Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Food in the summer garden

Life goes on.  A third chickie has become our dinner, and his bones are in the freezer ready to make stock.  He was still small-ish (bigger than the first two, but smaller than any of the adults) but had also begun crowing, so it was into the pot with him.  His demise was only slightly less traumatic than the first.  Partner dispatched him.
There now remain three male chicks, none of whom are attempting much at crowing.  They're almost as big as the adults now, but still lowest in the pecking order, with moderately gentle personalities (the little crowers were a bit more aggressive).  Luckily everyone has now integrated fairly smoothly, though the adults and juveniles still sleep separately.  If the males continue to stay quiet, we will probably not kill them until autumn.  Partner sadly told me that the chicks have outgrown their "mama" now--they not longer come running to him.
Typical kale leaf
More food is growing and being harvested in the garden now.  My new season's kale is my biggest ever;  the most successful variety, Sutherland, is not very tall, but still has an abundance of huge leaves.  I only need about 6-8 leaves for dinner, and as I have more than that many plants, I can easily pick several days in a row.  Sorrel and chard are also big and leafy, and while there are only a half dozen lettuces, there is enough to pick leaves for a couple salads a week. 
Drying fragrant rose petals
Mainly picking leafy greens at the moment;  I anticipate leafy greens will feature heavily on the menu the rest of this year!  Franklin's been eating a strawberry a day for the past week, and it looks as though the cherries, blackcurrants, and raspberries will soon follow--probably about as many raspberries as strawberries, but the cherry tree is loaded, as are the currant bushes. 

Willow arch, leading from patio to lawn
I'm hoping to harvest peas soon, as they've burst out all over in flowers and are forming tiny pods;  the runner beans also have little red blossoms, ready to pop out plenty of beans all summer long.  Last year all my beans died in the New Fence Disaster, and the few peas that grew (in a container) went straight from the plant into Franklin's mouth. 
Rose bouquet
As well as using them fresh, I'm also picking and drying herbs for winter use:  rosemary, hyssop, sage, oregano, lemon balm.  I had hoped to dry some mint, but mine took a severe beating over winter and has barely survived;  not sure how that happened:  I thought you couldn't kill mint even if you tried!  I hope to preserve some vegetables for the winter:  runner beans at the very least.

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