To look forward to fall and the planting of a garden, we say good bye to the summer. We have had some changes in our landscape at the Back Forty lately and it is doubtful that we will have a full fledged garden this fall.
I remember all too well last year's hurricane, Matthew, that left the east coast with a lot o damage. We were strongly urged to evacuate and we did. The best reason for us to evacuate was that there would not be any police, fire, and ambulance service. Both my husband and myself were under doctors care at the time and we still are so we might need for emergency service.
Also, the bridges from the islands would close when the wind reached 35 miles per hour, sustainable.
Before we left, I put low-lying books, decorations, cloth and clothing on higher shelves and tables.
We packed up some of our clothing, medicines, and vital papers. We also took our cat with us.
We headed west and we had to drive many miles before we found a place to stay for a few days. Actually, friends in Atlanta searched the Internet and they found a fishing camp, reserved a room for us, and told us about it. We found it to be a wonderful place, peaceful and quiet.
As always, it seems that in emergencies, people come together and help each other. I know that when hurricane Matthew came through, we had a lot of people help us and show their concern for us. We are thankful for our friends and neighbors.
The Solar Eclipse on the upcoming Monday is fast approaching and I initially thought that I would watch it on TV, safely. At this point, it is too late to obtain sunglasses and they may not be safe. Well, a little bug bit me and I researched how to make a pin hole camera. How difficult can it be?
Perhaps you will be able to see the eclipse: This is its path across this country:
I found out that it is not difficult at all and the material may already be available in your household. Looking to see what NASA recommend, I found the following listing:
Two (2) sheets of white card stock
Pin or paperclip
For the best instruction, see www.jpl.nasa.edu.
The way I understand it is that one sheet of the card stock will be put on the ground. On the other sheet, foil is taped to the middle and a small hole is made by a pin or paperclip. With this second paper, I should stand with my back towards the sun at all times, and hold the paper over my shoulder. The eclipse will be reflected on the paper on the ground.
Thank you for visiting my blog. Be careful on Monday and do not look at the sun. Be safe.
The other day, I rode the tractor to the garden and I found the garden wild and overgrown. Some gardeners believe that it is beneficial for the garden to take a break once in a while--a long break, that is. Here at the Back Forty, we are slowly reclaiming our land and we are finding a few surprises.
While riding around what used to
be one of the garden plots, I came
upon these white flowers and they
reminded me of Queen Anne's Lace.
Oh, I haven't seen them in long time. Furthermore, I have never come across them in Florida.
No, it wasn't Queen Anne's Lace: they were blooming carrot plants! Various pollinators had also found them which was good news.
I could not resist picking a few of the blooming carrots: taken only what I needed.
The Plumbago has really spread put in front of the shed and they were also attracting pollinators. We will prune them back later, before winter sets in.
I broke off a few small branches of the Plumbago: I thought the blooming carrots and the light blue Plumbago would look good together in a vase in my Summer Kitchen for me to enjoy. I am surprised that they have lasted so long.
They are nice and I enjoy the few blooms inside, bringing a little bit of nature in doors.
Summer will be gone before you know it.
School has already started.
Please, take it easy and watch out for our children
The Butter Beans is a hot weather vegetable and it is ready for its first picking in the beginning of August. My trusted gardener here on the Back Forty may have been a little too anxious to pick the beans this morning; some of them were not fully mature and had to be put into the compost.
I also have another helper with the garden and she proclaims "that you are not a Southerner, unless you like butter beans." That may be true, but who does not like butter beans?
We have the pole butter beans climbing up on permanent trellises: it is easier for us to pick them that way, but they also come as bush beans.
Also, some people call the butter beans Lima beans or baby Lima beans. It really dos not matter.
This young girl shelled the beans, I cooked them, and we ate them.
Some butter beans are pale green and others are off white. When they are blanched before freezing, they turn up slightly greener and glossier. Ordinarily, I cook the beans in plenty of water and serve them with a dab of margarine.
Of course, the beans also add interest to a vegetable soup.
Last year, our butter beans lasted long into the spring because of the mild winter weather. They could have used some fertilizer. In addition, the pole beans also make for a very nice and natural privacy hedge.
The other day, we went to the Farmers Market downtown in Jacksonville. I try to pick up a fruit or a vegetable that I have not had before and always ask for suggestions how to prepare it and/or eat it. That is another way to get to know the farmers too and it is always nice to see them.
We went to the market to get a water melon and my husband did. We looked and admired the South Carolina peaches that were sky high in price. How come? The weather. It was too hot, too cold, too much rain. It had been a stormy season for the growers.
A yellow fruit/vegetable caught my eye: I thought it was a spaghetti squash, but it turned out to be a cantaloupe. I was surprised.
The farmer had a cantaloupe already cut up and she gave me a piece to taste. It was firm and crisp with a pleasant taste--not too sweet, but refreshing.
We ended up having the cantaloupe for breakfast several mornings, taking in our natural C-vitamins and antioxidants.
Cantaloupes like moisture, sunlight, and two to three months long growing season in the heat. They take up a lot of space in the home garden because they like to spread out and ramble. Some gardeners like to use black plastic put down on the ground to keep the moisture and heat in and also keep the weed at bay. The black plastic will add to the growing season in cooler climates.
Thank you for visiting my blog and enjoy some refreshing cantaloupe.
August is here with its hot and humid days and the muscadine grapes are loving it. They are fast ripening--getting ready for picking and eating. Here at the Back Forty, we don't have to worry about making any jams or jellies; we are going to enjoy eating 'em.
Red grapes as well as the red
muscadines are healthful. To mention a few benefits, they boost the heart functions; lower cholesterol and the blood pressure; aid the immune system and may aid in prevention of mild memory loss; and finally reduce signs of aging. What more can you ask for?
To make jam, prepare the grapes by removing the seeds and I will keep the skin but chop the grapes. For 2 quarts of grapes, 6 cups of sugar is recommended. The cooking time is a bit long without store bought pectin. Let it simmer and stir often.
So far, we have only gotten less than a quart (I'm sure) of dark red mescadine grapes. They are somewhat bitter or sour and contain rather large seeds, but eating the grapes will aid in whatever ails me.
Only muscadine grapes are grown in Florida. It is too hot for other grapes; however, juices of other grapes are trucked in for wine making.
There are some vineyards that offer "pick your own" and that is always fun. Try it!
Thank you for visiting my blog. Enjoy the rest of the summer. School will start soon.