Saturday was tour day, so last week I spent much time finishing cleanup, laminating signs, and sorting the poultry into separate pens (which they did not stay in!). Unfortunately, between the high heat & humidity and the fact that most of the stops were in southwest PA, it didn't really attract many new folks. But I am glad we gave it a try, it was a good learning experience for me. But I always say either my house or my barn is clean, and since last week was devoted to rarely-completed chores such as washing the windows in the chicken coops, Sunday was a day to get the house back into shape.
As July turns toward August, the garden is really producing an amazing amount of food. My goal today and for the next few days is to get some serious weeding done. Today I'll be picking off zukes & cikes to make pickles, relish, and to try and prevent having only ones the size of baseball bats on Saturday. We planted a pretty good assortment of hot and bell peppers and I cannot believe the production of our "inferno" banana peppers! Not only are they very hot, they are just loaded with beautiful peppers, so I've made some extra-hot pepper rings along with some really great flavored hot pepper jelly. As soon as I have some extra tomatoes, I'll definitely be using them to flavor my hot pepper salsa as well. I love the challenge of seeing what is producing in the garden or leftover after we close on Saturday, and then trying to find an amazing recipe to can. If it passes a private taste test here at the house, I'll put it out for sale. So far I've had very few that didn't make it to the stand, and most of them were due to the fact that they were delicious, but too time-consuming to make a regular part of my canning menu. Dan usually hopes something doesn't seal properly or that I have only half a jar so that it can go into our fridge instead! I'm also grateful to Betty, my mother-in-law, for being gracious enough to share some recipes for farm stand favorites she made in years past, like her pickled beets. So I'm off to weed, stake tomatoes, and generally inspect what's going on out there...I know there is a lot that's been happening while I was busy cleaning the chicken pens!