Summer Breeze

With the bulk of the spring garden planting completed, June is time to enjoy the early, newness of summer before the novelty wears off.  There’s lots of maintenance to do in the garden – weeding, watering, and bug patrol.  But there’s also lots of good things to eat, such as strawberries, asparagus, and salad greens!  Broccoli and snap peas are nearly ready.  There’s beginning to be a surplus to put aside for later.  Early crops to harvest and dry include walking onions, culinary and tea herbs like mints, oregano, and lemon balm, spring mushrooms if we’re lucky, and of course extra berries.  With the lack of tree fruits this year berries, as juice or dried, will be a welcome addition to the winter menus.  Unlike most years when rhubarb is only cherished picked fresh for a meal, this year we’ve dried some to help stand in for our usual winter staples of apples and pears.  It’s also looking to be a good year for wild blackberries around here.  Plans are to put up some of them for the table as well.

Early summer is less demanding than later in the harvest season and so it’s a good time to squeeze in some special events or social get-togethers.  The Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin takes place June 15th-17th, 2012.  Larisa will be doing her usual workshops on Eating Year-Round from the Garden, Root Cellaring, and Food Preservation.  Check out for more info.

In other home news our “Poopane” (methane digester) project is now up and supposedly running. It’s a bit early to see any signs of activity in terms of gas production since we’ve just gone through a cold spell with nights in the 45F range. Methane production peaks at 90F and stops at 50F so we’ll see what the warmer days and nights bring. The baby chickens are now almost 8 weeks old and are definitely looking and acting more “chickenly”.  They’ve graduated from indoor pen to their outdoor chicken palace, at first spending the colder nights with a 30-watt flood lamp for heat. Now they have full run of the orchard are are heartily supplementing their organic grain mix with leaves and bugs. Hopefully they will cut back on some of the bug populations that previously damaged our apples, although the late spring freezes we saw will probably disrupt some of the usual pest cycles anyway. Either way, chickens sure are entertaining!

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