Monday, October 31, 2011

Pound cake with lemon glaze

Looks yummy
“Exotic flavor! Great with alcoholic beverages and spiced tea.”—Winifred Green Cheney, The Southern Hospitality Cookbook (1976)

CATHERINE MOORE’S POUND CAKE WITH LEMON GLAZE

Makes a 10 inch tube cake—18 to 20 servings

2 sticks (1 C) butter, softened
1 2/3 C sugar, sifted
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 C flour, spooned into measuring cup
1 Tbsp ground mace
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
Lemon Glaze

Preheat oven to 300o. Cream together butter and sugar, and add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Sift together flour and mace, and fold into creamed mixture. Add vanilla extract. Spoon into a floured and buttered 10 inch tube pan, and bake 1 hour or until cake tests done. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan, and ice with Lemon Glaze while cake is still hot.

LEMON GLAZE

½ stick butter
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C lemon juice

Warm all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour over hot cake. Allow cake to cool before cutting.

~~

Recipe update. Allow glaze to cool slightly before pouring over cake. We scooped it up and piled it back on the cake.

Fresh greens in the desert

Fresh Greens on the market
The greens are really at their Fall peak right now, and between the various local farmers I found a lot this morning:

From Woodson Ridge Farms, I got carrot, radish, beet, and turnip tops, along with arugula.  I missed their lettuce.

From the Bost Farms at MidTown shopping center (sadly, the last market of the Fall), I got mustard greens and spinach.

From Flora Farms at Midtown, I got Swiss chard.

From Hollowell, who has taken to parking a pick-up truck just north of the three-way intersection, I got collards and kale.

I’ve got bunching onions in the yard and will buy some cabbage, lettuce, Italian parsley, along with some brisket from the Brown Family Farm, garlic from Flora (how many dishes have thirteen local ingredients?), and sausage Joyce brought back from West Louisiana to make this, something I ordinarily make in the Spring.
 I left a comment. Apparently, he's not aware of the fact that he lives in a food desert.

From the Food Desert Locator brought to you by the United States Department of Agriculture
Your Federal Government hard at work making sure you know that Oxford, Mississippi and University, Mississippi have "low-income neighborhoods with high concentrations of people who are far from a grocery store."

The HFFI working group defines a food desert as a low-income census tract where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store:

To qualify as a “low-income community,” a census tract must have either: 1) a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher, OR 2) a median family income at or below 80 percent of the area's median family income;
 
To qualify as a “low-access community,” at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the census tract's population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (for rural census tracts, the distance is more than 10 miles).
From the middle of the map, you can see that there are two distinct pink areas. One is the town of Oxford, the other the "town" of University. University = The University of Mississippi. Both are classified as "urban." So let's get this straight, poor college kids have to travel more than a mile to find a grocery store. And yet...

Dining options at Ole Miss
Take a peek at the menus at the Marketplace. If it's been a while since you've had "cafeteria" food at a state university you will be bowled over by the quality and selection. And I don't say this in the abstract. I've eaten many times at Ole Miss-- good stuff. (Not as good as, say Proud Larry's in Oxford, but still good.)

There are 14 grocery stores with "Oxford" in their address. I know most on this list are stop & robs, but still, there's a WalMart Supercenter and a Kroger. And let's not forget that population of Oxford is 18,916 (2010 census). 

I have some problems with the notion of food desert. By definition, in an urban area, if 500 people or 33% of the census tract's population live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store, that area is a desert. Whoever came up with this stuff has no conception of small-town life.
  1. What is the definition of "large" in this context? Is it proportional to population size? Even if you combine Oxford's permanent resident population with the on-campus population, how many grocery stores can Oxford support?
  2. Why one mile? Or 10? At best this seems arbitrary. At worst it reflects an assumption that one mile is a really really big distance, which it might be if you don't have a vehicle (i.e., if you are accustomed to using public transportation to scoot around D.C.).
  3. Why supermarkets? Why not canvas all available food access locations? "... who has taken to parking a pick-up truck just north of the three-way intersection... ." Again, there are some underlying assumptions at work.
I'll grant that there are people in the United States who have to travel long distances to get to a grocery store. And I'll grant that some percentage of them are "poor." But guess what? They mange to figure things out! I have never driven past a body of someone who'd keeled over from starvation while walking to the grocery store. Not once.

