Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Harvest

Plucked for some chicken noodle soup on a Friday night.  Seth's particular request submitted in our "Family Fun Bag" for the summer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Growing and Killing

At eight o'clock in the evening, the fireflies come out and the chickens make their way "in" for the night.  It's a magical time of day.  We are all falling into a new rhythm now that the rigor of school schedules has subsided.  Without an impending morning rush, we feel some give at the end of it that encourages us to linger a little longer outside. Even past eight o'clock in the evening.

It's the perfect time to water.  Holding the hose at least one minute (ideally two) in the vegetable boxes each evening gives me lots of time to plan and think.  Planning for what will take the place of tomatoes and cucumbers come end of August.  Thinking about my own four growing (Seth will be 8 this week) and how they seem to be getting ahead of me.  Suddenly.  How does steady growth in living things always seem so sudden?

Then, there's the killing of living things.  Like squash beetles laying eggs on my zucchini leaves.  Tiny, shiny maroon-colored eggs.  They've begun to hatch.  Lucy would hunt them down and I would smoosh them into oblivion.  I don't have THAT much zucchini.  Not enough to share with hundreds of black and gray bugs.  Also weeds.  June is national weed month.  I am declaring it.  We had a family yardwork day yesterday.  The usual pit stop gardening wasn't cutting it and in the war against weeds, Cicada Cottage was losing fast.

I have some recipes I've made in the past week or so.  One to use the cucumber bounty and one to use the zucchini piling up.  The best recipes.  At least I think so.  Things are not slowing down here: weeds, bugs, vegetables, or kids.  So, hopefully I can show up here with proof of it all happening a little more frequently!

*Dr. Gooch grilling our dinner (chicken) with the chickens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"We wouldn't have all this good food..."

"...without all this hot weather!"--my Mom.

We've been in the 90s all week!  I love walking out of a building where I've been blasted with AC and feeling like I'm stepping into a blanket fresh from the dryer.  I love summer because that's when things love to grow!

I sprinkled some chamomile seeds in a spare pot.  I hope we'll be drying the flowers for tea once the weather cools off again.

If only you could sniff this shot.  Gardenias love the warm.

Rudbeckia like when it roasts.

Tomatillos, too.

We've been eating cucumbers once they get about twice this big.

I finally have tomatoes beginning to bulge.

These are Chocolate peppers, they'll turn a deep reddish brown.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup


My potatoes are days away from being ready to dig up.  I couldn't wait though.  My leeks were starting to get limp in the fridge.  So, when life gives you limp leeks (or fresh!) make leek and potato soup!  My version has a smokey note to it since my paprika was the Spanish Smokey sort.  You may or may not choose to use it.

3-4 Large Leeks, white and pale green parts sliced
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6-8 Medium potatoes
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
Salt and FGP
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 cup cream

Place sliced leeks in bowl of cold water and rinse allowing and clingy dirt to sink to the bottom, remove leeks and drain in colander.  Heat butter and oil in soup pot over medium heat.  Add leeks, paprika, salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes until tender.  Add potatoes, stock, and water.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add cream, stir and season to taste.

I like to stick my handheld blender in and cream the soup a little bit.  It helps thicken the broth and just adds that extra oompf.  Serve with a dash of paprika.  Serves 6-8.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Weed Dreaming

I'm dreaming of the beach.  But I'm weeding and watering in reality.  Heat hit our home full force this week.  I killed one of my lovely ferns on the screen porch.  I think I can revive it though.  This is the first time this growing season I've had to get out with the hose.  I soaked the vegetables today because I locked myself and the four rascals outside so I thought I may as well get some work done.  Then, after said rascals were in bed I went out and trimmed the wisteria, chopped down the rust-laden hollyhocks and weeded like a mad woman until it was too dark to see (9:00).

It was just me and the fireflies.  Not bad for not being the beach.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Worm Migration

Dr. Gooch looked it up and thinks they may be gnat larvae.  They feed on organic matter.  In this case, the mulch around our oak tree.  Yesterday morning around 8am (and again today) they made their way from the grass across the driveway.  Strange route?  Maybe.  Gross?  Definitely.  What a bizarre phenomenon.  They traveled en masse using each other to inch across the asphalt.  Most were run over by our traffic (which I am perfectly fine with).  Ew.