Hi ho the dario the farmer in the woods.

Last of the broccoli

Here we are.  Mid to late September.  Still working in the garden in front of our house.  Still pulling plants (feeding them to the deer who have been zapped away from the garden by the handy electric fence) and harvesting delicious broccoli, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, green onions, kale and beets.

It’s suppose to get down into the 30’s tonight.  Frost is predicted “inland”.  We’re not really inland…we’re a half mile from the moderating warmth of Lake Superior.  Still, one gets nervous.  What if it drops below 38 or 35 degrees?  Luckily, I have a husband who goes to bed after midnight.  He’ll know if the thermometer is shivering toward the freezing mark.

Lots of green onions left

I spent maybe forty-five minutes putzing in the garden today.  Here, you deer! Eat this brussels sprout plant which will never produce a decent sprout.  Eat these yellowed and hole-filled kale.  Would you guys like some basil gone to seed?  You wouldn’t?  Try some anyway. 

You deer have been good. You have stayed away from our electric fence for yet another year.  You deserve every scrap we can feed you.  Before we bought the electrified fence, all those years ago, you ate every single last plant in our garden, you hoofed villains!  Even the tomato stalks, you crazy fur-covered vegetarians!  We did what we needed to co-inhabit with you in the woods.  We electrified your summer eating fields.  Now you can have whatever scraps you like, in exchange for refusing to jump over the five foot fence.

Interesting peppers this year. Not spicy-hot unless you eat the seeds.

You never know what kind of garden year it will be.  One year the tomatoes grow gangbusters and reach the clouds.  The next year the tomatoes are miserly and the carrots grow fat and thick underground.  Last year we harvested–I kid you not–51 winter squash and a dozen zucchini.  This year we had Zero Squash.  That is not a misprint.  Zero squash.

Thank goodness our friend Nancy brought us two pumpkin and two zucchini the other day.  Tonight I’m baking a pumpkin.  (You know, don’t you, that little pumpkins can be eaten and appreciated just like acorn squash?  Try ’em; you’re sure to agree.)

The tomato stands alone...on the withering vines

We’re also resurrecting the Juicer this evening. Remember the juicer we bought in the beginning days of this blog, ‘way back last January?  We utilized it faithfully until late spring and then said–oh good–we’ll use it with our garden veggies in the summer!

Except.  Summer hath come and gone and we have never taken out the juicer.  Until tonight. We’re gonna make a Tomato-Vegetable Juice Barry will still be talking about in the deep-freeze days.  We’re going to juice his precious tomatoes, maybe a stalk of celery, maybe the peppers, who knows what else?  We’ll juice until it tastes good.  We’ll let you know how it goes.

The kale grows out-of-control behind the compost bin

We are attempting to bake Krispy Kale chips tonight.  My friend, Sonya, said her family likes ’em.  Last time I tried to bake kale…well, let’s just say it didn’t work.  So we’ll try again tonight.

Cut kale into 1/4 inch pieces, place in a large bowl and mix in 2 T. olive oil, 2 T. lemon juice and 1/4 t. sea salt.  Mix with hands and massage the kale.  (Oh don’t you love it?  MASSAGE the kale!)  Bake 10-15 minutes in pre-heated 350 degree oven until dark green and crispy.  Cool and serve.   ((Eater’s note!  ONE tablespoon of olive oil and ONE tablespoon of lemon juice was sufficient for us.  For a LARGE batch of kale.))

Hope it tastes good…along with that pumpkin.  Some wild rice, too.  Oh, I think maybe I will stuff the pumpkin with green peppers and veggie sausages and maybe the rice.  Should I bake beets or leave ’em until tomorrow’s dinner?

If the brussels make a golf ball-sized sprout, it will be a miracle.

Soon we’ll rototill the garden ONE more time and say a tearful goodbye to our summer vegetable crop.  We’ve planted rye grass in the empty spaces of the garden.  Folks call this “green manure”.  You grow it until it is several inches high, then ’till it back under.  This helps to enrich the soil and, hopefully, produce more squash next year.

Our "farm" in the middle of the woods. Not MUCH of a farm!

We’re lucky to have a nice organic garden.  Lucky to eat fresh vegetables from right in front of our house.  Lucky to feel so nourished and supported by our earth.

Anyone else grow a garden this year?  How did your farming venture go?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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37 Responses to Hi ho the dario the farmer in the woods.

  1. Dawn says:

    All I did this year was put in two tomato plants, one in each giant pot. Then I planted flower seeds in the garden because I was so disgusted by last year’s garden when assorted varmints ate every bit of it. So we had a few tomatoes this year, not many. And husband wants to try the garden again next year. How soon he forgets!