On a related note, did you know that the quality of my life is low because I live more than 10 miles from the Getty Museum?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My garden helper


Rocky's a digger!
It's important that the gardens be tilled up at the end of the growing season. Our tiller is in the shop, so Rocky is doing his part.

We do a fairly deep tilling in the fall. Although the garden soil is much improved after two years of adding compost and rotted manure, and mulching with straw, it still benefits from tilling up the deeper clay layer. Over winter, the rain and wind will erode the complex structure of the clay clods.

I've talked to a lot of folks who've told me they'd like to grow veggies but can't on account of the Mississippi clay. What poppycock. That excuse does not hold water. Clay does. That's why the roots of the tomato that Rocky was busy digging out went down so far-- to the clay layer. When we till, we're trying to incorporate more of that clay layer into the top 6-8" of soil.

Our Mississippi soil is naturally on the acidic side. Simply growing crops lowers the pH even more. So before we till, I'll throw some lime down. And although I don't use inorganic fertilizer often, I will also throw out some "triple 13" (13-13-13, N-P-K). Some of the nitrogen will leach out over winter, but that's okay.

I'll be glad we did all of this next Spring. Well worth the effort.

Thanks Rocky!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lima beans

Baby lima beans
One's goal in flower gardening is to create something beautiful-- and not just visually beautiful. A perfect flower garden will appeal to one's sense of smell and touch, too.

Flower gardens can be nearly perfect. The same cannot be said of vegetable gardens. There is always something wrong in the vegetable garden, and frequently there is something really wrong.

What's really wrong here is that I planted the lima beans way too late in the season. Most of the pile on the table still have beans in them-- beans about the size of a pencil eraser.

What's beautiful is that I figured I might get some late season limas. And I did. The clear bowl has fresh beans. The blue bowl has beans from dried pods.

Take that! Big Life.

An oak seedling

in the North Pasture

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Zealand spinach

1 lb + blanched New Zealand spinach

Spinach New Zealand Heirloom Seed

Tetragonia tetragonioides

50-70 days. Discovered by Sir Joseph Banks in New Zealand during the 1770 voyage of Captain James Cook, and enjoyed by 18th century gardeners. Also known as perpetual spinach, New Zealand is not true spinach, but a great way to have spinach flavor all summer; many even prefer the flavor to true spinach. It loves the heat, and produces abundantly. Noted for high vitamin content, especially vitamin C; it was served on Captain Cook’s ship to prevent scurvy. Small, young leaves can be eaten raw, or cooked. Bothered by almost no insects, even snails and slugs!
I planted the seed back in late August. Although it "loves the heat" I don't think it loved Mississippi August heat too much. Most of the seed did germinate, but most of the seedlings were eaten by rabbits. 

What's interesting-- and this has happened in my garden more than once-- is that seed germinates and comes up when it's good and ready. My 25' row of New Zealand spinach produced one very large spinach plant which yielded a little over one pound of spinach. AND two little spinaches which have must have come up in the last few weeks underneath the big plant.

The little guys will be spinach salad. The rest is frozen.

UPDATE:


Nutritional information for 5 ounces of cooked New Zealand spinach
I was prompted to add this after reading "Food and the Feds: An exhibition at the National Archives celebrates the government’s role" by Bruce Cole at National Review Online. Cole concludes his description of the exhibit with this:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Modern"

[Insert dictionary definitions here]

Words change. "Gay" isn't what it used to be, except on t.v., e.g., Modern Family.

