Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Appliance Arsenal

Ok, maybe calling this post Appliance Arsenal is a bit strong, but I'm a sucker for alliteration. My appliance purchasing from the spring continued today with the Breville Ikon 900-Watt Variable-Speed Juice Extractor. The ratings were excellent and it came highly recommended from Chile of Chile Juice Reboot and other fabulous blogs. Her juices sound fabulous and I have the Juicing Bible on hold at the library. Between those I think we'll be off to a good start. When the temperature is close to 100 degrees, anything but chilled juice sounds too heavy. I'll let you know how it goes with my new, shiny nutrition machine!

If anyone has any juice recipes you'd like to share, leave a comment and I'll give it a whirl. I have to admit, though that the only thing I will not add to juices is banana. There's just something about them....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The End of the Apricots

Today marked the end of apricot season at the Lean-To. It was lovely while it lasted. I juiced the last 14 apricots into a thick nectar. What I will do with that, I have no idea. As you can see in the picture below, they were looking pretty haggard and there was only one that I ate out of hand. Many had succumbed to ants and birds, but that's part of the deal when you sign up to garden. At least in my opinion.

Inspired by Chile and her juice fast, I pulled out our juicer today. It is not a very good model as it doesn't juice greens or ginger--two of the things I'd love to be able to juice. I picked it up about a year ago from our former neighbors who were downsizing to travel this great land of ours and live in a fifth wheel with their two children ages 6 and 11. I haven't heard from them in some time and wonder how their adventure turned out. I knew their juicer wasn't going to be perfect for our needs, but for $20 I was willing to help out a neighbor and gain a mediocre juicer.

I harvested these carrots from the garden, threw in some cucumber and some ginger in the hope that this time it would get juiced. The results were pretty delicious. Whenever I drink fresh juice I get a little zing that lasts for a while.  The pulp goes to the chicken and we are all very happy.

I would love to juice more but am unwilling to shell out $400 for a great juicer. Does anyone know of a model between $100-$200 that will juice greens like kale, ginger, the usual suspects (carrots, fruit) and, possibly, wheatgrass? Links would be much appreciated

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stone Fruit

The apricot tree has been providing us with plenty of fruit to eat out of hand. I think it will be a few years yet before we'll get enough to go through the effort of putting it up.

If you have more stone fruit than you know what to do with, this week's New York Times Magazine has a great interactive from Mark Bittman about several ways to prepare stone fruit. Many of them use plenty of sugar and some a fair amount of butter. You can find it here.

I hope you are enjoying the bounty of summer wherever you may be!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Out of Control!

The garden and yard have really gotten away from me this year. Luckily the native grass seed we planted last year came back easily. What also had no issue taking hold again is the vetch, which is good if it's used for its intended purpose, a nitrogen rich cover crop. It is not so good when you let it grow, and grow, and grow then go to flower and seed. I think I'll be battling the vetch in the veggie beds next season.

Things could be much worse. We could have to rely on rain to irrigate our crops, rather than the acequia which would be miserable as we haven't had any rain in a very long time. Right now I hear thunder and a few stray drops have hit the window. If it really opens up I'll have to go outside and enjoy it while it lasts.

A fire started on our beloved Bosque yesterday, jumped the river and seems to be fairly under control today. It is so difficult to see New Mexico burn. We love its wild places and national forest to escape the city and enjoy the beauty of this beautiful state. I hope the monsoons arrive with a vengeance and soon.

Because of our access to the acequia, we've been flooding once a week. This is what things are looking like these days. It is such a relief to walk through our gate and see the lushness that is our yard.

The plum and vetch is in the foreground with the peach looking lovely in the back. Behind the peach you might be able to make out the porch structure that is awaiting a roof. Behind the wheelbarrow is a massive weed (I think). I've been hesitant to do anything about it because the pollinators absolutely love its little white flowers.

We've been eating apricots daily from this tree. They are so delicious and their season is so fleeting. I'm afraid we might have a borer issue as there is a sticky sap-like substance oozing from the trunk. Darn. Chipper is enjoying all of her free-ranging.

The veggie garden. The vetch is growing up the fence which has provided shade for the plants inside during the hottest time of the day. Bumblebees also love the flowers. I'm looking forward to the giant sunflower flowering.

The peach regained all of its leaves and then some after the brief, but fruit-killing, aphid invasion of the spring.

I really dislike flash-induced washed-out pictures, but here is the best I could do today with this pic of an apricot.

The garden contains 2 beds-one that is cultivated with intentional seeding of carrots, lettuces, turnips and rutabagas (which I roasted in the solar oven for a work potluck today). This bed, however, is mostly volunteers with a few nursery-purchased seedlings. The volunteers are tomatoes from last year and squash/melons from having left the seeds in the compost. This plant is reminiscent of a pumpkin. Another looks to have either a watermelon or a Hubbard Squash. I'll try to snap some pics tomorrow for some id-ing.
 Things are definitely going well in the growth department. The weeding and maintenance departments are suffering from some busyness on our parts, but there is something really great about the chaos of it all.