Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why do I do it?

Someone asked me that last week. I don't remember the exact context but I was talking about something garden or food related. But that question stuck in my mind... Why do I do it? Why do I bother?
I've been pondering this and formulating an answer. It isn't one single thing. And it's not a simple answer. I'm going to think about it a bit more and let you all know what I come up with.
How about you? Why do you do what you do? Why is growing your own food, cooking from scratch, simplifying, cutting down and and being frugal important to you?
Let me know- either here in the comments or post about it on your own blog and let me know. I'm curious.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Under the Weather- a late IDC

I've been "feeling poorly" for the past two days. I managed to pick up some sort of stomach bug that had me leave work early on Monday and stay home today. I really hate being nauseous. The continuous feeling of having been on one too many rides at the amusement park just isn't fun when it lasts for hours. This morning, I got up, hoping I would feel well enough to go to work and quickly decided I wasn't. I helped get the children off to school and took to the couch. I fell asleep and woke up at noon. Yowza. I must have needed it because usually I can't sleep during the day. I'm feeling better now, but considering how little I did the past two days, I'm surprised at how tired I am. This must be my body's way of telling me to slow down.
I realize that it's no longer Monday but I want to get a quick IDC update in this week.
1. Plant something- Not in the ground. We had 2.5 inches of rain Friday/Saturday so my plans to plant out my new day lilies was canceled. But, since they arrived as bare root plants I needed to get them into some dirt. So, J16 and I put them into pots, along with some iris that I had picked up at one of the local home centers. Hopefully it will stay dry this week and Friday I can plant them out over the sand filter.
2. Harvest something- more galeux d'eysines (the harvest total is now up to 18!!) tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant. Of course, now that it is getting closer to frost, the green peppers have finally decided to set on some tiny fruits. We'll see if they get big enough in time.
3. Preserve something- I made and froze a double batch of baba ganoush. Mmmm. It's not garden produce but I also froze half of the pulled pork I made for a quick and easy meal sometime.
4. Waste not- Hmm, the usual, reused when we could, recycled, composted. V is planning to use the last of the salvaged lumber from the basement for the rebuild this week. Oh, and I got new fabric to recover some old pillows that we will use in the basement rumpus room, rather than buying new pillows.
5. Want not- Not much this week. I've been trying to cook smarter, so on Sunday, I cooked a pork roast in the crock pot. I pulled a bunch of it and added barbecue sauce, some for Sunday dinner and some for the freezer. The rest of the meat, and broth that accumulated will be used for dinner tomorrow. So I'm working on having "planned overs" rather than left overs.
6. Build community food systems- The barbecue sauce we used for the pork was locally made. In fact, we met the creators at the grocery store where they were having a tasting going on. One taste and we were sold. Mmmm...
7. Eat the food- I can't think of a meal that stands out other than the barbecue. We did have pasta with fresh tomato sauce and that was tasty. I'm still working on eating fresh and haven't begun eating from stores yet.
Well, that was a quick update. I've got to get to bed before I fall over. This virus has taken a toll on me and I don't have much energy. I tried to vacuum this afternoon and it wore me out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

KinderGarden wrap up

Ok, I'm a bit behind the times. Oh, well, I've had fun this growing season, making sure I involved the children. I have always tried to get them invested in what's going on. It's not always easy, especially now that they are getting older. The garden doesn't seem to hold quite the appeal that it used to and there are days it is a struggle to get them outside. But, here are a few photos of the year- in no particular order.
We've had successes- the galeux d'eysines harvest is now up to 16.
And failures- all our poppies in the Goth Garden died.
But the columbines have grown tremendously.
They should be beautiful next spring.
The Black Knight Butterfly bush is thriving to the side of the Goth Garden.
And the pumpkin vines continue to thrive-
I think, in their bid to achieve world domination.
We've had wierdness
And beauty
And discussions about where our food comes from.
We had a bit of a discussion about natural selection when I selected the biggest, best peppers from the most robust plant to save seeds for the Anaheims. Aren't they HUGE!?
Thanks to Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer for hosting the Kindergardens challenge this year. It has been fun, even though I've not always been good about posting.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I've been a bad blogger

