Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bugs, Beets & Heat

Seems the heat wave the western part of the US is experiencing is going to deposit some of its hot, humid air here in Ohio. Today is sultry and hot and the next few days don’t look any better. But then, it is July. We forfeited out air conditioners when we moved back to this house, knowing that we insulated it well in 1983 and as a result we are able to keep it cool and comfortable even on the hottest days. We simply open it at night and close it up before the heat penetrates the next day. We lived here and made it through the weeks of 100 degrees plus in the drought of 1988, so I imagine we’ll manage now. Although, at that time I even hung sheets over the window blinds to darken the rooms as much as possible to make it tolerable. That was quite the year.

The zinnias are looking brilliant and attracting all manner of butterfly and bee as well as those damaging Japanese Beetles, yuck. We’re spraying the flowers daily with a mixture of water and Dr. Bronner’s organic lavender and hemp oil soap. Seems to work well but you must be diligent in keeping up with those pests! I fill a quart spray bottle with water and squeeze a good helping of the liquid soap in and shake it up, that’s all. My niece sent me the following info on Milky Spore so maybe we’ll try that for next year.

Milky Spore is a naturally occurring microscopic bacteria (Bacillus popilliae) that kills Japanese beetle grubs before they can grow into ravenous adults. It's a long-term solution because it survives winter temperatures. The Milky Spore population increases each year, reaching peak
effectiveness about three years after application, and lasts ten years or more. You can learn more about it and order it here. Thanks Jenni!

This morning before the day grew hot I pulled most of the remaining beets. I now have a few containers of beets and beet greens in the freezer as well as a jar of pickled beets in the fridge. We enjoyed a nice helping of the sweet baby beets last week, simply cooked and chilled. I’m a beet lover! I’ve decided that next year rather than planting chard I’ll plant lots of beets. Not only do I get the beets, but the greens are as good as chard. I never thought about that before. By the way, here’s my favorite recipe for pickled beets and eggs…

You’ll need a gallon jar or large container for this recipe, but you can halve the recipe and use a smaller container. At times I’ve resorted to using a Tupperware bowl or plastic ice cream bucket. Just make sure you let the liquid cool enough before pouring into a plastic container.

Pickled Beets & Eggs

15-20 small beets (or two cans from the store)

1 c. water

2 c. sugar

3 c. vinegar

1 t. salt

1-2 t. allspice or pickling spice

½ t. whole cloves

about 15 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Place beets and eggs in jar. Combine remaining ingredients in heavy pan and heat until boiling. Stir to dissolve sugar well and watch to avoid burning or scorching the sugar. Pour hot syrup over eggs and beets. Cool for awhile, then seal and place in fridge to pickle. Eggs are best if left to pickle several days before eating.


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I couldn’t help but share the following photo of Coop and his winged friend. It just kept landing on him so I finally couldn’t resist snapping a photo while it sat on his head. He was urging me to hurry up as it was tickling quite a bit.

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