Saturday, September 14, 2013

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

or "Why Do We Grow This Stuff If We Aren't Gonna Use It?"

Usually, one thing or another goes wrong and we don't get many "fruits from our labors."  But this year has been unusually productive here in Ohio.  When we put all of the trees, bees, grapevines, strawberry beds, raspberry bushes, etc., in, I didn't work full-time and had summers off.  Now I work retail hours that take the prime parts of most days and I barely get the basic chores done!  Mark works out of state often.

A few of the 60 or so trees that make up our orchard.  Usually, the only "fruits" that live here are us!
This year the trees went crazy!
As they say, "when it rains, it pours" and we have had great weather most of the summer.  We didn't have time to spray though, so our zillions of apples are not pretty (with two exceptions) and are either rotting on the ground or might be okay for cider or applesauce.  (One of the exceptions was a picture perfect one that Mark suspects one of the neighbors stuck under a tree to make us feel better, because ours are ugly!)  But that requires desire and effort, neither of which any of us appear to want to spend.
Our pitiful pear trees sagging under the load.
What do you do with Asian pears???
I did go out for a few minutes in July and pick some fabulous peaches that the bugs and birds missed.  Only maybe 10 survived and they had to be eaten right away... so I did.  Then, the grapes came on and I have several varieties, but can't remember which is which.  (It is fun watching the hens jump up and grab them!)  So, it appears only the sour ones made it, but I picked a big bowl full.  Not wanting to waste them, and after several days in the fridge, I fed them to the hens.

Which leads me to another dilemma, my hens produce way more eggs then we eat (pretty much none) so I give them away as they don't keep forever.  I know you can freeze them, but heck, more eggs just keep coming so why bother?  People think I'm crazy when I say they are really my pets and I have no intention of ever eating them.  So what if they quit laying???  I didn't eat my 50 year old parrot who never has laid an egg.  We don't eat our dogs when we are done breeding them either!  So enough of the snide remarks about me stewing the hens!

My strawberry patch went bananas this year and is still producing.  I sometimes can beat the rabbits and birds to them and just stand there and eat them on my way to the mower.  The half-eaten ones go to the hens, as well as apples and pears off the ground.  They like to find the worms!  Speaking of pears, Mark and I have no idea what to do with the dozens we have on the trees (regular and Asian.)  They are either rotten or hard as a rock.  We tried the paper bag thing and that didn't work.

Strawberries in September!
Just when I think I have the fruit under control, I see raspberries!  In September?  Well, a few anyway...  I feel guilty because I don't really want to can anything, so if it can't be frozen, it rots.  To add to my guilt, a wonderful friend of the family surprised me with a huge box of sweet corn!  Well, I did manage to freeze that but it took all afternoon.  It really will be good for the holiday meals though.

Mark's bees have been producing honey for years.  He has about 1500 lbs. of it sitting in the barn at any given time and he just keeps giving it back to them.  We have "harvested" only a few tablespoons in all that time.  But, that is mainly because he wants a certain extractor and they are expensive.

So I guess the moral of the story is be careful what you wish for!  You can have too much of a good thing (and that's a bad thing!)

Until next time, enjoy the harvest!  Come pick some ugly apples or pears if you want!

Gale
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