What I do not understand about the word "modern" is it's inclusion in book titles whose subjects are subject to frequent change. We have many cookbooks with "modern" in the title, and almost all are over 50 years old. I have a bunch of books about "modern" home decorating.

[Insert scanned photo of a "modern" home from fill-in-the-blank '70s decorating book.]

The most interesting book I have in my library with the word "modern" in the title is Modern Eloquence Historical Masterpieces European. (If anyone knows of an American edition, call me.) The edition I have was published in 1943. Looks like there were editions also in '36 & '28 (with different publishers). Then there's a line that says

Previous Copyrights
1925, 1914, 1900

My crappy old modern book has a history.

Modern Eloquence begins ... . Wow. I haven't looked at this book in a long time. It begins with the "History of Oratory," followed by a funeral oration (Pericles). It ends with "An Appeal to the Italian People" (Churchill). 

It includes a chapter titled, "Martin Luther's 'Before the Diet of Worms'"  Being a Lutheran by Birth, I get a kick out of ML. Nail something up. 

From Prince Edward, Formerly Edward VIII:
And I want you to know that the decision I have made has been mine and mine alone. This was a thing I had to judge entirely for myself. The other person most nearly concerned has tried to the last to persuade me to take a different course. I have made this, the most serious decision of my life, only upon the single thought of what would, in the end, be best for all.
From his brother, George, on the radio, December 25, 1939:
The Festival we know as Christmas is above all a festival of peace and of the home. Among all free peoples the love of peace is profound, for this alone gives security to the home.


But true peace is in the hearts of men, and it is a tragedy of this time that there are powerful countries whose direction and policy are based on aggression and the suppression of all we hold dear for mankind.
...

"I said to a man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown,' and he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better to you than a light and safer than a known way.'"

May that Almighty hand guide and uphold us all.
Modern Eloquence.

Still cotton pickin'; UPDATED with photos of night harvest

Mr. Cotton Farmer started to harvest his cotton on October 9th. That was over two weeks ago. With the exception of one rainy day, he's been picking every single day, sun up to past sun down, and he's still not done.

Still pickin' (way out there)
A fuel tank in the field
Fuel tanks are on the roads, too, hauled by large pickups. They do not travel fast.

My in-depth research (!) for this post revealed that fuel tanks come in a variety of sizes: 300, 500, 750, and 1000 gallons. I also learned that tractor fuel "economy" is not measured in miles per gallon, but in horsepower hours per gallon (hp hrs/gal). If I understand this correctly, the issue isn't how far can it go, but how long it can run. 

Let's assume Mr. Cotton Farmer's tank holds 500 gallons, and his tractor gets 18 hp hrs/gal.* His tank holds 27 hours' worth of fuel. His tractor runs more or less continuously from 8am until 7pm. He needs to refill his tank every third day. He's been picking for 17 days. That would be six fill-ups so far. (It has to be filled up on 10/9.)

Mr. Cotton Farmer does not get a break at the pump-- he fills up just like the rest of us. Diesel is going for about $3.70/gal.

500 x 3 x $3.7 = $5550.

That ain't cheap. And that doesn't include fuel used by his other machines, including those that take the bales to the gin, or his pickup. Nor does it include the fuel he burns to plant the cotton in the first place. Or the fuel that powers the crop duster he uses to defoliate. Et cetera. 

~~
It would be interesting to look at Mr. Cotton Farmer's books. I wonder if I am anywhere close to being right.

*There are a lot of things going on (i.e., factors) with large machinery fuel economy that I need to learn. One thing is certain, this calculation is simplistic. But on the other hand, I was reading a book my son-in-law sent me. It has been suggested that simplicity in complex calculations is a good thing.The key feature of my calculation is that it doesn't have to be 100% +/- something or other. It just has to be in the ballpark.

UPDATE:

It is pitch black dark. He's still out there. I think I see a flashlight moving around. 

(I need photo instruction.)

