A is for Abundance of Apples

I thought I had almost finished with apples for the year. However when I went out to pick the expected handfull left on the trees, my basket was rather full. Plus I now know there is that much again not quite ready.   The smaller apples will end up being cored and chopped up for the juicer and will join the three quarts of cider in the freezer until the weather turns cold. Then a glass of warm cider is a perfect drink for a winter’s evening. I have been making pies and crisps with the larger apples. Usually there is one for the oven and several for the freezer for easy baking deserts long after the apples are gone from the trees.

My apple orchard was planted in 2013. Two dozen tiny sticks with different varieties grafted onto the dwarfing rootstock. They were planted four to a hole, very closely with the idea that when they matured it would look more like six trees as the trunks merged. At this point the trees seem to be more interested in producing fruit than growing. Most are closer to one inch in diameter than two inches and under six feet tall. The climate here does not have enough chill hours in the winter to work with many apple varieties, so it is nice to find such a bountiful harvest.

I probably do have to find some more apple recipes though.



It Happened Again

Once again, I glanced across the garage and saw something on the floor that was not right.  I have no idea if it was the same snake as before or if it was an equally silly one.  So we repeated the catch, contain, take the photo and release routine.

Off to the Food Bank

There were just too many nice large tomatoes ripening.  We found a solution — the local food bank.  After spending the better part of an hour picking what basically five plants had to offer, we had a carload to take over to the local food bank.


There are still some that will be ripening over the next couple weeks.  Plus lots of bruised and worse that will go out past the fence for the deer and other critters to have.



too Many Tomatoes!

After processing what I picked last weekend, there were even more today. Plus many more ripening on the plants. Some of these fruits weighed in at over 1 pound, so it is way more than I can possibly use.



Harvest Time

The corn in the photo is a partial harvest from two 4′ by 8′ raised beds. These grew from seeds left over from last year. But last year the corn stalks grew only 4 to 5 feet tall and they produced few and small ears. This year the plants are 6 to 8 feet tall with plenty of large (grocery store sized) ears. It is a pleasant surprise. I wish I understood the reason and can duplicate in in future years.

This year’s garden is very different from that of the past few years. First, it got off to a later than usual start as we were making some changes to the fence line and adding some additional raised boxes. The weather this summer has been consistently cool. Gray, drippy mornings with sun breaking through around 10 or later and the fog rolling back in the evenings. The only hot spell was less than two days. Ground squirrels invaded and wiped out multiple attempts at squash, peas, beans and several other crops. But we have had good luck with tomatoes and corn — although those are ripening later than usual due to the late start.  The stone fruit was sparse — few blooms in the spring and the bushy tail critters also attacked much of that. However the pears have been bountiful and it appears apples will be likewise.

The tomato plants have grown much bigger this year than last year, I have been running a sort of trial to find varieties that do well in our climate. The previous best tomato is one Burpee stopped offering, so plants from 2016 seeds are competing against two Oregon university developed varieties and two new options from Park’s seeds. Thus now that the plants are producing, we have way too many tomatoes for our needs. At this point, it looks like one of the new Park’s varieties is going to be the winner. Next year, I will plant only two or three tomatoes plants instead of twice that.