For my last post of the year I thought I would share some of what I did in 2017. I started the year someplace warm, with tropical breezes and sandy beaches. Before returning home my wife and I enjoyed a lovely lunch at Mama’s Fish House on Maui, where the ahi tuna was fresh and local and the waiter kindly got a pic of me and Lynda before we started in on our meal.
February saw me baking bread, something I do every month actually. This was a loaf of naturally-leavened sourdough bread I baked in the clay baker.
In March, I was deep in the middle of seed starting season. I had major issues with aphids on the brassica and pepper seedlings, which set them back quite a bit. I got the aphids under control eventually by spraying a mix of pyganic and azadirachtin, but the pepper plants never really recovered. You can see them on a plant in the below photo. It looks like an army of aphids, all sucking the life out of the plant!
April saw us playing host to a nest of baby bluebirds. We had two broods of them this year, and I saw adult bluebirds here just a week or so ago. I got one to gape for me in the below pic, asking for food. It might have been one or two of these that came back to visit, or at least I like to think so.
In May I kept busy with gardening chores, with lots of planting going on. I still found time though to make our annual trek to Farview Orchards and do some cherry picking. They have both sweet and tart varieties there, and we came home with enough to last us for a year (or two).
By June the harvests were picking up here and keeping me busy. I started digging garlic, always a fun time for me. It’s a bit like digging for buried treasure, and I was rewarded with plenty of good-sized bulbs. It’s artichoke types in the below photo, including Simonetti and Lorz Italian.
In July my wife and I made a trip to Berea, Kentucky to attend a few of their Learnshops. One class I took was called Making Natural Artisanal Sodas. The instructor, Jereme Zimmerman, brought several drinks to the class for us to taste, including water kefir, shrub/switchel, and kombucha. We learned how to make these sodas, and I came home with a small jar of kombucha culture (aka scoby). I’ve been making kombucha ever since, and it is surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make at home.
August is usually prime tomato season here at Happy Acres. Once they start rolling in from the garden I am busy turning them into sauce as well as dehydrating and roasting them. In the below photo are two of my favorites for processing, Viva Italia and Golden Rave.
In September my wife and I managed a quick getaway to Brown County State Park, to enjoy nature and do a little hiking. We took a drive one day to Bean Blossom and ate lunch at a place called the Farmhouse Cafe, where another visitor offered to get a pic of us together.
I dug most of the sweet potatoes in October, and since it was a bumper crop I broke it up into several sessions. I wound up with 170 pounds of them total, which made it a record year. Beauregard was the most productive of the ones I grew last year, and it always makes lots of big fat tubers to eat.
November was a much slower month for me, with the garden slowing down and colder weather arriving. It’s always a slow month for our cats, and I caught Puddin napping one day in her bed.
December arrived much too soon for me, and Christmas came before I knew it. It has become a tradition for me and my wife to make homemade ornaments, and I found time to scroll saw a snowman using scraps of lumber I had in my shop. The snowman is a recurring theme for me, and in the background of the below photo you can see an earlier one I made from a gourd.
I hope you have enjoyed this look back on 2017. I want to thank all of the folks who come here and read my blog, and I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!