Friday, August 9, 2013

Procrastination, A Green Harvest, and Lessons from Tomatoes

I should be bottling meads tonight, but I am putting it off. Watching Orange is the New Black (again) and writing another blog about garden harvesting. I will get to it, however, because the following needs to be put in bottles and stored away in the crawlspace:

  • Fig Vanilla Mead (Aged on oak chips and fermented with Port yeast)
  • Lavender Gooseberry Mead
  • Flemish Red 
  • Peach Rye Sour

These guys are done and are currently occupying valuable real estate (AKA The Pub).

Onto other news. Here is what was gleaned from the garden yesterday:

So much green! I will obviously be pickling the cukes this weekend, plus making green tomato salsa (more on that shortly).

Now, what the tomatoes have taught me.
  1. Give us more space.
    I have had to prune the darn things several times already, and still it is obvious that I packed them into too small a space. Next year, they get a whole garden plot, with only basil, onions, and pickling cucumbers to keep them company.
  2. Invest in better cages.
    I thought I was clever. I bought the cheapo Freddy's cages. $.99, on special. Almost every day, I come home to a few tipped over tomato cages. I then have to finagle them into an upright position. I am hoping to just make it through the season. But I know to not buy cheap cages next year. Just suck it up and invest in the big, sturdy reusable cages.
  3. If you do not do the above, we will punish you.
    That big pile of green tomatoes? Came from a tomato plant arm that snapped under it's own weight. No beautiful jams or sauces from these greenies, so the best I can hope for is salsa verde. Which, come January, I will be thankful for.
Bon apetit, and enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Garden Update, and What The Plants Have Taught Me

What the garden has provided since my last check-in, and the personalities discovered of the various life forms that exist in my yard:

4 globe zucchinis
5 oblong zucchinis

Zucchini. Lots of people will tell you that zucchini plants are very "prolific". Much as I enjoy this particular vocabulary word, I don't feel that it appropriately describes how much output a zucchini plant is capable of, nor have I found a better description. Since I began harvesting on July 17, I have gathered 18 oblong zucchinis and 13 globe zucchinis. Needless to say, I will be chowing down on a good number of zucchini pickles come cooler weather. Which I look forward to greatly. Also, I see a lot of zucchini bread, stuffed zucchini, and zucchini salads in my near future.

Approximately one pound of purple beans
3 carrots
19 pickling cucumbers
2 lemon cucumbers

Cucumbers. The spoiled, selfish brat child of the garden. I know now that when I plant my pickling cukes next year that they need a trellis on which to vine. Otherwise, the little monsters sprawl everywhere. I shoo them away from the tomatoes daily, and just yesterday afternoon found their little tendrils wrapped around some tomatillo stalks, attempting sibling murder. All is forgiven though, since I dearly love the vinegary, garlicky, dill-y pickles they provide.

24 green tomatoes (for pickling)

Tomatoes. Specifically green tomatoes. Every morning, I peek through my curtains hoping (praying, really) to see ripened tomatoes. And I am saddened when all I see is green.  And maybe a streak of yellow here and there. I even bought bacon at the store today, hoping that a largely homegrown BLT will make an appearance on my plate soon. Waiting for tomatoes to ripen is like Waiting for Godot (not sure I am using this analogy properly). It feels like they just never will. Which leads me to the next...

3 reddish Roma and 2 yellow Sungold tomatoes (the first Sungold was IMMEDIATELY devoured from the plant).

An enormous bunch of basil. Which became this:

Wonderfully fragrant pesto, ready for the freezer.

 And finally, 6 very small beets.

Beets. What the hell, beets? Don't the darn things grow plentifully in even the poorest countries? Well, apparently not in my garden. Perhaps I was simply not patient. Oh well, next year.

The Saturday Morning Harvest
Bon apetit, and happy harvesting!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Very Odd Neighbor (I Assume) Interaction

*Warning* What follows contains some salty language. Not offensive, just salty. Perfectly acceptable for the PG-13 crowd.

This morning I left the house to go to the brew shop. I brought snacks and my camera. Today is AHA Mead Day, and I had been tasked to do something mead-related and capture it on film, plus I had fresh chevre to share with my coworker (hence the snacks). As I was walking, I passed a woman on a trek with her geriatric-looking Boston Terrier (and carrying the customary dog poop bag), headed in the opposite direction.

About two blocks from home, I realized that I had forgotten the meads that I wanted to bring in to give to customers to sample. So, I grudgingly turned around and retreated to Clementine to fetch said meads. As I walked, I got closer to the aforementioned woman. I was nearly to my front gate when she veered off into my driveway. "Odd," I thought, "I don't know her, why is she coming up to my house?"

Then, I realized, she was aiming to put her poop bag in my trash.So, I said (in a normal tone of voice, and not accusingly), "Oh, please do not put that in my trash."  She whipped around and stuttered "", then gave me a fairly scathing look. The Midwestern good girl in me surfaced and said "I'm sorry, they just don't pick up until Friday". We then parted ways. I picked up what I needed to, and headed back to the shop. Then I fumed.

I thought "you know what? Shit stinks. Human, dog, cat, whatever. I don't want my trash (which I pass every day when I get home) to stink like SHIT (as Portland is due some hot weather this week)". Plus, I do not create enough trash to buffer the smell. Plus, "that dog is small, and makes small enough poops that she should be able to walk it home and put them in her own trash can".

Once I arrived at work, I told my coworker my tale, and then later, my friend Rachel (who popped in for cultures and PH strips). They both assured me that I was in the right, and was not a cranky old woman.

Anyway, that was my weird interaction du jour.

I would say "Bon appetit", but it doesn't seem to fit this post. Sooooo...have a beautiful weekend, hopefully poo-free!