Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Making Jam, Cucumbers Loving the Heat-I Have Fallen In Love With Succulents

What can I say about the heat here in Northern California.  I am just fine with anything up to like 90, 91, 92 even 93.  But when it is high 90s and into 104 for several days in a row.  I am wilting.
But farming doesn't stop because I am having a hard time dragging myself out to do watering, weeding, evening planting, picking.  The days just start a few hours earlier, then I stop about being out in the direct sun around 1pm.  We picked cucumbers today and I was amazed at how many cases we filled.  They just love the heat and there are many, many blossoms still coming.  Gaspacho is on the menu for tonight!
The last few days, I have spent the afternoon after working in the garden, in my sorting shed.  Believe it or not, canning!!!  It is in the shade, has a fan, music, and when it gets really really hot, I hose down the concrete floor and it just cools off again.  And any mess can be easily cleaned up outside than inside the house.
On Sunday I was in the middle of making the last of the apricots into jam when I got a call from a friend, Sarah.  She wanted to buy some beans, apricots, potatoes and a few other things because she and a girlfriend were planning on canning some items to enter into the fair this year.  I invited them all out so we could can together, which is much more fun than being by yourself.  After a few hours, we had jars all lined up on the table, 3 canners cooking and a sink full of bits and pieces of too ripe cut up vegetables and fruit that was going to the chickens that didn't make it into canning jars.  What a rewarding hot afternoon, we didn't even notice it had gotten over 100 degrees we were so busy.
All my life, I have hated cautus and succulents.  Who knows why, I just thought they were so boring, nobody ever wants to smell them and they were always rough and un-interesting.  Well never say NEVER!!!  I started liking them last year as they were creeping into my world of Pinterest and gardening magazines.  The way they were being displayed got my brain thinking I might be able to have one or two-maybe.  I suppose what really changed my mind is that the succulents started being grown in containers that I like, such as galvanized buckets; or wheelbarrows; or antique pottery. (Pictures from Pinterest)

Then one day I was shopping in a local, antique shop and in my favorite booth, the vendor had about 6-8 of the cutest BLOOMING succulents in antique ironstone pottery items.  I bought 4 of them and they are still on my kitchen table.  I am now dreaming of taking two of my old galvanized big farm buckets, filling them with the necessary succulent soil and creating my own ice plant/succulent garden.

A person can never be too old to try something new.

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