Midsummer photo dump

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Queen Annes Lace. (Wild carrot, not to be mistaken for the very scary water hemlock that grows on the other side of the lawn and kills you.)

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Some of the last of the black raspberries ripening. They’re almost all done.

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Butterfly Weed living up to its name and producing lots of flowers. over 6′ tall and the cones of flowers are like 4″-8″.

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Our first bean flower. This one is Dragon Langerie Bush Bean. They’ve been OK, these are our first bush beans ever. The Tavera bush beans weren’t very good as almost none of the seeds came up. Major disappointment.

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Daylillies that grow in our yard and are super pretty. I love the layered look.

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Little baby blue hubbard squash. We have about 10 this size out there. Time will tell if they are pollinated properly or not.

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Radish seed pods. We let a bunch of them go to seed so we can save the seeds from them. Once they’re dry on the plant they get picked, husked, dried a bit more then stored for the future. A lot of our plants are open pollinated so we can do that with them. This is one of our most consistent plants every year. They’re amazing.

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French breakfast radishes, ready to be eaten any time now.

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Fernleaf dill, threatening to flower. Very soft and nice.

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Slicer tomatoes. Still small, about half the size of the pastes. These are even more more expensive than the Plum Regals and only half of them came up. But they have been very disease resistant and positive otherwise.

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Paste tomatoes, for canning and making tomato sauce for pasta and pizza. Coming in strong. This is a new variety for me (Plum Regal) and they’re doing really well. They’re expensive but I’m probably going to do them again in the future. No disease! All my previous paste tomatoes had serious fungal disease problems but these ones are very resistant!

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Cascasdia sugar snap peas. We’re on the last flush of peas but they’re still going fairly well and we’re getting a good number every day. They’re supposed to be a dwarf variety (2-3ft) but they grew to about 4′.

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Skinny cayenne peppers. Almost all our peppers are under ripe still.

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Very productive jalapeno plants, doing really well.

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The squash/beans garden. It consumes all. That’s a 15’x3′ garden bed. The squash has extended its vines WELL past the boundaries on all sides.

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Itty bitty habeneros. The hottest peppers we’re growing.

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Anaheims, a medium hot pepper that grows big.

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The main garden. A little overgrown but doing really well. Things are really starting to explode!

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Brulee butternut squash, an “advanced” variant of honeynut that just isn’t doing very well for me. They’re supposed to be better but I like them less as half as many sprouted and they’re not fruiting as fast. But time will tell if they grow more lbs of food. Both honey nut and brulee are very new squash types.

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Honey nut butter nut squash. These lil squashes are gonna get about 1-2lbs. Personal pan squashes with a really high sugar content. Sweeter than pie pumpkins.

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B I G baby blue hubbard. Just starting to get its blue color but bigger than a coconut already. It’ll be about 5lbs full grown. Which is tiny compared to normal hubbards that get to be like 20lbs.

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The chicks! Only 12 weeks but they’re huge!

 

This week

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Black Rasperries

These came from some wild canes I have been nurturing in my back lawn. A bit under two years ago my sister asked me if I wanted to dig up some awful thorny berry canes from her back yard where they were growing in deep shade and forest-like conditions. She said she just cut them back every year and hated having to do it and was going to dig them up herself and throw them out if I didn’t. She didn’t want those nasty thorns in her back yard. So I came and dug them up, and planted them along my fence in the perpetual shade line. Last year the canes were pretty useless as well. Birds ate almost every berry before I could get to them, but this year I hung up some netting as the berries started to ripen. Remember how I have been struggling to fill that shade line, since, well, forever ago? Well now I have successfully turned at least part of it into something productive and delicious!

I collected two bowls of these berries this week. And right after I finished picking them I carried one out to my sister to share since she was outside with her kid. She tried some and proceeded to proclaim how great tasting they were. She said they were just like candy and it didn’t take long for us to finish off the whole bowl. The irony of these amazing berries coming from a plant she hated was probably lost on her but I had a good chuckle over it, and I had a whole second bowl of berries waiting for me at home.

I’ve been slowly filling in the shade line with these awesome canes, and I don’t regret it! A small patch appears to be capable of providing me with a fair amount of fruit, which is something our little homestead lacks dramatically. I am expanding the patch with other kinds of berries as well and I’m looking forward to seeing what they look like next year. All around, these berry canes have been a very good experience.

 

We also have some new chicks this morning! Three weeks ago we were nervous – our oldest hen stopped laying suddenly and refused to move from the nest box. I was worried – was she egg bound? Turns out she was just broody. It’s been so long since I’ve had a broody bird that I almost didn’t recognize it!

So we marked some of our eggs, a full dozen, and tucked them under her. There have been some mishaps. An egg getting knocked out of the nest for hours here or there for example, or some of the eggs that were set were a bit older, or unlikely to be fertile on the part of the particular hen that laid them. But so far at least 5 healthy chicks have hatched! Three yellow, one brown and one black.

The garden is starting to fill in as well. We have one wee little evil groundhog left, marauding for kale leaves. Soon it might start targeting other plants and that’s something I will be striving to prevent. Soon we will be harvesting more zucchini than we can eat!

 

Conveniently for my goal of writing less I don’t have many words for my own farming today. My heart is heavy for the families of the hundreds of agricultural workers in my state that have been ripped from their homes and shipped to concentration camps, their children taken with no plan for reunification. The most recent update to this policy is to hold these people in concentration camps indefinitely.
Not only will these people suffer for it, but so will agriculture in the USA as a whole. Our entire food system that feeds america, especially for poor people, relies on imported labor. Half of all seasonal farm jobs, such as picking vegetables, are done by human without a legal status and many aren’t certain if the USA’s agricultural system will hold up to these policies. They even pay taxes without receiving benefits, helping to fund welfare services that help serve senior citizens, our farm bills and even veterans. Without these folks, our nation will not only be literally factually poorer, but have trouble even feeding it’s people.

I think people often forget that the people who supported Japanese internment camps 75 years ago considered themselves to be patriots simply protecting their country from foreigners who threatened it. The children of those families, who grew up seeing the holding of thousands of humans in concentration camps as celebrated patriotism, are very much alive today. They were people with families, who loved each other, who felt proud of their actions, who felt safer for it. But it was terrible and cruel. You don’t have to be a mean person to support horrible things.

We can do better. Much better. And tomorrow I will join thousands of people across the country to ask for the reversal of these inhuman policies that target people based on the color of their skin or the language they speak. There are no white faces in these concentration camps, no blonde haired blue eyed babies are being ripped from their mother’s arms. It’s clear that this has nothing to do with them being foreigners (note that “improper entry” to the USA is a misdemeanor – legally speaking, taking a candy bar from a grocery store is often a more serious offence), especially the raids in my state. We are on the northern border and most of the illegal entry into our state is done by white people from the Canadian border. Yet it’s only people with dark skin being arrested and confined, even in this state. It’s simply racial profiling, an othering tactic of fascism, and my heart aches for the victims of it.

I can only hope that people in the USA can recognize the correlations between these actions and the history of terrible atrocities in the history of the world stand together and unite for these human beings’ rights.

If you’re out there with me tomorrow, good luck and be safe.