Picking tomatoes for tomorrow’s Bow Little Market was tinged with sadness because tomorrow’s market is the last regular market day of the season. Onions, tongue-burning peppers, sweet peppers, a lot of food has come out of our little garden and gone into meals enjoyed by people I don’t even know. Another summer has gone by, and on we go to who knows what. Every day the door opens and you never know what will greet you on the other side. Every day is a surprise.
Some of the still ripening tomatoes will make it to the upcoming Sunday market in Alger. More will end up on our own table. There’s a benefit to not selling food your garden produces … you get to eat it yourself, though my husband wishes I didn’t cook with so many onions and garlic. He’s glad that I’ve sold nearly all the garlic, and will be happy if customers buy most of the onions too.
If a lettuce falls in a hoop house, does it make a sound? I’m surprised I wasn’t waken in the middle of the night when this lettuce came crashing down. The ground must have shook violently. It explains why so many tomatoes fell during the night. It goes to show how soundly I sleep.
The tumble didn’t break its stem, and its flowers will still bloom. A lettuce like this would make a grand first course. You could put it on a long platter, set it in the middle of the table, and let your many guests rip off the leaves for their salads.
Besides grapes, chickens like apples too. I walked by one of the apple trees and had to laugh when I saw an apple cut in half. What? I had to investigate. The apples were on a low hanging branch, within easy reach of the chickens. They’d pecked the bottom halves clean.
One thing I find puzzling about chickens is that they have no trouble flying up to roosts five and six feet high to sleep. It would be easy for them to hop up into a fruit tree and climb along the branches to eat all the fruit they want, and yet they never do that. Maybe they rationalize that if they did that, it would be heads off for the lot. Maybe they are more rational than I think. Perhaps they comprehend the results of their actions and behave accordingly.
Ena 枝那 is a determined dog. Three times now, she has dug up this bed. She hears and smells something underneath. I might as well forget planting anything in the bed until she finds whatever she is looking for.
The Jacobs Cattle Beans are almost ready. If only they would stay so beautiful when you cook them. I’m determined to someday figure out a way to cook colorful beans and keep their vibrant colors.
The dry summer has the alders and cottonwoods dropping leaves months earlier than usual. It’s sad to see the trees so stressed. Instead of raking in October, I’m raking in August. Will there be anything left to rake in October?
The elephant garlic will appreciate the leaves. Worked into the soil and spread on top of the garlic beds, the leaves will break down and turn into lovely humus. Garlic grows well in beds full of organic matter.
The end of August means the chickens get to enjoy one of their favorite foods, grapes. The champagne grapes aren’t ripe yet, but the chickens don’t mind. They jump up to get the low hanging ones. They go nuts when I toss them extra bunches to gorge on. Vineyards would do well to employ flocks of chickens. They’d keep the vineyards weeded, eat many bugs, and snatch any grapes that drop to the ground.
I picked the last of the Chioggia beets on Thursday morning for Thursday’s market. Thankfully, no one bought them. These are my favorite beets. They taste as good as they look.
I had some Savoy cabbage left from the market too. When you look at a Savoy cabbage leaf from above, it’s as if you are flying over a lush, green, hilly landscape with white rivers flowing to the sea. No, those aren’t rivers, they are deep, fog-filled canyons where pterosaurs soar from canyon wall to canyon wall, hoping hapless earthlings will fall from the sky and into their monstrous beaks. If you put your ear next to a cabbage leaf, you can hear their bloodcurdling shrieks. Don’t listen to your mother. Go ahead and play with your food. Life is too short not to.
Putting your face into a sunflower is the secret to happiness. You’ll forget all your troubles, and smile.
Tonight, a bumblebee has decided to spend the night in that sunflower. Some researchers think that maybe honeybees, at least the foragers, might dream. They spend up to a third of the time sleeping, and use this time to store memories, something humans do, so possibly bees dream too. What could be more pleasant than dreaming while you’re sleeping in a sunflower?
What’s for lunch? It’s not a dilemma to ponder. The answer is in what I found in the garden while weeding: fresh kohlrabi, potatoes still warm from the ground, red tomatoes, kale leaves, and more. In less time than it takes to go through a McDonald’s drive-through lunch is served, and on fine china no less.
What else did I find in the garden today? How about giant romaine lettuce? I’m letting a few go to seed. They are as high as my chest. Soon their flowers will be out. This is what romaine strives to be. Just a few lucky ones ever get to experience the joys of blooming.
Nine potatoes which grew from an overwintering potato. Talk about interest. What are banks paying in interest these days, 0.01 to 0.02 percent? You might as well throw your money away. Plant a quarter of a potato, and in a year you could easily have nine, that’s 36 times the potato you started, or 3,600%. Don’t put your money in the bank, put it in potatoes in the ground.
And white flower beans 白花豆, yeah! This year’s harvest of these wonderful beans is on. I’ll have some for sale on Thursday at Bow Little Market.
Ena 枝那 is exhausted. What could tire out a dog so much? How about digging up onions and beans? I hadn’t planned on digging up this row of onions and beans today, but she decided it was time for them to come out of the ground.
She left a moonscape of elbow deep craters. She hasn’t learned yet to pile up the onions at the end of the row. Oh well, I was needing a bed for fall peas, I might as well put them here.
The trouble with gardening with dogs is that they don’t ask you first where you want to plant things or what things need digging up. When dog is your gardener, you’ve just got to go with the flow, and laugh a lot.
Mi-asa-hime’s 美朝姫 chicks hatched yesterday and today. Before I saw a chick, I knew they had hatched because when I got close to her, she let out a low growl to warn her chicks that danger was near. Hens never make that growl if they are sitting on eggs, just after their chicks hatch.
My first picking of potato seeds is over, and I have thousands of seeds to plant. Potato seeds are tightly embedded in potato fruits. To free them, you mix the potato fruits with water and break them apart in a blender. A few pulses does the trick. You don’t want to destroy the seeds. Then you let the mixture ferment for a day or two. Potato seeds won’t readily germinate without fermenting first. In a few days, the mashed potato fruits float and the seeds settle on the bottom of the water. You strain out the seeds and dry them.
After experimenting with making tofu for over twelve years, I’m satisfied enough with the result that I’ve started selling it at Bow Little Market each Thursday. For the market, I’m making it on Wednesday, so if you come to the market, you can get fresher tofu than you’ll find in any grocery store. Or, if you’d like even fresher tofu, contact me and I can make you tofu, so that it is fresh out of the press for you. My labels always state the date it was made, something no one else is willing to tell you.
Before your wheat is ground and made into bread, this is what it looks like, golden sheaves of spiny heads of wheat.
Swiss chard stalks look like candy sticks. The colorful stalks are worthy of their own dish. The Costata Romanesco, a ribbed variety of zucchini, is beautiful too. I much prefer it to the smooth, regular varieties of zucchini.