Archive for September 21st, 2009

Independence Days Update: Indian Summer

Sharon September 21st, 2009

We had a slight dance with frost on Friday and Saturday nights, and to my immense relief, we had none on the ground, although a bit on the windshield.  I’m simply not ready to be done with the tomatoes - I *still* haven’t done my corn marathon, since Selene kidded on the day allotted to it last week (it is planned for tomorrow, and I fully expect Maia to kid tomorrow, of course ;-) ).  And the tomatoes are still trickling in, I haven’t harvested the tomatillos yet, and I’ve got a late planting of greenbeans that should make it harvesting size yet…so at this point I’m grateful that the forecast is for a week of lovely Indian summer weather - warm days, cool nights, no frost.

It was a glorious holiday weekend for us - we had guests both nights, delicious food (we did vegan Mexican the first night, and the tamale pie and the “round challah with cinnamon-sugar swirl, basically “challah as giant cinnamon bun” really were great), lots of laughter and fun, great singing and every other imaginable pleasure.   On the second night, my friend Alexandra’s 90+ year old grandmother made it to our home (this was something of a big deal), and got to pet a 4 day old goat kid, as well as a salamander the kids brought in for the creek, and the whole thing was utterly delightful.

My favorite part of the weekend was that Eric read Haftorah (the reading from prophets done after the Torah reading) in front of a packed synagogue of people on the second morning.  This was something of a big deal because he’s only just started chanting Haftorah after a 26 year break ;-) , since his bar mitzvah again - this was his third time.  It was an honor to be asked, and he has a lovely voice that shows itself well in the acoustics of our shul.  My husband is a modest guy, not at all prone to arrogance, but enough people praised his clarity and voice that he’s starting to believe that it isn’t just because I’m his wife that I’m incredibly impressed with him. 

Despite the preparation for the holidays and the new baby (who is doing extremely well - she is the cutest imaginable thing, and so friendly), we did get some canning and gardening done last week, but I admit, I’m looking forward to having a few bright days between now and Yom Kippur to harvest and preserve the summer things - while some years our last frost date has been as late as the end of October, this has been a cool year, and I’m simply not counting on anything after October 1.

Once October starts, I’m going to enter into raised bed building in earnest for next year - and planning the expanded herb gardens. We’ve also got some new fencing and mowing to do as well to get ready for sheep.  I’m trying to decide if our family can pull off a trip to Rhinebeck, to the sheep and wool festival in October - Eric isn’t exactly enthusiastic about his wife with money near a giant festival of sheep, yarn, fleece and associated products (he has told me that he’s going to frisk me and take all my cash and credit away before we go) but since we’re looking to get sheep, I’ve almost got him resigned to the fact that this trip must be entirely necessary ;-) .

As much as I always regret frost, I do find that I really enjoy the “frost preserving” - that is, putting up the last stuff on the vine.  I love making things out of green tomatoes, that over-ripe cucumber that was hidden under the leaves, and all the other things that one finds and needs to preserve at the end of the season.  I find it fascinating and creative to put up the odds and ends, plus, I could live on green tomato pickles ;-) .

Ok, onwards:

Plant something: - I transplanted a few starts, and planted some arugula, but that’s about it.

Harvest something: Cucumbers, summer squash, beets, beans, peppermint, hickory nuts, wild grapes (still too early, really, but we ate them ;-) ), onions, potatoes, turnips, broccoli, chard, carrots, eggs, milk, goldenrod, plantain, peppers, eggplant, cabbage.

Preserve something: Canned tomatoes, canned salsa, dried tomatoes, dried sweet peppers, made cheese, made lemon pickles, made kimchi.

Waste Not: Made lemon pickles with some of the overgrown cukes, and fed giant summer squash to the chickens (I step on them first).  Otherwise, just the normal things - not going places, not buying stuff, composting, feeding scraps to animals. 

Want Not: Can’t think of anything.

Eat the Food: Besides cinnabun challah, which was not local but was awesome ; the tamale pie with sauteed sweet potatoes and caramelized onions were really good, so was the yellow tomato and tomatillo salsa with rau rom (I was out of cilantro).  Second night the baked apples stuffed with cranberries were really good (although the apples themselves were not the best bakers), as were the coconut-lime mashed sweet potatoes. 

Build community Food Systems: I’ve got a couple of things in the works, but nothing right this week.  Independence Days should be in my hands sometime this week, which means some good stuff.

How about you?