Keep your face to the sunshine…it’s delicious.


Keeping up with watering and weeds tops the to-do list for me this week; then there is the joy of harvesting, beans, radishes, some carrots, pickling cucumbers, crook neck and zucchini squash.

And our family favorite ~ it is the time the kids carve their names in to their chosen pumpkins!

About this time of year I like to take a good look at my garden beds to see what is thriving and and those “not so much”, plan for next season and make notes for transplants…better luck next year.

I think this weekend might be a great time to plant another round of lettuce and carrots…and turn the compost before it cooks!

Cukes will probably be ready to pickle too. Which recipe should I choose…dill or Bread and butter? I think…Bread and Butter!

I realized how grateful I am for my ducks and their wonderous appetites; they will dine on just about any pest. Grasshoppers,Japanese beetles, June bugs, grubs and even mice. Ducks will also chase and catch flies, and root their larvae out of fresh manure (perfect for a llama farm) and decaying vegetables.

Every duck is an individual, so it’s difficult to say if one will develop a taste for; though for the most part they happily snack on protein-rich insects, earthworms and other tiny inhabitants.

Easy peazy…Ducks are hardy, and they don’t require much more than sufficient nutrients, clean water to drink and a secure area to spend the night.

The eggs are delicious! Many domestic breeds will lay more than 200 eggs per year – these eggs are renowned for baking.

Dabble in ducks…for a perky companion that will entertain, feed and help take care of garden pests, ducks are a great choice. These hardy little creatures will eagerly convert small critters, weeds and grass into eggs and may well end up as the center of your summertime attention in the process. As soon as they hear my voice..I hear theirs…whaa..whaa..whaa…( or can we have some pellets please, Mom, huh? can I?)

time to gather some neighborhood children…and get pickin’


garden in July…


my ducks and my girls…


ooh boy…


…a blossom is hope


yummy!


happy flowers!


ahhh.


these will add nicely to a kitchen bouquet.


sweet


simply pretty


Mom, I’m hungry…


nice rest, now back to the cukes and pickles…

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Bread and Butter pickles:3 quarts

15 cups sliced pickling cucumbers
3 onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarse salt
4 cups cracked ice
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seeds

Directions:
Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
1 Combine cucumbers, onions, salt and ice in a large bowl.
2 Mix well.
3 Put a weight on and allow to stand 3 hours. (For a weight, I use a plate with a gallon bottle of vinegar or water on top of it).
4 Drain thoroughly.
5 Combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed and mustard seed in a large pot.
6 Add drained cucumbers.
7 Place pot on medium low heat.
8 Bring almost to a boil, but DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.
9 Remove from heat.
10 Seal in sterilized jars, 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

***Easy way to sterilize jars:
Wash them well in hot soapy water.
Dry them off.
Put on a cookie sheet, right side up, at 225°F for 15 minutes.
Turn off oven and leave them in there until you need them.

Be Well! Savor summer…Oh, and my new book came…”Harvesting color”…can’t wait to read it!!!

Jessica

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