A bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers, and yellow squash.
Enough to share with others.
Soon after we planted our tomatoes and herbs earlier in the spring, we noticed a flood of rabbits in our yard, our neighbors’ yards, and the nearby field. Where did they all come from? These critters feel they have free reign in our yard, and that we are such kind humans that we planted goodies just for them! Ha.
My first line of defense was to raise up the pots of herbs on tall logs, stood on end. They can’t stretch that far and the herbs are safe.
On Saturday we decided that we needed to protect the ripening tomatoes from not only the rabbits, but the squirrels and birds too. So we pounded long stakes into the ground and then staked down bird mesh all the way around and up and over the top. We created a little mesh room, with the tomatoes safe inside.
Stay tuned for updates on how successful we are.
Elsewhere in the yard:
Apparently, squash isn’t exactly a favorite food for rabbits as they don’t go near it.
The raspberries have their own built-in defense with all the prickles.
And hydrangeas just because they are pretty!
Our prolific cucumber plants keep cranking out the fruit and I keep picking: 10 fat cucumbers yesterday and 11 more today. That’s too many to eat fresh, so I made relish. Yesterday was dill relish, and today I decided on sweet pickle relish.
First, I cut the fruit into chunks and then cranked it through my grinder.
I picked up this “Universal” food mill at an antique mall some years ago and I have used it many times. Some people use a food processor because it’s quick, but I don’t like how a food processor mashes the food to pieces. I wanted tiny chunks.
After the cucumber, I ground up an onion and some bell peppers.
Into a bowl it all goes, along with salt. I covered it with water and left it to soak for two hours.
Rinse and drain several times, cook with sugar, spices and vinegar (sugar for sweet relish only), then ladle into clean, hot jars. I didn’t photograph this part because I had sudden company.
Process in a water bath for 15 minutes, lift out, and cool the jars. There you have it! Seven jars of relish for the year to come.
I find that the recipes and instructions in The Ball Blue Book are consistently good. Walmart carries the book in housewares with the canning supplies.
One morning last week I walked into our backyard and saw this:
It used to look more like this:
Overnight, it was de-nuded except for little bits of green on some tips! (It has sent out new leaf shoots since). One quick look told me that the rabbit boom in our neighborhood was out of hand. Peter, his brothers and sisters, his parents and aunts and uncles, and his first, second, and eighth cousins must visit our yard every evening. They methodically nibbled away one plant per night, until I went to war with them. From Google I discovered a nasty recipe to spray on the plants; I call it “Bunny Burn”. Let’s see who wins.
My four forlorn Indian hawthorn plants hope to recover someday.