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Yes,  I’ve missed a couple days of sharing my make-its for October.  I have been busy making stuff though, so without further ado, here we go…

Sunday my big creation was roasted purple potatoes with fresh rosemary.  The rosemary was from the garden; the potatoes were not, despite my best efforts. I tried to grow several varieties of potatoes this year and they were doing well until it came time to need more dirt and containment.  I don’t think the containers were big enough.  Or maybe I smothered them with too much dirt.  In any case, the potatoes were a failure.  But whatever, that’s what grocery stores are for.

In retrospect, it was a weird garden year. Here is what happened:

garden stuff

 

I planted all that stuff and more. The delacotta squash, zucchini, crooked neck squash, pumpkins, and most of the cucumbers were a big flop because of the blasted stink bugs.  The only squash that worked for me this year was the acorn squash, which I hid from the smelly bugs in the flower bed between the hibiscus, roses, and black-eyed susans.  The acorn squash is still producing actually.  It was a great year for green bell peppers, berries, lettuce, okra, and sunflowers. The tomatoes did ok.  This was the first year I grew beans and they made me happy.  They are still making me happy actually…

VIEZ1622

The sunflowers were planted from the seeds my sister gave me in the garden journal she made  – the gift that keeps on giving…

 

IMG_1960

Ok, ok….enough with the pictures….I could bore you with  garden pictures forever. Wait! Just one more thing about the garden:  ground cherries. They surprised me by growing this year. I never had them or heard of them or anything until last winter when I was flipping through the seed catalog, but there they were being all sexy and mysterious. I read up on them and found out they were related to Chinese lanterns, which are so neat looking, but which I’ve never been able to grow despite multiple attempts. I figured the ground cherries wouldn’t grow either, but the idea was too irresistible not to try, so I ordered them and I planted them and didn’t write them on the grid and then I promptly forgot about them in the planting frenzy that ensued in the spring.   Then one day last month I went outside and they were like, BAM! Going all crazy between the dill and the mint and I was like, ‘um what the hell is happening here?’  and then I remembered: ground cherries. So I ate one and it was not everything I’d hoped it would be, but it was something.  They are curious and cute, so I put them in a jar until I could figure out what to do with them. I think they belong in an arugula salad with lemon poppy seed dressing.

Monday I made space in my closet for warm clothes and I made time in my life for self-care. Not particularly exciting, but it needed to happen.

Today, I worked on a new choreo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My pickle journey began on a crisp January day this year. I was flipping though Annie’s Heirloom Seed Catalogue, while fantasizing about warm weather and all the stuff I wanted to grow in the garden.

Me: “Hey! We could grow corn and make our own popcorn!!”

El-D Squidward: “No.  The deer will eat it.”

Me: “Then we need to plant enough for the deer to eat too! What could be better than homegrown popcorn!?”

El-D Squidward: “Being dead…or anything else.” (ok, maybe he didn’t say that part exactly, but the sentiment was expressed in the look he gave me.)

I continued flipping pages in the catalogue and came to the page with cucumbers.  Homemade pickles! I kept this thought to myself, lest I be told a plague of cucumber-eating locust were expected this year.

I pondered pickles for few months, then ordered the seeds for Boston Pickling Cucumbers.  The date was March 24th.

I planted them on May 6th. Little fuzzy plants began pulling themselves out of the ground a few weeks later.hanging on

 

El-D saw them coming up and built them a fancy trellis.  On May 11th it occurred to me that  I really needed to be growing dill if I was going to make pickles, so I planted some.

As the cucumber blossoms started turning into fruit, I realized  that this pickle thing might acutally happen.  The search for recipes began in earnest. I watched the Good Eats episode on pickle making as part of my research because Alton Brown is THE MAN.

cucumber 2016

After painstaking research, I finally decided on  Curbstone Valley Farm’s Classic Dill Pickle recipe.  Four stores later, I had managed to acquire almost all the ingredients.  (Where the heck does one find juniper berries??).

Today, pickle preparation began. Today alone was a 5 hour labor of love.

pickle fixins

I have the scalded skin to show for it.  Seven months after the pickle idea popped into my head, I have this…

pickles

<cue angels singing here>

 

 

Sing it with me y’all!

…and now I only have three weeks to wait.  This batch will be ready August 2. *sigh*

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.

–Charles Dickens

Today was exactly like that quote from Charles Dickens.

Spring Break was a couple weeks ago. Quite suddenly the frenetic pace in which I have grown accustomed to functioning, came to a screeching halt. Then there was silence and time. I can’t remember when I had such a vast expanse of both.

Last year at this same time I was learning new ways to kneel and kiss the ground even as that ground was spinning away beneath my wheels and shifting beneath my feet.  Prayers were being flung to the heavens. Finally, the ground gave way and I poured right through the hourglass into a completely different life. And here I am.

This year I am learning to operate at a slower pace.  The curriculum is challenging, but the lessons are definitely worth the while….as well as delicious!    El Diablo made these fluffy rolls this week the slow way.

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Rolls

They took *forever.*

Piping hot and drenched with melted butter and maple syrup as they were, I ate entirely too many of them.

Now, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry bushes are ready to be planted. This season’s new seeds will be planted soon, along with the seeds collected from last year’s garden.

seeds for the planting

seeds for the planting

As we are making way for slow food, I’m remembering some of the things I read in Barbara Kingsolver’s memoir Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life about how to rely less on fossil fuels through the food choices we make. So I leave you today with food for thought.

  • Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars.
  •  The average food item on a U.S. grocery shelf has traveled farther than most families go on their annual vacations…. an average of 1,500 miles….
  • If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.

–Barbara Kingsolver

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

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