Saturday, April 27, 2013

Something garden every day...

We do something in or with our garden everyday. Way back in the coldest days of winter I pruned our little apple trees. I saved the twigs putting them in my old, cheap Brinkman smoker to wait for warmer days. Today is the day. A big fistful of rosemary stems, soaked apple twigs with leaves, and a great, big, ole Boston Butt and some Larry's sausages will smoke all day and into the night. Then we will have yummy pulled pork for months to come. The good life is right there in my back yard.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seed Saving

Arugula seed pods are like tiny pea pods. Surprise. Each pod is full of seeds.

Saved seeds be free food, maties. I've been seed saving for a few years now and am genuinely shocked that it is so easy. Plants are programmed to make seeds if Big Seed Companies doesn't get hold of them,  genetically modify them,  and patent them. Give the plant time which means holding space in the garden or pot longer. This is hard when you have a small garden.
The Mammoth Swiss Chard I saved last year is case in point. It took time for them to bloom, more  time for them to make seed, then more time for them to dry out. Substitute patience for time. It takes that too. There were surprises along the way. The flower stems were twisty, curvy three foot long curls with hundreds of teeny, tiny not-showy flowers tightly packed on each stem. They were incredibly, pleasantly fragrant. Bees loved them. The seeds matured from the bottom up and were identical to beet seeds. In one important way they differ from beets: I am successful with chard. Ah, yes. It germinated when planted and grows beautifully in my spring garden.
I am currently working on saving arugala seeds. The flowers were delicate, dainty, white, single-petaled, single flower beauties held upright  on long stems. It is taking forever for them to mature. I check them daily hoping they will be the kind that pop from their pods when squeezed. Soon, very soon. Patience.

Monday, April 15, 2013

No Place Like Home

Most of these houses were in decay when I was a child. 
Amish Deer Tongue is, to me, an unappetizing name for a lettuce. It really is off-putting. Perhaps because Bro-in-Law Peter-the-Cajun once hung a gutted deer under his barn, and poor thing, there it was with it's tongue hanging out and the name of the lettuce, turns out, is actually somewhat descriptive ,at least of a dead, deer's tongue. The visual gets me every time. Because of the name I never bought the seeds but, good friend and neighbor, Joy gave me a packet of seeds for Christmas. I planted them. They were a gift for cryin' out loud. They prospered. We ate some because I know Joy will ask if we did and I do not lie well. Ta-da! We like Amish Deer Tongue! It is tasty. Somewhat like Buttercrunch not as tender, more robust, with a delightful Romaine-like crunchy rib. This analysis of lettuce officially makes me a foodie.

In keeping with foodie analysis can I just say, Somewhere North of Broad over-salted the farrow with roasted vegetables? My thought is the farrow was seasoned perfectly, the veggies as well, but together it was just too much. I ate it all, however, knowing that my fingers would puff up like fat little sausages. The lamb rack was perfect. The Pear Ginger Pear Sangria was brilliant. A mild white Sangria that tasted deceptively non-alcoholic. The ambiance just right after a long day of sightseeing; relaxed and quiet. My view of the kitchen could not have made me happier. It was great fun to watch chefs cook. Busy, busy. The waiter made us laugh with a Freudian slip. He, from Massachusetts, likes Charleston (there is only one Charleston) because of the women, oops make that the weather. He blushed, and I'm like, I know right?! We had such a nice evening we forgot do the obligatory foodie picture. I offer instead my new favorite color for a door. Ciao Bella!

Orange? Persimmon? Salmon? So Southern. So Charleston. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The other 'tater

Pretty maids all in a row
I've read this can be done. Sweet potatoes sprouting on a windowsill waiting for longer, warmer days. When the vines are a bit longer I will gently twist them from the tuber, put them in water to root, plant in a place where they'll have full sun and room to grow wild.