Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Peas and Raspberries

The fall garden has been planted and is now showing signs of veggies for later this season. In this bed, I've planted sugar snaps peas, kale and swiss chard.  To build the trellis for the peas, I used two old tire rims that the local bicycle shop was more than happy to give me. Now if I can just keep the rabbits and slugs out the the gardens, I just might have a few peas and leafy greens this fall!

I'm also delighted that the fall Caroline raspberries are ripening. Hoping for just a little more sun to help the berries out.  It really is a fun to have these sweet treats in the fall.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Potato Sampler

My potato plants have brought me much joy this season. It was my first try at growing potatoes. I grew them in repurposed, burlap, coffee bean bags and in a potato patch where I enthusiastically mounded the soil about the plants as I'd been told.  I watered them regularly to prevent black spots and just recently started harvesting the beautifully formed potatoes. I roasted my first harvest with minced garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. They were delicious.

Today I found out that I am not the only one lovin' my potatoes. Some critter has been sampling my yukon gold and yukon red tubers! Not just one mind you, but about a third of what I dug up. Even though I don't have a place to put all the potatoes just yet, I'll be harvesting the rest of the bed tomorrow to prevent the critter(s) from ruining the whole lot!

Here are the keepers.

And....the samples.

The Butcher and the Vegetarian

The Butcher and the Vegetarian written by local Seattleite, Tara Austen Weaver, is an entertaining account of a vegetarian's journey to restore her health by introducing animal protein into her diet. Having been raised a vegetarian, she apprehensively dips into the world of meat consumption and surprisingly finds connection to the animals raised for meat, and the people involved in the process of bringing the product to the consumer.  A very good read that leaves one laughing and thinking about your values surrounding those delicious roasts, that crispy fried chicken and the beautifully grilled pork chops.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Freeze It!

What can you do with a milk carton and masking tape? Freeze your berries! This is a method of preserving berries that I learned from my in-laws. It's great way to beautifully freeze fruit and recycle the milk cartons!

Start by freezing the berries on a cookie sheet or something else flat. Grab a milk carton, rinse it out well and allow it to dry.  Apply two strips of masking tape to one side. My strips are about ten inches long and I stick them on the carton before placing the berries inside.

Add the berries, then fold down the top of the carton and quickly pull the tape over the top to seal the carton closed.  If condensation forms on the outside, wipe off the moisture with a towel and reapply the tape.  Berries preserved this way can be stored in the freezer for at least a year and the milk cartons are great for stacking.

Be sure to label!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sea Berries

I have lived in Seattle area 20+ years and have driven the I-5 corridor to the Portland area on many an occasion to visit with family and friends.  During my travels, I've passed Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland, WA a gazillion times and recently committed to stop in for a visit and what an amazing place I found. This nursery has every berry, fruit tree and any other food producing plant I would want to grow in my gardens. It was here that I found both the female and male sea berry plants that have been on my "wish list" and the prices are oh so reasonable!

The sea berry is not sweet, but is high in nutritional value, has anti-inflamatory properties, and is good for making jam, juice, pie and lotion.  My species of bush, will have a spread of 8 feet and a height about the same. Looking forward to seeing the orange berries next summer!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Put 'em Up!

I was recently cruising one of my local book stores and found Put em'Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling by Sherri Brooks Vinton.  This book is perfect for me with simple, well written, how to instructions; excellent step by step illustrations; delicious recipes; and a hip and contemporary layout. This book gives a modern twist to the old art of preserving foods.

My beans are just beginning to mature and I should have a great crop to harvest. I'll be trying the Spicy Szechuan Beans recipe first!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chena Hot Springs

This summer I had an excellent trip to Alaska to do some sightseeing and a little fishing with my dad and brothers. One of the highlights, was a visit to Chena Hot Springs Resort located about 45 minutes outside Fairbanks. The amazing thing about this resort is that it is almost completely off the grid!  All electricity is generated by geothermal energy harvested from the hot springs in the area.  The hot water also provides heat for the lodge, greenhouses, a swimming pool, and the soaking lake.

This one of two generators and is about 20 feet long and 10 feet high. It sure is small compared to a single hydroelectric turbine and there is no obstruction in a river!

The greenhouse was my favorite part of the resort.  Fresh tomatoes are a delicacy in Alaska, and the growers at Chena Hot Springs have taken full advantage of the naturally hot water to heat the greenhouses and produce a delicious array of warm weather veggies for the restaurant.  The tomato plants produce for about 10 months. Heck, this year I'll be lucky if I get one red tomato!

Leafy greens were also in various stages of development in the greenhouse.

Outside there are a couple of gardens that produce cool weather veggies like broccoli, cabbage, carrots and swiss chard.

Herbs plus one moose!

Of course I have to show my pictures of Denali and Bear Glacier.

See this post on Simple Lives Thursday.