Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Whadda Wind!

Yesterday we had a wind storm like I have never seen before. No rain, just wind. And it winded (!) ALL DAY LONG. I don't mind admitting, it was quite the scary experience.

Supposedly the area experienced winds up to 75 mph and there was extensive damage throughout the county. Needless to say, lots of trees fell on power lines causing widespread outages. Some reports are that three-quarters of our very large county was out of power. Some was restored around one o'clock this afternoon after being out since yesterday. Other people are being told it may be a day or two before they are back on grid.

We have a solar power system that provides about half the energy we need. So anytime there is sunshine, we run on solar and store any extra in our battery bank. Yesterday was very gray with no sun at all but we were fortunate that we had enough battery power that we could keep going on solar. This morning dawned sunny so we were fine on solar again, and then in early afternoon grid power came back on for us.

We lost many trees but were fortunate none hit any buildings or vehicles.

This is what our main trail into our woods looks like today.

We had no frost with the cold front that blew in with the wind, but this window box of impatiens looks like it's been frozen solid, doesn't it? The box was lush and chock full of blossoms yesterday morning . . . before the wind. That's what caused the damage. Strictly wind damage.

We did suffer one loss. This is (was?) our high-sided farm trailer.

Roy's Uncle George was a farmer and right after we got married, he said he didn't need this piece of equipment anymore and offered it to us. We quickly snapped it up and have had and used it continually for forty-six years. We've rebuilt it twice. We've hauled horses, pigs, sheep, chickens and goats (lots of goats!) in it. Roy's shoveled more loads of manure into it and then out of it than he ever wants to see again. The summer we moved up here from Illinois it made nine (yes, NINE) trips full to the brim. We've hauled countless loads of hay, feed, building supplies, and firewood in it. It's transported boats, canoes, kayaks, and motorcycles. And lots of happy kids on top tromping down loose hay the years we had nineteen acres of hay land.

Our good neighbor came over this afternoon after hearing of the tree falling on the trailer. He said he wondered if he and Roy would have a winter project in his fully equipped workshop rebuilding the trailer. But as soon as he got a look at it, he realized (as we already had) that the basic frame is way too smooshed out of shape to salvage.

Oh, well. It's not like it's something that can't be replaced. But it hit me as soon as I saw what had happened to it was that even though it was just a rusty-old-seen-better-days trailer, there are one heck of a lot of memories of our life tied up in it.

Kinda silly, isn't it? But doggone, I'm gonna miss that trailer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flock Increase

I wrote earlier this summer about the surprise our little Miss Golden Laced Cochin bantam hen presented us with one morning.

Our poultry has daily access to a half-acre fenced in pasture including a heavily wooded area, and we don't take a head count of all the chickens each night when we shut them in their house.

Apparently this little gal made a nest in the woods and hatched out her own little family of chickies.

The chicks are now about six weeks old and completely feathered out. (Too bad their natural coloring makes for such good camouflage this time of year. It's hard to get a good picture of them.) They're about four to five inches high . . . little energized wind-up chicks scurrying around the poultry yard.

Here's the proud papa . . . who shows absolutely no interest in his brood.

Out of curiosity after we discovered the chicks, Roy went on a search through the woods to see if he could spot Mama Hen's nest. He never did find it but did come across one other little chick that apparently was born too weak and didn't make it. So she hatched five eggs, out of which these four have grown hale and hardy indeed.

We've always kept a couple/few bantams along with our regular sized birds. The banties lay more eggs than the bigger birds in proportion to the very small amount of chicken feed they consume.

No question about it, bantam eggs are much smaller as you can see by the above picture. Regular sized egg on the left, little marble-sized bantam egg on the right. If you had only bantam eggs, it would be difficult to determine how many of them to substitute when a recipe called for, say, two large eggs. I don't hassle with that. I never use the bantam eggs for baking as I have the regular sized ones readily available. But no reason the bantam eggs can't be used for scrambled, poached, or fried eggs. I regularly take a couple dozen eggs to a friend that I barter with and she is pickled tink to get some of the bantam eggs. Her little nieces visit regularly and they love hard-boiled eggs. She uses the bantam eggs for these treats and her nieces think the tiny eggs are especially for them. (And they are!)

