Summer garden bliss helps with the blues

My big veggie garden has exploded this summer, probably due to the fact that I set up the automatic watering to water three times a day for short periods. I think I have finally found the right formula for my climate. I was away for two weeks visiting family so naturally the weeds are doing great as well! :-) I’m slowly catching up on the weeding, though.

The new strawberry bed and new blueberry bed are both doing well. I may actually get a small crop of strawberries this year after all. I pinched off all the flowers so the plants would grow strong, and now there is a whole new crop of flowers and fruit. However, being out in the open more in the big pasture, the berries are being eaten by birds as they ripen, so I have to get out there ASAP to put some netting over the strawberries.

The other amazing thing is how my raspberry patch has exploded. I have never had this many raspberries this early in the month. My dog Sammy is a great helper when it comes to picking raspberries, but somehow they never make it into the pail! I have been leaving the berries on the lower hanging branches so my dogs can enjoy a tasty treat while I’m picking. They get so excited when I tell them to “go to the garden”, they run right out to the pasture and wait for me to open the fence for them. :-)

We have way more raspberries than we can eat and they only last about a day in the fridge, so what I do is soak them in cold water so any bugs hiding inside the berries come out, then drain them and divide them up into quart freezer bags and throw them in the freezer. I try to lay them flat while they are freezing so that they will separate more easily when they thaw out, otherwise, you end up with one big mushy lump of berries. They are great over pancakes with whipped cream!

This was the last picture ever taken of me and my dad, Jim. Happily, we were in my garden….

The “blues” part of my summer is that my dad recently passed away. Luckily I was able to be there along with my whole immediate family. My dad always liked to garden, and my mom told me that he was always trying to perfect growing tomatoes. Funnily, my sister and I both aspire to be fantastic tomato growers. The other thing we had in common with my dad is that we all were trying to perfect pickles. Last summer I had quite a few pickle consultations with my dad and my sister on the phone. My sister finally got a pickle recipe that works consistently, so as soon as my cucumbers come in I’m going to make pickles in honor of my dad. Stay tuned for that recipe.

Being out in my garden helps me deal with losing my dad – I get lost in the weeding and it helps ease the hurt. I think he’d enjoy seeing how things are coming along.


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