Friday, 10 January 2014

Fradpoles, and Preserving the Harvest (But Not Preserving the Fradpoles!)

The new year is moving along quite smoothly so far, and although we are not yet half way thru summer, autumn is definitely on the way. The days are, for the most part, sweltering hot, but are periodically punctuated with unseasonably cold ones, and no matter how hot the days get, the mornings are always cold - downright frosty even. That is a pretty good sign that we are in for an early winter.
I am pushing along on my first block for the CQJP2014 challenge, but am still a ways away from finishing. In the meantime I am keeping up with the garden, and busy preserving the excess.

Back in spring I bought some tadpoles for my pond, and all them are still going strong and seem very happy in their little water hole. Three of my little froglets have become fradpoles - tadpoles with back legs fully developed, kicking around. They are about the size of my thumb, have also got more frog-like heads, and have gone greenish. They also seem to congregate together, but not with the others. The others, however, are over half again the size of the fradpoles, but are all still fully tadpoles, and very dark colour . They were all supposed to be the same type, but I'm pretty sure there are actually two types.
The little fradpoles have also gotten very skittish (where the tadpoles are still fairly laid back), which has made them quite difficult to photograph. After around 3 dozen photos, these two are about the best I could get.

The strawberries are plodding along nicely, producing a handful of strawberries every two days or so - a great breakfast treat on my morning garden rounds.

The sunflowers are putting on a lovely show, and the birds are loving them - which is great, because that's what I grow them for.

A beautiful, old-fashioned plant, that came very near to extinction, this Dianthus Rainbow Loveliness is one I grew from seed. It has a beautiful, unusual scent, unlike any other flower I have come across - nothing at all like standard Dianthus varieties.

The early varieties of pumpkins have been harvested - Gertrude, her two smaller sisters, and two cousins.

In the kitchen, the first jar of dill pickles has been put up - yum! can't wait to get into those!

The excess zucchini is being grated, packed in brine, and put aside to ferment. This is a really fast, easy, and very nutritious way to preserve it. Come winter, it can be eaten straight out of the jar like sauerkraut, used in salads, put in soups and stews, or put in spaghetti sauce. I often do a wonderful Bread & Butter Mustard Pickle with the excess zucchini, but I still have some of that left from last year, so don't need to do any more.

Excess green beans (which includes yellow ones and purple ones), get packed in brine too. Unlike other vegetables though, salting and fermenting makes beans tougher rather than more tender. But the fermenting does add a really nice flavour, and come winter these beans are fantastic in long, slow cooked soups, stews, and casseroles - perfect for anything done in a crockpot. The slow cooking makes them very tender.

And of course, no pantry is complete without home-marinated feta :)


  1. Wonderful canning!!
    I love them...collect them live and not.
    Terry and I have a battle every year because the frogs collect in our fish pond and of course love the littles. So Terry and I have an agreement. I can have the frogs but when they get big we catch them and relocate them to the river bay at the end of our road.

    1. Frogs are my favourite animal :) You are SO lucky to have frogs appearing naturally in your pond! They have become somewhat of a rarity anywhere but wild areas now over here. For four years running I tried getting tadpoles from the wild, but no one could find any. Frogs are very sensitive to sprays, and Hawkes Bay is orchard and wine country, which means truck-loads of sprays - and no frogs. And most people with gardens or fruit trees in their yards spray quite heavily too.
      I know my little sweeties will do well in my garden because I don't spray, and I provide wintering-over areas for insects (to ensure I have a good pest-control type insect population come spring).
      I love that you relocate your frogs - that is so great :)

  2. Good golly, Miss Dana, I came by to say "Hello!" and you've given me such a wonderful memory with your fradpoles...shades of my misspent youth in the interior of British Columbia, here in Canada...where fradpoles were free and wild....and just as you describe!
    I understand that as an "angel" you are required to share pickled beans with all the RR members...just saying...I'm sure you'll see that in the rules SOMEwhere. :-)
    Thanks for helping us out!