Ladies and gentlemen. Boys and girls. DaisyPatch fans of all walks of life (ok, there’s ladies, then there’s gentlemen and then there’s boys, and…we have girls. What other walks of life might there be reading this here post in cyberspace? Manatees? Probably not. Opposable thumbs aren’t necessary to log onto the Internet, so I guess it IS a possibility, but it doesn’t seem likely. Also, they don’t walk, really. Don’t they sort of pull themselves by their front fins. Feet? Paddles? Fins is probably correct. I hope manatees ARE reading my blog. I HAVE had some new followers find me as of late. Hi! Welcome. Are you manatees? If so, I will try to make the DaisyPatch more manatee-friendly for you.) Where was I? Right. (God, I do that a lot, don’t I?) Um. RIGHT! You heard it here first. Drum roll please…

edible South Shore has given me my own column. I get to continue to inflict my self-deprecating stories on the readers of this fine, fine publication. My column starts in the Fall of 2012. I have proposed several topics for the first article and have been told to do whatever I want. (Insert evil laugh here.) Really? REALLY? REALLY? Really? (the one in italics denotes a squeaky voice. So, first it was a normal voice. Really? Then it was louder. REALLY? Then it was a shout. REALLY? Then bring it on down to a squeak of surprise. Really? With me?)

No big deal. Piece of cake. Ready for the name of the column? Brace yourself. It is the epitome of cuteness. It is a play on words which is exactly my style. I thought of it in the middle of the night. Home Sweet Homestead. I know, right? F’ing brilliant. I am looking forward to it. The Fall article in the column is TBD, but GUESS what the following 4 articles will be about. Guess. Yup. Cluckers. They will arrive in about 6 weeks and I will cataloguing (‘guing or ‘ging? Hm. Going with ‘guing) everything we’re going through to get ready for them. Then I will be diligently documenting every little peep, squeak and chicken scratch they make as we assimilate them into the Patch, and into our family. Our homestead. I will also promise to be honest and make note of every screw up made by yours truly. Because that’s what this is all about…learning as we go.

(So, was this manatee-friendly enough?)

Advertisements

Talk about cukes! We’ve grown pickling cukes before, but not these regular ones. We have 6 plants growing up a vertical trellis. I’ve harvested 6 cukes so far and can count at least 15 more on the plants. My favorite recipe is pretty easy:

Make the dressing first. Put about 2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup white sugar and a pinch of paprika into a sauce pan. Boil (it’ll burn your nose, trust me) until the consistency is like a thin maple syrup. Cool in the fridge where it will thicken up. It will be a nice mix of sweet and tangy with a tiny lingering heat of the paprika.

Cut cucumbers into 1 inch chunks. Cut tomatoes into one inch chunks. (You know, about the same amount of each.) When the dressing is completely cool, mix some into the tomato/cukes until just dressed (don’t drown!) Serve immediately. It isn’t really that great the next day.

Enjoy!


I continue to be amazed by MN (Mother Nature, you know her. You cursed her in January when we got 4 feet of snow.) This single hollyhock, over six feet tall is growing amongst (does anyone else use “amongst” anymore? What about “whilst?” Go ahead. Use “whilst” in a sentence. C’mon, try. I KNOW! I can’t either.) the weeds behind our Kitchen Garden (formerly known as “Peber’s Point”).

A few years ago, I threw some random, old seeds into the scrub. And forgot about them. Until now. Have you seen the seed pod of a hollyhock? There are, like, 8 seeds per pod. That is all. So, it seems that one took hold and decided to grace us with its presence after taking a vacation for a couple of years.

Should I lapse into squeals like the Double Rainbow Guy, (“WHAT DOES IT MEAN?”) or just recognize that the world works in mysterious ways. For examples, my sweet husband somehow picked me (Sucker!), flour and water on our windowsill gets “infected” with airborne bacteria to make our sourdough starter, and fairly old seeds thrown into the scrub yield a surprise beauty like this stately specimen.

I kind of like that. It sort of keeps a little homesteader on her toes. There are no guarantees. Each time is going to be different than the next. Forrest, please come over here and tell everyone Mama’s theory on life…

Hm, I wonder what Mama Gump would say about my garden.


It has been a long time since I wrote a haiku. Here we go…ahem…

Fragrant garlic scapes

Unsure how to cook with you

Had no luck before

When we were part of the CSA (that failed experiment I’ve mentioned before), we were introduced to garlic scapes. They are the flower and stem of a garlic bulb that farmers remove so that the plant directs its energy toward the bulb and not the flower. The bulb is the goodness (but I know I don’t have to tell YOU that, gentle reader). Anyhoo, the CSA sent us home with scapes for a few weeks in a row with mentions of, “Garlic Scape Pesto, mmmmmm.” Well, I tried to make that. The scapes were sort of grainy, even, dare I say, woody. They were still green, but, well, stiff and no matter how much I boiled or sauteed them, I didn’t like the texture of the pesto. It was like eating pasta with flavored, green wood shaving sauce. (I have this texture-thing with food. Bamboo shoots, for example, have been invented by Satan to ruin my food with their grainy, crunchy grittiness. Ewww. Putting fruit chunks in ice cream is equivalent, in my book, to boiling live kittens. Wrong. Very wrong. And gross. Powdered mashed potatoes…you get my point.)

So, the garlic scape pesto was inedible. Here we are and it is garlic scape season. They’re patiently sitting in the fridge, waiting to be transformed from deliciously garlicky flavor-sticks (they smell fantastic, like a combination of pea pods and super mild garlic) into something edible.

First, here’s the process of procuring a garlic scape.

Step 1. Notice the garlic scape.

Step 2. Cut and save the garlic scape.

&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&

7
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
&
*

&
Step 3. Use the garlic scape. This is where I’m lost. I need to do some hunting for recipes. If you have one. Please share. If I find any that work, I will post them.

Actually, I can’t really pinpoint how it all started. Perhaps our dream of growing our own food was sparked when we found our first apartment in Kittery. I hadn’t even moved in yet, (I was still in Vermont, more on that later), but I started window boxes of Basil on the tiniest, yet sunniest, porch ever.

Keith, not having much gardening experience besides his mother having a vegetable garden and his bachelor plant, a dracaena tree he bought at a department store, watered them during the week. When I came over on weekends, I pinched and preened our pre-pesto dreams until I moved in full time. I was unemployed and could give them my love while I looked for a job near my new home.

There were 6 basil plants. Keith’s friends, most new to me and I to them, complimented and praised our little apartment garden. He gave me the credit, although he tended to them too. He was so proud. They were HUGE! They loved the full sun on that back porch.  If I stood on my tippy-toes, I could see the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. When big boats went through the Memorial Bridge, they filled the entire view from that little porch. It was a tiny apartment with no room for personal space, but it was right on the water and we loved that about it.

The first harvest yielded 6 cups of basil and I made some pesto. I had never made it before and made a few rookie mistakes. I made it in the blender. Not a mistake, really, but my Cuisinart, an unaffordable luxury at the time, yields better results when I make it now. The other mistake was not toasting the pine nuts. I didn’t know. The recipe (found on the internet), didn’t tell me to. I almost never stray from recipes, and had never used pine nuts before (I remember thinking those babies were expensive!)

The pesto was delish. I’m not sure if it was the seacoast air and bright sunny days or just the pride we took that we grew the Basil ourselves that made it taste so good, but we loved it.

We’ve lived in our house, only 15 minutes away from that old apartment, for close to 9 years. We grew 3 varieties of Basil this past Summer, but I still look back to those first fragrant beauties on that little porch as the beginning of it all – of us, our love for good food and the plans we now are making to grow our own.