Another Marvelous Summer

or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I’ve actually been too busy this summer to blog much. I wish I could say it was because we had been traveling to see family or to view the great wonders of the world, or even those in this country, or even those few in Cleveland.

Nope. We have been busy at trying to become sustainable.

Yes, you heard it here first.

We have been working on a vegetable garden for several years making it a little larger and more productive every year. This year we went “whole hog”.

Yes, we had a landscaper come out and triple the size of the garden, up to 25’x30′ with a nice border of railroad ties. And filled it with good, rich soil.

That was in March. And then we planted.

After battling with the squash bugs for a couple of months – daily venturing out to inspect each of the plants, pulling off the bugs and killing them – we were able to harvest a few squash before the bugs won the battle and forced us to remove all the vining, broadleafs (squash, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin, and gourd plants). We got a half-dozen of the squash and zucchini, two gourds, and nothing from the other plants.

And we’ll not be growing any of those again for several years to allow the infestation to move elsewhere. They had arrived last summer and as the winter was so mild, they reappeared quickly this year.

Still we have have marvelous luck with the six varieties of tomatoes, chard, turnips, potatoes, green beans, and corn. The early corn gave us a few ears before the raccoons arrived under the cover of darkness to take the remainder of the ears off the stalks. The second wave of corn should do better, safely behind a small electrified fence.

A separate garden by the kitchen door has been the herb garden for several years already though we removed more lawn this years and widened the bed.

We have been busy re-learning the ins-and-outs of canning (I grew up helping grandmother do this and had tried to get my first wife interested but… well, you know, buying cans at the store was just so much easier.) And my current wife had done that sort of thing early in her first marriage as well.

Since our cucumbers went belly-up, we bought a bushel at a local farm and canned a mess of pickles. We also have cans of corn relish, salsa, peppers (four varieties), and tomato sauce. We have yet to can any chard, turnips, as we have been too busy eating them, or other goodies we’ll have to purchase from local farms.

The trick now is to see how long all the goodies will last so we can gauge how much to plant next year.

We are also working on reducing our garbage output. We try to buy products in recyclable containers so we can either recycle or compost all the refuse, hoping to be able to do away with trash pick-up once a week.

Retirement is heading for us and we want to be ready for it when it arrives.

And so it has been a marvelous summer, trying to re-learn all the things that “modern living” has forced us to forget.

Now I feel more like a renaissance man.

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One Response to “Another Marvelous Summer”

  1. michigan garden 2010 Says:

    michigan garden 2010…

    […]Another Marvelous Summer « For What It's Worth[…]…

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