The rain has finally eased up and the weather is supposed to become more seasonable. We had days and days of heavy rain. Most of the garden survived the deluge but the tomatoes could use a little heat.
I did not plant as many tomatoes as I did last year. Last year they were blighted. I am trying a new staking method this year. The stakes are wide, deep and spaced about 4-5 feet apart. I tie the tomatoes up to a beam that hangs from the stakes. I am hoping these will keep the tomatoes off the ground a little better and allow for more air flow. I have a back up tomato source with the volunteer work I do for the local community garden. The tomatoes are really bothered by flea beetle this year. I find this odd because most of the brassicas are doing find and healthy looking. I have been making a tea of rhubarb leaves to spray on the leaves. It seems to be working.
The slugs are incredible this year. I have never seen so many before. I have been crushing egg shells, spreading diatomaceous earth. This weekend I think we will be having mussels for dinner so I can break up their shells too. I think ducks might just be a part of our homestead if we keep having these cool wet springs.
Some mom-friends and I have been getting together to can. Last month we canned dandelion jelly. The other day we made rhubarb salsa. It is nice to share some of this work with friends. One friend thinks that women were meant to live communally. I think there is some truth to this. It makes getting some of the jobs done more enjoyable. I love food preservation. I love watching those jars, that freezer and the herb jars fill up. It is a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the season. It is work with satisfying visible results. But there are some days that can be long when there piles of produce just waiting to be processed. It can be a pretty solitary job so sharing some time with fellow moms gives the job an extra, rewarding quality.
Our new ewes arrived last week. Freckles and Isabella. Freckles is a corriedale and Isabella is a ramboullet. Freckles is quite chatty. Isabella is a tall girl compared to other sheep we have had in the past. They are settling in nicely. Sadie is our old ewe. She is losing her sight. She is 12 years old. She has not slowed down too much but she does need a guide to get her in and out of the paddock now. Leroy Brown Goat seems to be enjoying the new additions to the flock. He could jump over the electric fence but he chooses to stay with the girls. They are ready to be moved down into the orchard to much the grass down there. Best lawn mowers in town.
I took another wild herbs class this year with a local herbalist. Last year we met at the herb shop and she went through the list of wild herbs that could be found. She had them in jars. This year I went up to her house; a little off-grid home in the mountains. I had a great morning walking her property and her country road. There is so much food and wild goodness just under our feet that the earth provides. This year I was able to identify wild lettuce, cleavers and a wild edible sedum on our land. I think we have some sasparilla on our property and I would love to find some bunch berry.
Each morning I head out the door with my basket and enameled bowls. I wander around the garden to see what seeds have poked through the soil. I take stock of the flowers in the black raspberry patch. I think it will be a good year for berries;especially, if it can dry out for a bit. Each morning I fill up my containers with herbs for the dehydrator. Daisy, raspberry leaf,bergomot, mint and catnip are filling up the old wire canning jars. Evan noticed that red clover is starting to bloom. Love that!