1. We (heads hanging low) hardly weeded our garden and it showed. Somehow, most things grew up fine, but there were crops that didn't do as well and it was our own neglectful fault. Granted, we were busy doing other things, but still, by the end of the summer, the garden was a mess. While it bothered us to no end, it was what it was.
2. Not only did I neglect the weeds in our garden but the ones in our flower beds were also given permission to thrive. I go for more of a "wild" look in our flowerbeds anyway, but after this summer, I thinking cropped grass right up to the foundation is a much more attractive alternative compared to a few choked-out flowers amidst towering weeds.
3. While I put up a lot, I didn't utilize as much of the fresh veggies as other years when it came to meals. This wasn't because I didn't want to, it was just because chopping and prepping for dinner after you've chopped and prepped for preserving takes a lot more energy than I evidently had this summer.
4. We didn't thrive this summer. Instead of all our work and projects spurring us on and inspiring us to do more, they stressed us out. Some of this we can explain (but I won't go into here) and did expect, but it has caused us to reevaluate the scale of our plans for next year.
Are you sufficiently depressed?! Don't be! We're not! Sure, things this summer didn't go as well as we would have liked, but that. is. life. There are seasons when we can't, for the life of us, live up to what we'd like to do or be. We could get down (and stay down) or we can take another look at our plans, adjust and move on. And that's exactly what we're going to do.
One of the other things I didn't do this summer was try as many new canning recipes as I usually do. I stuck to the basics (as you'll see below), making those things I know we like and will use. With one exception. Last month, Mavis wrote about Apple Pie Jam. I had some extra apples after making applesauce and made a double batch. Then I made another double batch because, oh my stars, it is delicious. So, hop over and print out the recipe (it's super easy), then scrounge up some apples and get busy. One tip (courtesy of one of Mavis' readers) I will share is that if you let the jam sit (off heat) for 10 minutes just before filling your jars, the apple chunks will stay suspended in the jam instead of all floating to the top.
15 quarts crushed and frozen strawberries
19 quarts snow peas, frozen
12 quarts blueberries, frozen (from my Great Uncle's farm out of state)
42 loaves chocolate chip zucchini bread, frozen
14 quarts canned peaches (Red Haven)
7 half-pints peach jam
2 gallon bags pressed and packed spinach, frozen
4 quarts zucchini, chopped and frozen
2 gallon bags pressed and packed Swiss chard, frozen
4 gallon bags bell peppers, frozen
32 pints tomatoes, canned
9 pints green beans, frozen
31 onions, braided
~30 bulbs garlic, braided
43 pints and 5 quarts tomato sauce, canned
28 pints grape jam
2 quarts straight grape juice, canned
2 grape pie fillings, frozen
182 quarts applesauce (142 canned and 40 frozen, Cortlands)
12 quarts broccoli, froze (from an Amish produce stand)
22 half-pints and 6 pints apple pie jam, canned
1 bushel sweet potatoes
2 bushel butternut squash