Tuesday, April 25, 2006

April Promises

trumpet creeper

Our front yard is littered with fallen blossoms from this trumpet creeper vine nestled in an oak tree. The blossoms you see here are 25 to 30 feet off the ground.

Friday, April 21, 2006

hippy potatoes growing up

For those of you who remember my posting about the hippy purple potato back in March, here are a couple of the juvenile shoots making me proud. A few came up 3 or 4 weeks ago, and then we had one frost night that killed them. Thankfully, four more shoots came up a week later and they're back in business. Not many of us know that the potato is a perennial originating in the Andes (of which there are about 200 known wild species). Peru currently has over 4200 varieties! Although our most common potatoes today have infertile flowers, some heirlooms can be fertile and produce poisonous green cherry "tomatoes", of which you can save the seed for planting. Being a close relative of the tomato, the base of the potato plant can be grafted to a tomato plant to produce both tomatoes and potatoes. (hmm, maybe an experiment is in order...I'll let you know when I try it)

p.s. The one night of frost cost us most of the first crop of brown turkey figs, too. Bummer...major bummer. We have two left on the tree. Fortunately there is a much larger crop expected in the fall.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Livin' rich on the best of life

Most people think you've got to be rich to have something like roasted goat cheese and sausage stuffed red bell peppers and local pasture-raised beef burgers with grilled portabellas, roasted red pepper, fresh greens, tomato, guacamole, homemade mayo and topped with smoked pacific sea salt in the same week. Those wal-mart shopping idiots would be wrong.

In the first photo, we paid 25 cents each for red bell peppers at our nearby produce stand, 15 cents for potatoes, 35 cents for the local pasture-raised sausage (don't have to use much of it for flavor), Becca made cheese out of some free goat's milk from my sister, and maybe 25 cents for a shallot and onion, for a grand total of about a $1 a piece. In the second photo, we grilled out today and had some spectacular burgers for similar results: $2 pasture raised local hamburger, $1 beefy tomato, 75 cents worth of guacamole, $2.55 portabella mushrooms, 25 cents in shallots, free greens from the garden, $1.50 for the multi-grain buns and a spoonful of my homemade roasted red bell peppers in oil (not even 10 cents worth)=$8.15 for 3 awesome stacked, juicy hamburgers hot off the grill!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sappy post--look out

Our second anniversary is coming up in a day or two, and I hope to see a great many more. These are pictures taken of our wedding in among the redwoods in the Avenue of the Giants of northern California. We didn't know before we left where exactly we would be married, but we knew that a place would speak to us when we reached it. This large, hollowed-out redwood tree is actually two formed into one, reaching up high into the heavens. We had brought along our great friend and common spirit Dirk to do the ceremony. He sanctified the area by smoking sage and spoke of our ties with these great trees, the future, the present, the importance of this day. It's unfortunate we infuriated many family members and friends by leaving them behind while we chose to seek out this day alone, but it was to be OUR day, and the pilgrimage to seek out a spiritual place rich enough to symbolize our love was incredibly important to us.

--A little spontaneous boogying after the ceremony

Friday, April 14, 2006

Pains and aches start to pay off

It's now been a year since we arrived at our new home. Often I get discouraged by so many projects--both untouched and unfinished. I dream of a place like what's found at path to freedom, so much abundance and conservation. I long for the knowledge found in the essays of eleutheros, to live in independence from the slavery of Babylon. To gather round me and know the indigenous species of our land, like Jim and Peg have done. Alas, but I have chosen to be chained to a job that affords me a few luxuries in Babylon. I don't think I even want those luxuries anymore if it costs me the pleasures of working and studying the land around me.

But that's another story. Stepping back a moment from the mad rush of spring planting, I took these pictures of the butterfly garden in its early stages of growth, and of the raised beds I've constructed from free scrap lumber and I see a marked difference from the past. Evolution cannot be seen much from day to day, and you could hardly compare my spread to the masters mentioned above. But I see the direction life has taken on this little spot of land and I see hope, promise, purpose, and great fulfillment in what I've done this far. I enjoy this walk of life more than I imagined. I'm addicted to its power. And now, back to the hoe and spade.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

poppin' up everywhere

Roger, my mother's husband, rescued me from the black hole of blogging without a camera (thank you, thank you, thank you, Roger!). As you know, ours went kapoot, so he was kind enough to give me a loaner. Here are some things poppin' up around here...

The dogwoods are in bloom,

as are the irises,

wild columbines are too,

and the lilacs,

our front yard is full of fleabane,

and our woods have splashes of fire pinks,

and pink-flowered wood sorrel...

but, of course, the most beautiful thing in all of my one-acre haven has got to be this...

brown turkey figs!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Early purple vienna kohlrabi

There are a lot people that love the color purple. My sister is infatuated with the food purple. A few days back, she and her husband stopped in to visit. Kam (her husband) had just gotten back from a trip to Thailand and had brought back a few surprises like dried salted sweet plums (uh, what in the world?), fat and delicious cashews, and incredibly tasty dried mountain apples (no relation to apples). Well, I don't think my sister ever made it inside the house. She just had to visit the purples. Here are a few pictures she took of our kohlrabies--

They're not so pretty now, some of the leaves have been snapped off. I sliced them into slivers and imbedded them in some pizza, oh yes, how delightful!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I wish I could show you...

Any guesses what this picture is of?

Our digital went funky. Perfect timing, really. It's spring and all kinds of stuff is happening here, but no camera to brag about it. Columbines, lilacs, dogwoods, periwinkles, daisy fleabanes, and fire pinks are in bloom. I planted out my first tomatoes of the year. My purple potatoes are up, Rebecca's yellow raspberries are resurrecting themselves. Irises are budding, redbuds are too. Peonies are exploding up out of the earth. The blueberry bushes are loaded with blossoms (I've picked them and am using them for tea). The fig tree is loaded with itty-bitty fruits. Rosemary is beginning to bloom. And I've got a camera that's on acid. Funky, wavy purple streaks make psychodelic, creative pictures, but doesn't help me brag about spring in my white oak mountain!

(the answer is dogwood blossoms)

Monday, April 03, 2006

wild duck leg salad

A few months ago, a friend dropped by with some wild ducks freshly slain from a hunt down in Alabama. He and his buddy donate most of their birds to homeless shelters (for some mighty fine dining) and impoverished local folks that could use a few good meals. This time, they saved a few for us, knowing we could put them to great use. This meal shown above was such a great one, with fresh salad greens from the garden, our own sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, and feta cheese from our local "mom and pop" middle eastern market in town (they make the most incredible homemade hummus and falafel!).

On a side note, just put my first harvest of tea ingredients for the year in the dehydrator; lemon balm, mint, and blueberry blossoms. The blueberry blossoms are incredible! We planted eight bushes last fall, and it is highly recommended to not let them bear fruit the first couple of years. I couldn't possibly cast them away, so I tried some in my evening tea. Mmmm. The aroma is grande, and the flavor is, of course, blueberry-ee.
Click for Ooltewah, Tennessee Forecast