Sunday, September 16, 2012

Love This Time of Year

We're coming up on fall which I adore. I can be out mid-afternoon without roasting and can take my bike everywhere without fear of offending due to sweat.

Saturday I pedaled to the grower's market, something I haven't done in a long, long time. The crowds tend to put me off but going early negates that worry. I picked up purple beans, rattlesnake beans, a native melon, okra, collard greens, tomatoes, sweet corn and a multigrain loaf of bread. I would have loved to take more, but that was all I could fit in my pannier.

Some of the corn was roasted on the grill for vegetarian enchiladas and some was eaten as a side with a variation of this gumbo. I had forgotten how much I love okra and will definitely do a better job at planting and caring for it next year. We had the collards on the side tonight too and they were delectable with some spicy vinegar from home-canned pickled jalapenos.

Next Saturday I plan to hit the market again but with more storage space. It's apple season after all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's New

Things here are settling into a nice routine between work and home. Unfortunately more time is spent on the work side of things, but that's how it goes sometimes.

The garden is growing but I had less than ideal germination rates for the beets, turnips, rutabaga and the carnival carrots. This is mostly due to the seeds being a tad old, I think. We'll make do with what comes up! I'm also plucking tomato hornworms off the tomatoes a few times a week. They make for a good chicken snack!

The sunflowers are putting out seed which the goldfinches and sparrows love and Chipper the chicken gets to have any leftovers.

I'm still juicing every day and it helps me get through the long mornings before lunch. I think it's like a little sanity tonic when working with middle schoolers!

And last but not least, Lane has started a masters program--the house has never been cleaner!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cookin' Ahead

Now that school is back in session, time is really at a premium. To avoid the nightly "what's for dinner" conundrum I thought I'd try to get ahead of the game today. I prepped a few meals in advance in the hope that they'll be on deck when I get home too tired to start from scratch. Today I used the grill to roast 2 eggplant, corn, and a few bell peppers. The eggplant became a lemony spread for home-baked baguette. The corn and peppers found their way into some black bean enchiladas. We'll be eating those for days. I also roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic to stir into a basil pesto with pasta later this week. Pizza dough is also rising in the fridge for a night this week where we can grill up a tasty pie. And, while they have nothing to do with dinner, I also threw together a batch of chocolate chip cookies. There was no need to have the oven going and not bake cookies!

In the garden many of the brassicas have sprouted: tatsoi, turnips, rutabaga, kale and the spinach and beets are also showing their tender sprouts. I may be wrong, but I think some carrots have also started to come up. If I can manage to remember to water, we may have a good harvest at the end of fall. The added water has also helped coax the tomatoes into productivity. It's such a joy to be able to eat a cherry tomato (or two) while watering the garden. Bliss!

One part of the weekend that was far from blissful was the weeding of the mini forest of silverleaf nightshade that took over the side yard. These plants look innocent enough, but they are covered in spines and seem to proliferate through some sort of underground runner. I feel like I can never get rid of it and in some states (WA and OR) it is considered a noxious weed. I'd love to get that part of the yard more landscaped, or at least mulched, in an attempt to suppress this and other weeds.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fall Garden

The fall garden was planted today. Hooray! I "weeded" a good pile's worth of sunflowers that had blown over in a freak microburst that came through yesterday. I think we had gusts of about 60mph for about 5 minutes which toppled our sunflowers and broke branches all over the neighborhood. Weird.

Along with the preexisting tomatoes I planted the following seeds: parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, 4 varieties of carrots, 3 varieties of beets (including Bull's Blood), a lettuce mix, collard greens, spinach, tatsoi and red kale. The trick now is keeping it moist and watered. I'm so glad I was able to get these seeds planted today. Last year I missed the planting window and missed out on from-the- yard produce, which was a bummer. In other good gardening news, our neighbor across the way has agreed that we will co-garden his large lot this spring! I see corn, more tomatoes, peppers, beans and eggplant in our future...

Today we also met a lovely couple from this part of town. They have several fruit trees and will be out of town for a few weeks. We're going to keep an eye on their house in exchange for the fruit (pears & apples) and whatever is ready to harvest from their garden. Lucky us!

Yesterday I harvested at least 5 lbs of peaches from my school's orchard. We've been eating them out of hand all day and I made this incredible peach crumble. This is why we will never be able to truly go vegan--the butter made it all the more delicious! I went on a cooking spree yesterday baking two baguettes, two pizzas, roasted eggplant & tomato spread for the baguette and hummus. We'll be eating well this week!