Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Migration

I just brought in my last hummingbird feeder yesterday, although I haven't seen any hummers since the first week of September, I thought there may be a few stragglers coming through.

The male hummingbirds leave in the first part of August. By late August, the majority of the females are gone. The "juvenile" hummingbirds are the last to leave.

By the end of May, I have my feeders up for the females who start to show up in our area come June. Every year we have nests in the pine trees behind the house and near the pond.

The females have 2 pea sized white eggs that hatch in 14 to 16 days. They are nearly full grown when they leave the nest in 21 days. Every year I watch to catch a glimpse of the new hummers in the's near impossible to tell which are the juveniles.

Every summer I like to stand still nearby where I usually have a feeder hanging and hold the feeder close to my takes only a few minutes for the hummingbirds to come for the sweet treat. Seeing them so close is just awesome!

I am feeling the loss of not seeing the hummingbirds whizzing around the porch and in the perennial garden at the feeders. The winter will drag on until they arrive again in the spring...they will quicken our hearts and catch the eye as no other birds can...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is It Kosher or Polish?

For the last weeks, I have been trying to track down pickling cucumbers. This year many gardens, including mine, were hit hard with an "air blight". It took quite a toll on the cucumber vines. A few days ago I ordered a bushel of pickling cucumbers from an Amishman, he has been able to buy large quanties to sell from the English/Amish Auction Barn a few miles away.

This week I have been making batches of Kosher and Polish pickles with a twist. I have to wait until all are nestled in bed before mixing my hot peppers and garlic concoction, as its enough to choke the toughest soul out of here, once the brine starts boiling.

As I choke, gasp, and sneeze from the hot peppers I am boiling in the brine, I am continuously telling myself, it's going to be well worth it in the end....

The Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon looks like a big ole pumpkin in the sky, just before dark...
... the moon should be full September, October, November...the Autumn moon often helps the farmers working in their fields late in the night trying to bring their late crops in.

There were many nights years back that old man Garver would be harvesting a late crop of soy beans across the way by the light of the moon. Sure miss hearing the chugging of the old John Deer forgaging through the fields.

The Harvest Moon also brings on garden harvest time...
... the last couple weeks I have been busy harvesting near dusk, tomatoes...
for salsa,jars of stewed, and many to freeze...

A neighbor down the road has been very generous with his bumper crop of zucchini. Every few years I put up a slew of zucchini relish. I have not bought relish in over 30 years. This relish recipe has been passed on to many.

Zucchini Relish
10 cups zucchini, minced
1 cup pickling salt
5 cups onion, minced
1 cup celery, diced
3 green peppers, diced
2 sweet red peppers, diced
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
6 cups sugar
5 cups white vinegar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Prepare zucchini, combine with salt and other vegetables. Allow mixture to stand overnight. Drain; rinse thoroughly and drain again in a colander. Press bowl down on top of vegetable mixture to force out as much liquid as possible. In a large enamel or stainless steel pot, combine remaining ingredients; add vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently 20 - 40 minutes, stirring often. Ladle relish into hot sterilized jars and seal. Makes 8 pints.