Taken with zoom completely zoomed out
Taken with zoom completely zoomed in
Same. Tripod recommended. Oh well.
Same, but trying to get more  of the activity



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Word cloud

A fall-colored word cloud of this blog
brought to you by Wordle. I can't even find "big" which doesn't seem right. And where is "Rocky?"

From Worditout
I see "Big" but where's "Rocky?"

And a third from Tocloud.
Obviously, I need to write more about Rocky. 

Rocky.

Veggie night: The story

We have veggie night once a week. Please note that it is "veggie" night, not "vegetarian" night. 

Veggie night works well in our Big Life style. Mr. Big Food does have something of a penchant for meat, so veggie night is a nice break.

For the most part, we eat leftovers for lunch. And for the most part, the rest of the week's suppers are built around meat. So left over veggies get paired with left over meat dishes for lunch. We do have veggie side dishes throughout the week, but veggie night gives us more pairing options. 

It is also the case that if the day after veggie night is particularly busy, Mr. Big Food might choose to plan on a quick-to-prepare meat dish (something in the slow cooker?) and serve veggie night's veggies with it. 

Finally, veggies that have seen better days become Suzy food. It is important that Suzy, who is 17.5  years old, has a balanced diet.

This only works if you plan a menu. I refer the interested reader to Crappy Old Stuff: The Meal Planner's Creed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Veggie night: Buttered spaghetti squash

I liked the dressing, but I really liked this. 

BUTTERED SPAGHETTI SQUASH



2.5-3 lbs. spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and pulp removed, placed cut side down in well-greased baking dish, skin poked with fork many times. Bake 30-40 mins at 350 or until squash is tender.

2-3 Tbsp butter

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 C shredded Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp basil or oregano. chopped

Shred squash pulp into a serving dish. Add butter, half the Parmesan cheese, salt, and basil or oregano, and stir to mix well. Top with remaining cheese.

Veggie night: Sweet potato dressing

Tonight was veggie night.

And because we live in Mississippi, tonight's veggie night began with frying up some sausage for the sweet potato dressing.

Sweet potato dressing, buttered spaghetti squash, a glass of wine.

SWEET POTATO DRESSING

Preheat oven to 350.

1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2" cubes covered with water and 1/4 tsp. salt brought to boil over high flame. Reduce flame, cover & simmer 20 mins. or until fork tender. Drain.

1 Tbsp butter + an additional 2 Tbsps, melted and cooled

1/2 C celery chopped

1/4 C onion chopped

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/8 tsp poultry seasoning

1/4 lb. bulk pork sausage 

1/2 an apple, cored, peeled and chopped

1 1/2 C dry stuffing mix

1 egg beaten lightly

2 tsp raisins

3 Tbsp chicken stock, preferably home made

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet. Add celery & onion. Cook until tender. Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning, and spoon mixture into a mixing bowl. Saute sausage in skillet until brown, and add to onion-celery mixture. Add stuffing mix, apples, and raisins. Add beaten egg, chicken stock and cooled melted butter, and stir to mix well. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2" cubes and fold into stuffing mixture. Pour stuffing into a greased casserole and bake 35-40 minutes.

~~
He did this from memory.

Arithmetic: "a corpus of dates, events, people, and places"


Ray's Modern Practical Arithmetic, 1908
I'm seeing a theme in my travels around the World Wide Web this morning. It gives me a chance to post a few arithmetic questions.

Pundette at Pundit & Pundette has this to say:
The same process of over-bureaucraticization, politicization, and watered-down content has taken place in the public schools. When the K-12 system has finished with them and killed off anything resembling intellectual curiosity or initiative, the kids passively ride the conveyor belt to the next institution, where, if they're lucky, the amenities will be a lot more awesome. Oddly enough, families often fail to give much thought to the enormous cost or the questionable value of the credential. But then, they've been told for decades that this is the only path to prosperity.

