Garden Harvest

It’s going to be a scorcher this week. Temperatures are expected near 100º by Thursday. Combine that with high humidity and I’m glad I’m not a real farmer who has to work in the fields everyday!

Luckily my vegetable patch looks like this:

and so there’s not a lot of work to do. The vegetables have crowded out most of the weeds. My main job is to find the cucumbers before they get too big,

and harvest the white chard before the slugs eat it.

I pick the summer squash when it is tiny and still has squash blossoms on the ends. This way I don’t have excessive quantities of baseball bat sized zucchini – the butt of so many garden jokes.

I slice these little ones and saute with a bit of very good olive oil, and then season with a touch of salt and pepper. Small squash are surprisingly sweet. Like corn, they’re best cooked the day you pick them.

I also have beets.

The greens are edible, and I like them, but not as much as the goats and the chickens do. I have enough bounty that I can share.

On a hot day, leafy vegetables are cooling and refreshing for the animals.

Candy also appreciates the greens. She’s an old bunny, and like other elderly animals, she hasn’t shed her winter coat fully (you can often tell a horse is old by their scraggly hair.) So, if the heat gets oppressive and there isn’t a cooling breeze, I’ll be bringing her inside. Candy will be annoyed, but I’ll placate her with parsley.

I have enough of that to keep even an ornery bunny satisfied.



  1. i cannot figure out what is wrong with my cucumbers. at first i thought mosiac of some sort, but about 1/3 of the blooms still develop cukes. which is the only reason i haven’t ripped all of the vines out. basil is finished, chamomile almost, cabbage not quite. the goats certainly looked pleased. good luck with the heat…it’s moving my way as well!

    • Veggies can be fickle. I’ve yet to be able to grow bell peppers. Doesn’t matter where I plant them or what variety I get. I’m giving up next year.

      • I have trouble with peppers too. They drop their fruit or rot from the soil line.I read that cornmeal might control the fungus, so I’m going to try it.

  2. Beautiful bounty from your garden. How great that you have enough to share with your animals. I was reading one of my other regular blogs, Bee Haven Acres, and she has HUGE gardens which are full right now. Lots of work and so much reward. I hope you all stay safe in the extreme temperatures. We have had a wonderful 2 weeks, but high temps are moving in next week.

  3. Your garden looks beautiful. Way different picture in Oregon, but there is hope.

    • you’re in oregon? i was thinking that may be where i place myself in about 3 to 5 years when i’m really ready to start my sustainable farm. plenty of rain but maybe not enough sun? if you have the time and inclination, would you mind emailing me about your garden?

  4. Terry,
    Hoping you’ll consider more info on the danger of heat. A chicken can die more quickly in the heat than in the cold but I get dozens of questions about the cold and zero about the heat. At the county fair 2 birds died despite fans and ample water. The heat index was 100.
    PS, 4H club did great at fair and my daughter won showmanship at the Michigan State Goat Show with her Alpine :)

    • Hi Trish-
      Heat is a killer! I have a FAQ but warnings about heat bear repeating. A friend lost a bird because his barn door blew shut and chickens were trapped inside in the heat.
      Congrats on the 4-H win! Send me an email with a pic!

  5. Terry as always great pictures and what I love most about your food blogs it give me ideas for dinner tonight. We already have the 100 degree heat and humidity to match so I think I’ll stop at the store on the way home and get the stuff for cool beet salad.

    Another great way to fix squash is to slice it, egg wash with your favorite seasonings, flour and fry in bacon grease. YUMMY!!!!
    I know it’s not the healthiest of choices but I only treat myself once a year.
    Both sets of my grandparents fried just about everything and most of that in bacon grease and lived to ripe old ages, go figure. Mention that to a doctor now a days and you’ll give them a corenary. ;-)

    • Ken- I bet those were pastured pigs. They have a much healthier profile than the factory raised ones. Same with truly grass-fed beef. Back then the fat you used you raised yourself. Cooking oil is a fairly recent phenomena.

      Here’s another squash idea – put a thin layer of tomato sauce in a baking dish. Top with thin slices of summer squash, and eggplant if you have it, drizzle with good olive oil. Dust on salt and pepper. Top with cheese (not to excess.) Bake, covered. Uncover for last 5 minutes so cheese bubbles and browns.

      • Your exactly right about the meat. I use to help in the slaughter process as a youngster. We(extended family members) processed our own poultry and pork. The cows went off in a trailer and came back in nice white packages ;-).
        Don’t ask me why but I use to love to crank the old lard press. By the way you can’t beat fresh pork rinds from which lard is made.
        I jotted down the idea for the squash and as soon as turning the oven on won’t cause heat stroke I’m gonna try it.
        I’ve also been taking mental notes of your veggie set ups for next year since I have no trees left in my backyard, so growing veggies should be a option for me again.

  6. Beautiful garden! I did cringe at the animals getting the beet greens, they are my favorite green along with chard. We aren’t gardening this year. Drought is really bad, so not worth it. But about the heat and chickens…we have been using those hose sprayers that have a mist setting and putting that on them. They aren’t crazy about the mist on their faces, but it does cool down the area quite well, and we have had some 102 degree days already. Good luck with August, our worst month here in TX.

  7. This heat wave is scary. We have 90 degrees here in Atlanta that feel like 100 per the heat index. I just looked up Carlisle, MA, and you have 97 degrees with a heat index of 107. No wonder the chicks are panting even with plenty of water in the shade! I hope Little Blue is okay.