An attempt to document my creative pursuits and spew inspiration into the universe.

An attempt to document my creative pursuits and spew inspiration into the universe.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July Harvest (oh, and more hats)

This morning I got up at 6:30. With the weather being so hot this week, the only time to really do anything out in the garden is in the morning. Today was harvest day and here's the haul: Red Currants.
I'll dry these. Last year, I used the currants for home-made pectin. It took many currants to make just a little pectin! Green Shallots.
Calendula blossoms.I'll dry these and have them on hand for adding to baths, soaks, and hair rinses. I'm also saving a few rhubarb seeds, and some lavender.
Beet thinnings.
These will get soaked & swished in cold water to clean them, then we'll add them to salads and stir-fries.
Li'l B was very sweet, keeping me company during my rounds. It's a special day for her, 'cause exactly one year ago, we found her under a currant bush and brought her in...such a teeny tiny little thing! I've been bringing her out to the garden with me ever since she was big enough to get around. Now she loves it when we can all be in the garden together.
Salad for tonight's dinner. My favorite...fresh fava beans! Mmmm...I love these sooo much.Jaquie and the beanstalk! I'll blanch and freeze these for later use. They're perfect right now, and we have more than we can eat fresh. If I wait too long, the inner skin on the beans will become too tough to eat. They are super delish, just boiled a few minutes, with butter & salt. A handful tossed into a stir-fry gives some nice texture and flavor. Fava bean hummus is divine. I could eat it every day. (I have, been, actually, for the past two weeks!) Even though it's hard, I'll make myself leave most of the rest of the harvest on the plants to mature for seed for next year. Large-seeded fava seed is expensive, so it's worth it to save seed, even though it means I get to eat less of them. Peas. St. John's Wort. I'm so happy how this plant has been naturalizing around the farm and in the gardens. How luxurious to leisurely pick the blossoms at the peak of their bloom, from chest-high plants in my garden!
I've read that St. John's wort makes a good dye; I tried it last year, with poor results, but since I have such an abundance this year, perhaps I'll give it another go. This little harvest I made up right away into a tincture.
I blended up the flowering tops with some rum (normally I'd use vodka, but this rum was all I had on hand today). This slurry will go into a glass jar for a couple of months, then I'll strain it and have a year's supply of tincture. St. John's wort has great anti-itch properties. A little of the oil or tincture dabbed on bites, rashes, or itchy skin gives good relief. I like to add the oil to my hand-made salves, too.
Here's the 4th of July harvest!
You can bet that I was ready to sit down and rest with a nice glass of sun tea, after all of that, but picking is only 1/3 of the job (growing:1/3; harvesting:1/3; processing:1/3). As any of you with gardens know, processing all the bounty can be lots of work. In addition to all of the above, I also made a little batch of blueberry jam (was I inspired today, or what!) This is from last year's frozen berries; I'm working on using them up before this year's harvest starts coming in. I used the hand-made currant pectin in this batch. It seems to have jelled up fine; I'll have to wait and open a jar to know for sure.
Okay, now I can rest with my tea and....spin! (more on that, later!) Meanwhile, I also want to show you some new hat ideas I've been working on. I love these two new patterns!
This one is red wool on the outside, and turquoise velour on the inside. It's kinda hard to see, but it's covered with metalic gold top-stitching. The flaps button up on the sides with matte-silver leather buttons.
This one's a velvet driving cap. It looks fantastic on. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. What a rich post! I really enjoyed it, from individual vegetables to the preparation of tincture.

  2. A wonderful harvest - you can't beat homegrown produce! The jam sounds lovely - I'm on a bit of a jam-making mission too at the moment! I've got chutney planned for this weekend though as I failed to spot a couple of courgettes and they are now HUGE! Love the hats too - especially the wool one - great design and I love the motif.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  3. There is something else I'm very much interested in: what use will you make of your rhubarb seeds? I have used its leaves for mordanting and the roots for dyeing (and the stalks for eating of course) but haven't heard of any use of the seeds.

  4. Incredible harvest Beth. I love seeing what you have grown and hearing what you will do with it. Those fava beans take me back to central mexico. We ate them daily and I STILL remember the flavor and texture. Could not get enough of them.


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