Homestead report

I picked our first cantaloupe of the season on Saturday. I think it was the sweetest cantaloupe I’ve ever tasted: cool and delicious! But the crop isn’t as vigorous this year and the pest infestation is worse. It probably has something to do with my failure to rotate.

We’ve had a few peaches and nectarines mature in the last few days. The fruit is good but the crop is suffering from borer worms. I need to hit the dormant spray this winter.

Milk is overflowing and we are constantly giving away the surplus. We have two goats in production, and it looks like we may have four in September since two of our new does appear to be pregnant. LeXuan just ordered a cheesemaking kit, so we’ll be ready.

Last month we artificially bred our three Dexter mamas. The breeder says his method has an 80% success rate. We have one steer that is just about ready for the freezer.

We’ve been letting the hens roam quite a bit lately since it is easier for them to cool down outside when the temperatures are hot. They usually find a nice cool spot with a breeze or hunker down in the mud around a leaky faucet. Unfortunately we lost one of our hens last month and are now down to 12. Don’t know what happened to her. Egg production is still high and we are slowly gaining customers.

We’ve got lots of okra. My wife doesn’t know what to do with it.

And, as usual, we’ve got tomatoes and zucchini piling up everywhere. We’ve had zucchini bread for breakfast every morning for the last three weeks. LeXuan has made tons of salsa from our tomatoes. We had a good crop of peas and beans this season, but the vines are now withering. Our watermelon crop is about a month away.

Dinner tonight included zucchini and goat cheese (zucchini casserole), wild blackberries from the pasture (blackberry pie), and fresh goat milk.


9 thoughts on “Homestead report

  1. Our raspberry bushes our blooming presently. This is our first year, so the raspberries don’t even reach the kitchen. Looking for and seeking things that are fecund is a great thing. Next year we will have 20 lbs of raspberries. I’m looking forward to it, and we should have them year after year.


  2. Jeff- bread and fry the okra. Whatever you do, don’t do what we did with our first okra-we boiled it. If you do that you’ll be hard pressed to eat it ever again.

    Wish our crop was a plentiful as yours is. I think we under-manured. Our soil is so sandy that everything washes away.

    Well the fall planting season is less than a month away. We will try again as we live off our neighbors squash and corn.



  3. Jeff – how on earth did you beat the birds to those blackberries?! I have officially thrown in the towel and will be trekking to the local “thornless and trellised” (what a wimp I am!) blackberry farm…four cases of poison ivy (the kids) and nothing to show for it.

    Okra – my sweet hubby makes the best gumbo…okra is a primary ingredient. Breaded and fried is perhaps the most palatable…boiled or stewed – it is just too slimy!


  4. We’ve got lots of okra. My wife doesn’t know what to do with it.

    Google “gumbo recipe”. Some people don’t care for it, but your gang might like it. Okra’s main advantage is that it gives a smooth, almost satiny quality to the soup. Vegans sometimes use it to achieve the rich feeling that one usually only gets from animal fats. See if you like it – I do.


  5. Thanks for the advice, everyone. I’d like to know how to grow raspberries. Will they survive in the California sun? Sorry about your blackberries, Kimberly. Ours are wild and we didn’t have much of a crop last year: this year there is an abundance.

    LeXuan decided, after reading your comments, not to boil the okra. She took Elinor’s advice and googled “gumbo”, found a recipe she could work with, tweaked it as she does every recipe, and came out with something very delicious. My kids thought it was a Vietnamese dish, but it tasted Cajun to me!


  6. I’m not sure of any special qualifications for raspberries. I just dropped the bush in the ground and watered them for the first month.


  7. I put zucchini in almost EVERYTHING! I dice it up and put it on homemade pizza and in a chicken-vegetable stir-fry that we make. I put it in homemade marinara sauce. I slice it very thin (usually with crook-neck squash, too) and parboil it, then saute it in olive oil and a little butter with thinly-sliced red onion. Mmmmmmmm. I dice it into beef-and-bean stew. And my mom used to put it into pizza dough (she must have bolied it first and then pureed it). You couldn’t taste the difference, the kids ate their veggies and Mom got rid of a little more zucchini!


  8. Hi again, Jeff — about those figs . . . fig preserves are DELICIOUS, and very popular right now. I think they use the black figs (ours are the red-inside-green-outside kind, which I hear are not as good). If I find a recipe I’ll let you know. Spread onto crusty bread with a little cream cheese or crème fraîche — mmmmmmmmm.


  9. Thanks, Laurie. Sounds like the perfect solution. Sure beats feeding all those figs to the chickens. I’ll bring it up with the missus. In the meantime she’s busy with peach pies, peach jam, blackberry jam, and salsa (from our tomatoes). Amazing what you can get out of this rocky Orland dirt!


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