salad

Oh Texas June, you befuddle me with your shiny garden produce set to the backdrop of triple digit days. Summer technically hasn’t even begun yet but the green beans and squash and tomatoes are needing extra water and mulch to survive the heat. Whereas I was once picking strawberries and peas on warm Midwestern June days, I now find myself at the tail end of summer harvests and watching the okra reach for that mid-day sun.

And so here we are, picking giant cucumbers and making pickles, the lettuce and radishes and peas long since replaced. It is full and it is rich and it is surely summer if we get to eat just a handful of red ripe tomatoes here and there, right?

But it isn’t even summer yet!” remarked Elijah this morning, ever the knower-of-facts and corrector-of-Mamas. True, but if it’s over 80, it’s summer… and who decides that summer starts the same day in Minnesota as it does in Texas anyways? I’m sure there is a logical explanation somewhere but unless it involves tomatoes, it is lost on me.

So I think I’ll just pick some green beans, eat this salad, and call it summer, even if Elijah and the calendar say otherwise.

cucumbers

Cucumber, Tomato, and Golden Beet Salad

Note: Raw beets are wonderfully delicious and healthful but we have only had success with a small patch this spring. Because we prize them for their nutrition, we use these golden beets from Azure as a great addition to the vegetables currently coming from our garden.

Ingredients

  • 2 yard-long cucumbers (or 4 smaller)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large golden beets, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 4 green onions
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions

Chop the cucumbers and beets into bite-sized pieces and toss into a medium mixing bowl. Mince the onion and cilantro and add to the vegetables along with the tomatoes.

Toss together and then drizzle in the vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste generously with salt.

Let sit for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld before serving.

morninggoats1
If there is one thing that is a constant around here it is that things are constantly changing. And so it was with our chore routine just recently. The boys weren’t feeling well last week, but even before that I knew I wanted to be more involved in the animal chores this summer. Their brief illness gave us just the opportunity to make that shift. Instead of just sticking in with the littlest three and making breakfast, we are now venturing out together first thing, Annie, Joshie, and I, while Ruthie inevitably chooses slumber.

morningmilkpail

The boys do like to milk so I usually take one of them with me to the goats. We’re in an experimental phase of kid separation at night and milking two does in the morning and, so far, it has worked out. So toddler on my hip or by my side, we let a goat out of the barn, tie up any strays going after the feed, and Elijah or Abram grabs a stool at the milking stand. Straight into the kitchen and through the strainer the milk goes before it is tucked away in our solar refrigerator. This is when the boys usually haul water for the goats.

morningchickens

morningbucket

Chickens are next, if they haven’t been let out already. The chickens are completely free-range but we do provide water and minimal feed especially in the harsher summer and colder winter months. One thing we’re trying to get back into a routine of is soaking the feed for a couple of days to ferment it. This is just some milo from a local farmer that we have purchased in bulk. The process is simple in that I fill the bucket about half full with grain and we add enough water to get it all moist but not so much that it is swimming. Then let it sit for 24-48 hours and scoop out as needed. This feed also goes to the hog when the slop pot isn’t too full and I don’t want it to get moldy so we’re going to be prepping this feed about 2-3 times per week.

After breakfast and morning projects and housework comes lunch and school and then free time for the boys. If I can get supper on the table early enough, we usually have another hour or so and that is when I like to head to the garden with my littlest helpers and water. This is also when chicken and goat water gets hauled again and Abram usually cares for the hogs.

morninggarden

That long stretch from sunrise to sunset sure allows for plenty of daylight for the things that need doing on a homestead. But sometimes, when the sun begins to fade and we begin tucking in little ones, I can’t quite discern what occurred this morning from what occurred yesterday.

And so it is in these full days of June, when the sun is high and the days are long and the mornings sweet.