Saturday, September 30, 2006

not enough poo

I was raised in the fertile sandy loam of southeastern michigan. Almost anything would grow successfully. Living now on the side of a mountain made of mostly clay is a distinct disadvantage. In order to find abundance here in the clay, one must choose selectively--or incorporate massive amounts of organic material. This cantaloupe is testament to the lack thereof. Especially poo. Rabbit poo, horse poo, cow poo, it just wanted a good ol' heap of stinky manure!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Some gifts are better than others

Sometimes you get a ten dollar bill inside a store-bought card. Sometimes you get a store card inside a store card. Most times they come from those who mean well but don't know you that well. These gifts have their place; I've given them myself. But when you're given a transplant for a gift--not even for a holiday or birthday--that means something. My mother passed on some extra butternut squash plants. My sister gave me one heirloom violetta sweet potato plant. Here is the first potato I dug up:

Beautiful, isn't it?

Friday, September 22, 2006

The end days of summer

My Becca walks among the light and shadows on a cool September afternoon.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Backwoods vineyard

Last fall, I noticed little bunches of raisins high up in a tree along the driveway. I carefully untangled the network of vines and brought them down to a workable level. This is a photo of the first cluster cut from its vines this year.

I plan to propogate seedlings from this monster vine later this fall, and plant them at the base of the deck. In a few years, we should have ample shading in the summer from its leaves, a batch of wine from its grapes, oven-baked stuffed grape leaves, and wood for the smoker in the winter. Oh the promises of the future!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

roasting the bells

I know I'm well known for preaching about picking the veggies early, for flavor and production. But I absolutely hate green bell peppers. However, if you wait long through the summer, you might get a few of these:

Stuff with some ground lamb, onion, garlic, herbs, and feta, sprinkle olive oil, sea salt, and balsamic vinegar. Roast in a cast-iron skillet in the oven for a few hours, oooh-la-la!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Doves a-flyin'

Two years ago, I traded a 22 bolt action rifle that I had never used for a pile of maybe 30 or so dove breasts. Wrapped in bacon, fried in a cast-iron skillet, the dove breast became one of the top five best meals ever for me.

Today, a friend and her husband, as well as the dove trader, took me out to my first dove shoot. It was a hot and muggy day, which turned to rain off and on into the evening. The birds weren't interested in flying, and we packed up our guns several times, but as soon as we'd start, out they'd come. Eventually, I brought my first bird down. What a dinner we had tonight. Corn on the cob, fresh steamed broccoli and cheese over rice, and grilled bacon-wrapped dove breasts. A couple of Killian's red bottles later, and we were done.

Tomorrow, my Becca will make some dove jus out of the bones and bits for a few more delicious meals to come. I can't wait.
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