Pleasant day temperatures and refreshingly cool evenings have made comfortable summer living for humans but the tomatoes and other crops are ripening slower than usual. While we wait for the main crop of tomatoes to start I'm extra thankful for the early tomatoes I started that have been producing nicely with Stupice being our new favorite for a tasty early tomato. I've been harvesting luscious handfuls of medium size plum tomatoes off the Stupice plants each day, plus the kids have been popping the orange Sungolds in their mouths every time they pass by a plant. Simeon (age 5) noticed that the potato plants in his garden were dead and ran to get a shovel to dig up his treasures. His blue potatoes did well and the real treasure was a red potato shaped like a rubber ducky. Jethro (age 2) also was very observant in the garden and discovered a tomato horn worm for me.
A highlight for July is the annual Gerber weekend on the farm which we spend with my brother and sister's families from IN. Cousins romp all over the farm and join us for farm chores. It was such a pleasure to have my 5 year old niece help me dig potatoes and pick tomatoes and cucumbers for our meal. She also enjoyed collecting eggs with grandpa and got up early to watch us milk the cow her last morning here. I also made pulling several beds of garlic an activity for all the cousins to work on together. We also enjoyed a hike to the woods for a picnic and to nibble blackberries along the fence row plus identify some new plants. July was an ideal time for me to plan weekend meals for 19 people. Fresh pastured chicken with roasted potatoes and baked potatoes with toppings were some main dishes with plenty of beans, tomatoes, cukes and fresh applesauce on the side. Blackberries were a tasty addition to our pancakes, yogurt popsicles and homemade ice-cream during the weekend. The final meal together was on my birthday and we held to the tradition of eating our first meal of sweet corn to celebrate. Ours wasn't quite ready so we were thankful for the Hershberger farm stand near Dalton to provide our fresh picked corn.