Saturday, May 9, 2015

Stuck in the Middle

There's clutter to to the left of me and junk is on my right, here I am stuck in the middle again...
Here's some images half way through decluttering the school, games, and reading shelves in our outgrown dining area which has instead become a weird and somewhat confusing little no mans land of various activities.

This is less than a quarter of the stuff. I threw out a quarter and half of it is neatly in a temporary location while I plan to patch and paint the walls next week!

I feel like one of my primary job titles should be "Lead Stuff Shuffler".  I am the supreme overlord of The Things, deciding their fate. Who goes, who stays, and who gets recycled, donated, or stored for next year...

The last photo is the seat I'm working from and took the other photos from. One of the two shelves is in the afore mentioned temporary location with our better games and books on it still.
I don't really want it all to go back the way it was. Maybe I will reduce it down even more and have a couple hanging shelves installed instead.... I will talk to my Resident Handyman.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Changing Gears

So there's more food that happened the last few weeks. And now it's over. The CSA is over for the summer of 2014. This is a big deal. I am struggling to put it into words. When I get past the shell shock of going from preserving food nonstop to finding a new place for my winter life, I will reminisce. I found it difficult to document the last two months of food because when I got home it was dark earlier, and I was unable to take good photos in my poor kitchen overhead lighting (it's okay for working, but not so much for photo taking) so I think I need some simple handheld light to serve as a photo flash or supplemental lighting. I will put it on my list of tools to acquire for the 2015 season.

Right now my home is sort of all mixed up, the kids have not had use of the extra project table since the harvest started pouring in around July, and with it getting too cold to play outside the preschoolers in my life NEED that play space. So I worked hard this weekend to move the canning jars and winter squash. Tomorrow the playdough and puzzles will be back. And a little bit of my sanity will be recovered. I will make myself a cup of tea and draw something in my journal while I listen to the kids reading to me. Life is good, not perfect, but good.

Tonight, I'm fighting entropy.

^Selfie with my clutter. ^    Fight the good fight.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CSA 2014 weeks 15, 16, 17 and 18

Jeff shows off a pepper he grew himself as his tee-shirt salivates
Um so, there's been so much food it's all a blur of picking and preserving. I took some pictures, but the fact is, I've lost track. Which is a shame because I was trying to document this all for my refrence next year and so that when I'm suffering seasonal affective disorder in the sunless winter months I can look back at these images and sob. (You're welcome, future me. Luckily, my future self can't send messages back...)

***UPDATE! I FOUND MISSING PHOTOS! BELOW IS THE REAL WEEK 15 and I've updated this post to reflect the correct week numbers for the weeks that followed!

Leaks, greens, parsley, radish, potatoes!

tomatoes, sweet peppers, more tomatoes, apples, asian pears, eggplant, green beans, lemon-cukes, 6 ear of corn, snacking tomatoes

That was everything more or less (probably less than everything) crammed together on the table for week 16 (pick up on Fri 9/19). Likely because I was out picking until dark and too tired to be artistic in the arrangement. Bucket of green beans, onion bag full of green toms,bag of green toms, shopping bag of ground cherries, 5 lbs apples, handful of eggplant, white carrots, sweet peppers bag in the back, spicy peppers in the front (these went through the food dryer) 12 ears of corn, 4 onions, lots of lemon cukes, and three 'lil crockneck squashes that never got to grow up to be real zucchini. I think I put herbs in the food dryer at this point. But it was probably lavender and rosemary. Lovely smelling.

I also think that was the same day I took my mom along, and I had a really great time spending the waning afternoon with her! She commented on what a great concept the whole community supported agriculture model is.  I harvested a little less than usual (read, only like, four sackfuls...) because I was just tired of all the preserving and had a backlog and limited fridge space and encouraged her to make up the slack for me. She filled up a laundry basket and some bags. Later on when she dropped me off and went home, she texted me to say she didn't know how I did it, once you get home with all the food and have to put it away and process it. I wonder if she's considering membership anymore...

Week 17 (9/26), I have NO produce pictures, seemingly. But I do have this gem taken on the 27th.

Penny in the garden picking calendula heads

With help from Aunt Kalah, we took the kids the next morning, although I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted because we spent much of the time taking kids to the porta johns. A disproportionate allotment of my life is spent in search of appropriate places for toddlers to relieve themselves. But I did snap one pic of Penny picking flowers. Why did I want their heads popped off? Because they're medicinal and I don't have room on my counters which are filled with jars and produce all the time anyway. Also because toddlers don't understand why you want stems on flowers anyway. So we found a way this works out for everyone, between potty visits. Kalah brought me back again in the afternoon on Saturday and I pulled in a few more bags of beans and green tomatoes and more lavender and rosemary to keep my kitchen smelling heavenly.

I also suspect that these next three photos I took of some of the remaining mostly undocumented haul from week 17, representing a little part of it. (week 17 was the last of the sweet peppers, had to pick them small to get any before they were rotting)

Week 18 (10/3- 10/4) and the farm was rockin' with apple season visitors. Including these dogs in their awesome auto.

