Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

The Garden Chronicles - Kermis Time

Backyard Homesteading, Canning Tomatoes, Dangerous Kitchen Experiments, Gardening, Growing Your Own Vegetables, Kermis, Pickled Beets

The Belgian American Walloons who settled around southern Door, northern Brown and Kewaunee Counties in the 1850s, brought with them a rite of Fall – the kirmess - or harvest festival.

Derived from ‘church mass’ and known colloquially as kermis this traditional outdoor fair or festival featured church, food, dance, music and games.

On Sunday Jill and I attended the local kermis near our place up north. Food, food, food.  Cauldrons of booyah along with plenty of other Belgian specialties such a trippe, jutt and pie.

I’ve been celebrating a small kermis of my own what with my harvest.  

Which has been ramping-up in both tempo and quantity lately.

The early spring, hot, hot weather, normal rains and a hunting trip that coincided with the prime harvest season have conspired to throw me off my rhythm.  Just a bit anyway.  Everything is early and some things have done exceedingly well.  Some other crops not so much.

Like my sweet peppers.  For as long as I can remember growing green peppers was an exercise in frustration.  The fruits were both small and few and far between.

Not this year.

I'm not exactly sure what happened.  Was it locating the plants in the new raised bed or the heat?  Whatever it was we've had an avalanche of nice-sized peppers.

I reduced my cucumber planting to match the size of a small trellis yet the production of cukes has been prolific.

They're done now but the weekly take was typical of those above.

Tomato production has been very good.  No avalanche just yet - but nothing to be disappointed about either.

About 3 to 5 day's worth.  And not a speck of blight on plants or fruits.  Bravo!

I fetched the pitch fork and dug-up my spuds. 

From left to right:  Yukon Gold - very tasty and an excellent crop.  Superior - new this year and a fair crop.  Unless they're really good eating I'll have to reconsider planting these again.  And Red Nordland - a versatile spud - on balance a fair crop.  Kennebec potatoes are in the mound to the far right and they turned out just fine.  The potato crop came-up a tad short.  I'm not sure what happened.

Finally, I planted three rows of Stuttgarter onions.  Hailing from my birthplace this is a yellow variety that stores very well.  One row of white sweet onions too.  The total yield was close to three bushels.  Most excellent!

They're curing in the machine shed in preparation for storage.

Even in the face of the heat the broccoli has been magnificent.  It finally bolted and is done.  The bumble bees and hummingbirds love the flowers.  The green beans are done.  I understood that pole beans are persistent late producers.  Not so.  At least for me.  Maybe next year it's back to bush beans.  The limas are coming on-line and it would be terrific to have a decent crop of those but I'll not hold my breath.  They're late to set pods and already the overnight lows are hitting the 40s.  Pumpkins are close to picking.  Yes - pumpkins already so roasted seeds soon.  The cauliflower has been a disappointment.  My bad - I didn't think to tie the leaves over the developing heads.  Fingers crossed for the Brussels sprouts.

Peas, spinach, lettuce and radishes have been re-planted for a late fall/early winter harvest.

Already have a nice stash of frozen veggies in the freezer and more in cold storage.  I canned seven quarts of tomatoes and another dozen pints of pickled beets last weekend.  There's bear, walleye and northern pike in the chest freezer and venison and pheasants on the way.  One small step closer to food security and self-sufficiency...

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