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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Start of a Greenhouse transformation!

We have talked for a couple of years about having a greenhouse and so we took the plunge. At the lower part of our property, we planned to build a greenhouse and garden shed and then decided to terrace up the hill in four 12' areas so we can put in some more raised beds. These are the pictures of the process. This is Michael in the area where we plan to put the greenhouse.

Unfortunately, it looks pretty daunting when you see this much uncovered dirt. We knew there would be slopes but the amount to make things level was a little more than we anticipated.

This is the finished view from the high end where we will have our raised bed terraces.

This is the area where the greenhouse and shed will be built looking up to the terraces. Unfortunately, it looks pretty daunting when you see this much uncovered dirt. We knew there would be slopes but the amount to make things level was a little more than we anticipated.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

24th of July Ward Activity

We had our 24th of July activity this past week with a cook out, old fashioned games and dancing. It was fun to visit with everyone. Here are photos from the event.

Grapes and jelly

I harvested all of our grapes today. Last year, we almost gave up on the grape vine we had but decided to try to really water and fertilize it to get it through last year. We set it up with supports and it really grew. Earlier this year, it was full of clusters of grapes for the first time ever. They were so sweet tasting. After a week of enjoying them, we decided they were about ripe and needed to be harvested.

These are the grapes after I took them off the vines and put them in the steam juicer. I steamed the grapes in a juicer I've had for probably 20 years and hadn't used in 15! I was able to get a half gallon of juice after a couple of hours of steaming the grapes.

The end result was four pints of a pink hued grape jelly. I also have one in the fridge to eat on. It has a very light, mild grape flavor that is YUMMY!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Corn harvest

There are some things we didn't plant in our garden but I'm working to have a huge variety of vegetables and berries. We expanded our garden this year to about 750 sq feet. In fact, next year I want to branch out to an herb garden! We are about to start a greenhouse and make our garden space bigger for next year. We're going green and I guess our carbon footprint is very low without trucking and shipping food or packaging, but that's not the reason. We are eating so many varieties of vegetables and really eating healthy!

I love corn but with the high sugar content, I don't eat it very often. However, this year we decided to plant some to have a summer treat. I put about two dozen seeds in a raised bed. This variety has very small stalks so it can be planted in a small area, but yields full sized ears of corn.

I was thrilled with the outcome. This corn is perfect! We've eaten it a couple of night and I figured I have about three dozen ears.

I was able to actually put six bags in the freezer as well as have several meals to enjoy.

Even our cat loved the corn and ate as much as we could!

We also picked our first eggplant with several more to come!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We have a ripe watermelon!

I don't care to eat watermelon but Michael does and so we planted a few plants. I have never been successful growing watermelon before but this year we have some! I planted a small very sweet watermelon and it looked done so we decided to cut it open to see. Here it is, and a very happy Michael doing his best to enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22 - Garden Harvest

We didn't get nearly as large a harvest today since we've had some cooler temperatures and the squash and cucumbers are about to come to an end. I also haven't harvested green beans yet but this is what I did get today when I went out to check out the garden. Our exciting harvest is our grapes! These are the first bunches that we've had. They are a little small, probably because of all of the bunches there but they really are sweet and have a great flavor! We thought the basket was beautiful!


I harvested out winter squash bed in preparation for our fall garden. I am pleased with the harvest even with battling those irritating squash bugs that I just could not get rid of this year. But, they have been the only pests I've really had to deal with other than one big tomato worm we found and eliminated!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Giant berries - Yum!

Just look at the size these marionberries (just called blackberries in South Carolina, but being from Oregon I know the difference).

I wish I could say we grew these. We've started some raspberries and boysenberries and regular blackberries but they really won't produce until next year. Michael was off with another church member who wanted to stop and get some peaches for his daughter. He saw these for sale. They were normally $12 a gallon but had a buy 1 get 1 free deal so he brought home two. I took one look at them and my mouth watered remembering how good marionberry cobbler is in Oregon! We had to go back and get more so Saturday Michael and I spent the day making 10 pints of marionberry jam and freezing 14 quarts and of course making a huge maionberry cobbler (which is already gone)! Boy it was a good as I remembered them in Oregon. Now Michael is ready to add a row of Marionberry plants if we can find some!

Canned Four Bean Salad

I haven't blogged for a while since I've been so busy with work, church activities and the garden. I mentioned earlier that we started harvesting green and yellow wax beans. Michael and I both love bean salad so I was able to find a recipe to can it! I've done about 10 quarts and it's great. We ate one quart after I made it to make sure we liked it and it's great! Now I have a salad ready and waiting on the shelf! The other quart is some salsa that I'm also making as I have more tomatoes than we can eat.

A Chip off the old block!

These precious ones are Sydney, Haily and Ethan, Eric and Tracy's children. They love coming to grandmas and usually end up playing in the basement. They love building with the bucket of blocks we have. This is their latest city they've built. I really got my money's worth out of these blocks . . . I bought them in about 1980 at a yard sale for less than $5. Their father, Eric, was probably five at the time and since then, all of my boys loved to build with the blocks (before they graduated on to Legos) and now they are the favorite of the next generation of Harper's. This is probably one of my best purchases ever!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Garden Harvest

It's been a while since I blogged about our garden. It survived us being gone thanks to Ryan and Mother Earth watering it! I went out to pick this morning and here's the harvest of the day! We have both green beans and yellow wax beans. I have some winter squash that the vines are dying out so I've been bring them inside when the plants can no longer help it grow. I hope they are ripe enough!

It's hard to see, but our grapes are loaded and just about ready to harvest. We are trying to keep the water to them. Unfortunately, we've had enough rain that our peaches rotted on the trees before they ripened. We only got about two big bowl fulls of peaches from our little orchard. We do have some apples and pears that I hope will produce later this fall.

Here's a close up of our grape vine. We have two other smaller ones that Michael has built an arbor for and we hope to put out some more this fall of various varieties.

This is a view of the lower part of the garden. The tomato plants are taller than I am. I've staked them up as high as I can! The yellow wax beans are in a bed beside them.

This is a raised bed view showing our corn that is forming ears and the green beans beside it. Right in front is our eggplant that have little ones on them and the peppers beside them.

Our sweet potatoes have been growing like crazy and going all over the sides of the bed. I hope there are sweet potatoes down in the soil. We should be able to harvest them the first part of September.

Our fig tree is still growing well and the figs are getting bigger and bigger. Hopefully we will have a few to eat on this fall.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Other family in Utah

We did a couple of other things than playing with baby Caleb, although that was the biggest highlight of the trip. We managed to meet up with Michael's family for a latge lunch on day. Here's Todd and Amanda at the restaurant.

This is Michael's brother Leland and Mary Kay!

This is Isaac, Richard (it also was his birthday) and Clarnell

Pat and Jim are on a mission in Heber working at the church camps until October. They have a P-day once a week and come home to take care of things and we were lucky to see them on their P-day.

We also got to go to the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple Open House which was beautiful.
Of course, I had to get one of us and Caleb!

Caleb is the cutest baby!!!

We had a whirlwind trip to Utah last week to meet baby Caleb, Todd and Amanda's little one and be there for his blessing on Sunday. He was so cute and smiling. His whole routine was turned upside down but he took it all in stride.

Isn't he the cutest baby!

He even smiled at the picnic!

This is after his blessing. He loves his daddy.

Here's Todd, Amanda and Caleb!

Here's our Utah family! Caprise and Adam, Todd, Amanda and Caleb along with Michael and I

Michael and I had a hard time leaving Caleb in Utah!