No rest for the weary…

Goodness there’s been a lot going on around here lately!!

The garden kind of “came and went” this year. Given the amount of rain we’ve had, what the bugs didn’t devour, blight and powdery mildew finished off.  Of course, you can’t treat for either when there’s rain. But, we have enjoyed the bounty that we have harvested.

The poor tomatoes didn’t stand much of a chance, but we have managed to have a few ‘mater sandwiches and have some for salads. Certainly not enough to make sauces or salsa or can some stewed for using throughout the year.

I was pleasantly surprised with the cucumbers. I had several different varieties of seeds that I had purchased and that had been given to me. At the beginning of the season, I just tossed them all in a cup and set about sticking them in the ground. Made for quite the interesting harvest! I have several pints of pickles in my cupboard, and we’re still eating some raw. The ones we have now are quite small, but that’s ok. Due to the powdery mildew and invasion of those doggone stink bugs, I had to resort to picking them small rather than take a chance of the bugs finding them. They taste good even when they’re little though.

The summer squash did well also. I’ve never been able to get squash to grow before! We got quite a few and promptly ate them up. There are still a couple of baggies full in the freezer. These fell victim to the dreaded squash vine borer. This was totally my fault. I mis-identified the flying bug that lays the borers as a beneficial bug. By the time I realized my error, the plants were all but dessimated. But – that’s ok! It was a learning experience and I now know how much room squash needs to grow so I’ll be better prepared for next year.

We may still possibly get at least one melon out of the garden. The vines are absolutely beautiful and have all but taken over a corner of the yard. There are beautiful yellow blooms on them, which I see bees and butterflys happily flitting about on. But alas, no edible melons. I planted honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. There was one cantaloupe that began forming a couple of weeks ago, but after a few days of rain, it kind of petered out and began looking sickly. Currently, there is one – yes, ONE – watermelon forming. It’s about the size of a softball, so we’ll see what happens with it.

I’ve had the most success with the okra this year! I call it “The Okra Forest” and joke that I should wear a whistle when harvesting in case I get lost. The plants have got to be 6 feet tall, and the stalks are huge! They’re really quite lovely plants!

ImageThere are 3 different varieties going and they make such a gorgeous display of color! They’re quite tasty too!

ImageMy green beans and cowpeas are still rocking it, so we have a good bit of veggies to eat on for a while. I’ll be doing fall gardening this year for the first time. I’m hopeful to get some winter squash, potatoes, radishes, turnips and greens out of it. Maybe some beets. Oh, and carrots! I love garden fresh carrots!

Fall will be an important time at our homestead property as well. We’ve been waiting for cooler temps (and hopefully a break in the rain!) to start some serious land clearing.  Work slowed for my husband, so finances have been tight. We just haven’t been able to justify the gas money to travel to and from the property, and still keep things on track here in our current life. We feel like we’ve got a foot in “both worlds” if that makes any sense.  It’s a careful balance.

In the meantime, we’ve kept ourselves busy planning and re-planning, chasing down Craigslist freebies and dumpster diving. Our most AMAZING find were pallets!

ImageImageThis, my dearhearts, is not even the HALF of them! There’s a plastics facility near our house and they’ve said come and take all we want whenever they’re out in the parking lot!

We have a TON of pallets that are 6’3″ x 6’3″! Husband has been working diligently to take them apart making them easier to transport to the property and begin building with. We actually have collected enough pallets to build the entire cabin! The sub-floor and floor joists will be made from new materials, so, we have to allow for that in the budget. But great googlie mooglie! Our cabin is practically FREE!!! It will be 11′ x 11′ with a porch. I cannot WAIT to post photos of it as construction progresses! We’re hoping by Labor Day to be erecting poles and beginning the framing.

I am so proud of my husband! He has worked tirelessly to dismantle and sort all these pallets. He’s also been constructing things for the cabin,  planning, drawing, and collecting things. It will be a true handcrafted home made especially for us to our specifications! It will be so wonderful!

And every day, I’m that much closer to having chickens again! And goats. And a donkey. And pigs. And a horse. And a dog. And a baby elephant. I’d really like a baby elephant.  If for no other reason than no one would be able to tell me that I couldn’t. 😉

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