Another point in favor of the bantams that we like is the fact that they tend to go broody often (which means they want to sit on and hatch out eggs) and are super-good mamas after the chicks are hatched. Sure makes it a lot easier for us than having to order (and pay for!) day-old chicks and keep them in a brooder in the garage for weeks and weeks (cough-cough, chicken dust all over EVERYTHING) before being able to put them outside. Bantams will sit on just about any egg you put under them. We've had them hatch out full sized chicken eggs and duck eggs. Goose eggs are juuust a bit too big . . . the banty hen keeps falling off them. (Seriously, she doesn't fall off, but there's just not enough little banty body to cover and incubate them sufficiently.)

So you go, Little Mama Bantam. You're earning your keep on this little homestead.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Marches On

I think our fall colors this year are a little diminished by the dryness we're experiencing. But even though some foliage looks a little dusty and crinkled, most colors are still gorgeous and well worth any time spent enjoying them however you choose to do so.

The forecast says rain is supposed to start tonight and continue through the weekend. I don't want to spoil anybody's outdoor plans, but I kinda relish the thought of a wet weekend indoors . . . maybe even in my quilt studio! And we sure do need a really good soaker of a rain.

Our Virginia Creeper vine turns a lovely red as the fall progresses and as you can see by the above picture, it's leaves have already started changing.

I think I mentioned last year that this vigorous plant almost shuts out all light by nearly covering the one window in our tiny bathroom. As winter approaches and the leaves have withered and died and I cut the tendrils back, it's kind of a shock to have such a bright, sunny bathroom back again.

So here's a question for you. My daughter has always wanted to try to start some Virginia Creeper at her house. How would we go about getting some starter shoots from this mature, healthy plant? And what time of year should we do it? I'm guessing spring would be the best time? Possibly summer? Should I cut off some vine ends and root them in water? Help! Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Blueberry Weed Patch

Don't look now, folks, but our puny little blueberry bushes actually made some growth this year. I think it may have had a lot to do with the fact that I spread about four tons of peat moss over the whole blueberry patch this spring.

I thought the heavy layer of peat moss would act as super-efficient mulch to keep the weeds down . . . but it didn't. Quite the opposite. It seems there are certain weeds that just thrive in peat moss. During the summer I made a couple of weed-killing forays pulling every blasted weed I saw, but the darn things just kept coming back.

Then I will admit for about the last month I've turned a blind eye to the weeds while other things seemed to rank higher on my chore list. I have paid a price.

This is what happens when you let weeds have their way among your blueberry bushes.

This is probably the worst section in the whole plot. (Can't even find the blueberry bushes, can you?)

Well, dang. I just couldn't let the blueberry patch go into winter this way. We happened to have quite a good sized amount of sawdust back in the wood cutting area left from chainsawing our twelve cords of wood this summer. Roy estimates he brought about 12-15 wheelbarrows full into the yard and made a big pile in our mulch material area.

I took my trusty spading fork and hand trowel and went into weed attack mode. It took me two days . . . but I didn't work full days (that would have killed me considering our still hot, humid weather) to get out all the weeds and spread a heavy layer of sawdust.

Now if a bunch of weeds grow up again before winter sets in, I'm gonna be really bummed. But I'm fairly confident the heavy sawdust and wood shavings will keep the patch weed-free, at least until spring. I think. I hope. It better.

And maybe tomorrow I'll even be able to stand up straight again.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Visit From A Famous Writer And Co.

Some of you may know Catherine Friend either as an author of books or from reading her blogs, Farm Tales and The Inkslinger. She and her partner, Melissa, write and farm in southeastern Minnesota. Catherine had a presentation and booksigning this past weekend way up here in the northwoods at our little local bookstore so she and Melissa and their Griffon dog, Molly, came north for a weekend of some business and some relaxation.

Melissa is on the left, Catherine on the right. The fuzzy one is well-behaved Molly. (Not to infer that Melissa and Catherine were NOT well behaved.)

It was so nice to get to meet Catherine in person. I can now assure you her personality that shines in her blogging is true to form. And, Author Girl as she refers to herself, is a craftsperson. Does she know her craft! Does she love writing! Does she have a boatload yet to write about!

Catherine gave a very interesting, informative and witty presentation Saturday night at the bookstore. Sure is a lot more to becoming a published, successful author than is generally known.

This is a shot of Catherine booksigning after her presentation.

I didn't know what Melissa would be like although Catherine has said in her blog that Melissa makes her laugh every day. This I can now understand fully. Melissa with the beautiful smile and mind that never stops! You can't be in the same room with her without seeing the gears churning and getting caught up in her zest for life.

