Crazy Weather, Winter Greens, and Hoop Houses

Over the past week, we have gotten 5 inches of rain, totaling over 8 inches in September alone, setting records all over the state of Washington where I live.  Just 2 miles from my house, a tornado touched down and another out towards Puget Sound just days later.  Crazy!  Flooding in most of the city was causing cars to stall and work places to shut down as water came into their doorways…  and just as quick as it came, it was gone again.  It wasn’t a flash flood, it was a pouring of water from the sky that even our well-worn Western Washington drains couldn’t handle.  It went from 73* and sunny to weeks of downpours and broken gutters. 

Summer can do that here.  The last weeks can be as fickle as May.  Monsoon weather usually comes and goes though… it doesn’t just hang around until your rain gauges are full and your hoop houses are blown to pieces. 

Gardening seems to be hanging on a little.  I go and repair the hoop houses I placed over my winter greens at least once a day.  I am getting better and better at finding new ways to secure the plastic to the hoops.  Despite natures best attempts, my rows of lettuce, kale and chard keep sprouting in the neat little rows under the plastic covering.  It will sustain our table in salads until hard frost.  Which, with any luck, won’t happen until early Dec.  But who knows? 

Tomatoes are holding on for dear life.  I have picked anything I assumed would actually ripen inside last week, and I cut the stalks to the top of the support pole to encourage the rest of the fruit to ripen ASAP.  The zucchini and other squash are done, but the beets are near harvest ready and I had some on a beautiful salad last week!  They will just get sweeter from here!

School is going again, full time, and I usually have some canning on the stove.  This week it’s apples!  I bought 64lbs of apples last week and we have been eating a ton but that should get us quite a bit of apple sauce and apple chips for the year.  The kids are looking forward to hot applesauce… out of the cooking pot is the best! 

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Speaking of applesauce - do you ever use your applesauce to replace oil in a quick bread recipe?  I just made a recipe for an amazing quickbread muffin that has zucchini, pumpkin, carrot AND applesauce.  It’s like a breakfast straight from the muffin tin.  Come and check it out over at Inner Child Food.

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