I feel sad when I see people going through the CSA garden that they paid for and looking around sadly and leaving empty handed. They can't find a red tomato or a full sized bell pepper and they aren't moving leaves to see the beans and the squash and they don't know what to do with medicinal flowers and they are afraid to try a ground cherry. Sometimes people follow me because I'm coming out with buckets, and they check out where I was coming from to see where the big cache of food was hidden. Then I get to explain how to use the "over grown" beans for dried beans for cooking, or how to make tinctures. And why the lack of much heat in the daytime prevents the tomatoes from ripening outside before they rot so they're better ripened on the counter at this point.

Mostly green tomatoes, some eggplant and some zukes.

Those beans are so big and tough! how could you possibly eat them?? Mmm

Some of the herbs that weren't in the food dryer yet.

The store pick up for week 18: Turnips, Spaghetti Squash, Onions, Pears (2 Qt), 6 head of broccoli (they were giving it away!), Kale, bag of Leaf Lettuce, and 1.5 Lb of Bok Choi

5 Lb of apples picked on wk 18

Fairytale Pumpkin. Bought this at Nature's Pantry for just $7.50. I could have picked a bigger one, but it was all I could carry with one arm and my groceries. Next time I'll bring someone bigger than me... The kids are upset that it is living on the chair they want to sit in.
Calendula aka pot marigold

I've been sorting these to can the green beans, but have the kids shell the bigger ones for dried beans and running them through the food dryer. The pods are making great compost and I paid the kids quarters for their labor. I think we all made out on this.

This is what ground cherries look like when de-husked. Explaining their yummy sweet taste is significantly harder. I think they taste like pineapple a little, but Kalah disagrees. Tried to make them into jam but it seems a bit runny. Hoping the jars just need to set for a few days.....

ground cherries in the husks

mooore apples

Because I just love that pic- Straw flowers, some sort of other flower that dries nice, and pears.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

CSA 2014 Weeks 13 and 14

Here's some food and pretties from friends and family. This was a day God made me smile. I had worked all day to cook for another family in need and my kids were begging for the bread and corn I was making, but I told them no, their dinner was pizza, these were for another family. Then Melanie Colon dropped off a big loaf of bread while I was out delivering it, and the next morning, Aunt Betsy gave us corn Great-Grandpa grew in his own garden.  We gave away bread and corn and recieved bread and corn. Coincidence...? The orange bits are paper lanterns, also from Betsy, which I intend to string up prettily someplace.

CSA Week 13. Officially half way through the season at that point. Some of those Squash are from my garden. Some from the CSA. I don't remember which are which. And some are missing because they got used before the picture. The apples were half gone at the time of this picture as well.

Tons of "lemon" cukes, some carrots, chives, two melons, peaches and lettuce. And tomatoes, but a lot less than I started with (the bowl was over-full!) and you can see why.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, peppers piled high, herbs, and more purslane.


And now for Week 14:

The continued attack of the killer tomatoes. cukes, green onions, kale, radishes, apples, pears,  red leaf lettuce, and some peppers. This all came from the store pick up part of the share that day. The bag of tomatoes were seconds with bad spots that I sauced the same night.

This was the stuff from the field. 6 corn, a bag of eggplant, a bag of little toms, A tonnage of peppers (I've been slicing and freezing them for stir fry and pizza toppings, and making stuffed peppers filled with rice and beans and frozen), and hot peppers. Oh, and more toms. I picked them green on purpose, because I realized I couldn't keep up with processing them all on the weekend and I wanted to let them ripen on the counter and make salsa mid week too.

Thyme, lavender, parsley, kale, chard, kale...
Week 15 was last week and tomorrow is week 16 pick up. The days are getting cool and dark early. By the time I get out to the U-pick the sun is often setting. I feel the season coming into fall. More corn, the last of the beans, the last of the tomatoes picked green, more herbs, pears, boat loads of apples, winter squash and pumpkins are ahead.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CSA 2014 Weeks 11 and 12

Back at the farm! More CSA delights...

Let's start with the herbs for the 11th week. The big mass up there is purslane. I turned it into more purslane soup, and I took pictures while I worked, in case i ever have enough free time to make a blog post about it. It's not rally a CSA offering, per se... It's an edible weed they happen to have an abundance of between the actual cultivated plants. Starting on the left is parsley, a small bunch of rosemary, broadleaf sage, lavender (w/ characteristic purple flowers), chives, and oregano.

Next up: the greens. Chard, curly leaf kale, and what I call dino kale. I mostly dry this stuff, crunch it up and hide it in almost everything we cook. The chard stems I chop up and freeze to add to stirfry. The kale stems I feed to chickens. Both types of kale are surprisingly yummy covered in olive oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. but what isn't, right?

