In spite of all the inches of rain we’ve been getting lately, our crops are ripening quickly. Every day I’m picking and taking the seed from many different varieties of tomatoes, from the little red cherry tomatoes, Sweet Aperitif, to the giant red Bill Beans. Then, of course, canning is in full force. These past few days I’ve canned up some wonderful Dragon Tongue snap beans, both plain and as mustard bean pickles. If you haven’t tried Dragon Tongue yet, you might want to next spring. These bush beans are very productive flatish light green beans with purple stripes. (The stripes go away during cooking, blanching, or canning.) They have a wonderful beany flavor and are nice, thick, juicy, tender beans — we even eat raw.

We love our Dragon Tongue bush beans!

Then there were the grapes Will and Alisha harvested. Wow, a whole basket full! This is the first decent harvest from our vines so we were pretty excited. And they were nice, fat bunches, too! I got out the Mehu Liisa (our steam juicer) and quickly had them juicing away. I ended up with three quarts. I’ll save some of this juice to mix with apple juice later on, and then, of course, make some grape jelly when the rush is over.

Aren’t these grapes great?

We can’t get out into the Central or North gardens as the clay is too wet; your feet sink in a foot and get bigger with each step. So we’re hoping the blackbirds have gone on to other places or, at least, found something else to eat besides our corn as we can’t harvest it until the ground dries up some.

We’ve had so much rain that the wild mushrooms are popping up everywhere. Alisha is very interested in learning about edible wild mushrooms so I’m adding what I know (and I can sure learn more!) to what my books and the internet tells us. So far we’ve eaten some wonderful puffballs and bolletes and I see a bunch more new mushrooms she’s picked to identify on the dining room table. (We do have to be careful as we also have an abundant crop of poisonous Amanitas in the woods!)

Because it’s been so cold and rainy, we’ve been burning the wood stove in the living room. Hondo thinks that’s just great. He sits in front of it and watches the fire, then lays down with his head on the stone hearth. (You’d think that wouldn’t be comfortable!)

Hondo loves our wood stove on cool days.

— Jackie


    • I’m so sad we haven’t found any of these here. Some friends are harvesting Chantrelles but I can’t find any here.

  1. Hi Jackie. I have a question about your Amish Coleslaw recipe. Our cabbage harvest has been great this year. I’m an experienced canner but I’ve never before putup cole slaw before. My question is that whe I put up things such as tomatoes or pickled beans,i make sure there’s plenty of liquid in the jar, up to a quarter inch from the rim. Do you have that much liquid in the jar for putting up this cole slaw, or is it drier, the way cole slaw is when you’re just making it and putting it on the table? Thanks as always for your advice!

    • No, there isn’t as much liquid in the Amish coleslaw jars as like when you put it on the table. But make sure you use the recipe, not the one you usually use when making coleslaw. The Amish coleslaw liquid is vinegar and sugar, not mayo as many folks use for coleslaw.

  2. No rain here for a couple of weeks. Watered my fall lettuce & turnip greens which are amazing me. I just broadcast the seed since we usually have problem getting these to come up & I think every tiny seed sprouted. I’ve thinned twice & looking forward to when the thinnings get big enough to eat.

    I wonder if you have ever had what we always called “lettuce and onions”. Shredded leaf lettuce combined with chopped green onions (with blades) with screaming hot bacon grease poured over it. Add crumbled bacon & sometimes vinegar.

    I’m about finished with the garden canning & am freezing the last tomatoes. A question: my roma tomatoes refuse to split in the boiling water. A few will but many remain whole and firm even though they’ve been in almost long enough to be completely cooked. What’s going on?

    • Wanda – my mammaw made a similar dish to your “lettuce and onions” – she called it wilted lettuce but I don’t remember onions being in the dish. I also think she’d occasionally use cabbage but only if if it was leftover from making sauerkraut. Brings back memories.

    • No, I haven’t heard of lettuce and onions but I’ll sure give it a try. Sounds good! Wow, I’ve never had ripe tomatoes that refused to be peeled after plunging into boiling water, then cold water. Do make sure the water is completely boiling when you put the tomatoes in and after a couple of minutes, plunge into ice cold water. Maybe the boiling water has cooled a bit, becoming “very hot” not boiling, boiling????

    • Wanda, when I blanch my tomatoes to remove the peels, I cut a small “X” at the base of the tomato, just through the skin, not the flesh. I find this helps the peels to loosen and makes it easier to slip them off when I put them into the cold water. Sometimes one or two tomatoes can be stubborn but I just put those back into the boiling water for another minute or so, the return them to the cold water.

  3. We are praying for rain, otherwise no limas, and celebrating a high today only in the 80s. What a difference 1000 miles or so makes! I have planted my fall garden with collards, turnips, broccoli and cauliflower. Still too early for onions and garlic. Hondo has grown up beautifully. Haven’t seen or heard about Spencer in a while?

    • Boy, I’d gladly give you some rain if I could. Today we got another half an inch and it’s threatening more. Boo hoo! Spencer is still here and a very happy boy. He’s getting older but he still gets around about as good as I do.

  4. I have at least 3 varieties of mushrooms popping up in my lawn. We are a normally drier spot than the surrounding dry areas in ND. We got 2″ on Thursday. That is more than our total is throughout most Augusts and Septembers combined! Areas NE of us 100 miles got 5″ of rain this week.

    Makes for a tough harvest!

    • Boy does it! Especially when two of your gardens are in white clay! You can’t even walk in there because your feet soon weigh 100 pounds each.

  5. One of my cats likes to sleep with her head on a piece of firewood, go figure. Frankly I think the warmth of the wood stove makes anything comfortable. Rather have it than a sauna.
    I’ll have to take a walk and see what shrooms have cropped up. Hard to find any experts in my area so pictures and spore prints only. Puffballs (which we have) are a no brainer.

    • Yep, we harvest puffballs and had a nice meal a couple of days ago. And I just found a bunch growing in the pasture we’ll have for supper. With puffballs, you do have to be sure they aren’t immature Amanitas as they can sure look alike when just emerging. And we don’t want to be poisoned. So I’m always careful to cut questionable small ones in half to make sure there are NO gills, indicating Amanita, not puffball.

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