Thursday, June 16, 2011

(Nearly) Summer in the Garden...

Summer is (officially) nearly here, and we are busy-busy-busy on the farm! Soap-making has begun full force, and we just finished up our latest batch of "Creamsicle" soap on Tuesday.

It has to sit in its TOP SECRET SOAP BOX for two days before it can be removed from its mold (yes, we use a 5 quart ice cream tub as a mold...and you know what? It works GREAT!) and allowed to open-air cure for two weeks. At that point it is no longer caustic and can be used. This latest batch is scented with Sweet Dark Orange, Peppermint, Vanilla, and Balsam Peru essential oils, and also contained Vitamin E, powdered marshmallow root, and cocoa butter for extra moisturizing.

We have been harvesting buckets (literally!) of artichokes, and using them as pizza toppings (the chickens also greatly enjoy the leftover parts).

The warm weather has meant that the tomatoes and peppers are finally beginning to take off - about time too! Here is my seed crop area for Congo peppers, Ping Tung Eggplant, Litchi "Tomatoes," and Orange-Fleshed Purple Smudge & Joya de Oaxaca Tomatoes.

We have begun our first seed harvest by bringing about half of the chive pods in to finish drying. The easiest way to harvest (dry) chive seeds are to put the seed heads in a paper bag and shake thoroughly.

Everything has begun blooming, including the mullein! Soon it will be time to get my spoon out and start scooping flowers for use in wintertime cough syrups! *grin*

The honeysuckle is in full fragrant bloom across the property, but nowhere more so than outside of the Duchesse de Portland guest room window!

The figs are growing very large on our tree, and I can almost taste those succulent fruits...waiting for them to ripen is torturous!

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