Monday, October 26, 2009

Back to Work

Well, my lovely fall break is now over. It was so great. I read a bazillion books, slept in, saw friends I don't see enough, did some garden construction, walked our neighborhood, yapped on the phone, learned a new fiddle tune, and did some sewing. Oh, and I tried making croissants. Jesus, the butter. The dough was super agreeable to work with, but I was not happy with the results; great flavor, from multiple fermentations, but the texture was not ok - no shatter. I am going to go out on a limb here and state that I think it might have something to do with our oven, however cute it is, it's a little bit wonky to say the least. I only did half the dough, and I am going to bring the other half to my mum's for Thanksgiving, because her oven is like a space ship and then we will know for sure if this is an oven thing. It sure was fun to move that much butter around though...

Everything grows in the garden. Although Red Russian is our go-to kale variety (grows so fast, keeps growing, nice broad leaves, sweet), we also have some beautiful purple and green types this year that are lovely. The broccoli and cabbages are making their little heads, the beets are bright and lovely. This is a good winter garden - the first year was over the top, just way too much for us to handle (don't even ask me about the fava beans), last year was late and too small, and I think this year might finally be just the right amount planted at just the right time. We learn, and now we finally write it down in a little messy book, the dates, the seed types, the reminders. Fun.

Anyhoo, hope the weekends were good out there. Don't forget to eat your greens.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dahlias for Puff

Ok, this is really the last of the flowers-in-the-vase shots. First frost came this week, and it was a really hard frost. Nipped our butternuts even, which supposedly takes a pretty serious frost. Anyway, in anticipation we picked huge bouquets of dahlias. It was killing me that it was going to frost, because the plants were still covered with buds. Argh. But it was also kind of special because we have refrained from picking very many dahlias since they don't last long cut whereas they last outside for ages. B's auntie gave us this dahlia so we call it Puff's Dahlia. I am besotted with the color.

I have been on fall break this week save for a trip into work today, and in driving there I realized that I had missed the fundraising week on my local public radio station. I am a little embarrassed to admit how fantastic I thought this coincidence was. Can I just say again how much I love my job? I was so tired at the end of last week, I felt like someone was giving me the biggest present in the land - a week of sleeping in.

Reading Coetzee lately. I think it's been a while since I read any decent political fiction, I have been really moved by some of his earlier work.

Eating fall carrots from the garden. So sweet. We covered them for the frost and then picked them so they'd be even sweeter.

Still engineering our winter hooping plans, but getting there.

Still feels too early to plant garlic, we are having a warm fall. The onions look great, they are now mulched and netted (f*^%ing squirrels) for the winter.

Still sawing away at that old fiddle. Good times.

Watched this and just loved it all over again. Watched this and was seriously disturbed in too many ways to count. Saw this, mostly because I really just wanted to go to the movies, and was pleasantly surprised. I did not know her paintings and loved seeing them.

Ok, I have to go back to vacation now. Hope all is well out there.

P.S. Any Sigg water bottle owners out there? Have y'all heard about this? Man, I am so pissed. They have been lying for years now about whether their lining contained BPA. I am trading all of ours in, but that will be the end of me and Sigg stuff. Grr. (With thanks to Dietlind, who really does tell me things all the time, no matter what she says.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Feet

Mmmm, I love cozy socks. I wear these clogs all the time, yet I am not entirely sure if I like them. I generally hate shiny shoes, and patent leather must have kicked me when I was a child because I generally hate that too, but here I am in shiny patent leather red clogs. Right.

We had a really, really nice weekend. Super yummy breakfasts on both days, all made by the husband because being married to him has so atrophied my breakfast skills that we both know from experience that it's best if he makes the waffles and eggs. Nice girlie lunch with a friend, dinner with probably our favorite couple around here, a beautiful fall bike ride with some quality lounging in a park under beautiful trees, and a fiddle lesson that completely made my head explode. Seriously, I started crying because I was so excited, how dorky is that? It is just so flipping amazing to learn these tunes that I have loved and played for years, and god, it takes so much fucking concentration to absorb the bowing and the notes together. B is completely stellar at teaching me this stuff. Seriously. There is no way that I could break down stuff that I can already play - he just shows me and I woodshed it and then it's in my head and my hands but ain't no way it could ever come out of my mouth. So. Fun. Anyway. Then last night we ate a lovely supper and did a bunch of cleaning out the garden and winter prep. Everything looks so good out there, and I think those last huge butternuts are going to beat the frost. Hey, does anyone else have chickens who completely flip out for pepper plants? Our girls seriously lose it over them, they cannot get those leaves down fast enough. Meanwhile the kale and chard stuffs that we toss them are clearly Not Very Exciting. They completely give me the "I ran all the way across the back yard for this?" look when that's what I've thrown in there. Crazy hens.

Hope the weekends were good out there.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Firsts

Today is the first really, really, really bright, really, really windy fall day. Everything is crystal clear, the sky is as blue as can be, and leaves are swirling everywhere. This is one of my favorite times to hike around here, and itch I hope to scratch this weekend.

We roasted our first chicken since last winter. We seem to go mostly veggie over the summer. With lots of cheeses, yum. I made my first stock since last winter too, with all of those lovely chicken bones and skins and bits, also yum.

The last eggplant went here, sans the sausage because after all that lasagna we needed something a little less piggy. I thought these biscuits were terrible - not biscuity not cornbready, just floury. But all the veggies were great, and I am thrilled to say, without lying, that we ate or put up every single eggplant that we grew this year. I think there is an award for that, because hell, we had a lot of flippin' eggplant out there and this is not a vegetable that can be thrown in just anything. STILL with the peppers. I am now just coring them, cutting them into quarters, and freezing them. Surely they will do for soups? If not, please don't tell me now, I really don't want to know. Thanks.

Booker is not hooking me up here people. I could not even finish this. And this was sweet and even slyly if slightly moving, but really just kind of a poof-and-its-gone kind of book. I am seriously about to go read some teenage lit here pretty soon just to bolster my spirits. Oh wait, I already did. Laughably antiquated (1916), deliciously predictable, quite delightful.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Oh, oh, oh it's so Fall here. Tomorrow we are roasting our butternut squash for the first of many fall soups. I could not be happier with our squash harvest; it was a tough year for mildews but yet the space under our sink is packed with what seems to me like a treasure chest of butternuts. Still more ripen on the vine as I type this; they are racing Jack Frost. This morning I picked more peppers - at this point we are roasting and freezing them, and this seems to be just fine. We did a trial run of this and they tasted great on sandwiches and pizza, so there you go. Beans are finished, the last bag of them waiting in the fridge, and that about wraps it up for the summer vegetables. Oh wait: one last eggplant still dangles out there. I haven't the heart to compost it, but my inspiration in this department is somewhat fatigued. I think it can stay on the vine for another week or so unless it frosts.

Alliums. That handful up there is one of tiny onion thinnings. I mourn every single one of them, I kid you not. Well, mourn and give thanks. They smell just like onions, even at that size. Soon for garlic, but not quite.

Minor list of annoyances. The idiots defending Polanski, people who write checks at the grocery store and post office, dogs in my garden, insomnia, and of course squirrels.

Patterns. I will confess to acquiring a few new fall items, but I consider them to be free because I sold a bunch of vintage clothing on etsy and a few people even traded with me. I love to trade, I am always looking to trade eggs for things but so far my hens have not scored me any fancy shoes. Yet.