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Never Bite The Hike That Feeds You

2 Sep

It was Isaac’s birthday on Sunday.

I had to give him his birthday present a month early so that I would have a kayaking friend up in the Adirondacks.  So for his actual birthday I declared it an Isaac-gets-to-do-whatever-he-wants weekend. Lucky for me that meant kayaking, lamb burgers and a really nice hike.

Hiking is nice. But hiking with food is better!

Dare

13 Jul

There’s something I dare not speak of.

You see that up there? And then do you see the other thing? I can’t, I just can’t. After last year, I just dare not speak of it.

And then there’s that other plant. You see that? You see all those?  Ugh, I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t talk about it.  I just sit and fret and chew on my nails and check the weather obsessively.  Ugggggh.  I can’t stand imagining another year of failure.

So! Let’s concentrate on the things I can talk about. Like garlic, turnips and cherries.

Gardening For Pretty

17 Jun

My mom came over to the house on Saturday (the rest of the family, too).

We ate ribs and cake and salad, drank wine and talked and talked and talked. We celebrated my step-sister’s birthday, my nephew’s birthday, my birthday and an early Father’s Day. It was fun.

And as I was showing everyone around the garden, I realized that this year I’m gardening for pretty.

Wanna see? Head below the jump.

Shaker Your Plate

7 Aug

It’s been a long time since I’ve mentioned the Shakers, but they’ve been on my mind lately.

Especially on Saturday as I pulled out tomato plants, which had all (but four) succumbed to the blight.  I pulled up Cream Sausage, and Persimmon, and the beautiful fluted Ceylon, Big White Pink Stripe, Black Prince, Palla de Fuoco and perfect little Ropreco.  I lined them up on the lawn, pulled off all the green tomatoes that were worth saving and packed the vines into garbage bags, and then bagged them again.

It was really sad. But it was Large Red that really hurt.

Large Red is the one tomato I decided to plant not based on its name, or because of a promise to keep me in sun-dried tomatoes through the winter, or because it would taste good in sauce.  I chose Large Red because it was a favorite of the Shakers and they grew it exclusively just a few miles from our house.  I reasoned that if it was bred for this area, it would be a survivor.  I was wrong, this summer was just too much for Large Red.

I first came across Large Red in the Shaker Gardener’s Manual.  Before the Shakers, there were no little packets of seeds available for the home gardener to buy at the local shop.  Seeds were sold in bulk for the large-scale farmer, or seeds were saved from the previous year’s garden.  But the Shakers saw an opportunity and sold their famous seeds in little packets in little boxes all over the country. And to help people succeed in their kitchen gardens, they offered a little manual.

The manual is chock full of tips, tricks and hints, many of which are still applicable today.  The Shakers were organic gardeners before the term was coined.  They believed the best way to grow a healthy plant was to make it strong by planting it in good soil, protecting it from weeds and watering it with moderation. The manual also offers a list of the vegetables and fruit grown just a few miles from where my garden is.  The only tomato they grew was Large Red.

It’s not all doom and gloom around these parts, I swear! Because who can be sad when there’s pie around? Head below the jump for the recipe for Shaker Blackberry Pie.

Things I’m Loving

6 Jul

It’s been a very easy summer to complain about.

The weather has been dreadful and the hours at work long and exhausting, and that has meant that finding the time to keep the Granny Cart up to date has been nearly impossible.  I begin a post and then it sits for a week, sometimes two, until I find the time to complete it.  And then, when the post is finally done, it’s nowhere near as good as I had hoped it would be.

So, in an attempt to not dwell on the negative, allow me to paraphrase Juliet:

Swear not about the rain, the near constant rain, that daily changes good dirt to mud, lest my prose prove likewise dour.

In a move that may surprise those that know me in real life, I’d like to stop complaining for a minute, and focus on the good things, because in the rare moments when the rain has stopped, it’s actually been quite an awesome summer.

So, in no particular order, Things I’m Loving, Summer 2009.

The Red Barn‘s Tiny ‘Tinis. 2 oz Martinis. Perfect in both concept and execution.

I swear, not all the things I’m loving this summer have to do with booze! So head below the jump to check out the rest, and to let us know what’s been keeping you happy this summer, too.

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