Time to Get Picking

I bet you thought we had given up blogging, crashed the computer or fell off the end of the earth. No such luck, we are back. Spent some down time on the northwest coast with friends, visiting Bellingham, WA, Friday Harbor/San Juan Island, WA and Victoria, BC. Then home to face laundry, mail and emails and finally took a walk down to the garden.

We haven’t had a frost yet but tomatoes are pretty much done, as are the beans, eggplant and peppers. We didn’t plant any root veggies and Curt brought in the onions and garlic before we left. But some fun crops still awaited harvest.

This year I planted sunflowers and they did better than I ever imagained. These won’t be for our consumption but will be put out for the birds once winter kicks in and food is less plentiful. Many of the heads were ready before we left but a few still needed more time for their seeds to blacken. We cut them from the stalks with a hand clipper and the fluff or flower bits are rubbed off. Curt strung them on heavy wire and hung them to dry in the garage. I don’t see a car going in that garage anytime soon. Hope the snow holds off for a couple of months.

Ready to cut from the stalk.

Before brushing off the flowerets

Under the flowerets are the seeds

Me and my sunflower

The harvest

After the sunflowers were in we headed to the pumpkin patch. This year a friend gave us a handful of seeds for Big Red Warty Things. This is the actual name for this Hubbard type winter squash. Not true pumpkins but they get really big and will make great jack-o-lanterns, which I love to do even if there are no little kids still residing in my house. It was just wonderful peeking under the big squash leaves and finding them. Not too tough since they are now big and orange! There were six in the garden and it took two trips to get them up to the house since they are pretty hefty.

Pumpkins hiding

Leaves cut back

Cutting it free

Wheelbarrow full.

The final harvest today came from the trees. We have a black walnut tree and though I’m not sure what to do with them except leave them for the squirrels, they are falling from the tree and building up in the lawn. This makes mowing pretty difficult and darn, that grass is still growing. So to be kind to mower guy, I took my wheelbarrow and crates out to the tree and started picking up the walnuts. Most of them are still in their green hulls, which is good because otherwise I would have brown hands. Black walnut hulls are used for natural dyeing and produce a wonderful warm dark brown. Nice for yarn but not easy to get off of skin. And yes, the nuts are edible but you need a hammer and an anvil to break the shells. The squirrels do this with their teeth.

Windfalls, at least twice as many still on tree

So here I am, exhausted, after filling four crates and one bucket of black walnuts. I wish the harvest ended here but the tree has probably eight more crates of nuts still on the branches. And then there are the two loaded apple trees. You’re welcome to come by and help yourself.


3 thoughts on “Time to Get Picking

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