I saw this on my neighbor’s desk. I asked her – well, you take a look first.
Readers, what do you think?
It was a major assignment: a timeline covering about 200 years of early United States history. Some used poster board; others taped letter paper end to end. This student found a perfect piece of paper at home and used the back of it.
If you’re wondering, the timeline on the back was excellent. She earned an A.
A few days ago, I mentioned having oodles and oodles of not noodles, but tomatoes. I even mentioned a few suggestions. Here you go, folks, the results of Daisy’s Overabundance of Ripe Tomatoes!
I do mean a lot, too. It took two sessions in the hot water bath canner – my big one! – to process all of it.
In the category of “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work” (Thanks, Budweiser), we have Eating the Opponent, Philadelphia: Tomato Pie!
Well, it didn’t work. The game against the Eagles was a disaster in many ways. I might make the tomato pie again some day, though. It was good. I served it with diced Golden Delicious apples from a farm stand near La Petite’s abode in Lake Geneva.
The calendar may say November, but we’re still eating goodies that were grown locally or nearly so, including tomatoes from my own backyard. Click your heels three times, now, and say, “There’s nothing like homegrown tomatoes. There’s nothing like…” Or something like that.
Disclaimer: this is NOT my garage.
My dear, darling brother sent this picture along with a warning and a story. It’s not his garage, either, thank goodness. One of his friends sent it around.
“Small fire on the back side of my garage. Learned that the compost pile shouldn’t be that close to the garage and that old ashes from a fire pit should never be put in the compost. Fire captain said even 3 weeks later. He also said he has seen where a cigarette butt weeks later in mulch can catch fire.”
Wow! Bummer, indeed. I have dumped fireplace ashes on our brush pile and occasionally in the big compost bin. I always think, “these are cold ashes, no heat at all.”
The big bin isn’t up against our garage. It is, however, rather near my neighbor’s woodpiles. I guess we’d better give this some thought. Ashes to compost, safe or not? Readers, what kind of experiences have you had with fireplace and fire pit ashes and compost?
I’m looking forward to spring. I know, it’s not even winter yet, but autumn is the season when I pull apart the fading foliage of my garden and take steps to prepare for next spring. Chuck got into the thick of it this year. Take a look.
Yesterday and today I took to the task of harvesting all tomatoes that could ripen indoors. The herb pots are already inside. Next, I pulled all the tomato plants and tossed them on the brush pile at the back of our yard.
We’re adding leftover potting soils to the new patch as I deal with most of the containers. If weather permits, I will dig out compost from the base of the brush pile and from the base of the compost bin and fill in what I can of the new patch. It’s going to be a raised bed, built inside the repurposed lumber that Chuck assembled so nicely. Whatever I don’t fill this fall, we’ll build up next spring.
It’s another experiment: straw bale gardening. As long as we were expanding the once-triangular plot, we decided to try the bales. A year from now, when the growing season is done, the straw-based soil will become compost for the future. Planning ahead, we are.
But stay tuned, folks. There are still piles and piles of green tomatoes ripening indoors. I’m sure there will be stories.
So, readers, what kind of autumn tasks have fallen your way? Leaves? Lawns?
I did this list making task in May. Now it’s October, and the weather’s been lovely, so I’m out in the dirt after school or after supper before the sun goes down.
Let’s see: Done or Ta-Dah!
And to do:
And I suppose there is a list I could call keep on doing:
Got it? I think so. Good.
“We’ve had a lot more severe weather than usual.”
“These storms have people in my neighborhood talking.”
“I’m planning on getting more self sufficient, little by little, until we’re off grid completely.”
“Every time we get one of these lengthy power outages, I want to put up more food and prepare for the worst.”
“Climate change? What climate change? It’s just environmental jihad.”
With the exception of the last one, all of these people were noticing climate change. None are my own quotes, no matter how much they sound like me. Most were my coworkers, in fact. We’ve all noticed the changing climate, and we’ve also noticed how the major events are changing people.
None of us are survivalists, radicals, preppers, or the so-called Environmental Jihad. Ahem, maybe we do resemble the last one. But seriously, peoples. One teacher talked about her neighborhood having a block party, the first in years – maybe the first ever. During the August storm, neighbors talked to neighbors and realized they didn’t spend enough time socializing with those who lived nearby. Her neighborhood decided to do something about it.
