I could get used to this!

Oscar is away for two weeks. It’s amazing how much free time I have. What an incredible discovery!

I’ve only done laundry once. Dishes twice- in the dishwasher and that was just because there were some specific dishes I needed and I didn’t feel like washing them by hand.

I’ve barely cooked a meal. I’m eating salads and grilled cheese to my heart’s content. Working my way through a couple bottles of wine. Yeah, savoring the Pinot.

Baked a chocolate cake for Mother’s Day, ate one piece and froze the rest. I did hear from all my kids. Miss them terribly but two of the three are out of town. My son lives maybe 90 minutes away but he’s been working so much he didn’t feel like driving in and I didn’t feel like guilting him into doing so.

It’s just… Wow! And a little weird. Jake and I are pretty boring if left to our own devices so Oscar better get home soon!

Oh! So here’s the garden news. I harvested all the lettuce except for some leaf lettuce growing in planters. It was taking up too much space and I’d been supplying the entire block for a month. The lettuce, or mixed greens, are now blanched and in the freezer. I cut back the arugula, cooked it up with some prosciutto and chilies. Saving that for Oscar. He gets back on Wednesday.

I harvested the last of the radishes before they could bolt. They’re all bagged up in the fridge for the hubster.

I used the space to plant more eggplant – Black Satin and Japanese, and Thai chilies because my daughter in Montana demands Thai chilies. I already have eggplants, jalapenos, Fresno chilies, poblano chilies and mole chilies growing. I need extra eggplants because I’ll be shipping the fruit to Montana weekly– along with chilies.

some of the eggplants and chilies

some of the eggplants and chilies

Did you know potatoes, eggplants, chilies/peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos are all members of the deadly nightshade family? Along with cape gooseberries and goji berries– also known as superfoods. 

Once again my volunteer potatoes are taking over the world- Damn those French fingerlings! Delicious little suckers. My purple beans look great. The squash is minding its own business. Still getting some asparagus. The white turnips are huge. I gave in and planted one tomato plant. I tend to resist tomatoes because like potatoes one tomato plant can conquer the world. Oh, almost forgot the beets- hope they do well this year, the peas, the parsley and the cilantro.

All in all an exceptional year for gardening.

Garden 2014

Garden 2014

I planted my garden.

Bed One:

A single tomato plant which will, as they are wont to do in California, take over the world.

Volunteer red potatoes. Volunteer parsley. Volunteer garlic. Hey, never look a gift horse in the mouth. If something volunteers it gets to live. Unless it’s mint or oregano. Mint and oregano do not respect boundaries. Kind of like Russia.

Arugula.

Purple beans.

Cylindrical beets. You know, the long kind, not the round kind.

Bed Two:

Two asparagus patches which have been producing for two weeks. Yay and Yum!

1 mound of pickling cucumbers.

1 mound of mixed summer squash.

Japanese white turnips.

French breakfast radishes.

Four varieties of lettuce.

Arugula.

Saving room for eggplant and chilies.

Bed Three:

Tons of volunteer French fingerling potatoes. Couldn’t get all the tiny ones when I harvested last fall. They get to stay… For now.

Volunteer peas and carrots. Who can say no to peas and carrots?

More purple beans.

More Japanese white turnips.

We bought some new planters for more lettuce, herbs and flowers, some edible. As soon as I can really walk I’ll put a bunch of flower pots around the yard.

I love gardening. The raised beds and the way we prepped the soil over the winter made it possible for me to work without putting any strain on my knee. It was sweet. Plus Jake helped. And then I elevated my leg and iced for a couple hours.

As soon as things start sprouting I’ll post pics. Not my leg, the garden.

Big news! Actually put on a pair of jeans today.

Rocking the ice bag.

Rocking the ice bag.

 

 

My Fig Tree or My Wasp Nursery? Either way I’m eating ‘em.

fig 1I knew figs were not fruit.  However I didn’t really know what they were. Didn’t even think about it.

My son says– “Mom, figs are flowers. They contain little wasps.”

And I’m like– “Huh???”

So I looked it up.  How Stuff Works Figs and Wasps

Penny Watson probably knew this because she’s got like a masters degree… in science… Botany to be exact.  To be even more specific I think it’s like turf which is why I felt perfectly comfortable asking her why my dog’s pee kills all my turf and what, if anything, I could do about it. And she said, “Nothing.”

Anyway- Read it and weep:

“What we call a fig (a structure called the syconium) is more inverted flower than fruit, with all its reproductive parts located inside. After a female fig wasp flies over from the fig plant she emerged from, she must travel to the center of the syconium to lay her eggs. To get there, she climbs down through a narrow passage called the ostiole. The passage is so cramped that the tiny fig wasp loses her wings and antenna during her claustrophobic trek. Once inside, there’s no getting back out and flying to another plant…”

You know historically speaking, figs are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, with the fragrance of honey and the appearance of female unmentionables. It’s true.

I’m just gonna eat ‘em and not think about wasps and female unmentionables because my tree is really producing this year.

fig 2

 

Oh… speaking of reproducing– here’s the most robust baby from last year’s giant fist-sized garden spider:

Big baby spider living in my garden.

Big baby spider living in my garden.

Today’s Harvest!

Thai chilies, beets, potatoes, Japanese eggplant, black satin eggplant, Costa Rican sweet pepper.

Thai chilies, beets, potatoes, Japanese eggplant, black satin eggplant, Costa Rican sweet pepper.

The beets got mixed with some previously frozen mustard greens– from this spring’s garden.  The potatoes and the Costa Rican sweet pepper were made into scalloped potatoes with fresh rosemary and sage from my herb bed.  Served with grilled boneless beef shortribs.  Yummolicious!

Supper Time!

So yesterday Roberta asked me to post a pic of what I made with what I harvested.  Here ya go!

From left to right - apple butter, pickled beets, eggplant with olive oil and white wine vinegar, broccoli rabe (frozen when I harvested my spring veggies) with roasted hot chilies, sesame oil and mirin, a selection of cave-aged cheeses - Challerhocker, Farmstead Cheddar and Etivaz. Oh, sliced heirloom tomatoes with a roasted Costa Rican sweet pepper. What you can't see - grilled bread with olive oil and garlic.

From left to right – apple butter, pickled beets, roasted eggplant with olive oil and white wine vinegar, broccoli rabe (frozen when I harvested my spring veggies) with roasted hot chilies, sesame oil and mirin, a selection of cave-aged cheeses – Challerhocker, Farmstead Cheddar and Etivaz. Oh, sliced heirloom tomatoes with a roasted Costa Rican sweet pepper. What you can’t see – grilled bread with olive oil and garlic.

Recipes?  I make ‘em up as I go along.  But I do love cheese!  And I’ve always liked barbecued bread.  Enjoy!  (Rice wine vinegar is best for pickling beets.)