. I will probably have to pull one bunch out again next year. We’ll see how it goes!

The rhubarb stalks were getting about 8 inches long and then blooming, not good!!  I always pull off the blooms to send the energy to the stalks.

I froze a lot of rhubarb last year.  My favorite recipe is to clean and cut the stalks into one inch cubes (about four cups)  and pour just enough water over the cubes in a saucepan and slow cook until the rhubarb cooks up.  I take it off the heat and add two cups of sugar and box of our favorite jello.  We especially like strawberry or raspberry jello but I’ve also used cherry or blackberry, yum!!  Let it cool completely in the pan and serve.  This usually makes enough for four pints of fruited rhubarb and I pour it in plastic tubs and freeze three of them.  It freezes well and it’s fantastic to eat like applesauce or on toast like jams/jellies.  DELIGHTFUL!

Last Day of January 2018

Can you believe it’s the last day of January?? I spent the morning do normal indoor chores like, sweeping and mopping the floors, making the bed, two loads of laundry and other minor jobs after having breakfast with the Mister!  I got pork tenderloin out of the freezer for dinner and then saw that the temperature had risen to 40* and no wind.  OUTSIDE I GO!!!

We’re still in for some cold weather and hopefully some snow because our pastures, yard, hayfields, just the earth in general needs a good soak before spring really appears!  I knew I had some pruning to do on some fruit trees but the grapes needed it worst than the others.

A tangled mess of four vines that have been planted two years and I’m expecting big things from this year.

In order to get those beautiful grapes they need to be pruned each year.  Grapes grown on new stems each year!

This end of the arbor holds grapes that we started from an old vine on the farm. They are blue, not real big but so sweet. The vines usually provide a lot of grapes!

I use some wonderful little hand pruners on all of the small vines, trees and my rose bushes.  It’s very important to sterilize them and I use just plain old rubbing alcohol.  It took about an hour but they’re all trimmed and now we wait!  While waiting we pray for no late frosts to kill them.

Hubby thinks I scalped them but from past experience I know I’ll have more grapes and if Mother Nature cooperates they’ll be bigger grapes.

They’re thinned of their old bearing branches and the only thing left to do is tighten the arbor lines that we made from plastic covered clothes line. It tends to stretch each year but is easy to tighten.

After I finished pruning the grapes I went around the garden and trimmed suckers and water sprouts off the green gage, peach, pear and blue plums.  The big job will be trimming the apple trees which seem to get less attention each year but I’m going to get what I can from the ground and hope for some help with the higher branches.

I am so ready to start growing something!!!

 

Adding To Our Fruit Crop

Apple crops

Apple crops

Grape arbor in the backyard.

Grape arbor in the backyard.

Every spring I try to add 2-4 new fruit trees to our dwindling orchards.  The past few years have been apples and peaches.  My daughter got me two new cherry trees for our anniversary and they’ve been planted in the back of the apple orchard and fenced to keep the deer from eating them up.  Last year I planted four new grape vines along with some English walnut trees .  All of the grapes have survived but I lost one walnut tree.

This year I ordered two Green Gage Plum  trees and two Black Tartarian Cherry  trees from  Aaron’s Farm (http://www.aaronsfarm.com/) .  The plum trees are three years old and about four feet tall and the cherry trees are three years old and 5-6 feet tall.  The were shipped bare root and pre-pruned.  We set them out yesterday evening and watered them well which I will continue to do daily until we get some rain and there after as needed daily or weekly depending on the moisture in the ground.

The Green Gage plum tree is an ancient European plum descendant that has been extensively grown and propagated in England and France since the 1700’s. My grandparents had these plums on their farm in Paint Bank, VA for years when I was a young child and we would eat them until they ran out our ears.  I’ve not seen any for years and have been looking for them for about five years and lucked out with Aaron’s Farms this spring.  I can’t wait to have some “green gages” in a couple of years.  Green Gage plums are green-skinned when completely ripe with a pink overlay at the base of the fruit when tree ripened.  The flavor is deliciously sweet with a slight sour taste to the skin.

The black cherries are my husbands favorite and most of the cherry trees on our farm have died or only produce pea size cherries.  I’m hoping these will bring back some good memories especially when I make him some cherry pies in a couple of years.

