Sunday, September 25, 2016
About three years ago I went to a grafting workshop at a nearby cider orchard and came home with what looked like two dead sticks wrapped in an elaborate bandaid.
After planting and tending and worrying, this year I have a healthy four foot tall tree with a collection of deep red Arkansas Black apples, a unique American variety that dates back to the late 19th century.
Arkansas blacks keep well and grow sweeter with storage but they really shine when added to pies and sauces for unique layered apple flavor.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
We added two more beds to the vegetable garden this year. Even though I got a late start the plants grew wild and bushy (and drooping with fruit) while I was out of town this last time (James calls it "The Heart of Darkness"). So wild it's almost hard to find the edible bits, but with a little searching I have the garden I've always wanted. I can walk out to the beds, find enough beans for dinner and come in and cook them. So fresh so tender they don't need any enhancement. A little salt, a drizzle of olive oil and dinner is served.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
A beautiful Speckled Hound pumpkin on the vine.
Sweet tasting thick flesh and a beautiful display, our nearly forgotten pumpkins have grown up and through summer squash, beans, tomatillos and beans (some are even hanging on the trellis). We have 5 fruits on our one little vine almost ready for soups, pie and maybe as a last minute coach for a last minute princess.
Fall looks better and seems closer every day.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Gathered from around the yard a bedroom bouquet of lavender, oak leaf hydrangea, catmint, and a couple favorite roses, New Dawn, a lovely pink tinged yellow we found in the yard when we moved into this house, and beautiful bright white September Mourn, a 2005 introduction named to honor the 911 victims.
Monday, August 8, 2016
Summer is finally in full swing. The garden is overflowing with bright green leaves and yellow flowers promising vegetables to soon come. The squash as always is first.
Tromboncino and yellow sunburst, both flavorful heirlooms, ready to be sautéed for dinner. I'll melt a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil in a pan. Toss in 1/2 an onion sliced. When the onion starts to soften I'll add in slices of fresh squash give them a couple turns around the skillet and cover the pan. With the heat on low the squash will steam in it's own delicious juices and caramelize just a bit on the bottom. 20 minutes later a delicious garden fresh side thats good warm or cold for dinner as a side or scrambled into eggs for breakfast. A summer favorite.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
The last fair of our local season ends today.
I brought my usual jellies and jams and ended up with a couple blue ribbons. I hoped this lemon meringue cake with tart lemon curd filling (made with home grown Meyer lemons), fluffy white cake and airy sweet meringue frosting would be a big winner but alas only 3rd in the layer cake competition.
There's always next year. Sigh.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
A couple years ago, thinking back onto a perfect vacation week James and I enjoyed on Orcas Island in Washington state I ordered a barefoot Orcas pear tree. A whim that this year has finally started to pay off with our first little crop of beautiful blushed yellow Orcas pears.
Discovered by a local horticulturist in his island yard, Orcas pears are one of the few summer pears that will ripen in just a couple days on the counter instead of weeks in cold storage. Prized for sweet buttery flesh Orcas pears are homegrown favorites for canning, drying, and eating fresh. For me the tree is a living memento, better than a postcard of happy, lazy summer days together.