Both gals were super-easy to be with and get to know face-to-face. Which just goes to prove that although there certainly is a dark side to the Internet, there are also many, many wonderful people that you would never get the chance to know (and even meet!) if it weren't for the technology offered through our computers.

Melissa on left, Short Stuff (that's me) in center, Catherine on right. Molly, almost in picture in front.

Sad to say, it was a busy, busy weekend and we never managed to be in the same spot with Chicken Mama so we could get a picture of the four of us. But Catherine and Melissa did make the hour ride out to Chicken Mama's on Sunday night for dinner and saw a deer, a fox and a bull moose on their way back to the cabin around 11 PM.

Look what they brought me. Some beautiful, natural, undyed yarn from their very own farm raised sheep! Catherine and I talked about dyeing natural wool but it all sounds a little technical and scary to me so for a while, I'll just enjoy touching and looking at this (very soft) wool in its natural state while trying to decide on something special to knit with it.

Thanks for the visit, gals. It was fun!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We Need All The Help We Can Get

Our growing season up here is very short. Spring comes late and is usually cold. Fall arrives early and is usually cold. So in order to try to extend our gardening season, we need help of some kind. (A 50' x 100' heated greenhouse would do the trick.)

We have twenty-six 4' x 8' raised beds that lend themselves to having a 4' x 8' cold frame set on top of the wooden bed frames. This enables us to add weeks to both the beginning and ending of our short "summer" season.

We don't put cold frames over all the raised beds but we do use them on about half the beds especially for starting crops in the spring.

A couple of months ago, Jordan of Blueberry Hills Homestead in New York asked me if I would do a post showing the construction of our cold frames. (Good thing the dear lady said there was "no hurry" as I'm just now getting around to this posting and pictures!)

This is a picture of one of the first cold frames we built. It's shown here sitting on top of one of the raised beds. We built them to slope slightly to the south. The back is 12" high, the front (south end) is 8" high. We used solid wood for the four sides, and it is heavy as heck. Hurtfully heavy. The handles on each end are for ease (ha!) in moving. Since I rotate crops in each bed each year, not the same bed will end up with a cold frame on top of it each season. The cold frame comes off many beds as soon as the weather settles. Also, we store all the cold frames stacked in one area out of the garden for the winter months.

You can also see the arm that holds the cold frame top in various degrees of open or closed. When the top is up more than halfway, it tends to act as a sail that gets hit by the frequent strong winds we have. Therefore, we found we had to secure the cold frame in some way to the raised bed. After trying a couple of methods, the simplest turned out to be good old baling twine tie-downs.

This is just a shot showing the basic construction of the tops of the cold frames. For our first tops, we used rigid, double layered, clear, fiberglass panels. They, too, added to the weight of the cold frames, so then we went to special UV treated flexible (heavy, strong) plastic. This was much lighter and so far has held up well. (Besides being heavier, the fiberglass panels tended to be brittle and crack in cold weather.)

To hold the tops open at various positions, we use a 1" x 2" length of wood bolted to the cold frame side (so it swivels), holes drilled in the 1" x 2", and holes drilled in the side of the cold frame cover. By inserting a good-sized nail through the hole in the 1" x 2" and into the hole in the cover frame (one 1" x 2" arm on either end of the 4' sides), the cover stays securely in position.

After a couple of years of grunting, groaning and straining lots of muscles moving the wooden-sided cold frames, we got a smidge wiser and decided that (duh) if the plastic on the lids made the cold frames lighter, why not use plastic on the four sides? (Double duh.) So we've started replacing all the old frames with new ones made of plastic instead of solid wood.

This gives an idea of possible framing for the plastic covered frames.

We've experimented with different heights for the newer plastic covered cold frames. This one (not being used at the moment) is 3' high and we had it over a bed of tomatoes last year. Big drawback found: By the time it's on top of a garden bed (about 12" high), it's too danged high to reach over and into to pick the tomatoes! We used it this year with a shade cloth lid on top to try to discourage cabbage moths from getting to our broccoli. (Didn't work.)

Besides the slanted cold frames made with the plastic sides, we've also made a few "risers." These are level (no slant to their framing) boxes we use to give more height for plants to grown in. The riser goes on top of the garden bed, then the cold frame goes on top of the riser. Our risers are 12" high. The cold frame in this picture is 18" at the back side and 12" at the front (south) side.