That's all changing.
She quotes Victor Hanson Davis writing here:
The curriculum was designed to instill inductive thinking. It prepared the student to write well, think, and have a corpus of dates, events, people, and places at his fingertips for reference and elucidation. [My emphasis]
And Mark Steyn writing here:
Ah, but the great advantage of mass moronization is that it leaves you too dumb to figure out who to be mad at. At Liberty Square, one of the signs reads: “F**k your unpaid internship!” Fair enough. But, to a casual observer of the massed ranks of Big Sloth, it’s not entirely clear what precisely anyone would ever pay them to do.
And then there's this about sex-education in New York City's 6th grade classrooms. I'll spare you the details. Here is The Other McCain's concluding comment:
Seriously, if any random stranger tried to talk to kids about stuff that schools teach in sex-ed classes, parents would be calling the cops. It’s just downright creepy to teach this kind of stuff to sixth-graders.
~~
Pundette again, "When the K-12 system has finished with them and killed off anything resembling intellectual curiosity or initiative... ." 

And so I bring you some questions from the crappy old book, Ray's Modern Practical Arithmetic, published in 1908.
49. George Washington was born in A.D. 1732, and lived 67 years. In what year did he die?
50. Alfred the Great died in A.D. 901; thence, to the signing of the Magna Carta was 314 years; thence to the American Revolution, 560 years. In what year did the American Revolution begin?
66. The area of the United States up to 1897 was 3681661 square miles. Since then there have been added the territory of Hawaii containing 6449 square miles; Porto Rico, 3531 square miles; Philippine Islands, 114410 square miles; Guam, 150 square miles; Tutuila, 77 square miles; and Wake Island, I square mile. What is the present area of the United States?
These questions embody a "corpus of dates, events, people, and places." (Is "embody" redundant here?)  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fire


There's no getting around it. It's Fall.

Locavoure: Not that there's anything wrong with local

The following mini-rant was brought to you thanks to a post up at Instapundit:

WHEN YOU GET RID OF THE PRETENSION BEHIND THE LOCAVORE MOVEMENT, THERE’S STILL SOMETHING: It can save you money.
Here’s what the Raeses have grown this spring, summer, and fall: turnips, black beans, purple hull peas, cranberry beans, Flossy Powell beans, Delicata squash, zucchini, horseradish, onions, potatoes, kale, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli, blueberries, umpteen kinds of tomatoes, and almost every herb you can name. (Note: This is an incomplete list.)

The Raeses also belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) share from a local farm. What they can’t eat fresh, they freeze or can—Kat has an entire pantry filled with brightly colored mason jars. She pickles turnips and cans lentil soup and makes jam and even her own ketchup.

Raese said she got into canning because she couldn’t land a full-time job after finishing her Master’s in English at UT. Matt was (and is) still working on his Ph.D. in English, which meant their income was next to nothing—and Kat had nothing to do with her time. Once she discovered canning and then gardening, she says she found a way to channel her frustration at being underemployed into something productive.

Maybe someone should drop by the #Occupy protests and pass out copies of Square Foot Gardening.
 I skimmed through the whole article. (IMHO, it needs some serious editing, but who am I?)

What irritates me-- wait, there are a lot of things that irritate me about food fads. One thing I hate about them is the waste. From the article where "I" is the author, Cari Wade Gervin:
I have grown tomatoes the past two summers (in containers, from seedlings that I bought). This summer I also grew one pot of sweet red peppers.

An admission: I have never once cooked anything with the tomatoes I have grown, unless you count slicing them up and making a tomato sandwich or caprese salad. Half the peppers I grew this year rotted on the plant because I had too many to eat. And that was from just one single sweet pepper plant.

