Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Summer Solstice 2014

'Gold Nugget' tomatoes ripe on June 12
Beets to add some color
Welcome first day of summer 2014! Summer solstice, known in ancient time as Midsummer and in the Christian era as John the Baptist’s birthday (six months before Christmas), has been celebrated for all of recorded human history; sources say we feel significantly happier at this time of year, most likely due to lengthening daylight hours.1 Farmers and homesteaders, always tied to cycles, know that summer means extra work and long days. As we’ve sown diligently, we reap the firstfruits of an abundant harvest. Blessings abound; there is much for which to give thanks.
White garlic (not elephant)

It’s time to pull canning jars out of storage and gather food in the harvest (the homesteader’s version of Solomon’s proverb). We welcomed tomatoes almost a month early this year thanks to different heirloom varieties.  Summer isn’t summer without a batch of our overnight refrigerator dill pickles; I host a much-anticipated pickle party in the work office each June.

Dill heads are an ingredient for great
pickles; picked an average
of 28 cukes per day!

We feel reward, seeing a plate of roast chicken and a variety of fruits and vegetables, realizing we grew everything here. Taking Solomon’s advice in time of abundance, we ladle produce into canning jars for a leaner time; maybe it will remind us of summer sunshine and rain when we open these jars. Who needs an excuse to celebrate when there’s sweet corn, blueberry pie, kids running through the sprinkler, and fireflies at dusk.

Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
Red and black raspberries, and blackberries; these went into triple-berry jam

White onions, many the size of softballs, drying in the barn
Sweet corn silked out June 15; it will be ready by the 4th of July

1Message me for citation

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Dedicated to the responsible production and preservation of healthy home-grown food to the glory of God. Isaiah 55:10 The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. Organic, or not? We try to raise vegetables organically, using compost and manure. The addition of chickens to our hobby farm means plenty of organic nitrogen to compost! This site gives credible reference to planting information contained in the Farmer's Almanac (