Garden Daybook 7/18/13

It’s been a crazy week here in the country. It’s been HOT everyday and the garden is suffering. Bean leaves are yellowing, pepper flowers are dropping, and everything seems to be gasping for breath.

I did manage to fork the garlic out of the ground. The leaves have been getting yellow and flopping over so I knew it was ready to harvest. It was HOT this morning – in the 90’s by 9:30 a.m. I knew the bulbs had to be dug or they would start to deteriorate. Just do it Fran! I loosened the garlic with a three tined fork,trimmed the roots and tops, and hung bunches from the rafters of the garden shed. I needed a shower when I was finished but seeing the bulbs trimmed and hanging in the shed made it all worthwhile. Boy am I glad that is DONE.

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Some of the bulbs were too mature – meaning that they were in the ground too long. Garlic bulbs left too long in the ground start to pull apart and will not cure or store well so . . . I trimmed the roots and tops and gathered them into a small basket. I will clean and peel the bulbs, chop them finely, and load them into the dehydrator. My jar of last year’s dried garlic is just about empty so this years harvest is well timed.

garlic too maturesmall

July is sour cherry time and I knew I would have to make time to can some for winter pies, cobblers, etc. On June 10 I ordered 30 pounds of pitted sour cherries from Apple Hill, a favorite bulk food store. Or . . so I thought. I was told that they would be ready the second week of July. So I dutifully called the store the second week of July and HUH?? They had no idea what I was talking about. “We don’t take orders for sour cherries!” But . . . someone there did! I swear they did!! “No, sorry we just don’t take orders for sour cherries.” Well!!!! I opened my date book and sure enough there it was – written down in the little square for June 10 – Ordered cherries from Apple Hill. What the??!! About that time I noticed the phone number – the Apple Hill Bulk food store has a 440 number and this mysterious Apple Hill was a 419 number. So I called the 419 number and THEY knew all about my cherry order. It would be ready on July 16 and I could pick it up any time that day. Okay, but where is your orchard? We’re in Richland County – RICHLAND COUNTY! That is two counties over! Gads!! What have I done? I felt responsible for those ordered cherries so somehow we would have to make the time to figure out where this new Apple Hill was and spend over an hour – one way – finding it. So we did. We downloaded a Google map – and that right there was an omen.

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The cherries were ordered. It’s July 16. Let’s go get ’em. We left home at 2:20 and followed our Google map. It didn’t take us long to figure out that, up till then, we had traveled in a complete square and seemed to be heading back to where we had started. All of a sudden we were on a main highway and headed toward Mansfield. Okay – we were heading TOWARD the orchard. At 2:30 we found ourselves facing a detour sign.You have to understand that my husband Greg will not follow a prescribed detour. He has to find a faster way. So we did and eventually found ourselves on the other side of the “bridge out”. We were back on the Google map and headed toward Mansfield. AT 2:52 we found ourselves at the Richland County line. Yay! At 3:09 we hit stop and go traffic. Gads!! At 3:40 p.m. we FOUND APPLE HILL! Yay! One hour and twenty minutes – not TOO bad!

apple hill sign small

The cherries were packed into 10 pound and 30 pound buckets and filled a cooler at one end of the sales room. AND, as I soon discovered, they were PITTED! I was totally ignorant of the fact that they would be pitted. What a relief – that meant that canning my 30 pound bucket o’cherries would take way less time. Yay!

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Here is the object of out trip – a 30 pound bucket of PITTED cherries. $72.85 worth of pitted cherries! Gads!! It took us all of 10 minutes to pay for the cherries and load them into the car.

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Back at home I tore the refrigerator apart and managed to fit the bucket on the lowest shelf. The next afternoon Nick pried off the lid and Yay! Cherries! They were gorgeous!

Apple hill bucket 'o cherriessmall

I drained the cherries and added 1/2 cup of pineapple juice per measured quart, brought the fruit to a boil, and funneled it into hot, wide mouth quart jars and used my Tattler, reusable, lids to top the jars.I processed them in a water bath canner for 20 minutes and Done! Total = 12 quarts+ 1 pint = a bit less than $6 a quart.

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It’s been a long hot day but look what we have. All the garlic is dug and curing and 30 pounds of cherries are canned. Yay! All this hot work will be forgotten this winter when we are chopping fresh garlic and baking cherry pies. Not a bad trade off.

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

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