Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Last Weekened

Saturday was fairly slow. I had tried to water the garden on Friday because it needed it, but when I went out my neighbor's car had the window open. His driveway is right next to the garden. And he loves his car. He is always out washing it and keeping it spotless. He even has a cover for it, but it hasn't been on in a while. Needless to say I wasn't going to water on a windy day with an accident waiting to happen. I did talk to him when he got home to make sure it would be closed for Saturday morning. So early that morning the garden got watered. Luckily the melons were in the circle garden so I could keep the sprinkler from hitting them. I'm not going to water them at all at this point. And the beans in the circle garden are getting hand watered so that garden is taken care of.

The rest of Saturday was spent working in the store. I belong to an artists' co-op and I have to work about three times a month. I've decided to quit after the holiday season this year but it has been good. I've found it very useful to work there and not just to sell my bead work. It is in Porter Square and they are right next to Tags, our hardware store. After work I can just go over and pick up canning supplies. They are extremely well stocked and as cheap as I've found them anywhere.

Sunday was yet another beautiful day. I had thinning to do in the morning. The experimental mustards above were up and getting bigger each day. The Asian greens also needed thinning as they were up. I think at the end of the week I'll have to put in another succession of greens. I'll wait until our heat spell is over though. Asian greens aren't fond of 90F weather.

Doesn't it look peaceful inside the carrot row cover? The monster zucchini is trying to invade, but it keeps them (and the carrot flies) at bay. I swear every plant wants to take over the slow growing carrots. Without help they would be overrun instantly. But the reason I'm showing the carrots is because they were weeded on Sunday. Some of the weeds were bigger than the carrots and that is just not right. The carrots are growing well. I might have to water them again by hand. They are pretty small and the weather is going to be hot and sunny the next several days.

Sunday is a family day for the Goulds. My daughter is in Canada, my son is in Providence, and we are in Boston. So we all get online and play games together for the day. We use Mumble to talk to one another. My daughter always complains when we miss a Sunday (since anyone can cancel if they are busy with something else). We were almost done playing when I got a phone call. I have some friends with some fruit trees and their plum tree fruited for the first time ever.

And boy did it fruit. We estimated that we had about 70lbs. Not all the plums were in the photograph. Plus there were the peaches too, but the peaches were not plentiful, only the plums.

We had six people cutting and peeling at a time. Luckily their kitchen is huge. They have three sinks, two dishwashers, and two ovens, one of which I commandeered for keeping the jars hot. I was the only one canning that night, but one other took a huge pot home with cut plums to can the next day (12 pounds of plums in her jam pot). I wish I had brought some half pint jars, but with so many plums I brought three cases of pint jars.

Personally I made 2 1/4 pints of jam. And 9 pints of syrup. I had no recipes with me so I just tossed them together. No pectin jam works well with 2 cups of fruit to 1 cup of sugar with a little bit of lemon juice. So I went with that. It set up perfectly.

I did a little more sugar for the syrup. A real syrup would be strained through a cheese cloth, but I like the fruit in my syrup. I did strain out the peels with a colander though. My immersion blender will puree the peels, but the one we had was old and not as sharp. If I could have I would have left the peels in too. I figure that has a lot of the plum goodness in them like fiber and minerals. Syrup is bad enough for you with all the sugar, I hate taking out the few good parts.

In addition to what I made, there was some peach ice cream with plum sauce to put over the top. It was divine. And some plum tarts, which I didn't stay for. Some peach Popsicles and some plum sauce that was made to be like apple sauce. We started with seven buckets of fruit. In the end there were two left I think. Jan our hostess was going to make some plum chutney. I left a box of jars and lids with her. I also left my canner and jar lifter. They have always used tongs as a lifter. They loved the jar lifter though and said they needed to get one. And they just use regular pots to can, but my canner is perfect and fits 7 pint jars with no wasted space (or wasted water to heat up). I'm going to go over today to pick up some of my jam and syrup. I didn't want to bring it home in a car while it was cooling. It probably wouldn't stay sealed that way.

I've never been to a canning party before. It is much more fun than doing it alone. I never have the produce myself to invite anyone over though. I think those are my only friends with fruit trees and usually they don't get all that much fruit. They said that happened with their peach trees too. The first year the tree went wild and produced a lot. But since then they don't produce nearly as much. I hope that doesn't hold true for my peach tree. I want lots of peaches every year. I know they don't prune or thin like I do though. Hopefully that will be what keeps them producing.


  1. Well, I hope you don't decide you don't like plums...

  2. I've been using my stick blender to puree tomatoes for juice. I do run it through a sieve to get out the seeds and some peel, but my juice is kind of half way between juice and sauce. I like it that way, and my husband says it's great in his red beer. I think we needlessly toss out half the nutrients when we process some of our fruits. A canning party would be nice. I never have anyone around when there is work to be done. My family thinks W-O-R-K is a four letter word!

  3. A canning party sounds like a lot of fun! I bet it was nice to share the harvest with like minded individuals. Your fall carrots look good. I saw that mine had just as many weeds as carrots. I am allowing both to mature a little further before I weed. Hopefully, the carrots will be ok.

  4. I've never been to a canning party either. That is a lot of plums! I wish I had a bigger kitchen. With that many people we would be tripping over each other. The peach ice cream sounds yummy. And the peach popsicles gave me an idea. We have peaches, we have popsicle molds, it shouldn't be hard to put the two together.

  5. What a lot of plum goodness at that canning party! That was nice of you to be considerate of your neighbor's car. I have a few carrots up like that too. Hot and humid today! Hoping to get some rain after midnight and tomorrow! Need it so very bad. Nancy

  6. Daphne, I found you through the Oregon Cottage and I am so impressed with your journal of gardening. You really are an inspiration. I have linked to Daphne's Dandelions on my most recent post - "Be Beautiful - Have Fun," as a woman who likes to garden and write. -Savannah