Black Tartarian Cherry Tree

The Black Tartarian Cherry tree is a sweet cherry with a black skin and bright red pulp. They  are cold hardy which is one of the reasons I chose this type.
I can’t remember the name of the cherry trees my daughter got for me but think they are a red cherry.
Now we have blue plum, wild red plums, pears, rhubarb, peaches, apples of all kinds, grapes, gojiberries, blackberries, and raspberries on the farm.  Plenty of fruit to add to our meals and snacks.Newest grape arborNewest grape arbor

Canning season 2015

I retired July 8th and the garden came in like a fast moving thunderstorm!  For that entire month I was either in the kitchen canning, on the porch preparing to can or in the hayfield with hubby moving hay to the haylots.  I want to share with you our season bounty in a photo roll.

14 quarts all sealed and ready for the cellar

14 quarts all sealed and ready for the cellar

A full bushel of yellow onions. All of the red (Spanish) onions rotted in the ground. Apparently they don't like all the rain.

A full bushel of yellow onions. All of the red (Spanish) onions rotted in the ground. Apparently they don’t like all the rain.

The last run of honey for the season.

The last run of honey for the season.

Green beans. They didn't produce like we would have liked. Hubby thinks he minimized the space in the gardens and everything was too close together and the sun couldn't do it's thing.

Green beans. They didn’t produce like we would have liked. Hubby thinks he minimized the space in the gardens and everything was too close together and the sun couldn’t do it’s thing.

Pickles, pickle relish, and more pickles.

Pickles, pickle relish, and more pickles.

Blackberry crop was excellent and I froze a lot of them.

Blackberry crop was excellent and I froze a lot of them.

Apple butter 072015

Apple butter on toast for breakfast. Peanut butter and apple butter sandwich for lunch!

Apple butter on toast for breakfast. Peanut butter and apple butter sandwich for lunch!

Fresh raspberries

Fresh raspberries

Cherries

Cherries

Striper fish, fileted and frozen. I think we froze about 10 packages.

Striper fish, fileted and frozen. I think we froze about 10 packages.

I froze about 15 bags of white corn.

I froze about 15 bags of white corn.

Yellow corn was froze.

Yellow corn was froze.

Delicata squash was harvested and I stored about 20 in the cellar.

Delicata squash was harvested and I stored about 20 in the cellar.

Yellow squash was sliced and vacumn packed with about 20 bags.

Yellow squash was sliced and vacumn packed with about 20 bags.

I froze 18 pints of applesauce made from transparent apples.

I froze 18 pints of applesauce made from transparent apples.

We dug our potatoes on Thursday and picked up 21  five gallon buckets full and they’re beautiful again this year.  The potato bin is more than half full and it’s a 6’x6’x6′ bin.  We picked up about two gallon that were cut when plowed up and Friday I made a crockpot full of potato soup and a half gallon of potato salad.

The cellar is pretty well stocked but for two shelves which I saved for venison.  The Cellar 2015 (3)

This shelf section is full of green beans, canned potatoes and canned sausage.  The second photo is tomatoes, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce and more potatoes.  The third is full of jams, jellies, pickles, relish and maple syrup, and more.The Cellar 2015 (2) The Cellar 2015 (1)

We have three freezers of various sizes and one is full of fruit, one with vegetables and meat and the big freezer will be filled with meat as well. My family will be well fed this winter.

Mother’s Day Lunch

We truly had a wonderful day with my kids and our friends and it seemed to fly by but I guess that’s because we were having fun!!  The day was full of stories, laughter, getting to know each other and friendship.

For lunch, I fixed a vegie tray, fruit bowl and a small cheese tray.  I made homemade chicken salad, teriyaki chicken wings, and fried morels for the main course.  Of course, the day wouldn’t have been right with a big batch of homemade dinner rolls and loaf of homemade bread.  I made a cocoanut dream cake which was my first attempt at the recipe and it was so moist and good but I dread what it may do to my weight-loss.  I made a cherry crunch tart, also a new recipe, but I wasn’t real thrilled with it so that recipe is coming out of the box!!

Cocoanut dream cake for Mother's Day 2014.

Cocoanut dream cake for Mother’s Day 2014.

 

One of my guests brought some homemade cheese pastries that were so good and we had tea, lemonade and a new drink I’m using, called marguerita ade.  It is so sweet-tart and really quenches your thirst on a hot day!

Family, friends, and fabulous food, what more could you ask for.

Favorite recipes for Thanksgiving dinner

Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese

As promised quite some time ago, here’s a few of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes!  They’re not any particular order and I’m pretty sure if you click on the recipe card it will enlarge for you.  Here we go:

 

Hubby's favorite fruit salad

Hubby’s favorite fruit salad

 

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

 

Broccoli Casserole

Broccoli Casserole

No dinner is complete without the main dish of turkey or ham and of course, my homemade bread.  Recipes for that and more to follow in a later post.

Let me know if you have any questions.