Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rain and rain and more rain

Ah yes, the rain! Feels like we’re all growing a thin layer of mold. I thought about taking pictures of the mushrooms and strange molds and particularly the Caca de Luna, Fuligo Septica or (not to be gross, but) "Dog Vomit Mold" which is loving all the wet mulch and raised beds at our house. But, I really didn't have the stomach for it. Nice!

A few quick snaps I took between raindrops...

The marguerite daisys have begun to bloom. These are called "Kelway"

And these antique black violas seem to have self-seeded below the hanging basket from last year. Love these!

And we did manage a few things between the showers. So here's our IDC update for the week.

Plant Something:

Planted carrots, turnips, beets and onions round two. Planted some perrenials. Transplanted borage.

Harvest Something:
More strawberries…although the rain is turning most of them into moldy mess, the first of the raspberries, lettuce and peas.

Preserve Something:

Froze strawberries and raspberries (saving up the raspberries to make cordial)

Waste Not:
Used cheese whey for bread and pancake dough. Started two hot compost bins. Made berry picking buckets out of milk jugs for two handed picking.

Want Not:
Found some french soda bottles with rubber ring tops for cordial making. Scored a new baby wrap and baby sling as well as a very nice diaper bag at the local thrift store.

Build Community Food Systems:

Bought eggs and greens from the local farm. Loaned “In Defense of Food” to a friend.

Eat the Food:
Strawberry rhubarb pie, oh yeah! Made sourdough bread and sourdough pancakes. Lots of fresh peas, and salads.

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Enjoying the sweetness

We are well into the midst of our first official strawberry season. Last year we had to pinch off all of the blossoms to ensure good root development. This year we are reaping the harvest. 1 to 2 pints of delicious berries a day!!! for the past 11 days. whoohoo!

Here's the haul from just one evening. Two pints before we tossed them in the big strainer for a quick shower.

Then some got capped and cut up and ready on a tray for a quick freeze before bagging in the freezer.

And the rest of the bounty, slightly macerated with a potato masher, topping some home-made sweet biscuits and crowned with home-made whipped cream slightly sweetened with maple syrup. Simply heavenly!

And fast on their heels, the quickly ripening raspberries.

I'm reading up on cordial making (the alcoholic "American" kind as well as the non-alcoholic British/Australian versions. I'm also preparing myself to dip my toe into the jam-making arena. Nervous and filled with trepidation...but almost ready to take the plunge.

And our update for the IDC, we've had a busy week, with much rain. Here's what we've managed this week...

Plant Something:
Planted broccoli, kale, cabbage, marigolds, transplanted hosta away from the workshop to help the drainage and ant situation around the workshop. Brought out eggplant, pepper and basil seedlings to harden off in makeshift cold frame.

Harvest Something:

1 to 2 pints of strawberries a day, peas, lettuce and herbs.

Preserve Something:

Froze strawberries

Waste Not:
Read up on using more of our discarded paper for composting instead of recycling. Planning the location for a new hot compost pile.

Preparation and Storage:
Did the big shop for the month. Added to the long term food storage, more legumes, applesauce, seasonings. Moved some vases and china around in the basement to double our basement pantry storage.

Build Community Food Systems:

Located a great listing of all the farmer's markets in our state to post on our company's green page. This will go along with an article encouraging people to buy locally and eat fresh! Communicated with a local farmer about providing the entertainment at their fall harvest festival. Whoohoo!

Eat the Food:
Had MORE fresh strawberry shortcake with whole wheat sweet biscuits and organic cream. Still delicious! Had fresh salad mix from the local farm under our grilled salmon. Made a fritatta with fresh farm eggs, braising greens and shredded raw milk cheese. Heavenly. Made my first successful batch of yogurt. Drained some for Quark cheese.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A few tentative stitches

Now that my finger is officially on the mend (no more bandages). I couldn't resist the urge to get out a knitting project and see what I can do. Hmmm, this is going to be a challenge. With weakness and hyper-sensitivity in my middle finger as well as a desire to put less stress on that joint. I'm realizing that I'm going to have to teach myself a new way to knit. I did 8 rows on this baby sweater this morning and it was painstakingly slow and a bit tweaky. Ah, well...a new challenge!

this little sweater is a pattern that I've xeroxed too many times and no longer know the origin. It's a simple thing that you knit flat with some nice garter edges and sew up the sides. If you are recognizing the green main color, it is the leftover Berkshire by Valley Yarns from my hoodie, thrown in with a few bits of Malabrigo in other greens (vaa and lettuce) since I didn't have enough of any one of these yarns. It's looking great so far in an alternating stripe. Now if I can only get my knitting mojo back I'll be in business.

And since I'm all about all things green today. Here are some new pictures from the garden. We picked some of these sweet yellow peas to have aside our fritatta last night. Very yummy!

The bush beans that Michael planting are loving this weather!

I can't resist the eye-popping color of these petunias. They make me smile everytime I see them.

And here's our IDC Update for the week, lest you think that we were quietly sitting and knitting the week away.

Plant Something:
Planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplants from seedlings started indoors, direct seeded butternut squash

Harvest Something:
5 pints of strawberries…all eaten as fast as we could pick them, as well as all the lettuce that was big enough to cut.

Preserve Something:

Made veggie broth from ends, scraps and peelings and froze in ice-cube trays for quick usability.

Waste Not:
Cleaned out the fridge, made a huge pot of lamb broth with the lamb bones we had in the freezer. See veggie broth above.

Preparation and Storage:
Found some large “cookie cans” in the closet, perfect for mouse-proof storage in the basement pantry.

Build Community Food Systems:
Received some extra squash and cucumber seedlings from a neighbor, left them so home-made rhubarb coffee cake by way of thanks.

Eat the Food:

Had fresh strawberry shortcake with whole wheat sweet biscuits and organic cream MANY times this week. So delicious! Fresh picked lettuce on the home made gyro sandwiches. Attempted to make yogurt. Made ricotta instead. Used whey to lacto-ferment some wheat flour for apricot pecan quick bread. Baked 4 mini loaves and 6 muffins, some for immediate use and some for the chest freezer.

Happy early summer!