Market Monday

I’m not posting a Harvest Monday because, well, I haven’t harvested much of anything in the past week. I picked a bit of rhubarb to complete a batch of rhubarb-strawberry butter, but otherwise, it’s been a maintenance week for the gardens. In case you’re wondering, here’s the “harvest” from Saturday’s farm market.

This barely fit on the counter.

This barely fit on the counter.

Some of the goodies are for eating now, and some are for putting up – storing for later. From left to right: blueberries, now; strawberries, now and later; grapeseed oil and smoky sea salt, now and later; carrots, now; tomatoes, now; mushrooms, now; lettuces, now; peas, later; more lettuces, now; asparagus, later. Oh, I forgot the cheeses. Block of cheddar, for eating now. Cheese curds, for sharing with La Petite. We sampled a few to make sure they were tasty.

The Facebook comments on this picture got interesting. I joked (sort of) that I was prepping for the Walker Apocalypse. Many teachers I know are in a Cautiously Paranoid condition; we know the future of public education in our state is shaky, at best. We’re looking to provide for our families one way or another. My method consists (in part) of filling the freezer and the pantry with decent food, mostly organic, much locally grown.

If you want to see harvests that will make you hungry, visit Daphne’s Dandelions. If you want to see more of what’s happening in Daisy’ pantry and freezer, stay tuned. I’m simmering a batch of strawberry-rhubarb butter right now, as I type. The house smells wonderful.

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Fun with Cookie Cutters

I found these at a rummage sale. Naturally, I bought them. Chuck enjoys model trains and finds railroads fascinating, so it was an easy decision.

Chug Chug Chug Chug Chug

Chug Chug Chug Chug Chug

Then I made cookie dough. I added a little cocoa so I wouldn’t have to frost them and decorate with all kinds of sprinkles and other delicious but messy garbage.

I baked the cookies.

Cookies! All Aboard for cookies!

Cookies! All Aboard for cookies!

And while you Ooh and Aah over the adorable little engine, coal car, and caboose, let me tell the the rest of the story. I usually bake this recipe in winter, most often at Christmas. The next picture will show you why I tend to avoid this recipe in the humid days of summertime.

Oh, dear. Project derailed.

Oh, dear. Project derailed.

They tasted okay with coffee, at least. Maybe I’ll attempt to make them again in December.

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Fun Day Friday – outside the restaurant

Amigo and I have a tradition that goes back several years. Whenever we’re able, we go out to lunch on Friday. We choose locally owned places whenever we can, and we try restaurants that are new to us as often as possible. Last week we went downtown in our fair city and sampled a Mexican restaurant. Before we went in, we explored a junk-metal sculpture outside on the sidewalk.

Performance Art?

Performance Art?

The food and beverages were awesome, too. This one is a winner. I’m sure we’ll be back.

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Love Is – a Rain Barrel or two

This year’s rain barrel set-up is complicated. First we didn’t have a garage. Then we had a garage with no gutter or downspout. After that, we had a gutter and downspout, but we didn’t have the right support to get the barrels up high enough to be convenient and easy to use.

We now have the cinder blocks and bricks (Thanks, Home Depot and Habitat ReStore). When we can summon the energy, we’ll pile up the cinder blocks and set the rain barrels on top of them. In the meantime, I give you an encore featuring Chuck’s model train layout. Enjoy.

Chuck, dear husband of mine, models trains in HO scale. For the uninitiated, HO translates as small. Tiny. Put-on-your-glasses and look very closely for details. Itty bitty.

The building below is part of a granary in his layout. The rain barrel is about the size of my pinkie fingernail, if not smaller. Yes, dear readers; he made a rain barrel in his train layout in tribute to his wife’s green philosophies.


Now if only I can stop him from buying the shopping bag that says, “I carry this bag because my wife cares about the environment”!

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Container Gardening – a Pricey Trend?

We were picking up blueberry and raspberry canes to supplement what we’ve already planted. In the process, we saw some – oh how shall I say it? – creative mark-ups on planters and containers.

The simple box

The simple box

The simple box with decoration

The simple box with decoration

Pretty, right? And rather simple. Someone took the time to paint the boxes a nice neutral gray, and then they added a few decorative details to one box. Are you ready for the reveal? The price tag? Are you sitting down?

