Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The fruits of our labor

I have been meaning to share a post about our garden, and my friend's inquiry (Hi, Steph!) gave me the push I needed to do so.

Like most of the Midwest, we have experienced a drought this summer. I nearly gasped when I saw our crackly brown "grass" upon returning home from vacation. With vigilant watering and a couple much-needed soaking rains in the last week, our yard is finally looking better. Our garden has been similarly mixed due to the dry heat.

Last year we had a massive harvest of green beans. This year, I think we've had a dozen beans--total! However, our onions and potatoes are doing great. I love those crops, along with garlic, that have a longer shelf life. I usually only buy a couple of onions in a whole year's time!

We've gotten quite a few green and red peppers, and a bountiful supply of Roma tomatoes. I had the same lunch 6 days straight last week! I put a handful of spinach/romaine in the bottom of a bowl, then add a cup of cooked pasta. Next I put a couple diced Romas, along with a veggie or two that needs to be used up (onion, pepper, avocado). I drizzle Italian dressing on, add a sprinkle of mozzarella, and voila! A delicious, healthy, and easy lunch! Unfortunately, no one else in my family will eat such a creation, so I just make a single serving for me, and everyone else gets sandwiches or leftovers! =)

Since the nutrition workshop I attended a couple months ago, I've been much more cognizant of incorporating fruits and veggies into what we eat. It's easier, of course, in the summer when fresh produce abounds, and I'm trying to offer greater variety than I have in the past. This is also on my radar as I face packing nutritious lunches for Nathan as he heads off to Kindergarten in a week. (More to come on that topic!)

On another fruity note, you may recall me mentioning a couple years ago that we were the recipients of several coolers full of apples. Eric's friend has since moved, but Eric decided to stop at the house and ask the new residents if they might have extras. The guy said they didn't plan to pick any of them, so we loaded up 12 dozen for free! We spent a few hours the other night making applesauce. Boy, did our kitchen smell yummy!

Here is a pic of the result of our applesauce endeavor, minus 5 jars that had already been taken downstairs.
A third of the batch was pureed and left unsweetened since little Naomi will start eating baby food very soon! I will definitely also do carrots, squash and sweet potato. We'll see what else I feel up to tackling! Oh, and note the beautiful flowers in the picture. Eric surprised me by planting some zinnia seeds this year, and he and the kids pick a new vase-full every few days. Lovely!

So, there's an update on our harvests thus far. How does your garden grow?


Mom said...

We remember bringing home a bounty of apples from those same trees a couple of years ago -- so glad you were blessed with these apples again! :) A bad hailstorm in June really set our garden back, but we've had onions and a couple of zucchini. We won't have any green beans this year. :( I did see a couple of small pumpkins forming and there are some green tomatoes, so hopefully we'll enjoy some of those before frost (which usually comes in mid-September). I'm happy to see your colorful zinnias -- we have one blooming right now. Happy harvest! Love, Mom

Wendi said...

Our garden was pretty much a fail this year. I was able to pick enough green beans for one canner full. The animals were biting and sucking all the moisture out of the tomatoes as soon as they were on the vine. :) The cost of watering was more then the harvest would have been so we finally stopped watering. Just before a watering ban was issued. :) Thankfully we now getting some rain. Hopefull that next year will be a better growing season.

Enjoy all that yummy applesauce!

Carrie said...

SWEET! WHAT a huge blessing!!