It's been a busy week, both at home and at work. We're back to the school schedule of having evening activities 4 days a week (Monday through Thursday). Work has been hectic and it's been busy around the house. So, a quick update.
I work tomorrow so the million things I need to get done will still have to wait. It seems like I've been away from home so much and when I've been home it's been raining this week that I haven't accomplished anything. Some of the day lilies I ordered arrived and desperately need planted and another has shipped. This evening, I picked enough tomatoes to do a batch of sauce (just for eating, not canning) and two more galeux d'eysines.
We struggled with a mouse in the house for a few days before V finally caught it yesterday afternoon. We're thinking it got in while one of the basement windows was out for a while since V was replacing the old, single pane one with a new window. The cats were quite noisily chasing it around for a few nights, not catching it, but Spaz tipped off V to where it was hiding yesterday. It was hanging out in a box in the bottom of the pantry. Spaz was sitting there, staring into the pantry, not moving for hours. But, little mouse is now history.
The other problem in my blogging life recently is that I got sucked into a few books. J16 has been after me to read The Hunger Games. She has been bugging me for a while so I finally picked up the first one on Sunday night. Lets just say that I finished the second one today on the bus. If you're looking for a book that grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go... read these. If, of course, you like sci-fi/fantasy type books. The third book in the series was just released a few weeks ago so I have the pleasure of reading them all back to back without the wait for the next in the series. I snagged the third book from J16's room this afternoon after I got home. I know what I'm reading tonight in bed.... Of course, it fits right into my sometimes doomer mentality since the whole story takes place in post apocalypse America. It appeals to the rebel side of me.
I've been absent from the web for a few days so I'm going to try to get caught up on what's happening in everyone's lives.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Independence days- the return of summer

Summer returned for one last hurrah this week. It was near 90 this afternoon- and humid after the rainy weekend we had. It is supposed to be warm almost all week. A good time for shutting down the pool since we have to get into the water to clean the pool.
It has been busy here. V has been frantically busy framing in the basement. All the subfloor is down and he has all but two walls framed. Woo Hoo! Next trip to the home center we will be ordering drywall!
Monday is my usual day to do an update on my Independence Days Challenge- not that it's really a challenge- I see it more as a summary of the accomplishments for the week. Here goes.
1. Plant something- nope- I got a shipping notice from some of the plants I ordered for fall planting but they haven't arrived yet.
2. Harvest something- cucumbers, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, edamame.
3. Preserve something- pumpkin butter! Froze the last of the edamame. I've got some extra pesto (sans cheese) in the fridge that I think will be frozen for the winter.
4. Waste not- This hasn't officially happened yet but tomorrow one of my co-workers will be stopping by to pick up our old stove that has been in the garage for the past year. I didn't want a glass top electric stove so we put in my gas range. I've been meaning to list this stove on craigslist but have never gotten around to it. Now, it seems that it was fate. My co-worker M is in the process of getting a divorce (long story- and not mine) and for some reason, yesterday, her husband came and took her stove. He initially said he would bring her a different one but then refused, saying he can't afford it. This, of course, left her and their 4 children without a stove (I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around how he could do that). I happened to mention that I have this one that I want to get rid of so she and her brother are coming by tomorrow afternoon to pick it up. It does good for both of us. She gets a stove to use and we get to reclaim room in the garage.
Other waste not stuff is that V has continued to recycle the lumber from the demolished basement walls to frame the new ones going up.
5. Want not- I stocked up on pasta over the weekend. The local store was having a 2 day sale of the store brand pasta. 2 one pound boxes for a dollar. By the time I got there on Saturday afternoon, most of the shelves were empty. But I did get a few boxes of linguine and some penne and rigatoni. It's all good, and for that price, I couldn't pass it up.
My other score over the weekend for stocking up was a major purchase. J16 and I went out yesterday and purchased another chest freezer. It is still in the box in the shop for the next week or two since we're waiting to deploy it until V has his desk moved out of the room (his new workroom is framed but not drywalled yet). But I wanted to get it now. The store was having a big sale- that ended today- and I got the energy star rated one for over $100 less than any other local store that carries it. It's not entirely an impulse buy. V and I have been talking about getting a second freezer for a while. Now we can separate the meat from the non-meat items. We've been talking about getting pork from one of the vendors at the farmer's market who sells by the whole, half or quarter. And, this will give me more room to stash garden produce.
6. Build community food systems- gave away pumpkins and garden produce.
7. Eat the food- We had roasted pumpkin cubes tossed with onion, garlic, olive oil and rosemary, served over pasta with parmesan cheese. Heavenly! We're still eating tomatoes and cucumbers, although the tomatoes are slowing down. I've also noticed that they aren't keeping very well. It seems like the day after I bring them in they're already going bad. Usually they can sit for a day or two if we don't get to them right away. Who knows- it's late in the season.
All in all, not a bad week. Now, if I can get through this week I'll be set. I work this weekend so I'm on 6 days straight at my paid job. I'm still waiting for my little kiwi plants to arrive (and some day lilies We're hoping to cover the sand filter for the septic with day lilies and iris since we need something with not too deep of roots. And I like both of those.
I hope you all have a productive week as well.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pumpkin butter- part 2