    I was going to ask you what you do with kale. Then you told me. But do you do anything else? I tried the “kale chips” last year with some store bought kale and it was..well… pretty bad. Maybe I didn’t massage the kale enough. Let me know what you think of the kale chips this time. I might try again. I know it’s good for us, I just can’t figure out how to eat it.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Dawn! Those shameful varmints! I’ve added the cute lil chipmunks to my varmint list since they munched on every single one of our pea seeds and decimated our crop, cute lil buggers. So I feel your pain…

      Hmmm, kale report. We liked it. Although (I must warn you) we like the oddest things. I cut the oil and lemon juice in half. Maybe should go back and edit original post. It wasn’t like–ecstasy in kale eating–but will make it again. The alternative is steamed or boiled kale and…how do I put this?…you either like it like Popeye likes spinach (me) or you cautiously spear it with your fork and eat it quickly (like Barry). He always sits down and eats the kale first cuz it’s good for him.

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    That broccoli looks yummy! I found this recipe for Kale chips quite a while ago on Nate Cooks. Here is the recipe if you care to take a peek.

    • Kathy says:

      Elisa, it was fun trying the kale chips…looks like the recipe from Nate is somewhat similar, sans lemon juice. I liked the difference of the crispy texture. Thank you for sharing that.

  3. Elisa's Spot says:

    I have many amazing kale soups and it saute’s nicely too.

  4. Okay Miss Kathy – now you’ve got my mouth watering non-stop. Oh boy, this was a DELICIOUS post. I loved the way you wove the photos and the words together — YUM!

    Our garden this year was itty-bitty … mint, basil, Pharoh walking onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and only a few peppers.

  5. No garden, except for a few herbs in the kitchen….

    Enjoyed yours though, and our farmer’s market a few blocks away…

    • Kathy says:

      Kitchen herbs sound wonderful, Kim. And farmer’s markets are the best! I love visiting the kids in the city and sampling all the exotic fare at the farmer’s markets. So much fun!

  6. holessence says:

    Kathy – When I asked Len, “How do I describe Pharoh Walking Onions?” He said, “First, you get the name right — they’re Egyptian Walking Onions. And then you provide a link.”

    LINK: http://www.egyptianwalkingonion.com/

    And we’re just about to eat dinner. The vegetables will be done steaming very soon.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh how funny! OK, Egyptian Walking Onions! Fascinating looking at the link and pondering getting them for next year. How did YOU ever find them? Did you eat them and say–hey, Len, we need to plant these next year. Or did you accidentally look at the onions somewhere and think–hey, Len, let’s try these. Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Elisa's Spot says:

      ohhhhhhhhh that’s what those are!! they grew wild in the lot next door in the weeds, along with garlic, well i thought they were little garlics and they do have a bite! mmmmmmmm

  7. Carol says:

    I used to plant a 40′ x 40′ garden every year. But I always planted too early, so after things started sprouting and got frozen, I’d plant again. Didn’t have critter problems, just Quail eating my leaf lettuce ???? Did have lots of frost issues, like the year we had frost every single month. Some years we’d get a good crop and I’d be giving away tomatoes (even after freezing packages of them), zucchini, lettuce, green beans, corn. Never enough carrots or onions to give away. One year I got cantaloupe. One year only. And peas, lots of peas, which I froze. I finally grew weary of the battles with Mother Nature and decided to only plant tomatoes and sweet peppers in earth boxes. And this year they lived in the little pop-up greenhouse. Yep, that works for me. No weeding,no critter problems, and protection from frosts. I miss all the fresh stuff, although I have a neighbor that shares some of hers. And the stores have a reasonable supply of fresh vegetables.

    • Kathy says:

      40 x 40′ sounds like a huge garden, Carol. Oh there are always garden issues happening, aren’t there? Battles with da Mama Nature. Pop-up greenhouses sound appealing. If Barry wasn’t so gung ho, I probably would cut back too. Shhh..don’t tell him…hope he doesn’t come back to read the comments now. You are also lucky to have a veggie-sharing neighbor. And what would we do without all the fresh produce in stores and at the market? I remember when we first moved to the Upper Peninsula back in the late 70s. It was abysmal. Iceberg lettuce and hard tomatoes. It is a world of difference these days!

  8. Karma says:

    We had an interesting garden year. Last year was disasterous because it was an extremely rainy summer in these parts, so this year was an improvement. Got plenty of tomatoes, though they were generally smaller than usual; perhaps the heat this year coupled with not enough watering (my fault!) would be the cause of that. Got just the right amount of cucumbers and zucchini I’d say – not inundated but enough to make me happy. We are still harvesting peppers – hots and red bells. Hubby plans to make hot sauce. I harvested the last of the 3 fruits -well technically I grew 4 fruits this year but I didn’t get one dang strawberry before the chipmunks did- today. Thinking about blogging them tomorrow.

    • Kathy says:

      It’s nice to experience a good garden year. The watering issue, the watering issue! Oh yes, we must remember to water. This year we didn’t need to water much, for once. We had enough rain. But we’ve had many many drought years so know about that watering saga. We may pickle some more peppers today or tomorrow. Sorry, don’t have a good recipe. The pickles come out too soggy. We already made salsa. You didn’t get ONE strawberry before dem chippies? Oh man! Must remember to check your blog and read about the tale of woe. 🙂

  9. Tammy McLeod says:

    I did not have a garden this year. We are working on our irrigation and we were out of town too much to make it work. Love the picture of the brussel sprout plants. Can you eat those leaves?

