Early July Garden

The yard, left to right.

The grape trellis is starting to go up.

Poor strawberry bed, slowly working on weeding it when I can.yard02

Still looks messy, but it’s really not as bad as it was.  Hubby ran over everything with the lawnmower so it’s not as intense.yard03

Mowing down the asparagus ferns made a huge difference.  There’s a few little blackberry shoots happening by that pile of dirt (from the front where we put in the driveway addition) that I need to move sometime.  But in the old asparagus bed there…  we have some evil Canadian Thistle.  Those things are mean.  And yeah, I kinda want to Roundup the whole thing.  Given how anti-chemical I am, that should say something about how evil these things are.yard04

First raspberry harvest of the season.  I let the 8yo and 6yo eat them because I didn’t want to deal with them at the time.firstraspberries

Garlic scapes.  Still need to freeze them, didn’t have room in the fridge at the time.  Quite a little haul though.

Second raspberry harvest of the season.  The 8yo and 6yo and 4yo were the ones that gathered this bounty.  Not bad, eh?  4yo is still learning about what ripe things look like, still a work in progress.

Lilies in bloom!  Yay!

The beans are starting to come up.  Around the weeds.  Need to get in there and weed.

Beans and cucumbers around the trellis, tomatoes that are slowly acclimating.

Small first aid kit

I’m all about DIY.  Especially with the kids.  They need to learn how to do things, and do them well, no matter what’s thrown at them.  Including their health.  So, I’ve been messing around with a little first aid kit suitable for my kids (and possibly others).  This is what I’ve got so far, but I’m going to change the sunscreen dude out for something else – this is what I’d packed up for the kids to go to Grandma’s house. 

In the tiny lip tube on the left, some hydrated clay.  The silver is a calm down blend for the boys to apply to their feet before they put socks on, the gold is Thieves Oil (yes, I thought it was clever), the green sparkly is a get-along blend for when they’re at each other’s throats, the light purple is lavender essential oil, the green lip tube is an herbal salve.  Up in the ingredient-guide thingie, I have some bandaids as well.
I’ve been trying this out on my kids because I’m teaching an herbal remedy class next year at our homeschool co-op.  I need to get these little things all ready to go before school starts because co-op starts in the throes of canning season.  My goal is to go over a few of these things, plus others like elderberry syrup or gummies, fire cider, rosehip (tea?), a bunch of fun stuff.  Not sure which age group I’m gearing up for, but I shall find out soon enough.

Strawberry Jam

So, it all starts with flats of strawberries.  Picked these from a local farm.  Not pictured, one flat I’d already decimated.

Start with rinsing/washing them, and cutting the tops off.

Then I’m lazy and use my food processor to smush them up.  Hey, it works for me.  You can use a potato masher if you want, I’m all about getting things done quickly here.

From three flats of strawberries, I ended up with two and a half gallons of strawberry puree.  I actually ended up using some for homemade yogurt, so not *all* of this turned into jam.  At this point, I shoved all these jars into the fridge to deal with later.  Later ended up being the night of July 4th.  They just couldn’t wait any longer, they were going to attempt to ferment.  And that doesn’t make for awesome jam.

And then that happened.  Nine boxes of pectin, bunches of strawberries, and some blueberries.
One batch of blueberry-strawberry on the left, six batches of plain strawberry in the middle, two batches of vanilla bean strawberry on the right, and one lone mixed-bag of bits of jam leftovers in the forefront.