Another admission: I have stopped going to the farmers’ market most weekends. Why? Because every time I go I spend $40 on produce that I then inevitably never have the time to cook. And I end up tossing those $4 oyster mushrooms and $3 arugula and $10 peaches in the trash. (Yes, I could freeze the peaches, but I’ve done that before, and I never eat them either. I don’t like frozen peaches, and I don’t like smoothies.) And every time I throw that rotten produce in the trash, I hate myself for not being more like Alice Waters. Or for not being more like Kat Raese.
[My emphases]
1. If I were a vendor at The Market Square Farmers' Market in Knoxville, and I knew you had thrown away produce I grew, I would be pissed. I know that once we make the exchange you are free to do what ever you want with your produce, and I am free to do what ever I want with my money, but that wouldn't stop me from being pissed. If I had foreknowledge about who would be throwing my produce in the trash, I would refuse to sell it to you

A perfect fall Sunday

Today is perfect because it rained earlier and is now grey and chilly. I cannot work outside pulling up the mushy melon foliage that got nailed during the frost the other night. The house is clean (more or less) because I did Big Housecleaning in anticipation of Miss Jackie's visit and the little thing we had out here at the Farm yesterday. 

I took a Big Nap. Perfect. And then made a Big Batch of cookies. Perfect.

Mom's snickerdoodles
Mom's snickerdoodle recipe 
makes about 4 dozen

(I think she got it from Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens, but I didn't take the time to check.)

