Sunday, August 30, 2009

No Denying the Signs

This morning as I began my morning run, an unmistakable, seasonable sound filled the air. I looked toward the sky and found the source - a "V" of Canada Geese flying south. As much as I am trying to deny the fact, Fall is just around the corner. The Sweet Gum tree, pictured above, is beginning to change color. The wild ferns, below, are turning as well.

At the bottom of the driveway, underneath the Oak trees, the ultimate symbols of Fall are appearing in greater quantities each day- Acorns.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Local Meal #3

When we visited the Farmer's Market Saturday, we stocked up on goodies for dinner. We had to wait until Sunday to cook, but it was definitely worth the wait. We had fresh ( caught off the Oregon Coast Friday!) Albacore Tuna steaks we got from the fishing family from Winchester Bay. I had fresh corn on the cob from Hayhurst Farm and then I bought some "Gypsy" Peppers from the pepper vendor and fresh goat cheese from Alsea Acres. I roasted the peppers and then removed the skin and seeds. I then mixed the goat cheese with an egg, salt & pepper. I stuffed the pepper with the filling and baked them for 30 minutes. Yumm! Not pictured, we also enjoyed a loaf of potato bread from Hideaway Bakery.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

1st Tomato Harvest

Today I had my first tomato picking session. I have had some cherry types ripe for awhile, but I just haven't found the time to get to them. Today's haul came from both the 8 plants in the vegetable bed and the plants down in the big garden. My total harvest : 5 lbs 6.9 oz. My biggest frustration is two of the plants that are doing the best were both purchased with a tag that read "Delicious". Both plants are different than each other and neither plant matches the catalog description of "Delicious".
-Kelloggs Breakfast (1)
-Orange Blossom (1)
-San Marzano (2)
-Roma (2)
-Bonito Oja (2)
-Master Caruso (3)
-Fireworks (2)
-Valencia (1)
-Chocolate Cherry (1)
-Yellow Pear (5)
-Yellow Grape (12)
-Sweet Million (39)
-Mystery "Delicious" Orange (2)
-Mystery"Delicious"Dark Red (15)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Farmer's Market

This morning Beth and I went down to the Farmer's Market. The sun was breaking through the clouds and it was already quite busy at 10 AM. As September approaches, late Summer flowers are in full bloom. Sunflowers, Zinnias, Dahlias and Rudbeckia dominated the bouquets. Red, orange and yellow are the colors of the season. Beautiful.

This was a display of "Pablano" Peppers and Eggplants. The colors together were beautiful.

We also saw Watermelon at the market for the first time this year. They were joined by many varieties of Cantaloupe.

It wouldn't be late Summer in Oregon without sweet corn. Pictured above is an artfully arranged display. We bought two ears here.

The new item for me this week was the first appearance of the year of fresh apples. There were from an orchard in Pleasant Hill and were "Ida Red" a variety I have never tried. They had samples to taste. It was a delicious combination of sweet with a touch of tart. So I had to buy one! One of the best parts of the morning was bumping into my friend Bev. She was running the Slow Food Booth. They are hosting a local foods meal soon and were gathering signatures in support of local , healthy foods in our schools. Great work Bev!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Squash Update

The squash are doing great this year. In fact they are doing so well they are completely making up for the pole beans and dahlias that are having a bit of a tough time. The first variety to successfully pollinate and set was the "Buttercup" squash. I now have 3 very large, almost mature fruit, with 1 more immature fruit set this week. The funniest one is growing in the crook of one of the tea rose bushes. The squash had climbed up and over the bush and amazingly the set fruit developed right in a crook in the middle of the rosebush. The good news is I don't have to worry about the base of the fruit getting wet up there!

The next squash to get going was the "Delicata". I have four plants and I was getting a little frustrated because the fruit wasn't getting pollinated and was all dropping off. Well, I shouldn't have worried. Within the last 2 weeks, the plants have just gone crazy. I have medium to small size squash everywhere, including the 2 pictured above. They are growing outside of the protective deer fence and look a bit like cucumbers at this stage. Fortunately, most of the "Delicata" are inside the fence where they belong. A quick unofficial count came up with over 10 fruit.