Lettuce is back. Carrots, hot peppers, parsley, cukes, 3 pts nectarines, bok choy, leeks tomatoes, and center to it all, the earliest first apples of the season! Organic no less (those are some serious overachievers). Also, gone. They were delicious. As were the nectarines. Leeks became soup with the afore pictured purslane, tomatoes and hot peppers became salsa (along with some other stuff). Bok choy got stir fried, and some frozen for future stir fry (mixed it up with stems from the shard).

What the heck?!? Who in their right mind would take that many jalepeno peppers?!? Me. They were free. And since I discovered that the flesh is not spicy, I was thinking of deseeding them (the seeds are the hot part!) and pickling them. We'll see. More and more and more and more tomatoes (mostly for salsa, some for salad and snacking). And some peppers that don't want to engulf your digestive tract in flames. Nice peppers.
There were more of those fresh baked roundish things. It didn't last long before the picture. I kind of threw them in the kitchen and the sharks, I mean short people, were distracted while I unloaded the car.

Something for me, and more fudge for Chris.

New basil plant for the garden!

That was week 11. NOW for week 12.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. And more early apples, and the first CSA potatoes. There were actually more tomatoes than in the photos here, but I gave them away and took them to picnics.

Squashes, Sweet peppers of all colors and shapes, Two normal cukes, and two cukes masquerading as lemons. We're not convinced, guys.

Four quarts of peaches, 3 squash, peppers of the sweet persuasion. And... two 'lil melons! Cool beans (no beans though.)

Kale, parsley, lavender, oregano, thyme.

Kale, more kale, chives, more chives (from my friend Georgia who i ran into at the CSA! I gave her an eggplant.) thyme, sage.

Half of the flowers went to my mom and my mom in law. These are the half that stayed to brighten the clutter in my kitchen.

Friday, August 8, 2014

CSA 2014 Weeks 9 and 10

Just what you've come to expect from me. More food pix. Only I was sick last week so I only had this snap shot:

Which isn't even half of what I picked up. I had another trug totally full of zucchini, cukes and eggplant. In the picture above I believe there were cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes, cukes, plums, nectarines, parsley, red onions, tomatillos, and sugar beets. Undepicted are all of the u-pick (above mentioned) further cukes, eggplant, zukes, all the herbs and the cherry tomatoes. I felt bad for sleeping and not taking photographs of the fresh produce, but I did have some still left over from last week in the fridge today. I took a picture of the left overs.

They're beautiful because of the composition and the contrasting colors.

Then I thought I could show you where most of the rest of it is, the stuff we didn't consume yet.

The back row is populated by some ugly looking concentrated soup broth, which I've made out of veggie peelings. It works like this- scrub veggies, then peel them for everyday eating and cooking and throw the peels in a reused icecream bin in the freezer. Include wimpy veggies before they go bad too. Also carrot tops and general edible but not so appetizing trimmings. When the bucket is full, boil it on the stove until everything is mush and blend it together. At this point you can make it into icecubes and use it for soup stock! Which is what I've been doing for a while. But the Ziplocks of veg broth were taking up my freezer, so I used the new pressure canner Chris bought me to preserve them (spell check wants me to say I used my new pressure canary. I am very amused.)

The next row is various things in the fridge like zuke and onions and cabbage, all pickled and water bath canned. The cute jars are cuke and zuke pickles too.

Above more stuff but these are from the fridge, not the shelf. Watermelon rind pickles, which, um, yum! Who knew? Quit throwing those out! Next is grilled eggplant in olive oil and basil, garlic scapes, and (an almost eaten) fridge pickled tomatilloes.

The CSA garden at my farm.  The herbs are really full and seemingly endless! I am running three food dehydrators a lot of the week. It really is a wonderful olfactory experience.

A full trug of herbs. I think that was thai basil and savory on top there.

I bought the corn and the dill weed. $13.00.

Kale, celery greens, carrots, onions, zuke, cukes, and jalapenos.

2 Qts Nectarines, Pt plums, Qt doughnut peaches, 1/2 pt yellow pear toms, tomatilloes, husk cherries, Egg plant, sweet peppers, and- off to the left- cayenne. Gwen helped to arrange the eggplant. and peppers. But wait! There's more!

Herbs! rosemary, lavender, parsley, lemongrass, and sage. Also, I picked a bunch of purselane weed. Maybe I can try a purselane soup.

I met a man sharing his new refreshing carbonated tea. I wish I'd taken his picture, but I thought that might be weird, but now I realize that he would have probably enjoyed my blog exposure. All 20 views! Is that awkward silence I hear? Okay, maybe not. But here is the drink I bought from him.

And yes, my globe is wearing a hat. Don't judge.

I bought Chris one of his favorite veggies. Fudge of the peanut butter variety.

Also, remember those sad looking flowers I swore perked up? Well, they're compost now, but their memory lives on here with the picture I promised to share.

I love being at the farm. I want to work there, live there. I hate to leave.
Soak up the sun people! Love you! ~n<3