I was up early this morning, checking on the progress of the pumpkin butter. Since I wanted the steam to be able to escape from the crock pot so it could reduce, I had positioned toothpicks under either side of the lid to keep it from sealing. This morning, the whole house smelled heavenly- that warm, spicy smell. Mmmmmm..... The pumpkin butter had cooked down nicely and was thick and brown.
Thick, dark, sweet, spicy and oh, so tasty!
So, I got to work. Being a little paranoid (maybe that's an understatement) about food safety with my canned goods and remembering the government warnings about canning pumpkin butter, I decided to hedge my bets a little. Part of the problem is that pumpkin is a low acid food and there is no way of knowing if there is enough sugar added to deter the growth of bacteria. But, one of the last times J16 and I visited the Amish bulk food store at Stringtown, we picked up some dehydrated lemon juice (1 tsp to half cup of water) so I added some of that (about 4.5 tsp) to the mix to increase the acidity. It also gave it another flavor dimension. Oh, and last night before I went to bed, I stirred in about 2 tsp of vanilla. Yeah, I know- I can't follow a recipe, LOL!!
I heated my water, washed my jars and got canning.
Half an inch of headspace.
I also used a wooden chopstick to make sure I didn't have any air bubbles. I processed it in my water bath canner for 20 minutes. When looking, I saw variations from 10 minutes to 40. But 20 seemed to be a common number.
The finished product.
I got 4 pints and 7 half pints (for gifting). But best of all, K10 woke up while I was finishing up. He asked what I was cooking so I gave him a fingerful from the little that was left in the crockpot. The look on his face was all the payment I need for the work. His eyes got big and he had this big smile on his face as he said "Oh, that's GOOD". Success!
Toast, a little cream cheese and some pumpkin butter.
The cook's other reward...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pumpkin butter- part 1

I was thinking about pumpkin butter this morning. Since I've still got 8 galeux d'eysines left and more on the way, I decided to tackle it. Of course, government recommendations on canning now say that you shouldn't home can pumpkin butter, for a variety of reasons but I've also seen plenty of people who are doing it successfully. So, I decided to give it a whirl. I thought I'd give a crock pot recipe a try.
First to select a pumpkin. Since the number of warts on these pumpkins indicate the ripeness (and sugar content), I thought I'd use the ripest, wartiest pumpkin we have. It also happened to be the biggest one we've got.
This bad boy weighed in at 26.8 pounds!
Sliced in half, it looks like hearts.
J16 scooped the pulp after it was baked- 19 cups.
The recipe I decided to use was easy to figure out proportions.
For each 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/8 tsp nutmeg
3/8 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Put it all in a crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours or overnight.
12 cups of pumpkin puree and the fixins
Stirred up and set to go overnight
I'll can it tomorrow. But, I'll tell you, it is already TASTY!!!!! I can't wait to see how it turns out. I may add in some vanilla since I am a huge vanilla fan. So far, it tastes like pumpkin pie. Mmmmm... pumpkin pie in a jar.

Six down...

