Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Rain at Last
Finally, rain has rolled in to soak the parched soil. The rain has fueled a growth surge in all the plants. A new round of bachelor buttons opened its blue blooms to the clouds. Though we often carried on working through the summer showers, the rain occasionally sent us indoors. That made this week the perfect time to set up some pickles.
Our bumper crop of Boston cucumbers turned into a hefty set of dill pickles. While Concetta cleaned and prepared the jars, I mixed up pickling spice of peppercorn, coriander, allspice, bay leaves, and dill seeds. I wrapped the mix in cheese cloth and used it as a tea bag in the vinegar, sugar, and salt heating on the stove. When the pickling juice was ready, Concetta ladled it over jars packed with cucumbers, fresh dill leaves, garlic, and mustard seed. The sanitized tops went on and the jars got boiled for a few minutes. When they were ready, we set them on the counter to cool, waiting for the classic pop to know they were sealed and ready to start curing. Unfortunately, I have to wait a month to taste them, but I've marked my calendar.
Tending the Flowers
We turned our attention to the flower garden, weeding, mulching, and harvesting old blooms. Every time I harvest flowers from the black-eyed Susans or snapdragons, I feel like I've killed the whole entire plant. But within a few days there's more blooms than before. The plants are vigorously investing in looking beautiful, I suppose.
It takes hours to weed and mulch half a dozen beds, but the garden looks somehow happier afterwards. The hay mulch will help the soil retain water when the rain leaves again.
Cloudy Day Harvests
A few rogue blueberries are blushing blue. The bushes are only two years old, so the harvests will be small for now. Still, they make nice snacks. The ancient plum trees have, against all odds, produced 3 whole plums. They may be full of bugs and split with rain, but the few good bites are wonderful.
At our home garden, Lillian and I pulled a crop of garlic from the ground. We rinsed the bulbs lightly, tied them in bundles, and hung them up to cure. In a few weeks they will have formed a papery husk. For now a few fresh bulbs live by our stove and add a mild, sweet flavor to everything I cook.