Saving Seeds and No More Sheep
Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 2
Week 41: October 15, 2022
Continuity from one garden season to the next depends on saving seeds. I think of our garden as a modern day Victory Garden. We grow not only food, but seeds. Have you ever thought about this?
Walk with us this week as we, mostly me but Sam is always willing to join in, gather many kinds of seeds: veggies, flowers, and herbs. Add in couple of planting tasks, but not garlic yet as weather is in the upper 80’s.
Seeds drying and awaiting packaging on the antique hutch-turned-seed-saving-station.
- I love marigolds! I am always looking for a paler white marigold. This year’s candidate was Kilimanjaro.
- It’s not looking like my Schwarzenbeeren will have a chance to ripen fully on the plants, so I gathered fallen berries and hope they will ripen indoors so that I can extract seeds.
- Mexican sour gherkins, popularly called cucamelons. I gather the fallen fruit and allow them to age before extracting seeds.
- In the craziness of the last 2 weeks I neglected to bag the Chocolate Cherry Sunflower heads; the birds left me with few seeds.
A strawberry moment with my sweetheart hand threshing fennel seeds with our backs against an oak tree. Our original start with fennel came from a lone volunteer by the side door at Oregon State University Extension campus. I planted the few seeds I gathered once and they came back year after year, blessing us with an abundance of wonderful anise-flavored seeds for flavoring Italian dishes, breakfast sausage patties, soups, and more.
Separating actual seeds from chaff requires creativity. Since I work with small batches of seeds, as with this harvest of chive blossoms, I am always trying different techniques.
Another small harvest of Zloty Lan chamomile flowers to dry for tea.
A wonderful gift from a garden friend: 15 plump, fresh pawpaw seeds! Pawpaw seeds planted in large “nursery pots” will grow and later be divided into individual pots.
View of our vintage A-frame greenhouse through the back side of the garden teepee and the echinacea bed.
Despite its name, Jyunpaju Okinawan Pure White bitter melon is almost sweet and so delicious! A new vegetable variety for us at Chocolate Box Cottage, and a keeper.
The sum of the 2022 grape harvest. The birds left us not a single grape.
These Pesto Party basil cuttings developed good roots and are ready to pot up for the kitchen window garden. We will be able to harvest fresh basil leaves in small amounts all winter.
How to Use a Steam Juicer – Make Your Own Elderberry Juice 🍑🍐 Are you wondering if you really need a steam juicer?
The answer may surprise you!
Not just for kitchen maximalists, the large preserving tool known as a steam juicer may earn its place in your preserving kitchen even though it is a one-job tool. Because it does its one job so well.
Turn a large bounty of fresh fruit into delicious juice with a steam juicer! I show you how, using elderberries as an example, but you can juice many other fruits. Watch the video to learn how!
Sam continued cutting brush in an ongoing effort to evict the bears that were camping in our henyard. It spoils the view, but the bears have got to go.
The brush pile grows – and so do the ducklings! Mama Sadie, a silver muscovy hen, hatched two babies and they are darling golden balls of fluff.
Sam dares the bears to figure out this “new” latch on the henhouse door.
Every weekend morning, my husband brings me a perfect cup of tea. I am blessed to be married to this man.
In the kitchen
Homemade pizza margherita on whole wheat crust with regional smoked mozzarella, garden tomatoes, kalamata olives, and and fresh basil.
Home-canned Mexican-style crushed tomatoes join soaked and cooked pinto beans and ground beef for taco salad. Yes they’re yellow! Dad’s Sunset Tomato is a great yellow fruited tomato.
Stirrum, a simple German-from-Russia supper dish, is good any time of day. It is basically a pancake batter that is stirred while cooking. Tasty topped with your favorite jam or Homemade Maple Vanilla Syrup.
Aztec Quinoa Salad is a dish that is cheerfully delicious and filled with color and flavor.
Everybody has their favorite recipe for Chocolate Chips Cookies. This is ours: over-sized, but not too much, soft, and studded with chocolate chunks.
Sam’s truck has been parked at a local mechanic shop for 2 weeks, awaiting a specific repair that he is not equipped to perform. This means we are down to one vehicle and I have missed seeing my Mom the last two weeks.
Painted Desert Sheep
The mechanic’s estimate is high; we are selling our small flock of Painted Desert sheep to help pay the bill. I am reminded how wonderful it is that Sam is able to fix almost anything and of all the money he has saved us over the years repairing appliances, fences, the greenhouse, water systems, and the kids’ cars as well as our own. Factor in all of the things he has built; everything from a woodshed to animal cages to a recipe box for me, and well, he’s priceless.
UPDATE: sheep have been sold.
So in spite of the losses we experienced this week, we both know without a doubt how fortunate and blessed we are.
For the beginning seed saver: Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth.
For the nostalgic home cook: The Pioneer Lady’s Country Kitchen by Jane Watson Hopping.
Blessings and hugs to you, friend.
Michele and Sam