Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Harvest and the Homefront

In my last garden post, I didn't have any pictures of our vegetables, and I promised to come back and put some, so here are just a few pics of what we've been getting from the garden:


This was my first real, serious garden, and so far I'm very pleased with the results.  Not everything came out perfectly, and that's ok.  Like the corn...I did something really wrong with the corn!  That stuff just didn't produce worth a darn.  Once full grown, the kernels were all different sizes, some of them were bare in spots, and the ones that were uniform were chewy.  Phil said that maybe my seeds were too old.  I'm going to put my money on that, because I'd hate to think that I can't grow corn!  I love fresh corn on the cob and maque choux (that's a very tasty Cajun dish consisting of smothered corn and tomatoes in butter for those who have never heard of it - so good!).  I'm going to be very sad if I have to give up on the corn thing.  I'll try again with some fresh seeds that I bought this spring.  Why didn't I plant those, you ask?  Well, I had some left over from a few years ago, and I didn't want to waste it (I read online that seeds keep for a few years if you keep them in the fridge) much for that plan...I wasted way more than just a few kernels of corn.  That stuff takes forever to grow!  Oh well, so it goes.  Live and learn.  The pigs will eat well this week.  All I know is that we have been enjoying the heck out of some fresh cucumber and tomato salads every night, and I'll be sad when they are done producing.  The okra plants have also been producing very well....slow, but steady.  I've almost filled a gallon-sized freezer bag that I'll use in the winter for gumbo and smothered okra.  I usually get about a hand full of okra pods every few days.  Sometimes we just fry them, and that's really good, too!  I'm also really looking forward to the watermelon and cantaloupe we planted, assuming those produce.  I've got a ton of decent sized cantaloupes on the vine, so hopefully they'll ripen nicely.  Phil actually told me today that he found a wild watermelon vine out in the pasture!  And, I'm almost ready for my next round of planting.  I'll probably do another round of cucumbers and tomatoes (because we are addicted!), maybe some more bell peppers, and later in July I'll be able to start stuff for the fall garden, like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.  I may also do another variety of squash and zucchini if I can make it to the seed store...I'm not sure what variety I planted, but they are kind of funky looking.  Some of them came out half orange and half green, and they were kind of tough...what is that??  Maybe those seeds are bad, too, because they weren't new, either.

On the animal side of life, I think we've finally got our fencing set up the way we want it!  So, Phil has the cows on this rotational grazing schedule (please don't ask me to explain it...I just go out there and dump feed in a bucket when Phil asks me to), so we finally have cows grazing around our pasture!  It's pretty cool.  They are close to the house now, so when we go outside, we can actually see them by the fence, and they stand there and moo at us as if we are supposed to feed them or something.  I thought that's what all the grass was for???  All we need now are a handful more cows to keep up with the grass...they can't eat enough right now to keep it down, which is not a bad problem to have, I suppose.  Little by little we are easing into this more self-sufficient kind of life.  It may not be how I imagined my life to be, but I'm finding that it is better than anything I could have imagined.  I'm glad Phil talked me into it =)  On Monday, we will bring our first grass fed steer to the butcher! (And by "we", I mean someone other than myself).  Which means we'll add steaks, ground beef, roasts, and briskets to our current freezer selection =)  All those trips out there to feed ole T'bone is finally going to pay off!  

Here they are, munching on some grass:

you can see how far down they mow the grass from one section to the next, where we have them partitioned off:

On a totally side note, it seems lately we've been hearing so many stories of hardships and sufferings; people's jobs on the line, family illnesses, the problems in the gulf that hit close to home, and here we are, just so blessed to have a beautiful family and a little piece of heaven on earth where we live.  Sometimes it just doesn't seem fair, but I know God knows what He's doing, so for now, I'll do my best to foster gratitude for our blessings, and to pray and sacrifice for those who are struggling.  I'm not sure if that's enough, but that's all I know how to do.


+JMJ+ said...

I am impressed and awed by your harvest. Must be a fulfilling experience ....hardwork and it's tangible rewards.

At the IHM conference in Virginia recently, Fr. Brown gave a talk on the value of suffering.

Here's a link it was very helpful.

JamieS said...


Hello! I found your blog on the Catholic Mother's online blog roll. My husband and I live just outside of Norther Virginia (actually my husband was the photographer at the IHM Conference) and, though we live in town, are trying to live as self-sufficiently as possible. Our goal is pretty much what you have! :) Your harvest is impressive, especially for being a novice gardener! We too are novice gardeners but have been blessed in so many ways through our efforts--either through the produce we receive or the education we are getting simply by doing it.

I look forward to keeping up with you and your family. Thanks for blogging!

Jamie in the Shenandoah valley

ViolinMama said...

Wow...AWESOME!!! I'm so impressed!!!!

Diane said...

Hi! I just found your blog via the catholic mothers' blogroll. Very nice! We have a lot in common!

Cathy LeBlanc said...

thanks, ladies! I have been having trouble with my comments not working, both on my blog and on others, and I think I finally was able to fix it! So, that is why I am just getting around to responding. Thanks for the link, +JMJ+...I never think to delve into spiritual reading/help when I fall in to a slump...I always just kind of mope around, unsure of how to deal with whatever the situation is, but I am going to try and learn more about suffering and it's value, and how to deal with it even if I'm not in the midst of it.

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