Monday, August 23, 2010

Possibly the WORST Gardener Ever

So, I have a couple of pots CLEARLY marked "carrot" that I remember planting...with CARROT seeds. And yet, they have tomatoes growing out of them. WTF? The tomatoes don't have actual fruit on them, but definitely tomato plants.

Then there are the onions. Last year the onions were spectacular and big and easy. This year, I harvested all I could find in the raised bed and the volume of the bulbs is definitely LESS than the volume of sets I put in. Fewer in number and quite feeble in size. Most of the starts had disappeared entirely. Sigh. The few left in pots seem to be doing well. Onions at the farmers market are fabulous so clearly I suck.

Then there are the squash...I may get 4 winter squash of a variety I do not recognize from seeds from my vermicompost. I should at least recognize the variety because presumably I bought and ate it at some point. They are shaped like acorn or delicata, but all green with small white spots. Quite cute. But still...WTF?

The calendula continues to be eaten by what appear to be black ants.

And when does one harvest the potatoes? I keep sticking my hand down in one of the potato pots to try to see if there are tubers in there. I either found one potato or a rock. I didn't pull it up. I think when the tops die I should dig them up but any advice is welcomed.

The mint continues to look good as does the sage and the GREEN GREEN GREEN tomatoes which hesitate to turn red.

In other sad dehydrator died. There will be a wake this evening and an autopsy soon. In the spirit of "the dehydrator is dead, long live the dehydrator" I must get a new one. Obviously it's only the heating and fan bit that died, the trays and whatnot are fine. So I'm going to try to get the same model. It died with half dried tomatoes in it. I have given them the cryogenic treatment in the hopes that when a cure is found (or a recipe started) I can revive them for use.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

mmmmm....MORE BLT

I'm pretty sure BLTs are the perfect food. Seriously. I got some lovely black rye from the bread guy at the farmers market and have bad a few BLTs with local pepper bacon (not back bacon this time, just regular streaky bacon), farmers market tomatoes, and I had to buy a bag of greens as my supply of greens is dwindling. Still have plenty of homemade mayonnaise to make the sandwiches with. The one major issue is the amount of bacon to cook up. I have a large George Foreman grill and 6 slices of bacon fit nicely. I mean to make less, but it seems wasteful to have empty hot space on the grill. So I think "I'll save some for the next meal" but so far that has yet to happen. It's too delicious and the smell is too good. Actually, I think the sandwich was almost entirely local! The mustard in the mayonnaise is not local, but is "artisan" and I don't know where they got the pepper on the bacon, but that is not a large portion of the actual meal. I followed it up with some chocolate cake. It might be the best meal I've had in a year (since last year when I had a BLT and chocolate cake).

They say only the first two bites of something really taste good...I don't buy it when it comes to bacon. It's all good.

And a quick shout out to Pam who sent me a hamburger phone like in "Juno" AND a custom made pendant with the words "I DON'T HAVE TO DO SHIT" stamped on it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I made a local BLT for supper. I found tomatoes at the farmer's market yesterday, but had already decided not to buy bread. I thought I might make "that which has no name" BUT then I remembered to stop at the local butcher in Moscow and got back bacon. And of course I have lettuce.
SO, today I stopped at the co-op and got bread (a "rustic loaf" which is delicious and lumpy shaped). THEN I found a recipe in a GIANT cookbook Jonny (Hi Jonny) gave me for mayonnaise. As usual, I didn't have all the right ingredients, but I was close. I didn't have the dijon mustard recommended so I used the stone ground brown mustard. No fresh lemon juice but I figured since I could have substituted vinegar, I could use bottled lemon juice just as well. A local egg went into it. The oil is from elsewhere sadly. The olive oil is from far away, the canola COULD be from here if only there was a local processor for all the local canola crop (also known as rape or rapeseed crop). BUT, the tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, wheat, and egg were local and that's most of the deal. It was delicious. I now have way more mayonnaise than I need. I wonder if that's something I can give away. I wonder if I could make a smaller amount with a quail egg. Or a single serving with a hummingbird egg.

