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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Ups and Downs

When I started this blog, I subtitled it The Ups and Downs of Turning a Home Into A Homestead.

The last three days have been such a roller coast ride I'm a little sick to my stomach.

Saturday was all about harvesting: tomatoes, boysenberries, squash and chamomile flowers.  A lot of the chamomile was from two extra plants I found in the yard as volunteers (definitely a high) and while I was sitting there cutting flowers off the volunteer by the hazel trees, I found this:

Our first hazelnuts!  There are roughly six on the smallest of the new hazels I planted, and it's the only European in the group.  This was also definitely a high.

Then Sunday after chores we went down to my friend Rae's to learn how to slaughter and butcher chickens, but more on that later.  While we were down there, the conversation turned to sauerkraut.  I mentioned that I have one cabbage, and when the weather turns cool this week, I planned to harvest it and turn it into sauerkraut.  I've been keeping an eye on it this summer to make sure that it wasn't starting to bolt.  I looked at it every day.  It was the only cabbage plant I planted this year that grew as a normal cabbage.  I saw it yesterday and it was a beautiful cabbage, and Tuesday was going to be its day.  Today I got home from work and found this:

There's a good quarter of it missing, and I suspect a bird, because I've never seen anything of the insect or mollusk persuasion that can go through a cabbage quite that fast.

But this was definitely a low.  Quite a low.

I'm all bummed and there are people in the world running from famine and war atrocities, and people on the east coast and in the midwest whose lives will never be the same again.

I guess I need some perspective here.


Miriam said...

That is amazing about your hazelnuts - I just discovered our first hazelnuts yesterday! Only in my case the learning curve was just a little slow because I wasn't the one who planted the tree and I've never seen a hazelnut in the wild before. It went something like this: pick a strange object up off the ground. What is it? Hmm...looks like a nut. Look up. Hmm...this tree looks like a hazel. Hmm...could it be a hazelnut?!! Like I said, I was a bit slow...

Too bad about your cabbage. Given our synchronicity in the hazelnut department, your cabbage story has me worried because I, too, am hoarding a lovely cabbage in the garden - in my case for cabbage rolls. I better go out and have a look at it right now!

Jennifer Montero said...

Paula - You mourn your cabbage and rejoice in your hazelnuts. Sometimes it's the small things that weigh on us, or uplift us, the most.

And thanks for reminding me that I can harvest my volunteer chamomile plants. I'm so used to viewing them as weeds, I forgot they could be tea too.

Paula said...

Miriam, I am truly amazed that you have so many nuts that you can actually find them lying on the ground. In these parts the squirrels don't even let them ripen before they've absconded with them.

And get on that cabbage- I love cabbage rolls!

Paula said...

You know what Jennifer? If they take over the parts of the backyard that the rest of the weeds have prevailed upon, I will be so much the happier. I'm honestly not so fond of chamomile tea for its own sake, but it's pretty good mixed with spearmint, which has its own propensity for garden domination, but I knew that beforehand and took precautions.

Rick said...

Hang in there Paula woman. Things will come around. Looking at all your checklists on the 2011 lists shows a lot of thing are happening out your way. Love your blog.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Hey it looks like your cabbage split from watering, once they get full size they can't take full watering or rain (which I know hasn't been the case).

Oh and it won't bolt until next year, but I guess that is a moot point now...

Hot enough for ya?

Paula said...

Hey Nita! I think it looks split because of the way I photographed it but it definitely wasn't a split- the top quarter had been eaten out. As in split down the middle with the top right half gone.

And no- I think it needs to get up around 105....Actually it is hot enough for me because we don't have AC and don't plan on getting any. But the new metal roof is definitely cooling the house off faster at night.