Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer's Bounty


My garden got off to a pretty good start this year. But alas, it is not so great now. If it weren't so depressing, I might have posted a picture of it. We have had lots of rain, so we did not have to water much. The problem is, however, that we had a little too much rain, for several weeks, and not enough sun. We did have squash, zucchini, beans, peppers and cucumbers for a few really tasty meals. The over-abundance of rain seems to have encouraged the pesky bugs and worms, which started attacking all the vines and they withered. They look pathetic now. I had planted several varieties of tomatoes and they have done quite well. There are a few tomatoes and peppers still growing. This is a picture of the last of the eggplants and several types of tomatoes I picked a couple of days ago.

In spite of my garden's not doing well, there were some things that benefited from the rain. One of the things in my yard that did well and produced a blockbuster crop this summer were the blueberry bushes. We have two bushes and they have provided a couple of gallons of berries, so far, which is the most we have ever had in a season. Here is a picture of blueberries we picked several days ago:


I poured all of them into my largest wooden bowl to get a picture. There is a gallon of blueberries in this bowl. I flash froze most of them on shallow baking pans and then transferred them to quart freezer bags and placed back into the freezer. These will be good in the fall and winter months for baking.

Yesterday, my husband went to Edgefield, South Carolina to have one of our cars serviced. Funny how he always seems to plan the service for about the second or third week in July, which most people in this area will know, just happens to coincide with peak season for peaches. Georgia is known as the Peach State, but South Carolina is a top producer of peaches in the United States, second only to California, where there is more land on which to grow the fruit. Edgefield, South Carolina and many of the surrounding towns, commonly referred to as the Ridge, are well known for the enormous amounts of peaches they produce each year. You might enjoy an article I found on line by the New York Times at  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/us/28peaches.html.

Since he is crazy about this particular fruit, it came as no surprise when Glenn returned home with some gorgeous peaches. Apparently, the rain has been very good for the peaches, because they are huge this season, as you can see from this photograph:

Peaches from an Edgefield, S.C. Orchard
Since we have both blueberries and peaches, in abundance, I was inspired to have this bowl of blueberries, peaches, a little milk and a sprinkling of sugar for lunch earlier today:


It was delicious!

Figs, one of my favorite fruits, will be maturing soon. There will also be something we folks down south call scuppernong or muscadine grapes. To see what these look like, you can click on this link for Clemson University http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/small_fruits/hgic1403.html or this link muscadine‑grapes.jpg northcarolinatravels.com. I notice that the references I found on the internet refer to this fruit as a grape. However, they are not the kind of grape most people would think of as a grape. They are not fleshy like a standard grape and the skin is not usually chewed and swallowed. They have a pulpy-like sort of sack in the middle, which contains the seeds. This pulpy little sack is surrounded by very sweet y liquid or juice. It is one of those things that most people like just for the juice and some people use the juice to make wine in the same way regular grapes are used.

Now, I have a fig tree, but it never seems to grow and produces only two or three figs a year. I have had it for many years. I have fertilized, mulched, composted, etc. I move it every now and then, to see if it will do anything someplace else, but it never does. The blueberry bushes did the same way until, finally, they came alive and started bearing like crazy. I am hoping the fig tree will do the same. 

My friend, Harriette, has a couple of great fig trees and scuppernong vines and she is kind enough to invite me to pick from hers. She is the best friend, EVER. Those figs are so sweet and good! My husband likes for me to preserve them, whole, and he eats them on toast. I like them that way, too, but I love to eat them raw, right off the tree! The thought of picking these and experiencing their mellow goodness fills me with anticipation.

 After all the summer crops are gone, we will still be able to buy tomatoes and other vegetables and fruits from the supermarket, but they will not taste the same.
 Summer is fleeting and these fresh and delightful offerings will be only a sweet and pleasant memory and something to look forward to when spring planting time arrives and we once again look forward to all the unsurpassed goodness the gardens and orchards will yield.
Until then, let us immerse ourselves in the joys that summer has to offer and delight in-------


----before it slips away and is replaced by the awesome spectacle of fall, with its majestic colors and mouth-watering aromas and flavors.


































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