    • Kathy says:

      Tammy, hope you were able to get some good Farmer’s Market veggies anyway. Working on irrigation sounds like–well–a lot of work. We have never eaten the brussel leaves. Because we usually have enough kale and collards to satisfy our green desires/needs. However, I googled and it says they’re edible. Hmmm, learn something new every day!

  10. The onion starts were a gift to us by my friend’s, father – Mr. Eggars – who lives in Indiana. And we were under STRICT instruction to plant them at a very, very specific time (on the evening of a full moon, and now I can’t remember which month). Len followed the instructions and they turned out delightfully. And we have lots of starts for next year.

  11. Cindy Lou says:

    I get all excited every year to put in the veggies and then lose interest when my flower gardens bloom. I did have amazing tomatoes and one HUGE zucchini! Thought I grabbed cuke plants, but…. 🙂 Got a lot of various kinds of peppers and put in an everbearing strawberry patch that I was to pick the blooms off for the whole first year….ouch – broke my little heart! I’m seriously thinking of putting in a bunch of blueberry bushes and herbs next year, only one or two tomato plants and the berries. I usually end up being the only one to care for it so I can do what I want. Oh and at the back of my veggie garden – up against the sauna wall – are my hollyhocks! Grown from Nova Scotian seeds sent by Miss Amy Lyn last year (2 years ago!?!) – they’re doing well and always bring a smile to my face when I see them and think of her! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I think that’s because flowers rule your heart big-time, Cindy Lou! Veggies just can’t compete with those blooms in your garden… Isn’t it lovely to receive seeds from someone like Miss Amy Lynn from Nova Scotia? It’s a gift which keeps on giving, for sure.

  12. Cindy Lou says:

    Just remembered this recipe – got it from my sister-in-law who says it tastes just like V8 only better because it’s fresh. I’m going to try and make some today!

    5# ripe tomatoes, peeled & chopped
    1/2 C. water
    1/4 C green pepper, chopped
    1/4 C. carrot, chopped
    1/4 C. celery, chopped
    1/4 C. lemon juice
    2 T. onion, chopped
    1 T. salt
    1-1 1/2 small serrano peppers

    In Dutch oven, combine first 8 ingredients.
    Remove seeds/stems from peppers and add.
    Boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.
    Cool and press mix thru food mill (or juicer in your case, Kathy)
    Frig or freeze.
    Makes 2 qts.

    Let me know if you try it and I’ll do the same!

    • Kathy says:

      It sounds good! Will try it…IF we get 5# of ripe tomatoes. Did you guys get a frost last night? Errr…that was unexpected! I don’t think it damaged anything in the garden, though. I love the way you share recipes!

      • Cindy Lou says:

        Nope…no frost yet though there was some on the roofs. I always wonder if I should share recipes?!?! They are another ‘thing’ I’m fond of… 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          You can ALWAYS share recipes here, Cindy. I’ll let you know if you’ve exceeded any recipe barometer. (Healthy recipes…or semi-healthy recipes are the best. Of course that’s only my opinion.)

  13. Robin says:

    Lovely garden you have there. No wonder the deer are tempted to jump the fence.

    I do have a garden but it didn’t do so well this year, mostly due to neglect. We traveled a lot this summer. I’m hoping to get out there today to clean up the asparagus bed. I’ll probably call it quits for the season once that is done. We are fortunate enough to have a farm about 2 miles up the road where we buy most of our vegetables over the summer months. I usually try to grow a few things they don’t grow.

    Last year was a good year here for squash, too. I had a large supply of volunteer (came up on their own) hubbard squash (hubbards are often used for canned pumpkin).

    My one attempt at crispy kale was not quite a disaster but it was mostly burnt rather than just crispy. I’m going to try again soon as I liked the little that didn’t burn.

    Last week I made a spicy vegetable juice. Yummy stuff.

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Robin. Yep, those deer have been mighty intrigued to jump the fence.

      As for traveling, I think that’s a darn good reason to neglect a garden! ha ha, I am such a travelin’ fool…just planned the next trip last night…won’t be going anywhere until November. (So she says now!)

      Hubbard squash, yum. I love ’em, too. think some of ours were hubbard last year. I am going to try some more of the crispy kale maybe tonight to see if I can get it baked just to the right degree of crispiness. Let me know if you try it & it works better.

  14. bearyweather says:

    Just tomatoes this year and they did extremely well. The plants were 6 ft high and full of tomatoes. Soon to be made into spaghetti sauce and salsa.

    • Kathy says:

      Mmm, bearyweather! Spaghetti sauce… We already made a couple batches of salsa, so that’s put away. Six feet high tomato plants filled with tomatoes sounds like a gift from the heavens. People in the cities would be salivating just thinking about that.

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