Goodbye summer

Summer here was late late late!  For a vitamin A deprived compulsive gardener a long rainy June was cruel and unusual punishment.  But I am going to try to remember summer 2010 for it’s good parts.  It never got too hot or dusty.  We upped our apiary from 1 hive to 4, which all seem to be in pretty good shape for winter.  We found a new fishing spot for fall chinook in the Columbia, and caught some nice steelhead too.  It was far too short, but maybe October will smile on us with some extra sun.

Beneficial pollinators.  After a presentation from a member of the Xerces society at my local beekeeping group I wandered around in the garden and shot this, a species of miner bee with big pollen baskets.

And a friend called me to go sour cherry picking in the Columbia Gorge after I failed to pick any in the Willamette Valley.  Result:  delicious pie.

Think I will make another one of these for my husband’s birthday this weekend….let them eat cake, we prefer pie.

And, though they were late, they came in by the bushel over about two weeks:  delicious, beautiful tomatoes.

pacific rim tomatoes: Portland developed Gill's All Purpose and asian Tsi Bu.

the italians: striped roman and principe borghese

the super reliable and delicious southern slicer: purple cherokee

We try to can at least 52 pints of tomato sauce every fall.  I had to buy 40 additional pounds of tomatoes this year to make it, but we have over 60 pints which should get us through until next tomato season.

We also had a great harvest from our Prima apple.  For the first time I used nylon footies to cover some of the apples which protects them from both codling moths and apple maggots, and thinned the tree twice as it tends to bear every two years otherwise.  It is an early apple that doesn’t keep well but makes great pie.  The ‘footied’ apples were pristine and perfect!  My other apple, a golden russet, struggled with scab as a result of our cool wet spring.  I can’t wait until the day when I have room for a real orchard and a cider press, with the full spectrum of in hand eaters, bakers, keepers and cider apples.  Till then, pie and apple sauce from the two I have will have to suffice.  Apples are a great transition into Oregon fall, season of chinook fishing on the coast, and chanterelle mushrooms!  A great online resource for all things apple, and fruit growing generally is the Home Orchard Society webpage and forum.

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