Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cotton and Carrots

We have cotton in the garden!

This one is about to pop open. The fact that the cotton used for our clothes grows on plants still amazes me. 

Mason and I picked a gallon of carrots yesterday. They are big but surprisingly sweet.  

This guy LOVES carrots. 

Strangely enough our raspberries are producing a few berries. The vines looked like dead sticks all summer and now that it's fall, we are getting to try a few. 

Waylon and Ziggy enjoyed their morning snack. 

We had a frost Sunday morning that took several victims, including this basil.  

Overall the garden is thriving though!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall harvest begins!

We're working on the beginnings of a fall harvest here at Okra Hill: beets and carrots! I just loved the color combination of the magenta beets, orange carrots, green tops and aqua teal basket. 

Instead of taking the carrots and beets inside to clean up, I decided to do that outside... 

...at the goat pen with one of my favorite helpers! Waylon and Ziggy were very excited about their treats. The back pen doesn't have much vegetation so after a few weeks of living there, the guys are back out front. 

These goats crack me up...they refuse to move out of the way so I could dump the greens in so Ziggy got a beet green hat. I've heard the greens on beets are delicious but I didn't feel like trying them this go-round (they were covered in bug munchings). 

My little gentleman farmer...

It never fails...if I buy produce at the store because I'm tired of waiting for our's to produce, I find out a day later our carrots (green beans, broccoli, etc) are ready. Case in point...I bought carrots....

and then harvested carrots shortly after. I keep our carrots in water in the fridge (after trimming the tops, scrubbing them down and peeling). They'll stay fresh and crunchy this way for a while (I change out the water every few days or so). 

Fall is definitely here with cooler temperatures and my boys wearing Halloween costumes and eating candy. Happy days to you!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dill Disappointment

This summer I worked hard, canning lots of pickles. I  made a ton of dills because our family and friends love them and I like to share them. Well....sometimes, just because something looks great (and you spent a lot of time on it) doesn't mean it tastes great. 

I opened one of my dill pickle pints the other day and thought they tasted awfully salty. Borderline, disgusting. I opened another one, hoping one jar was just "off." Nope, strike two. After opening four, I decided all of my dill pickles were NOT my usual delicious canning creations. Not even close. 

So Tyler, Mason and I loaded up the wagon with all of the dill pickles and took them out to our compost pile. At least they can be useful out there. 

Makes me sick to think of the hours I spent putting these together. Ugh! I think the problem was I used apple cider vinegar (which I have done in the past) and I increased the amount of brine I made (and probably used the wrong salt:vinegar ratio). Live and learn...If you happen to have a jar of my 2013 dills, please throw them out!

After our pickle dumping, I pulled my two younger boys around to the back to see the goats in their back pen. Ashley built a new pen for Waylon and Ziggy in the back because they have eaten almost everything in the front pen. 

In other news, the South Carolina State Fair opens today. I entered several things in the competitive Home and Craft Division. Two blue ribbons for Okra Hill: my blackberry jelly and my molasses-ginger cookies (my third year in a row earning a first place for those!). I earned four second places: whole dill pickles (thank goodness the canning is not judged on taste!), zucchini bread and butter pickles, muscadine jelly, and tomato-basil jam.