Typical August Weekend Out In The Country

We’ve only lived in Casa de Caribou 2.0 for about 5 months, but the grounds are already being cultivated into useful, productive, pretty land. Here’s my progress from the last few days, as an example of what late summer looks like for a Midwest gardener and foodie.

Harvested:

  • Bush beans (large basket of purple, green and yellow beans, worked out to be 4 pints when canned)
  • 4 cups Moby Grapes, yum. Best snack ever and also makes a surprisingly good pasta sauce, if you have patience to blanch/peel them.
  • 6 Short stubby wonderfully fat carrots
  • Green Onions (2, just for garnishes)
  • 4 cups VERY fat ripe raspberries
  • I’d picked almost a quarter bushel of tomatoes on Thursday and was waiting for them to fully ripen. They were ripe by Saturday, so I canned 10 pints.

Side Projects:

  • Gathered 8 big sprigs of Sweet Woodruff to share with a friend at work who wants to learn how to make May Wine. If you want to learn how to make it too, here’s a quite pleasant article from one of my favorite food bloggers.
  • Cleaned up the carrot tops, discarding the long hard stem and just keeping the feathery green bits. Scissors make this easy. Now they are in a basket to dry, and then I will crunch them up and store in a glass spice jar. They make a fun substitute for parsley.
  • I saved aside a big handful of oversized beans from my harvest. These are too rubbery and tough to be enjoyable, but can be split open to get at the beans inside. These can be simmered for about 30 minutes and served as a wee side dish. I say wee because it takes a lot of tough old beans to add up, but it’s a way not to waste them.
  • I’d cut all the flowers off my garlic chives early in the week, since they can spread like wildfire if you let them go to seed. For fun I stuck them in a green glass vase with some water, where they all bloomed spectacularly. Saturday I snipped the flowers from the hard stems and set them in a wicker basket to dry. Another goodie to chop up and store in a spice jar. They taste very peppery and a bit garlicky.
  • Since I’m planning to sautee salmon for Sunday dinner, I whipped up a sauce of avocado mayonnaise, small touch of mustard, cracked pepper, touch of sea salt, and a generous amount of dried Mexican Tarragon. Tarragon goes so nicely with salmon! So that’s all ready and blending flavors, for later tonight. I won’t cook it on the fish, just will have it as a side dip. Mmmm.

Today I’m thinking about starting a double batch of chamomile wine, as long as I have the huge canning pot upstairs. It does double duty. And I may simmer up a small batch of what I’ve named “Moby’s Pick” spiced tomato sauce, for later in the week.

Next, the focus needs to be on clearing out encroaching weeds and volunteer saplings in the large raspberry patch, researching how to tame back the purple grape vines without harming them, edging back the grass from the bark in our curved beds surrounding the house, and pulling weeds. This place is weed heaven, they grow FAR too happily here. More mulch is needed soon to help squish them!

And somewhere in between all this yard and kitchen work, I am shoehorning in tiny bursts of editing and writing, because books simply don’t publish themselves, darn it!

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Ceejay

Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs, when she’s not playing games with a cat named Chives. Since 2007, Ceejay Writer has been Lori’s avatar in the virtual reality of Second Life. Ceejay authored articles for Prim Perfect and Primgraph magazines. She has also written and performed whimsical, word-wrenching burlesque acts and has a reputation as a punster. She built and barista-d the CocoaJava Cafe, a Steampunk coffee house, and the Java Jive, a coffeepot-shaped Prohibition Era jazz and burlesque club She has a digital Siamese cat named Sam.