Summer finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures have gotten up to 75, and yesterday we broke 80 degrees. It is not well known by those who live elsewhere that in fact it seldom rains here from mid-July through September. Say what you will about the rainy PNW--I'll take mild temperatures and rainy seasons over heat and humidity!
This year's garlic is special. Not sure why, but it's our biggest and prettiest garlic ever.
I highly recommend the variety called Music, a hardneck porcelain variety with excellent flavor and keeping qualities. For once, I harvested at the proper time, instead of waiting too long and allowinging the heads over ripen and split open.
We are enjoying a bumper crop of berries. Bob picks and makes jam daily, since our three freezers are already filled to capacity. We don't eat many desserts, but I have already made three berry crisps this year! Try this super-quick delicious recipe.
The berry patch is usually home to at least one nest of song sparrows, and we delight in watching the progress from build-out to fledge time for nestlings. This year was no exception, but sadly, the three baby sparrows became dinner for a fly-over predator this year.
You might be interested in our newest jam offering: Rosemary Rhubarb. The flavor profile is at once tart, sweet, fragrant, fruity and herbal. The test batch was shared to rave reviews; a friend added some to a vinaigrette dressing served with a spinach and fresh strawberry salad. Yum. It's amazing slathered on a friend's homemade English muffins (Covid-19 definitely brings some welcome rewards-thanks Karen!!). Breakfast outside. Yea for summer!
Deer have mowed down entire swaths of plants they have never touched in previous years, even though we generously offer them entire grassy fields around the gardens to munch to their hearts' content. They usally keep their distance during the day, but take over the place at night.
At times the slugs feel like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, crawling in squadrons and platoons across grassy areas and gravel paths and even over copper mesh to consume an entire tomato or sunflower plant overnight. We put out Sluggo, a food-and-pet-safe slug bait, but they like tender greens more than the bait, which is also an expensive proposition in a garden area the size of ours.
Spanky and I make early morning and evening rounds; Spanky serves as lookout, pointing out overlooked slugs and chasing the deer out of the garden wlile I slay slugs with scissors in one hand and a spray bottle of 1:4 amonia and water in the other. The amonia water kills the slugs but is a mild fertizer to the plants.
The scissors cut them in half, and the spray bottle of amonia water allows me to squirt others from a short distance without stepping over plants. I discovered slugs like "beer traps" filled with a little yeast and sugar stirred into waterin place of beer, and placed in strategic locations. It's better than wasting the beer....the other evening there were 6 slugs lined up to drink and drown in the concoction not 10 minutes after I put it a trap in place.
Life at Sweetlife Farm is not always easy but it's still pretty sweet.....