Squash Blossoms.

I've been getting a steady supply of raspberries. 1/2 to almost 1 cup per day. Doesn't sound like much, but it's a serving of fruit...and extremely local AND delicious. So far very few have actually made it in the house but I did manage to save enough for 1 cup of raspberry dairy-free icecream the other day (in the tiny Donview 1/2 pint I got at the thrift store). Very nice.

I'm getting about 1-2 servings of peas per week. Next year, I will plant more densely.

I've also had a couple carrots and another beet. This was a nice red and white striped beet (the inside, not the outside, was striped). Milder than the red and didn't "bleed" all over the counter while being sliced. I chopped it fine, along 1 big and 1 tiny (accidental harvest!) of my purple carrots (purple on the outside, orange on the inside), a local garlic clove and a local onion, and fried up in olive oil. I put in a bit of lime thyme and cilantro and parsley from the garden along with the carrot tops chopped fine (related to parsley and taste like very mild parsley), and the beet greens chopped super fine. I mixed in some jasmine rice left over from a few days ago and let the whole mess steam for a few minutes. It is delicious. I was tempted to pick one of my peppers but I'm trying to save the first ones for seed so I can try to get an early variety going.

Other recent treat from the garden!!!!
Squash blossoms for brunch today. Note to self...before picking be SURE the GIANT BEE is not in the bloom. He/She was pissed. I froze for a minute until it found a new bloom to snack on. I picked about 6 blooms from at least 2 different plants (hard to differentiate the plants). All but 1 were open and had potentially already polinated someone. Obviously, I only picked the male blooms since picking the female ones would mean fewer squash at the end of the year. I had read recipes and come up with the general impression that one should make some sort of wet slurry (eggs, milk, or eggs and milk) and a dry component (flour, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, corn meal). I had a local egg and local whole wheat flour. I picked a couple of leaves of sage in the garden per Laurie's suggestion (Thanks Laurie! hope all is well with you) and chopped those in to the flour. Then, put in a tiny bit of nutmeg because it smells delicious fried. Heated some of that goat butter in a heavy skillet. Dipped one bloom at a time in the beaten egg and dredged in the seasoned flour, then fried lightly (which means turning the heat on and off on my stove since the only settings on the big burner are "off" and "center of the sun") and it worked out fine. I had to replenish the butter now and then since I was being stingy with it. I didn't cut any thing but the stem off the blooms and just a quick dip in water to get big bugs or dirt off, then drained and dipped and fried. They were FREAKING DELICIOUS. Wow. Next time I will try bread crumbs which I will save rather than feed to the worms.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Attempted Garden Photo

Well, here it is:

The green bucket is not a plant, it is a bucket of water left to warm up and de-chlorinate for a day, per the recommendation of my guru, that square foot garden guy. Behind the green bucket is a BIG and late planted container of cucumber and what I hope is squash. Might be melon. To the side, is a small pot of flowers just for fun, you can see one leaf of the rhubarb plant in a bucket (wants to be in the ground but have to wait for wet weather do dig. Then a couple of tomatoes. If you look close, you can see one tomato near the lip of the brown container. This went into the jesus bruschetta.

Also in view, 3 containers of taters. More tomatoes (one ENORMOUS tomato plant near the clothes line gives you an idea of the height of that one) and the fact that the volunteer squash have taken over the newer portion of the raised bed. The shade from said giant squash seems to be helping the lettuce and carrots. In the far back end of the raised bed you can see sad calendula. As soon as it blossoms some stupid flying black ant looking thing eats the bloom. Same thing is happening to the marigolds which are SUPPOSED to be bug repellent.

In the way background is the neighbor's house. He's been a shop teacher...I don't think he brings his work home with him. If I had turned slightly more south you could see the lovely pond with plantings, seating and BBQ that they put in this year. They focus more on what they enjoy than things like the outside of the house looking nice. I like them.