You read that right, people. $50 for the painted box.

You read that right, people. $50 for the painted box.

I found Chuck as he checked out and showed him the outrageous mark-up on the simple, no doubt inexpensive boxes. He was shocked, too. And on our way to the car…

The popular raised bed, unpainted

The popular raised bed, unpainted

These were on sale.

Ouch.

Ouch.

$250? Sale price?!? Give me a break, folks. This must be the new and trendy Container Gardening for Rich People. No one in my social circles would spend $50 on a wood box, much less $250 on a small wooden raised bed. Maybe I’m in the wrong field; I should be painting and repurposing my garage sale finds instead of planting in them. The profit margin would be amazing.

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Harvest Monday – cilantro

It’s June, folks, still June. I have a lot of sprouts growing, but not much to harvest except the ubiquitous rhubarb. The cilantro, though, is reaching for the sky.

cilantro

I planted small amounts a few weeks apart so it wouldn’t ripen all at once. The batch on the right is past its prime, if I’m honest. I might let it go to seed. On the left, that might be ready just in time for tacos. In the middle, it’ll join me for salsa. I planted in sections because we don’t use a lot of cilantro at any one time. The flavor is quite strong, especially when it’s fresh.

If I have too much, I can always feed it to the pet rabbit.

For more Harvest Monday, visit Daphne’s Dandelions. I wonder if she makes dandelion pesto? I should ask.

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Charleston

I’ve been struggling with blogging about Charleston. Words just don’t seem to be enough. I’m not Jon Stewart (look him up, he addressed it beautifully), so I’m going to turn to another source to say it for me. Thanks, New Yorker.

NY Nine

 

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The Downtown Market is Back!

The haul - week one

The haul – week one

In case you missed it on Facebook, here’s the counter full of goodies gotten while the gettin’ was good, real good, at the first downtown market of the year.

How’s that for an amazing run-on sentence? I’m almost proud.

I did not buy rhubarb, for obvious reasons. There’s a recipe for rhubarb bread pudding sitting on the table and calling my name. I’ll freeze whatever’s left over.

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Depression Cake with Rhubarb

Ah, the rhubarb. We’re having a bumper crop already. I used up a little in a strawberry rhubarb ice cream. For my next trick, I modified a classic cake that I usually make with applesauce. In place of the applesauce, I used rhubarb sauce (you guessed that, didn’t you?) and then baked them as cupcakes instead of in the 13 by 9 pan

In case you don’t like to click on links, here’s the updated version.

Depression Cake (named for a historical time period, not the illness)

2 cups strong coffee
2 cups raisins or chopped dates or other dried fruit
½ cup rhubarb sauce
2 cups all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour, my favorite)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. each ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
Powdered sugar for garnish (or serve with whipped topping)

Preheat oven to 350.
In large saucepan, combine granulated sugar, coffee, raisins, and applesauce. Simmer 10 minutes. In large bowl, blend remaining ingredients, except powdered sugar. Stir raisin mixture into flour mixture. Pour batter into well-greased and floured cupcake pans. Bake at least 20-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with whipped topping.

The original was adapted from a recipe in a California Raisin cookbook put out at least twenty years ago.

 

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Fun with Container Planting

I didn’t call it container “gardening” because it feels more like a small to medium sized planter than a garden. No matter what the label, it was fun to put this together. I think the choice of flowers is better this year. It’s bound to grow and fill in and look beautiful. I won’t mention the struggle to keep it upright – you can find that here.

Done - for now.

Done – for now.

In a few baskets sitting on the rock garden, I have spinach, radishes, and onions. I will sprinkle all of them with red pepper flakes to discourage small furry creatures from disrupting the goodies. It’s working – sort of.

Laundry hamper, repurposed

Laundry hamper, repurposed – with a cat, an attempt to scare away tiny furry creatures.

This will be radishes.

This will be radishes.

Spinach will come up here - if I can keep up with the red pepper supply.

Spinach will come up here – if I can keep up with the red pepper supply.

Some small critter loves garlic, loves it a lot, loves it so much that as soon as the scapes get two inches above the soil, the critter makes a visit and nibbles like crazy.I can rule out Bunnicula, at least. No vampire rabbit could withstand so much fresh garlic.

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