The last variety to set fruit was the "Buttercup". I was starting to get worried that I wouldn't get any this year and they are one of my favorites. But, I needed to remember I had to replace my two original plants early on with starts from the farmer's market. I think this set them back quite a bit and they are now just really starting to climb and spread. Of coarse, where does the vine choose to set the fruit -outside the fence, once again. It seems to be a theme here! I am not as concerned about the "Delicatas" outside the fence because I have so many. But these are my only two "Buttercups" so I think I might put temporary fencing over them to be sure that the deer don't eat them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blackberry Season Begins

Yesterday was another milestone- the first picking of the wild blackberries. It was a bit later this year. Some years I am able to pick in the last weeks of July. The picking went fairly well. For the first trip through, most of the ripe berries were the "end-cap" berry, like is pictured above. I did find a few areas though, where there were already 5-6 ripe berries on a truss. But that wasn't the norm. I ended up picking all the way down to the road and back up the other side to the house.

After all my picking, I was rewarded with purple hands and a bowl filled with 2.27 lbs. of berries!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Morning Glories

This year I was shopping with Beth at Grey's Garden Center and came upon a display of Morning Glories. I grew one vine many years ago but haven't given them a try in many years. Grey's had a great selection, as Morning Glories have become very popular in the last few years. I finally decided on 3 varieties. At home I planted them down in the big garden, against the fencing we originally built for Sweet Peas. "Grandpa Ott" took off, but the other 2 were a bit slower to get climbing. I have since learned that "Grandpa Ott" is an early variety compared top most others. It started blooming over a month ago, and looks to be almost finished. The other 2 started blooming just within the last 10 days."Grandpa Ott" is a Bavarian heirloom, originally given to Diane Ott Whealy, a founder member of Seed Savers Exchange, by her grandfather Baptist John Ott in 1972. It has a small deep purple flower with a red star in its throat. It is a reliable self seeder and will climb to 15'.

The second variety I tried was "Heavenly Blue". This is the variety most people think of when they think of morning glories. It has 3" blooms of vibrant blue with a white throat. Its vines commonly reach 8-10" in height. It will reliably bloom until frost.

The third variety I tried was "Flying Saucers", a "sister" to "Heavenly Blue" . My vines have a white background with blue streaks radiating from the center. I have also had mostly white blooms. Researching this variety, I have concluded that it is a unstable sport of "Heavenly Blue" and bloom patterns can vary on any single vine. "Flying Saucers" has large 5" blooms and the vine can reach 15'.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dahlias - the Show begins!

This past week, the first of the dahlias have begun to open. My first two to bloom this year were "Weston Miss", pictured below, a miniature SC and "Jacs Sashay" a Collarette. Then the following dahlias opened: Top Left "Mary Hammett", Top Right "Yellow Baby"

Also opening was "Pooh" an orange and yellow Collarette. It is one of my favorite dahlias. Below, left, is a picture of "Emily C" an origination of the late Dick Canning. Below right is "Ms. Kennedy" a Miniature Ball in Orange.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August at the Farmer's Market

This morning we got up and went to the Lane County Farmer's Market. I hadn't been for 2 weeks and there was lots of change. The early berries of a few weeks ago are making way for the hot weather crops. Right as we arrived I saw the "corn man". I over heard him say it was his first day at the market this year. I picked up 7 ears of bi colored corn for our barbecue tonight.

Tomatoes have arrived! This was a beautiful display of heirloom varieties. I am always impressed with ripe heirlooms in Oregon by August 1st. Mine aren't even close right now.

The amazing display was the Hayhurst stand. Eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, corn and even Cantaloupe.

And in the flower department, nothing says Summer like a big bouquet of Sunflowers!