Wind Storms, Wildlife and Zombie Pickles

What a strange week it has been. Multiple storms with torrential downpours and high wind gusts flattened my biggest and strongest tomato plants, most on the end of each row. Surprisingly the stalks did not snap. I was near tears but Cog said we could upright them and secure the cages with 6ft. stakes cut from the wood we used to brace the fence posts when they were setting in concrete. Thank goodness Cog knew what to do and is big and strong enough to drive those tall stakes into the ground.

staking tomato cages

After talking with and reading the blogs of other gardeners and homesteaders, it sounds like everyone is very busy growing food and making hay so to speak. The weather has been a bit cold and unpredictable indeed, but I have talked to people growing their own food on mountains here in Virginia, in North Carolina, Colorado and California. We in the higher altitudes are doing alright. It is a bit cooler and more rain and run-off than usual, but manageable. Much more so than the farmers of the Midwest and driest parts of California. There is still fertile growing season left to get it done.

The raccoon alternates with the possum taking nightly strolls across the back deck these days. We caught the raccoon several more times investigating this and that. I think the cat avoids him as Tramp is always at the front door meowing to come in when the coon is spotted outside Cog’s office window facing the back deck.

The cold snap collapsed the zucchini plants and they were completely dead as of last week. Then the sun came out and the following day five of them were perky and producing again resulting in my zombie zucchini. I did make some more pickles with them, but have now taken to blanching and freezing them in vast quantities.

The first of the green beans have been picked. I also blanched and froze them by the gallon. In addition, more than 100 green peppers were picked, halved and cleaned, blanched and frozen until earnest tomatoes are ripe. Then I will use most in salsa and chili canning.

Saturday pickins

The first fifty or so tomatoes have ripened, but only in the first tomato patch. That is the area with early blight. I have begun treating them with the new organic blight cocktail of baking soda and vegetable oil in the spray water as I described in my Tomato Mania article. I will report back and let you know how it works.

The second tomato patch is without blight. I refer to these as my Russian Tomatoes and get Cog and child to roll their eyes at my bad Russian impressions of them. “Ve vill NOT get zee blight! Ve vill grow and have ze biggest tomatoes HERE!” lol The third tomato patch has very little yellowing around a few places near the bottom of the plants. The teen planted these and they are a bit too close together. But they are a happy tomato grove and I call that my Swedish Tomato patch. “Ya… Vee are very happy.

The back beans are growing like crazy, but not ready just yet. Just the tip of the beans inside are now turning purple/black, a few more weeks until mature. I may let half of them dry on the stalks for storing.

The Echinacea plants have their own pretty green metallic bees on them. This seems to be the major attraction right now as so many of our flowers barely bloomed or did not join us with all the unseasonable chilly temperatures.

green bee

I had some company join me for breakfast today. I didn’t mind them eating the last of my blooming lilies as they were on their last legs for this season.

breakfast club 2

4 thoughts on “Wind Storms, Wildlife and Zombie Pickles”

  1. It looks like you’re managing the hectic weather just fine, everything looks terrific. I just solved another mystery tea plant by eliminating Echinacea. Yea!

    Mr Pepper

  2. Mrs. C, What sort of apples are those I spy on yonder tree in the top picture?

    What’s the plan for those…apple pies, apple sauce, snacking, hard cider??

    Oh yeah, do you remove the “suckers” from your tomato plants, or just let them have at it?

    1. @Disenchanted – The apples are red delicious, fuji, and golden. Suckers on the tomatoes? Most of them I leave be. If they get unruly I eliminate them. Cog says I am a benevolent dictator.

      I am emotionally attached to the mountain deer. I don’t anticipate Bambi stew in the future. That said, put a lean BBQ venison burger on my plate and I can get it down. I admit there is a sick disconnect going on there. Have no doubt, I spend many hours on the therapy couch with Dr. Cog going over that neurosis.

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