Olivia has been organizing fantastic bulk buys of local fruit for our buying club. I ordered a flat each of apricots and peaches with visions of a winter's bounty of organic unsulphured dried apricots dancing in my head. These drying racks are my first solo carpentry project. It took over a week of sunshine to dry tiny red currants. I'm wondering if it is possible to really sun dry fruit in this climate. An electric dehydrator may be in our future, but I hesitate. I am certifiably kitchen gadget crazy and shouldn't give in to this base desire willy-nilly. This year alone an apple peeler, cherry stoner, blender, rice cooker, meat grinder, pasta machine, mandoline, potato masher, skimmer and others have come to live with the toaster, stand mixer, cuisinart, crockpot, grain mill, and ice cream maker. I had planned to dry blueberries and cranberries for a year's worth of muesli as well as sun-dried tomatoes. Is an electric dehydrator a need or a want? We could make salmon jerky with it....
Our container garden is fruiting like crazy! The 15 or so tomato plants are heavy with green fruit, but when oh when will they ripen? We purchased all our seedlings at the Urban Farm Store this year. They had a lovely variety of heirlooms and others that struck our fancy. We went heavy on the dark purple and paste varieties. The sweet and hot peppers are profuse, as are tomatillas.
The ever bearing strawberries are still putting fruit in our morning yogurt. My favorites are the mingnonettes. I would like to quadruple our supply for next year. We have half a dozen corn stalks in a maybe 40 gallon container with the pumpkin vines. They are all very happy. I'm pleased as punch that the corn is doing so well. It was really an afterthought.
I've been picking all the cucumbers at 1-2 inches and picking them as cornichons. Yum! I think we'll head out to Sauvie Island Farms later this week for real pickling cukes, more beans to dilly, and whatever else we can find. Bea and I spent some very satisfying days there last year.
Finally, all three chickens are all laying. First off was Heena, a Rhode Island Red. What an exciting day that was! We knew it must be her. She left clues of reddish brown feathers near her brown eggs. Sally Henny Penny, the Plymouth Rock Barred, is, I think, our favorite chicken. I just love to watch her feathery bottom waddle around the yard. She also seems to be the gal most affected by her new bodily function. She started sneaking into the house and climbing up into bushes to peek in the windows a few days prior to her first egg. Last but not least, Hammock, an Araucana, took her sweet time, but now supplies the prettiest blue eggs. They have all become a bit more friendly, especially with Bea. She's become quite the expert poultry wrangler. And, my gosh, have they all gotten LOUD! Bea has an idea that they all need husbands now.