Sunday, June 25, 2006

Butternuts of Beauty

Here is a Waltham butternut squash off a plant from my mother. She had given me a few of her plants, due to the highly contageous I-got-too-many-plants-for-my-garden-britches virus she was infected with this spring. Can't wait for Becca's butternut bisque this winter...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Our very second tomato...

Our very second and third tomatoes of the year. We absolutely could not wait for pictures of the first one! These are Druzhba heirlooms. Originally from Bulgaria, they are resistant to cracking and blossom end rot. Having a variety of tomatoes helps provide an extended harvest, and insurance on having crops each year. These Druzhbas may not be my ultimate favorite of tomatoes, but being the first to eat certainly makes them my favorite of June!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Heirlooms of June

The wife made an amazing dish of these ingredients, raw and in marinade with feta, over a bed of purple sticky rice. You absolutely must try this rice...the flavor! In the picture are a chinese red noodle bean, royalty purple podded bean, crookneck squash, straightneck squash, black eel zucchini, caserta zucchini, rouge vif dEtamps squash, as well as several other kinds of squash blossoms. I hope she does a post on the dish for you over at 100 tomato plants sometime. For those of you that grow squash and zucchini each year, please, for the love of your chosen god, please, start picking early! You are missing out if you wait for them to blimp out! The flavor and texture is SO much better if taken small! Many a child growing up learned to hate big squash and zucches because of you!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Mulberries are one of my favorite childhood memories. My sister and I would climb the trees and pick and eat as many as we could. Our hands and face would be stained all purple from the berries. Well, a few days ago, we went up to visit my sister, and we repeated our childhood. After eating---uh, I mean picking a few pints of the purple treasures, Rebecca made delicious crepes with whipped cream made from my sister's goat milk. Oh yeah, that's good!

It was an Eastern Rat Snake

After Contrary Goddess said the snake in my garage might be a copperhead, I dug around in my identification books and looked closer at my photos. I had thought copperheads were only "copper" in color. Turns out they can be in gray shades also. The pupils are a marker, however. The rat snake has round pupils and the copperhead has vertical pupils.

Juvenile rat snakes will eat lizards and frogs, then predominantly rodents when adults. We have a vole problem (I believe it destroyed one of my blueberry plants by eating its roots), so this constrictor is a welcome guest. Just not so much in my garage.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Surprises of June

These squashes are among the first of the season and were amazingly delicious (remember, I absolutely hate large squashes, ick). I put a little butter in a pan, sliced them all in half (keeping the blossoms on), and sauteed them with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Mmmm--

I decided to build another raised bed yesterday out of my collection of free scrap lumber from construction sights, when I had quite a surprise. Reaching for a 2x2 board leaning against the wall, I stirred up this guy. I might have screamed like a little girl for a moment, but nobody was around so I won't admit anything.

The white patch about 8 inches from his head is not a play on lighting or flash. I wish I knew what kind of snake it was--anybody know?

tomatillo tree

In preparation of Rebecca's never-ending salsa bowl this summer, we've tried our hand at growing a tomatillo this year (well, one survived from seed, so one plant it is). Good thing we've got only one plant, there must be a hundred blossoms on it.

Tomatillos have a tart flavor that lends itself well to many salsas and sauces. The most common use is in salsa verde. The Aztecs have used the fruit at least as far back as 800 BC. They're quite easy to grow, drought-tolerant, and when you harvest them, just pull up the whole plant and store in a cool, dark, dry area. Pick off the fruits as needed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


These are freshly pulled garlics and a few spring onions out on the deck sunning themselves, ready for a delicious feast to come. I planted the onions from seed early last fall. The garlics were part of a bundle of unknowns my sister gave me for my birthday. We put a whole head in our omelettes, along with spring onion, a bundle of fresh oregano, some leftover quail, chanterelle mushrooms we picked last year, and grated Ewephoria cheese found at the legendary Cheese Board in Berkeley (from our trip). Scrumptous. It's impossible to pull these out of the earth and not eat them immediately--so we did, of course!
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