… following close on the heels of beautiful, abundant, spinach
We’ll have some with dinner this evening and let you know how they taste (taste update: they were mildly spicy, so we picked a whole bunch more!). The roots looked beautiful — they liked the soil! We have several varieties. With our heat wave, they may already be hotter/spicier than ideal, but we’ll see.
We picked 15 lbs of kumquats from our little dwarf tree that lives by the pool. While I was at it with the camera, I grabbed one of the abalone shells on display by the pool for a little impromptu play with color, form, texture and light.
… no, not an algebra problem, the answer is in the photos …
This was the most amazing spinach crop we’ve ever had. The leaves were tender and tasty. David picked and processed this batch this morning.
One of our favorite things to make with the spinach is something called spinach patties.
Recipe only in my head:
boil a couple of potatoes with a sliced onion.
Drain very, very well and mash.
Wash as much spinach as you can stuff into a 5qt pot, drain the spinach, stuff it into the pot, and turn the pot on low (the spinach will steam and settle without any additional water, just watch it closely and flip the whole mass over about half-way through).
Mix the steamed spinach with the potato/onion mash, and add grated cheddar cheese, some mace, salt, pepper to taste.
If you’ve kept everything very dry, you should be able to form the mashed-up mess into patties. Roll the patties in oatmeal (you can slightly grind the oatmeal if you want finer flour coating), and then fry them in a small amount of olive oil.
These are a bit of work, but yummy. Good Luck.
You may have to adjust ingredients to get the right consistency.
David picked about 20 gallons of cherries yesterday!
Pitting party, anyone??
Cherries can be a fickle crop around here. The tree that produced this bounty lives in someone’s yard in Chico. We’ve picked from it for years, but it hasn’t had a crop in the last several years. Our own, sweet cherry tree never manages a crop, and our friends with the large, organic orchard didn’t produce a crop this year, either. Cherries are really sensitive to temperature, light and moisture when they are blooming/setting. And then the birds get them! So these (and gallons more) are the only cherries for miles around.
… just in time for an unusually heavy, springtime rain in the forecast!
Thanks to our friend Bob for the tomato plant starts. His are doing well. Something bad happened to ours and they are struggling to live. They germinated nicely, but are starting to shrivel and die – we have no idea what happened to them. So far, the other seedlings (peppers, melons) planted in the same potting soil (which we make from compost) do not appear damaged.
David worked very hard to get these rows set up and all the mulch down before 2″ of rain predicted. The rain has given me a reprieve from finishing the irrigation setup. I’m going to try and use gravity and a pool sand filter for water from the aqueduct above the arena. Irrigation tape supposedly works very well with low-pressure, and maybe the large sand filter will minimize all the work it takes to keep individual drip filters clean and functioning.
The mulch is there as a weed barrier and to conserve moisture. Since this is a new garden, we are going to struggle a bit with grasses and weeds trying to re-establish themselves, especially evil Bermuda grass. The mulch helps a lot to suppress weeds and grasses.
The gopher-proof melon boxes are created from locally grown and milled, incense cedar, and have 1/2″ galvanized hardware cloth on the bottoms to keep gophers from drilling up and pulling down the melon plants just when they are looking to produce beautiful melons.
Have I mentioned how unhelpful gophers are in the garden? They do move gladiolus bulbs around and eat a few, but not their favorite food and we have so many bulbs, it’s not a problem with those. We will struggle with gophers though for some of the other plants. There are hundreds of gophers in the surrounding pasture, just waiting to move in. David will be ready with traps. And: calling all owls!
We talk more about this project here: Water, and Our Essential, Antique Infrastructure. The last picture in the slide-show above shows the badly-rusted pipe we replaced. Imagine 200′ of that, under pressure. It was a giant water sprinkler — not good on the side of a mountain. Not good at all. We are so relieved that is fixed!
We have experimented with growing our own wheat and making flour. It is a very tedious and labor-intensive process. Also requires a substantial amount of land to produce the grain necessary for the quantity of flour we use. If we had to grow our own grains for flour, there’d be a lot less flour consumption around here! We do have acorns and cattails (sources for flour used by Native Americans), but it would be hard to produce the volume and quality we are used to using. So, here’s a shout out to farmers who produce cereal grains for the world — what you men and women do is so taken for granted.
BTW, thanks Bob for the lettuce starts — they are growing beautifully, as you can see!