Thursday, June 23, 2011

Musings on being green

Sean thinks I'm crazy but what else is new?

I've read a couple of new books lately - the best thing about working in a library and especially an academic library is a service called Inter Library Loan.  I can request pretty much any book I want and the fabulous people in ILL will find a library to loan it out.  The times I can't get a book are usually the times that Emma has ordered a brand new book and only a few libraries own it.  If we wait a few months, then we can get it.

Whenever I see a reference to a book in whatever it is I'm looking at, it takes only a minute to log on to the library's catalog and request it.  So, I read this book

The urban homestead : your guide to self-sufficient living in the heart of the city /

Just to see if I was missing something.  Nope, doing most of it and don't have the money to do the rest.  I like to get new ideas though.  From this book, I requested two more that is the reason Sean calls me crazy.

Create an oasis with greywater :choosing, building, and using greywater systems, includes branched drains

This is what I really want to do.  Somehow create a system at my house to capture the kitchen sink, bathtub and washing machine water.  There's a website too!  So I just need to find a plumber who specializes in grey water capture, ignore the rules and regulation of the DC government and find the money to retro fit the house.  In the meantime, I save the dishpan water and pour it out into the garden.

Then there was this book

This is what put Sean over the edge.  Yes, we are talking composting toilets.   I want one of these too.  I think my kids would kick me out of the house too. 

On the other hand, the low flow toilet?  Love it.  Except when it clogs, as it did the other evening.  Thanks to my son who shall remain nameless.  The solution was to pour some dishwashing liquid down the toilet and follow with boiling water.  Worked like a charm.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What's in bloom for June 20, 2011

Lots of things in bloom this week.

Russian Sage

Daylily - Sabra Salina

Agastache - Apricot Sunset



Butterfly weed - lots and lots of it

Bee balm

Ornamental grass with Blanket flower

Last Week'sCSA

I'm a little late in describing last week's CSA.  I picked it up on Tuesday and the rest of the week, Sean and I went out every night.  That never happens, it just so happened we had events all week.  So I didn't actually see what I had gotten until Saturday

In this week's bag was lettuce,  Japanese White "salad" turnips, Spring Onions
Cabbage Greens, purple "new" Gourmet Potatoes and  "Green Garlic"

I boiled up and fried the potatoes for breakfast before I was able to take a picture of them.   I also used up the spring onions too - diced them and sauteed with black beans.  Had this with scrambled eggs for breakfast with the fried potatoes.

There are radishes, greens, eggs, and turnips. I haven't used any of these yet but I will have a salad tomorrow with the lettuce, radishes and turnips.

These are beans from my garden.  I made shrimp, pea and fava bean risotto for dinner and had the beans steamed with butter.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Garden Harvest this week - June 10

Purple Kohlrabi!  this is delicious, just peeled and sliced thin and eaten raw in salads

This is the dinner I made with layered potatoes, chard, chopped ham and fontina cheese.  Bake until potatoes are done.  Cut into slices.   Chard from the garden

Chard, Ham, Cheese

Side dish of sauteed garlic scapes and fava beans - both from garden

Lots and lots of lettuce

Scapes from my garlic!

Favas - this is about it, I didn't plant that many and only a few pods grow on each plant.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What the garden looks like today

I finally remembered to take the camera to the garden.  My neighbor Edouard is away for the month so I am watering for two.  Went out early this morning to water and pick a couple of things.  The peas are ready to be pulled - I think I will just plant more green beans.

Beans in forefront, potatoes in upper right

Garlic with dill

Spent peas on left, tomatoes in back, squash to right

A new kind of bean for me this year - red! These should be ready in a couple of days

Kohlrabi - delicious, raw and sliced in salads.

Radish flowers. I let them go to seed because I think the flowers are so pretty

Sweet potatoes

Fava beans

Edaname - first try for these, there are flowers so I hope there will be soybeans

Preserving the harvest

The snow peas this year were crazy. I planted too many of those and not enough of the regular shelling peas.  The peas are done now, the plants will need to be pulled out pretty soon.  Not sure what to plant in their place.

Snow peas - lots and lots of them

Blanched and ready to be frozen

Frozen first, then vacuumed sealed

Had the last batch of arugula from my garden (it's now gone to seed.  I'm letting it go to seed with the hope that it will reseed and grow in the fall.  I'm trying the same thing with the spinach).  This is pesto made with the arugula.

Shelling peas.  Right to the freezer

Fava beans!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fruit picking

Last week, Sean, the kids and I went fruit picking.  The kids weren't too keen but I twisted their arm.  We went to Homestead Farms for strawberries and sour cherries.  With four people, the picking goes fast.

I think we ended up picking close to 20lbs of strawberries and maybe 10 lbs of sour cherries.  The first thing I did was to clean several trays of berries and freeze them - once frozen, pop into bags.  Emma likes them in her smoothies so this will last for the year.  The next task was to make a batch of jam.

My helper

The beanies, picking cherries
Sean can reach the high branches


More cherries


Mashing the berries

The jam!

For the rest of the strawberries, I made a mousse with pureed berries and whipped cream.  Then I pureed up the rest of the berries with sugar, water and mint and froze in ice cube trays.  Been having strawberry daiquiris!

For the cherries, I pitted them all and froze them.  My colleague gave me a recipe for a chocolate cherry snack cake that I will try this weekend.