Hi everyone, I guess I don’t need to say much about what’s happening outside. The good part is that it is the peak fall color week in the area. The other part, we now have the heater on and as I type this, I’m wrapped up in a giant alpaca wool blanket. The garden is pretty much done for the year except for some of the hardier herbs. One delicious and easy thing to do right now is to make some herbed butter. Chopping up the various herbs makes the kitchen smell heavenly. Add one giant clove of minced garlic and it is just out of this world. I used about 1/3 portion of room temperature Ocooch Mountain Reserve hand rolled butter from Alcam Creamery. It would be about 1 stick and 1/2 if you’re using regular butter. In a bowl, I tossed in some chopped sage, oregano, dill weed, basil, rosemary, thyme, and garlic. I wrapped the kicked up butter in wax paper then placed it in a small freezer bag. I can’t wait to use it in deep winter for roasted vegetables and meats to remind me that my sweet summer garden will come again.
The Scent of Summer
Look what I grew! This my friends is a Brandywine tomato. It’s the most popular type of heirloom tomato and the first to ripen in the garden. Of course I had to make something special to celebrate the occasion. There are a lot of tomato recipes out there but the tarts (especially the French ones with their use of mustard) intrigued me. I also had a fine jar of Edmond Fallot grainy mustard that I purchased from the Driftless Depot sitting in the pantry that I’ve been wanting to use and some fat and happy herbs from the garden. I was a bit skeptical about putting the mustard in but I took a most delicious chance. I even decided to give it some Italian baci. Kisses.
My Best Garden Tomato Ever
Hello there. Today, I’m one of the happiest little backyard farmers in the world. I dug up my first ever garlic plant. I was quite giddy to harvest my twenty heads of garlic and braid them to hang in the kitchen. Did you know that one clove turns into an entire bulb? I’m embarrassed to say that I did not! I planted the cloves last fall and for the past few weeks, we have been enjoying the garlic scapes and young leaves by chopping them up in salads, eating them in omelets, roasts, and even pickling some. Taking off the scapes lets the plant focus its energy on growing the garlic head. When the bottom leaves become yellow and start to dry up a bit, according to my friend Christy (who I actually got the cloves from), it is ready to dig up.
I bet you have been missing our posts about the beautiful Driftless Region. I love this time of the year. Yesterday after a roaring spring storm, I discovered that my patch of daffodils on the east side of the house have started to bloom. Behind the house, the apple tree is pale green from thousands of new buds. It got pretty muddy so I waited patiently until this morning to visit my little garden. I was excited to see the fuschia and bright green heads of rhubard coming up, the dozen garlic cloves I planted last fall have sprouted six-inch leaves, and two of my herb boxes survived the winter. The oregano and thyme are growing vigorously as well as two thick patches of chives. Also delightful were a couple little earthworms and a particularly fast moving chubby slug. All these, accompanied by a sweet cacophony of bird songs.
The peppers are growing profusely in my garden right now. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that one of my favorite pastimes is to complain about the weather. It’s been incredibly hot and humid here in the Driftless Area. Keith, Ollie Dog, and I only go out on walks after 10PM these days. Amidst my whining about the heavy heat, I managed to make my first ever batch of pickled peppers. It’s quite easy. I followed David Lebovitz’ recipe and adapted it to the amount of peppers I had.
Banana, Jalapeño, Cherry, and Cayenne Peppers
Sweet Ruby Baby when is this madness gonna end!?! For the past few weeks and continuing, I’ve been collecting gallons of those little yellow flowers WHICH-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED and their fluffy kind. In addition, my inner “Martha” finally kicked in and went through the first dreaded visit to the garden. I plucked away 2 feet tall of those aforementioned flowers and had a tug of war game with two trees. Tree number two won but later lost when Keith cut it down with an axe.
Our lot is 100 feet by 150 feet. We have 14 inches of snow in our yard (I measured). This means we have (roughly) 17550 cubic feet of snow right now. What to do with it? Well, I’ll use 300 cubic feet to make snowballs to throw at Leslie. 1206.34 cubic feet will make that 12 foot snowman I always wanted. And Oliver (the dog) has already peed on about 2600 cubic feet. That leaves 13443.66 cubic feet. What to do with it?
Well, Leslie also happens to have a fridge full of grape syrup made from our Concord grapes this year (she claims that she meant to make syrup; I think she was making jelly and it didn’t go right). So what do you do with a few gallons of grape syrup and a few tons of snow? I don’t think I need to tell you:
10. Beg a food pantry to take it.
09. Go to church late and leave zucchinis on top of people’s cars.
08. Harvest decor.
07. Paint it yellow and pretend you’ve grown the world’s largest banana.