These are the four remaining beds protected by cold frames in the garden today. They're covering cherry tomatoes, sweet green peppers I want to turn red, lemon cucumbers and regular green slicing cucumbers. The lids are closed down tight in the late afternoon and raised the next morning before the sun becomes warm enough to "cook" the veggies inside the cold frame.

Hope this gives you some ideas for your construction, Jordan. And thanks for being patient!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What's Happenin'?

Not much. I haven't been what you would call prolific in my posts lately because, frankly, there hasn't been much going on.

The couple of things to be harvested from the garden yet are onions and potatoes, and we're holding out as long as we can on them so they might size up more.

I have been hit (unexplainably) by a fall house cleaning bug, but how much can you write about that . . . that wouldn't put everyone to sleep in short order.

But what the heck, at the risk of doing just that . . .

I am totally amazed at the amount of dust and dirt that accumulates regularly on this plant that sits on top of the stacked washer and dryer in our bathroom. First off, you should know that it's fake. Not real. Genuine imitation silk, I think. And there's a good reason for it being fake. I think I went through maybe 6 or 8 live plants in that spot before getting tired of wasting money and purchased this piece of non-living greenery. Could simply not keep a plant alive in that spot.

It may have been too much heat from the washer an dryer, or almost total lack of natural light. (Or maybe they all just died of dust inhalation.) At any rate, the spot seemed too bare to me, so I've gone with this basket of fake foliage and am very happy with it. Except for as often as I have to wash off the leaves. I suppose it might be lint dust from the dryer? It's just bamboozling how much dust and dirt we seem to generate in our small bathroom. Isn't that a place where you're supposed to get clean?

My husband will tell you I complain a lot about how dirty the whole house seems to get on a regular basis. I mean I dust and vacuum, do the dishes and put things away and before I know it, in a couple of months, I have to start all over again. (That was stolen from an old Phyllis Diller [anybody old enough to remember her?] joke she made about her housekeeping abilities.)

Hubby tries to explain to me that the amount of dirt we track in has to do with the fact that we have a dog, keep outside animals, live in the woods, have a gravel driveway and yard. Even though we have "outside only" boots and shoes, the grime just seems to float in behind us.

Even our versatile hunting dog, Zoey, has been caught in the cleaning whirlwind. (Truth to tell, she's our "unversatile" hunting dog as she's afraid of water. Sigh.) Although she's not what you'd call elated about getting baths (can you tell?), she tolerates them fairly well.

Here she looks like she's thinking of making a break for it.

Here we tried to get her to smile for the camera, but she was having none of it.

Okay, enough nonsense. I think I'll put on my jammies and get into bed to read. All this cleaning is exhausting.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't Let The Name Put You Off

I'd like to share my recipe for Mustard Baked Eggs with you. Mustard Baked Eggs? Is that an awful name, or what?! Especially for a dish that tastes so good. Why I haven't come up with a more taste-tempting name in all the years I've made it, I don't know.

Technically, I suppose it's a breakfast dish but I can't remember the last time I made it for breakfast. I've gotten into the habit of using it as my go-to meal for dinner when I haven't had the time or energy to plan a better end-of-the-day meal.

I've been up and going since 3:30 this morning. My cold is still bothering me and I'm having trouble sleeping. Although I truly feel better today, I sound and look worse. (Go figure.) Anywho, I did a little painting job inside the house today which wasn't very strenuous in itself, but it meant that I ended up with the house slightly torn apart and wasn't able to do what I had planned because of having to climb over, under and around furniture all day while the paint dried. Dinner time kinda snuck (sneaked?) up on me before I had much time to plan for it so I made above mentioned fall-back meal.

Here's how I do it. Butter the bottom of a 9" pie plate. (The one pictured is 10" but who's measuring?)

Shred about two cups of Cheddar cheese and spread it evenly over bottom of pie plate.

Break four eggs over cheese being careful not to break the yolks.

Then in a cup measure, whisk together 6 tablespoons half and half, 1 teaspoon powdered mustard, a dash of cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Sprinkle some chopped parsley (fresh is nicest, but I use dried in the winter time) over the egg/cheese mixture in the pie plate. Pour milk mixture evenly over all.

Dot with about 1-2 tablespoons butter. Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes or until eggs are set.

This easy egg dish is really very good and I hope you give it a try, either for breakfast or dinner. Maybe you can even think of a decent name for it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Foggy Day, Foggy Head

I came down with a killer sore throat Friday night but happily got rid of that by Saturday afternoon. Now I just have the other (totally manageable) symptoms of a cold . . . stuffy head, sneezes so explosive I scare the dog, dry, tickling cough and the need to carry a box of Kleenex with me at all times. All that I can handle. I'm just so grateful that the sore throat disappeared as quickly as it did. It kept me from sleeping Friday night and was NO fun!

