Monday, August 31, 2009

Lost Days


Sorry its been a while since I posted. Had some dental issues and painkillers and blogging just don't match up to well in my book.

As for the food and garden front, I have really been working the bread and making some recipes from my Jamie Oliver cookbook my daughters got me. That guy really knows how to put a good recipe on paper! The garden keeps producing, but had a rough patch over the last week or so.

A lot of rain combined with really cool temps combined with inattentiveness on my part because of the bad tooth and you get a rough time in the garden. A lot of tomatoes split and some bugs got in, but the melons, pumpkins, squash, and peppers sure seem to love this weather. The beans have given up and the onions are still coming in strong.

The herbs have been the kings of the show lately. I cut the basil and oregano back couple of weeks ago and they bounced back strong. The other herbs are doing well, except the tarragon. It was doing really well for a while when it was hot and dry, but the cool and rain seem to have it down.

I need a good tarragon recipe. Got any favorites?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ruralrose, You Win The Prize!

In a comment earlier today Ruralrose put a link to Mother Earth News which had an excerpt from a great book on artisinal bread making. The article is a little rambling, and poorly ordered (if you ask me, which they didn't), but the results are not to be argued with.

The bread (some with honey and butter, and some with the pasta sauce I made tonite) is outstanding. Really. I would have been ecstatic if I had purchased it. I am over the moon that I made it.

To Ruralrose...


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fall Garden Suggestions?

Sorry for the lack of posts, I am without a camera right now and a lot of the stuff I am working on really needs a camera to show.

Working on Fall plantings. I need to improve the soil a little and rotate the crops a little.
Looking at chard, lettuce, potatoes (from my own seed potatoes), bok choi, turnips, carrots, and there are a few things I am hoping come along (like my parsnips).

I would love to hear any more suggestions anyone had on fall plantings, maybe even some flowers.

I am working on a bunch of other things that I hope to tackle over the next few days (man, I need a camera), the list includes:

A compost bin.
Make some bread (first time)
Make some cheese (first time)
Make some pasta sauce (definitely not first time)

So many things, so little time.

Also, planning on seeing Julie and Julia today. I guess its the foody in me that makes me want to see a "chick flick", but this looks too good to pass up.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Rabbits Face (Hopefully) Insurmountable Odds

So, we have a LOT or rabbits in the neighborhood. I mean a LOT. And my garden is the equivalent of the local watering hole. Around early dusk, they cirlce the yard in every direction, waiting for me to go away so they can come in and have a meal.

Recently I noticed that the number was lower than normal. I think the Cuterbra parasites might have gotten some of them, but the number continues to decline. I am only seeing one rabbit in the mornings now. Where have all the bunnies gone?

Does someone nearby have a better garden?

Is the one rabbit running the others off?

Whats going on here? Well, let me tell you.

A couple of nights ago I went out on the deck and saw...

...a big black flash come at me from the neighbors chimney and heard the soft sound of a whoosh over my head as the newest neighborhood pet took one of the rabbits for a ride. He made the rabbit an offer he couldn't refuse.

Mr Owl, you are me hero.

I have been trying to get a picture of him, but I think thats going to be pretty much impossible given my equipment.

Boy, those rabbits have it rough around here. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dazzling Color, Great Taste

The tomatoes keep coming! Here we have some Dr Wyche's Yellow and some Cherokee Purple. Tried the Dr Wyches tonite.

Cut into the tomato and BANG, there it was, my new favorite color. At first I did not like the flavor, but then I realized it was really just different. Then I realized it was a fruity flavor, less acid. What a joy to eat.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rainy Day Heading For HEAT

It rained most of the day yesterday and a good chunk of last night. A few thunderstorms early this morning. But the big news is that its been such a cool July and today we are headed for record highs. Its actually cool this morning and the temps will climb through the day an into the night building to an even warmer tomorrow. Got out there this morning and have more to do before it warms up too much.

Will try to post again later.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Harvest As Family Activity

One of the best things about a garden is harvesting. Combine that with your children, make it something to look forward to on the way home or when they come to visit. It makes memories. It is a rare and genuine manufactured memory. Buddy went out with me tonite and picked beans, helped dig for potatoes, and pointed out red tomatoes. Then he INSISTED on carrying the harvest bowl into the house all by himself (its a long way for a two year old, steps, etc) and he rendered yeoman service. Joy.

Below we have a work table covered in fruits of the garden. Just the way I like it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oh JOY!!!!!

So this weekend we had some excitement in the garden. We decided to pull up the smallest potato plant and see if we actually had any potatoes. Here the girls give it the old heave ho and...

And we did indeed have potatoes! Had a couple of pounds, which considering, is a pretty good haul. We roasted them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and they were magnificent. Seriously.

Not a bad haul. I am not sure we went far enough down to get all the potatoes, but it was so hot and the girls were anxious to get them in the stove, so I should go dig up the rest of the area.

Then, after waiting, and waiting, and waiting we finally got two days of heat and two warmish nights and the tomatoes start rolling in!

We have some Green Zebra, Roma, San Marzano, plenty of Costoluto Genovese (including a green one that I broke off in my frenzy to get the others, some Aunt Ruby's German Green, and the big guy is a Black From Tula. Tried the Green Zebra (tart and tasty), the Roma and San Marzano (tasty but a little mushy), the Costoluto Genovese (Tasty, Tender, softest skin I have ever seen on a tomato) and I ate the Black From Tula. The BFT was one, if not the best, tomatoes I have ever eaten. It literally raised the hair on my neck. It was that good.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Michael Pollan Is Pretty Cool

Just read an article in the NYT by Michael Pollan about food and health and culture.

Well worth the read. Its a great article. I can't recommend it enough.

This blog is mostly about gardening. I garden partly for environmental reasons, for reasons of relaxation, for important points of education for my children, for the challenge of it, for sheer joy.

But, when I am honest about it, the first and most deeply seated reason is that I love good food. Food that tastes like it should. Food that you can't find elsewhere. Food that is prohibitively expensive in its use unless you grow it.

Now I find that my love of good food (good in all manner - taste, health, local, etc) is really good for me and those around me.

I find that my love of cooking is actually an integral part of that. I guess I am one of those rare animals, a man who cooks at home, and cooks a LOT, with joy.

Read that article and enjoy! (FYI - The last section is the one with the punch, but with a lot less punch if you don't read the whole thing).