1 C shortening (part butter)
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 C flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400. Cream shortening/butter and sugar. (I used 1/2 C each.) Beat in egg. Sift together dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to bowl and beat until well mixed. Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts. Roll balls in a mixture of 2 Tbsp cinnamon and 2 tsp sugar. Bake until lightly browned but still soft, 8-10 minutes.

~~~

The perfect way to warm the kitchen up and relax after a busy week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The soup was very good.

Very good. Not at all what I expected. I imagined that it would be more like a thick potato soup. It was filling, and very flavorful-- as in there were a lot of flavors all mulled together.

I've asked for the recipe. I'll post it as soon as he sends it to me.

I just ran into Miss Jackie in the kitchen. She was trying to re-set the mi-fi.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spicy Pumpkin Soup in the Slow Cooker

Miss Jackie is coming to visit!

Visits are fun. I have an excuse to do some Big Housecleaning,-- I try-- and Mr. Big Food has an  excuse to do some Big Cooking for a Big Bunch of folks.

Miss Jackie will arrive at the farm at supper time on Friday. Mr. Big Food is already preparing "Spicy Pumpkin Soup in the Slow Cooker."


We baked a of couple pumpkins. To be continued.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And speaking of bread...

"If you like to settle down to read cookbooks,
 we invite you to this fascinating story of bread."

Homemade Bread. By the Food Editors of Farm Journal. 1969.
(Click to enlarge & read. It's worth it.)

Earlier I was saying that I'd begun to think about bread baking. It's that time of year.  I posted a recipe. And I remembered my Homemade Bread book. Thanks, Max. 

After this one-page introduction to the volume as a whole, we have seven pages covering the following:
  • Bread History. "When the Christian era began, bread continued as the staff of life. Jesus, teaching his followers to pray, said: 'Give us this day our daily bread.'"
  • Original American Bread. During Pioneer times, "[w]hen people traveled, they went on foot or horseback, sleeping and eating in the forests. They carried bread for sustenance. That's why it was called journeycake."
  • Southern Beaten Biscuits. "No discussion of our original breads is complete without a salute to beaten biscuits, perhaps the South's greatest contribution."
Ha ha. I looked forward to see that the only other region that is singled out is Boston, for its brown bread. 

It's interesting to see how history and culture were transmitted in crappy old books.
  • Sour Dough. "... ... ... If bubbling occurs, ... . ... repeated attempts... That is why few women make it now." "We give you  in this cookbook Farm Journal's modified and easier method... ." Whew.
  • Boston Brown Bread. One tiny little paragraph compared to four for the South.
 Then there is a discussion of flour and yeast. Pretty interesting if you like biology. Yeast are small plants, don't you know?

Big A's Homemade Bread


It hasn't even warmed up to 60 degrees. I doubt it will today. So... 

It's time to start thinking about baking bread, if for no other reason than to warm up the house! (But there are many reasons to bake bread.)

From Mr. Big Food's Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide, "Big A's Homemade Bread." I made this not long ago, but didn't take a photograph. Sorry. It was good!

~~
Here's the recipe.


Where is the rain I was promised?

I did not water the peas or onions yesterday because The United States Government promised me it would rain over night. It did not. Furthermore, The United States Government promised me there was a significant chance of rain today. 

The United States Government has reneged on its promises.




So now I have to water the peas myself.

This is what happens when you rely on The United States Government to guide your actions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maben Home & Garden Club

Today, it was my pleasure to give a presentation to the Maben Home & Garden Club monthly meeting.

Lisa, our county extension agent, had called me last Thursday to asked if I could give a talk to the club the coming Tuesday (today). Sure! But it wasn't until yesterday that we were able to meet. I asked her what she wanted me to talk about and she said, "Girl, you can talk about anything you want." She added that she didn't think they were all that into vegetable gardening. So I talked about veggies.

The title of my talk was, "Grandmas, Moms, and Vegetable Gardens."

I had never been to a Garden Club meeting, and so I wasn't sure about what sort of presentation would be acceptable. But I figured I couldn't go wrong showing a bunch of photos. So I started off showing some photos of Mom's garden, with a bit about how she grows veggies now (front yard, individual plants, contrasted with the full-on veggie garden she used to have), into some photos of my perennial garden at out former home, and those that show how I came to be such a big veggie gardener, finishing with a photo of me in my front yard veggie garden.

I then mention that I capitalized on the interest of growing veggies by starting a little business, where I taught people how to grow veggies.  I end with a slide that says what a lot of my clients said to me,
My Grandma had a big veggies garden. My mom never learned. So I don't know how.


Still here

I'm still here. Yesterday I was busy tending to errands and putting a presentation together.

Today I gave the presentation. Whew. And am having to quickly pull some things out of the garden. Rain & frost are on the way.

More soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Preparing the garden for the inevitable. Sigh.

The overnight low for Wednesday is forecast to be 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Today is Sunday. Things could change. I suspect what will happen is this: It will or will not be 34∘Wednesday night. And even if it isn't, it will or will not be 34∘the next night, and the next... . But it is inevitable that it will be 34∘some coming night. 

Sigh.

A few things linger in the summer garden. Tomatoes, of course. Several varieties set fruit when it started to cool down in August. They will be fine for one cold night. I'll let them hang on the vine as long as I can and then bring those that haven't ripened inside. 

And I'm going to have to make a hard decision about those tomatilos. [Funny that the red squiggly line doesn't recognize tomatillos, with alt. wpelling.]

I still have a few of my favorite melon in the garden, and they are just beginning to ripen. If it looks like it really will get that cold, I'll cover them with cloches. Note to self: mid-June is too late to plant Long John melon.

Radishes and Rutabas don't care if it gets cold. Neither does the spinach. 

The peas have come up. I've gotten the leeks and Vidalia onion seeds planted, and some quick growing lettuce. I'm still waiting on the garlic sets to arrive in the mail. And I still need to plant the artichoke seeds. 

Other than that, all that remains is cleanup, throwing some lime on the garden plots, and tilling them up. To that end, I've been drying basil.

Basil drying and the reflection of my cupboards
A quart jar of dried basil



















My kitchen smells so basily! If I dry all the decent basil that remains, I'll probably wind up with two quarts.

I've picked what will be-- thank God!-- the last of the green cherry tomatoes. 

The basket is much larger than it looks. Crap. We are going to have to pickle these.

It's October 16th. To tell The Truth (nod to Prof. Lynch), I am ready to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and next year's garden. 

Sigh.

We have company and a get together this next weekend!