Took this picture from our deck looking out over the garden area this afternoon. We've had about 300% humidity all day today. It's so thick out there you can feel the moisture in the air. The good thing is that it's finally starting to cool off tonight . . . down to 62° as we speak.

Wonderful day to spend inside quilting which I did all day, and plan to go back into my quilt studio for another hour or so tonight. Gave myself permission to be totally lazy today and ignored all things that would require me to tax my germ-hampered body. Seemed like the thing to do thereby insuring a quick recovery from this little cold-thing that has gotten hold of me.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

P.S. How much humidity do we really have? I have the window over my desk open a bit and my copy paper is curling.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thrown For A Loop

Mother Nature has thrown a spate of heavy, humid, stifling hot weather at us. Yup, in September rather than when we would expect it . . . like July or August. After having a summer when we had very few days that actually felt like summer . . . why now, for heaven's sake?

I spent a lovely morning quilting with a couple of friends. Delightful conversation, pleasant surroundings (at a coffee shop . . . mmm, good drinks!) and made some progress on some handwork.

Came home, had a quick bite to eat and sat down at my desk to post an entry to my quilting blog. As I was finishing, an almost naked man (my husband clad only in his work shorts) poked his head through the doorway, and announced, "I am going out to mow."
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"In this heat and humidity? You'll get heat stroke!" I said.

He replied, "I know, but I did the weed whipping yesterday so I'd just as soon finish the job and have it all done."

This was bad news for me. It meant I had to go out, too. I wanted him to save the grass clippings for me to mulch the parts of the garden that have already been cleaned. We'll let the good bacteria and worms work on them for a while and then possibly till them in yet this fall.

So out we went. Into the horribly humid, hot, hot, hot, muggy, full-in-the-sun yard/garden area. The thermometer on the south facing deck in the shade of our big birch tree read 80°. Lordy, lordy, it had to 90-something out there in the sun.

When he finished mowing, he called to me and said it was time to call it a day. We were both drenched with sweat. (Well, he was drenched with sweat. I was glistening.) I told him I wanted to finish weeding a patch and I'd be in shortly.

About fifteen minutes later, all of a sudden I didn't feel so pretty good. I think heat prostration was trying to get a grip on me. I came inside and sat down but couldn't stop sweating. (I mean glistening.) I finally decided to get in the shower, and now I feel much better.

What the heck is with this ungodly weather now? Dunno, but my zinnias seem to be happy with it. They're looking better than they have all summer.

I guess I need to relax and go with the flow. Mother Nature is obviously having a little fun with us. I think I hear her chucking softly to herself right now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Autumn's Making An Appearance

Did some ironing this morning and baked a pie shell. Then I made my list, put on some clean clothes and left the homestead to do some errands. Hit the post office, bank, credit union, library and went to "the farm" to get fresh milk products.

The trees are just starting to turn color and I think it's true what they say about the colors being even more vivid on a hazy, half-foggy day.

It shouldn't be possible to have sunshine on a hazy, half-foggy day, now should it? But here you are. Perhaps summer is trying its best to hang on while autumn knows its turn has come.

When I was in the library checking out my books, one of our community's esteemed older citizens came in with his cute little wife. He stopped at the check-out desk, leaned on it heavily and said to the young librarian, "Well, I had a really bad day yesterday."

Being concerned, she asked, "Why? What happened?"

Older gentlemen replied, "It was awful. Neither the liquor store nor the library was open." His wife gave him a playful swat as she walked by and went about her business.

I had to grin at his cheerful (if a bit whacky) sense of humor. This man, who retired from a very successful medical career, was a marathon runner well into his seventies! He has a brain tumor. Which has changed his life dramatically. But you never hear of him being anything less than cheerful. A lesson to be learned here. Not only does his outlook on life undoubtedly help his own situation, but that of everyone else who comes in contact with him. If he can maintain the great attitude he does, there's sure not much excuse for the rest of us being anything but intentionally grateful and optimistic each and every day.

Back home with my purchase of wonderful, fresh-from-the-cow-this-morning, raw milk I started a batch of cottage cheese, and used some whipping cream to make one last Freshy's Blueberry Pie. I seriously doubt if we'll be able to scrounge three more cups of blueberries from our patch after these last ones gathered.

