Thursday, July 5, 2018

Summer bounty in full swing

This happens every year in July: the food bounty comes on so hard and fast, we get overwhelmed.  It's an incredible berry and fruit year, and we need more hours in the day to pick them all: 

There's red and blue huckleberries in our forests, and salmon berries, thimble berries and Oso berries beckoning us on our walks.  I wrote an essay in the Llewellyn's 2018 Herbal Almanac about wild berries and why they are so good for you to eat (order it here <---).

Then there are cherries in our orchard that we have to pick before the birds get them, and fortunately our kids are very motivated to beat the winged creatures to these sweet treasures.

Some mornings, little Eva is out there climbing on the ladder to grab cherries from the tree before I even had my coffee.

We also grow a bunch of Goumi berries in our yard, because they are famous for their high nutritional, anti-oxident content, especially a high lycopene content (cancer prevention and heart health).  You can order a plant here <---.

They taste okay to me, a little tart, with a big seed inside, but the kids ADORE them.  Spitting seeds at each other while picking berries is a plus, of course.

And finally, to add to the picking-the-abundance-overwhelm, raspberry and strawberry you-pick at Cascadian Farm opened.  This famous farm is only 15 minutes away from our homestead, which is dangerous because they have excellent berries, ice cream and coffee.

You can imagine that our garden is going nuts.  The potatoes bloomed already, and I bet if I stuck my hand in the soil right now, I could steal some new potatoes already.

We've had a bunch of rain in June, so it's a jungle out there.  All the plants are happy, including the honeysuckle that has taken over one side of our house and keeps climbing higher every year.

My potted herbs on the porch and free-ranging herbs in the garden are thriving as well, and I already dried a decent amount of majoram, oregano, sage, basil, thyme and peppermint.

The past few weeks have brought a flurry of celebrations: my birthday first, then our wedding anniversary, and a couple of days later Steve's birthday.  Oh, and Father's Day, which we spent camping in the Methow Valley!

Our son Luke, who has taken over cake-baking-duties in our household, has been feverishly cranking out goodies.  He's better at cakes than I am, which is saying a lot because I'm a pretty good baker.

It's a good thing we have many bottles of homemade blackberry wine with all these celebrations!

Our cabin is coming along nicely.  Steve and the boys are working on it, while Steve is teaching them how to build from the ground up.  And our friend came over for a few hours as well, so progress is happening!

Eva and I help, too, when time comes to raise a wall.  You can watch the action happen in our "Homesteading in Paradise June Highlights" movie here <---.

Luke, mountain biker extraordinaire, takes advantage of the height of the floor platform, hurling himself into the abyss on his bike, while I watch with my heart in my throat.

Other news of the month: Our oldest kid is driving.  Kai is going to driver's ed and is getting lots of practice driving, since driver's ed is one hour away (one way).  So he's driving two hours every time we drive to town, with me on the passenger seat knitting, contemplating how fast these kids are growing up, and compulsively watching out for any lurking dangers on the road...

Is this crazy, or what???

I have to spend lots of time on our homestead in the wilderness to decompress from the stress of my son driving, I tell ya.

Today, I'll leave you with images of my daughter making natural cleaners with lemon-infused vinegar, Borax and baking soda...

Steve enjoying his morning coffee...

And our dog Raka, whose jaw was paralyzed for over a week, but who's fine again...

And you?  How are you doing?  Are you getting hit by harvesting-the-bounty overwhelm?


  1. Love the pictures ! So much wonderful bounty. Wish we had all the wild ones where I live. We just don't have those kind of berries here.
    The picture of you and your daughter where you are standing under a trellis. What is growing on the trellis? I thought it looked like grapes but was not sure.Enjoy the bounty you are truly blessed!


  2. Hi, thanks. Loved reading your blog post/update! Yes, it rained tons here too. My cucumbers and moonflowers shot up super fast and high they have started climbing up onto the branches of the neighboring pine tree to go as high as they want. I put strings across and over my door to encourage and train them to go there to also provide some shade. Meanwhile because of all the rain, and tons of vines, the bottom leaves started yelliwing and its ruining them all. Ugh!!! I did find out that by planting moonflowers or morning glories next to my cucumbers that whatevwr bug it is, prefers to munch on the moonflower/morning glory leaves and doesnt bother my cucumber leaves. My mel9ne are really l9ving the hot humid weather and some of the leaves are almost a foot in diameter. For me, and my experience gardeing, i am in awe. My tomato plants are almost 6 feet tall. They are just now starting to flower and hi saw 1 green 2" bulb already this morning. My corn is struggling but steadfast, my lettuce bolted, the kale and collards are trying a comeback from all the rain, and my cabbage has disappeared, my beans are doing great though as are the peas and radishes. I trued plantinf german chamomile and it doesnt seem to be coming up... them again... i dont know what the sprouts look like and I am hoping i didnt pull them out inadvertantly thinking it was a weed. Ugh. Have some google searching to do. The pepper plants are also loving this weather, and have some n8ce fruit already. No major harvedt yet except for my mint. I just harvedted tons this afternoon. Can relate to the herb drying hanging bundles in your house! Me too lol!! Peace, goodluck out there. Barb


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