Late September Salad

pea shoots (from peas planted 2 weeks ago)
nasturtiums (tastes like lettuce and radishes)
fairly green Bosc pear

a generous splash of sesame oil
juice from 1/2 a lemon
a dollop of maple syrup
a drizzle of soy sauce

Whisk together and toss with salad ingredients. Reminds me of the flavors in Wild Ginger’s Green Papaya Salad.


Around the September garden: tricolor taters!

With a helper who loves to dig for buried treasure, it takes no time to fill a bowl with purple, gold, and red potatoes.

For some reason, the potatoes in the new garden bed gave up the ghost earlier than the potatoes in my other plots–we’ll harvest those in a few weeks.

I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Small Wonder and her thoughts on land, food, the earth, and parenting have me expanding the garden bit by bit. Here’s a glimpse:

This year I put the tomatoes in pots, and they’re much happier with their roots in drier soil. The sungolds and the cherries just started ripening last week.

The lime tree is producing fruit! It’s been happy on the back deck over the summer; not sure where to keep it in the house during winter this year.

The new chokecherry bush is settling in nicely. Just looking at those shiny black berries conjures the taste of chokecherry syrup on my tongue, and in tandem, the warmth of my Grandma Sheila’s kitchen.

Our own blueberries!

And finally, the asters are blooming. September stars.

Spring 2011

Chicks! We’ve taken on three Ameraucanas that are every bit as cute as the Rhode Island Reds we raised in Okanogan. These girlies (90% sure of sex–cross your fingers) will give us blue eggs and will eventually move house into the forest. For now, we’re giving them lots of attention so they’ll be tame and affectionate.

The plan is to construct a moveable house so they will have the forest floor to scratch around in and yet be safe from eagles, coyotes, cats, etc.

This hanging flower holder is a Mother’s Day gift from my A. and the posy was picked this morning by K. The vase looks a bit like an Ameraucana egg, no?

In the garden, the japanese maple is unfurling in its strangely crustacean, but very beautiful manner.

The rhubarb is finally looking established this year–since we’ve gone very low sugar in the household, I’m thinking of making a chutney or fresh salsa with it.

Labor Day Labors

We’ve spent the weekend so far in multiple projects around Chez C.

We buried our dear little Basil bunny and built a new garden bed in memory of him: we’ve put in a last season’s planting of basil, swiss chard, bok choy, kale, radishes, and peas.

The pear harvest has begun! The deer graciously and inexplicably left most of the pears alone, so we’ve got a bumper crop from our two trees.

We dug into the hillside by the walkout in order to make a small fireplace/pit. We still have to place flagstones around the perimeter, but we’ve already fired it up with gusto and it’s perfect.

We transplanted a number of ferns, trees, and new plants from Bainbridge Gardens:

A little collection of natives: dryas octopetala.

Another native that I nestled at the base of a re-potted Japanese maple: yerba buena, an incredibly fragrant trailing herb that we can use for tea if we want. Right now, its aesthetic value outweighs its potential gustatory value. If it turns out to be quite vigorous, I’ll combine it with mint leaves and steep a lovely winter tea.


What to do on a rainy Saturday in August?

1. Take an almost-birthday-girl to the bead shop in Poulsbo to make earrings!

2. Let all the pretty, shiny beads send you into Crow Mode.

3. Make a necklace!

4. Cut the herbs flourishing around the yarden (I’m sure I’m not the first to coin this neologism, but it just occurred to me and isn’t it perfect for someone who wants to turn more of their landscape into edibles?).

5. Arrange them in the food dehydrator (because after all, it’s humid and raining).

6. Be delighted by the aroma of drying oregano (that’s what’s on the top tray, flowers and all!), chives, and basil.

7. Wake up the next morning to the sound of rain again and feel happiness.

The trouble with deer is we like the same things

My CSA share this week included a big bag of purslane. I will say that it took me only four days to work up the nerve to eat it, and then: wow! I love the stuff, particularly with some spicy nasturtiums (I found 4 that the deer hadn’t found first) and a bit of vinaigrette over it.

Though the roses got deer-decimated in May/June, they’ve recovered enough to bloom here and there. And oh, aren’t they lovely?

Around the July garden

A study in miniatures:

Miniscule mycelium

These broad beans get big fast, but yesterday I found some young triplets with their blossoms still wilted around their ends.

Up on the sunny slope, my pork-n-beans succulent is sending up little volunteers everywhere. Last spring, my neighbor K. gave me a handful and now there’s tiny happy bulbous life all over the place.

The garden bed above the outside dining room has been a great favorite with the deer and the slugs. One or the other took all the mini roses down to bare twigs this spring–but this one had just enough wherewithal to bloom. (Also, my example to you of why sometimes pink is perfect!)


First day of summer term at UW: Two wildly efficient ferry rides, making do with dry cheerios, absorbing new texts and assignments, kids at home with wonderful Auntie S.

First day of summer: all sorts of berries, playtime with a first cousin, my little stickyweed king.

First ripe strawberries from our berry patch.

First open crimson rockrose in the front yard.

Nettles, beans, and berries

Down the street and a little way into the woods, you’ll find a beautifully expansive patch of stinging nettles. (I became intimately acquainted with them last year, when I was helping a neighbor dump grass clippings on the poor beasties, trying to smother them to death. Note: they will get you through your socks.)

Hardy and wise to our ways, these nettles are now on the late side for harvesting, but I was determined to best them–gather, wash, cut, and boil in a nice stock. Yes, we had stinging nettle soup a few nights ago. Only one of us gagged. The rest of us felt giddy at the piquant green flavor, toothy kale-like texture, and abundant nutritive qualities of our soup.

On another note, my favas are flowering, and I had no idea their flowers were so beautiful!

And the salmon berries are ripening. It seems too cool and early, but there’s a large flush of them all ready for the picking, or for the deer.

Outside and in

Around the May garden: a flourishing potato patch, lots of columbine, ants on the peonies, and bright rhodies.

But I’m not out there–I’m in the midst of this Luddite nest I’ve made, laying 2 great eggs: 2 papers that are due tomorrow and waaaay too hard to write, for some reason. Okay, writing break’s over!

Oh, wait–I want to stall for just a minute more. This evening I heard “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” and I keep singing the refrain while I’m working. “We’ve got things to do, we’ve got eggs to lay.” Yes I do.