I, too, was reminded how much I like my neighbors. Despite the huge tree leaning on their house, they were turning on their camp stove and calling me over for coffee. I don’t think we’re up for a block party yet, though. Feelings still run high about the Lorax and her influence on the Powers That Be.
So while we’re on the subject, folks, take a look at the book Life As We Knew It. Apocalyptic rather than dystopian, it did put me in the survivalist frame of mind. How would we cope if suddenly the world changed?
On a positive note, I’ve been busy bartering. Yep, good old fashioned barter. I swapped dill seed for zucchini (yeah, yeah, I know she would have given away the zucchini no matter what) and in a similar vein, I swapped a handful of rhubarb for a bucket of pears.
Maybe you’re reading this ramble and asking, Daisy, what’s your point? I’ll toss it back to you: what changes have you made in your life and what changes have you noticed in others? If you wrote the “overheard” section at the top of the page, what have you overheard about climate change? And finally, how would you react?
The key ingredient in my garden today is dill. The dill stalks are taller than almost everything. The dill seeds are drying on the vine. The dill weed pieces are drying, too, but not quite as fast as the seed.
I thought it would be easy. Strip the seeds from the blossom, throw the remains in the compost, store the seeds in a jar for winter cooking.
About a third of the seeds were still slightly green. Digging out the dry ones with a tweezers was not a high priority, so I left the bowl outside to dry in the sun.
Then Mother Nature sent rain.
With a deep sigh, I drained off the water and set the seeds on a towel to dry – again.
The dill weed, the feathery branches of the plant, went into the oven at a low temperature. The dehydrated, dried results ended up in a jar and ready for using in all kinds of salads and rubs when the weather gets cool.
Recipe ideas are welcome.
Originally posted in September of 2009, this post showed my reaction to what could have been a great recipe, but was only good. I have an abundance of corn right now, and I even have dill, the one ingredient I skipped last time.
An open letter to Zorba Paster of Public Radio fame:
Dear Dr. Paster (May I call you Zorba?); I enjoy your heart-healthy recipes. I find most of them delicious and practical. I often print out the good ones on Saturday morning as I’m making my list for the Farmers’ Market. When I heard Summer Vegetable-Corn Chowder, my reaction was “MMmmmm! Must make this!”
But Zorba, there were a few weak spots in this one. I present it here to share with my readers, complete with my own Daisy-style commentary.
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (What kind of potato? Russet? Red? Yukon gold? Blue?)
1/4 cup leeks, sliced thinly (I’ve never cooked with leeks before. This will be fun.)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup celery (feed the leftovers to the rabbits, of course)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon margarine
2 cups low-sodium broth (my homemade broth is low sodium, but somewhat higher in fat)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups skim milk
2 16 oz. cans Corn (Cans? Zorba, it’s harvest season! Get fresh corn! Cans? No way.)
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup parsley, minced (this came from the garden, and the bunnies got the leftovers)
1 Tablespoon Dill Weed (garden produce, too)
But wait – before we even start. Dr. Zorba, this recipe aired in late August. Really. Think about it. What do gardeners and farmers’ markets have in abundance in late August? Zucchini!! Where’s the zucchini in this recipe? And how about herbs? They’re all over, fresh as can be.
I added 1/2 cup grated zucchini and at least a Tablespoon each of thyme and oregano and rosemary. The house (and my hands while cooking) smelled wonderful.
Back to business. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add chicken broth, potatoes, leek, onion, and celery. Add in margarine and garlic. Cover and simmer 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
In a saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in cold skim milk. Whisk over medium high heat until thickened, and then whisk into soup pot. Add corn (cans? Hmph, I used fresh corn), evaporated skim milk, salt, and hot pepper sauce to pot. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to thicken the chowder. Don’t allow to boil! Serve warm in bowls, topped with parsley and dill.
I had fairly good luck with this recipe. I wish I had cut it in half. It says “serves 6″ and they mean it. I was feeding three, and I could have halved the recipe and still haved, er, had plenty.
It wasn’t thick enough for my taste – I like my chowders thick and creamy – but I think that was my fault. I was feeling impatient and hungry and the teenager was too, so I rushed the cornstarch and milk step. Had I given it more time, the chowder might have been thicker. As it was, the soup was still delicious and the house smelled heavenly.
But really. Canned corn? Bleh.
Part of following a locavore philosophy is eating what’s in season when it’s in season. This morning we had peach muffins made with peaches from the farmers’ market.
Later today we’ll Eat The Opponent with San Francisco style sourdough bread and more.
Go! Pack! Go!