So far, a really good day. Now, if I can finish my ironing, I'm heading for my quilt studio!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer's Gone, But I Wish I Had . . .

Time to face it, Folks. Summer is over. Gone. Done. Finis. Kaputz.

As I was sitting in my recliner last night trying to read (rather unsuccessfully since I was so tired I was having trouble concentrating), my mind wandered to the summer months just past.

What do I wish I had done this summer that I didn't? A short list came to mind immediately. I was tempted to both elaborate on those few items and/or add many more to the listing. But then I decided what came to the forefront first must have some significance. (WHATEVER that significance may be . . . see? I could write pages of explanation, clarification, rationalization, reasoning.) So here, to be taken for what it's worth, is what I wish I had done this summer.

~ Taken snoozes in the hammock.
~ Read on the beach more.
~ Spent nights around a bonfire on the beach.
~ Sat (doing nothing) on the deck more.
~ Worked on getting a good tan.

(Can one be a couch potato outside? Do you detect a trend here?)

What would be your own personal list? Wanna share?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fall Foods

For me, more than at any other time of year, fall weather brings about a taste for certain types of foods. In September I start to have a craving for foods that seem to just go with the autumn season.

Potatoes fresh out of the garden before the main crop is dug and stored get gobbled up no matter how I fix them.

The weather is cool enough to think about oven meals again (yippee!) and baked squash (Red Kuri is my absolute favorite) with lots of salt, pepper and butter . . . mm-mmm, good.

Cabbage is a fall food. Red cabbage braised with a little caraway seed thrown in is wonderful.

A pan of muffins in the oven (with the squash?) will make the house smell wonderful. What kind? Pumpkin, raisin, corn, or applesauce . . . Cranberry-Orange Muffins are calling to my taste buds right now. Perfect with coffee in the morning or for brunch. Splurge this holiday weekend and have one with afternoon coffee break, too.

Got milk? Certain cookies taste better this time of year, don'tcha think? How 'bout Orange Pumpkin, Gingersnaps, Molasses Apple, Almond Cookies or good ol' Peanut Butter? What better snack for taking along on a fall hike in this beautiful, crisp weather.

Soups! Omigosh, fall is THE prime time for making big pots of homemade soup. Vegetable Beef, Potato, Bean, Pea, Chili, Minestrone, Chicken with Dumplings. The selection is endless.

There are desserts that are made for the fall months. Pumpkin Pie, Carrot Cake, Date Squares, Pumpkin Bars, homemade donuts and Gingerbread. And anything made with apples . . . Apple Pie, Apple Slices, Apple Crisp, Honey Apple Pan Cake, Baked Apples, Caramel Apples and applesauce.

What about main dishes? Casseroles! The smell of a good casserole in the oven permeates the whole house. How 'bout one with wild rice? Or Barley-Mushroom Casserole to go with my husband's choice for a main dish . . . meat loaf. Yup, he'd say meat loaf, and meat loaf, and meat loaf. He LOVES meat loaf! Accompanied by some of that baked squash, braised cabbage, and a few new potatoes from the garden . . . I could be talked into that.

Maybe the oncoming cool weather signals my body that I need something more substantial than the fruit, vegetable salads and lighter fare we've enjoyed all summer. At any rate, I'm feeling the urge to tie on my apron and do some good, old-fashioned harvest cookin'. Stand back, men, and let me at it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pilfering Potatoes

Our potatoes haven't had time enough yet to form the thick skins they need for good storage, but we have stolen a few and, oh my, are they good. (Something about "new" potatoes that is sooo flavorful!) So this noon I asked Roy to again go dig up a few of the reds for me so I could make some Potato Salad for the weekend and also have some for our meat loaf dinner tonight.

If you remember, I blogged about the sad story of our red potato vines being hit by some sort of a blight. We cut off and burned all the affected greenery a few weeks back and didn't know if this would stop the growth of the spuds under the soil . . . or not.

Lookee this! We dug three or four really big ones today and they look healthy, inside and out.

One of the main reasons I decided to cut off the vines hit with the blight was so it didn't spread to our two rows of white potatoes which seemed, at the time, to be spared from the misfortune the reds were suffering.

As you can see by the above picture, the white potato vines are still going strong and looking healthy.

After seeing the reds we dug up today, I'm beginning to be hopeful that we'll come out better than I had expected on our potato harvest. Great to look forward to!