Harvest time has commenced, even though it seems like spring has barely left. We’ve been sampling our Caribe potatoes for a few weeks now (awesome!), and the garlic is cured & ready for long term storage. The zucchinis are kicking in, and the carrots are just big enough to start pulling. And most tasty of all – the tomatoes are ripening! After a few cold wet summers that ended in blight and rows & rows of rotten green tomatoes, we have cut down the amount we plant, and only go for a few early cold-tolerant varieties. The favorite so far is Stupice, a Czechoslovakian import that tastes great and seems pretty foolproof.
The dehydrator has paid for itself a few times over now. The cherries turned out perfect, and will be a welcome addition to our winter diet. We’re also making room for Patty Pig in the freezer by turning out batches of beef jerky. The dehydrator turns thin-sliced marinated london broil into savory snacks. Alton Brown has a great recipe here – Beef Jerky
Seven Trees is a bit late for the traditional observance of beating the bounds, but the nice weather is condusive to getting out and spending some quality time with all the the nooks and crannies here. In the not-too-distant past, people didn’t have a lot of book-learnin and had to pass on the details of property boundaries the hard way – walking the bounds. Somehow our ancestors decided the knowledge would sink in better if there were hijinks involved, so all kinds of customs arose to make the occasion memorable. Sometimes people were beaten with willow branches at each boundary marker. Sometimes they were tossed into nettle patches. But a common theme was picnicking and drinking; so much so that religious folk at various times spoke out against the custom.
One seaside town even had to contend with pirates while marking the boundary between harbor and open sea, as this 1965 video shows.
The southeast corner of Seven Trees has a brushy patch of thimbleberry, wild phlox, daisy and snowberries. The bees love this area and are taking advantage of the tiny pink snowberry flowers. It’s always a good idea to leave a little wild habitat, since we never know what the weather will do to the “tame” plants, and it’s just plain fun to stand out there listening to hundreds of bees gathering nectar for winter storage.