In a Pickle, In a Jam

So I mentioned that the garden went crazy while we were in Maine. I came home to six cucumbers ready to be picked, and lots more baby ones. The tomato plants are crazy big and loaded with green tomatoes. Unfortunately, they are crowding out the peppers and basil. I should have planted according to height.

The cucumbers are Boston pickling cucumbers so I immediately set out to pickle them. Most of us here prefer pickles to cucumbers. It was not hard; I followed a recipe from the Kitchn for refrigerator pickles. Easier than doing full-blown canning. I haven’t tasted them yet though. They need to chill in the fridge a few days at least.

The onions are starting to bust out of the ground. The carrots are doing well, continuing to get a little bigger. I just keep pulling them and eating them as I want them. With the 90-degree weather, they may get “woody” tasting, but from what I’m reading, seems like I can keep them in the ground through the fall and that woody taste will go away.

The pumpkins are vining and flowers are imminent.

I suspect that something is eating what would have grown into beans. I feel like I should have had some beans by now. The broccoli is completely eaten away, leaf-wise, but I don’t think it was going to flower anyway. I’m still watering it in the hopes it will make a recovery in the fall.

I’m excited about the onions. Knock on wood, if they turn out OK, there’s about 14 out there. That’s like 14 weeks’ worth of onions for us — they are storage-type onions.

I’ve been keeping my eye on a property near the Shore. It’s got a small house that needs a lot of work, but it’s on an acre of land. I looked up the laws, and in this town, if you have an acre, you can have farm animals. I also looked up the temperature, and while it’s sweltering here lately, it’s like 10 degrees cooler there. Oh and the house has a fireplace. Sold! I told the kids about it, and they were less than enthused until I told them we could have a goat. Then they were on board.

Update: the pickles taste too vinegary. Also, too hot (too much red pepper) for me. Nice crispy texture though. Will try again with the next batch that are about ready to be picked.

Since returning from Maine, I’ve been on a cleaning/decluttering mission. I guess my general feeling is that if I must be stuck in humid Jersey, and mostly stuck in the house due to the heat, the house might as well be as pleasant, clean and nice-smelling as possible. The kitchen is now very decluttered and clean and I’ve kept it that way for a week. Yesterday (Saturday) I really went on a tear. I was washing all the blankets and pillowcases in the family room, cleaning the GP cage, washing blankets and towels from upstairs, washing clothes. Everything went on the line until thunderstorms began to threaten. I went through the playroom, rounded up a bag of trash/broken toys, and filled a plastic storage container with toys to hide in the basement a while. I measured the family room carpet with an eye to replace it. It’s 10+ years old and it’s had a rough life.

Today I’d like to tackle the playroom further and clean more. Just clean everything, every surface. There is pretty much nothing here that couldn’t stand to be cleaned. 🙂

I’d also like to go pick out new carpet, order garlic for fall planting, work on the rest of the fall planting plan, and call my BFF. But I also need to figure out something to do with the kids.

Yesterday morning, Gemma and I hit the farmers’ market. Looking like peak season there! So many different kinds of produce. We got peaches, corn, lemons, yogurt and steaks from Hillacres Pride, a baguette from Wildflour Bakery, organic green beans (Savoie Farm, I think?), free-range eggs. Today we’re going to have the steaks on the grill, plus hot dogs, corn, and yellow squash, probably baked with cheese and breadcrumbs. And lemonade. The peaches, I plan to turn into something to serve over ice cream.

I’ve been looking up info on what to do with my tomatoes when they are ready. Seems like I might be able to avoid canning and just freeze stuff. Kind of depends how far I want to take this.

This past week was low-key. Spent a few afternoons/evenings at the pool. One morning, we went to the Discovery Museum since Gemma has been asking to go for months (and lately, asking every day). That was not cheap but we skipped the gift shop and snack bar at least. Aidan had a soccer training session one night at the park, and Thursday night was basketball and tumbling at the Y. Aidan loves basketball, but Gemma, surprisingly, is not taking to tumbling. On Thursday, she actually feigned the need to go to the bathroom, came out of the studio, and told me she didn’t want to finish the class. Not sure what to do about this next week (I didn’t make her finish — she was crying).

I also spent a morning getting up to speed on financial stuff. Did good with the budget for June, had a small surplus. Totaled up my Maine spending — not frugal, but I don’t usually try to be when on vacation. In general, have to keep things tight and on track for the time being. Expenses are looming — more dentist visits, wedding gifts, fall soccer registration and gear, school supplies.

This week: will try to continue eating from the garden/pantry/fridge/freezer, limited grocery shopping.



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