Eight (or more) to go! I harvested several more Galeux d'Eysines yesterday afternoon, bringing the harvest total to 14! Two of those are already gone (one eaten/frozen and one given away) leaving us:
12 Galeux d'Eysines curing in the shop.
But, we managed to get rid of 4 more last night. Hurrah!! Much more manageable. I have takers for 3 more, leaving us 5. There are still several that are nearly ready in the garden and even more little ones. We'll have to see how they grow before the first frost.
But where did the 4 go last night? Here's the scoop:
Our friend Jim (the Gay, Goth Gourmet- as named by J16) used to live in an apartment across the street from our old house. Over the summer, he bought his very own house. Last night was his housewarming party. So, being the garden geeks that we are, we gave him produce as a housewarming present!
A lovely, colorful gift bag of goodies.
In addition to the bag that contained cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and basil we gave him a pumpkin. He is a fabulous cook and one of the first things he bought when moving into his own house was a chest freezer (am I a bad influence, or what!) so I know he will have room to freeze the excess.
Anyway, knowing the other people who were going to be at this party, I decided to put a few extra pumpkins in the trunk, just in case..... We came home with no pumpkins in the car. WooHoo! One of the women (and her significant other) took 2- with encouragement. But, she said she would give me some of what she makes. She said has made this before and it sounds fabulous: Pumpkin and blood orange marmalade. Mmm... makes me think of making pumpkin butter. Hmm, I'll have to look into that.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our first belly dancing class

Was FUN! J16 and I made it through both classes. We have back to back belly dancing classes on Thursday nights from now through the first week of November. First, at 6 pm we have "belly dancing for exercise" which made working out fun- and we learned some cool moves! Then, at 7 pm we have the level 1 dance instruction class where we are learning a choreographed dance to a particular song.
And, guess what? We get to use finger cymbals! Yup, and veils- next thing you know, I'll be walking around in harem pants- now wouldn't THAT be a sight!
Our instructor is evidently somewhat famous and has, so I've been told, the most frequently visited belly dancing website in the country. Hmm.. Fun.

I downloaded our "performance" song plus some other music so we can practice before next week. It definitely is a good workout. Maybe when we get good I'll have V take a video of us dancing and post it. Or... maybe not.....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mid September Independence Days

See what I found this afternoon!!
A Silver Spotted Skipper caterpillar.
It was munching on my edamame plants. I harvested the last of them after work:
A 5 quart pail from 4 feet of row. Not too shabby.
It seems like it has been a really long week already and it's only Monday. Whew. A bit much on my plate at the moment. Between work, getting back into the swing of children's activities, appointments, worries about family, garden, produce and construction- it's a bit full. And that's not even taking into account all the general maintenance stuff such as cleaning, cooking and laundry. Bleh.
But, enough complaining. It's time for my usual Monday Independence Days update where I can take a look at what I've accomplished over the last week. Hmmm, maybe the week isn't as bad as I thought.
1. Plant something- not a thing. Still waiting for my ordered plants to ship.
2. Harvest something- Pumpkins (we are now up to 10 with more on the way!!) squash, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, and edamame.
3. Preserve something- froze a bunch of edamame and I still need to blanch and freeze the ones I picked this evening. That's not going to happen this late in the evening so I know what I'm doing tomorrow after work ;)
4. Waste not- Used cloth bags at the grocery store, as usual. Brought home half an apple crisp from the pie sale (even though I didn't really want it) so it didn't get wasted. V has been busy sanding down old planks that had been painted. They were the original wall between what is now J16's room and the 'fruit room' as my mom calls our food storage room (freezer, shelves, space for squash and potato storage). These are beautiful pine planks that we will now use for building the bookshelves in the rumpus room. Soon we will need to order more drywall and then the fun really begins!
5. Want not- got apples from the orchard to stock up for the next few weeks, not much else went into storage except edamame.
6. Build community food systems- supported our local orchard (YUMMY) and tried to advertise the fact that the quiche I13 and I made for Sunday was mostly local ingredients. A few people were impressed, but sadly, not all.
7. Eat the food- Hm, I can't think of a specific meal this week that stands out. There was our local quiche. Oh, and I made a fabulous black bean, corn and tomato salsa for yesterday afternoon when Roger and Sharon (my former garden partner and his wife) came over in the afternoon. The only thing in it that I couldn't vouch for personally was the black beans. Maybe someday I'll grow my own.

Oh, and on a generous note- if anyone in the IC area would like a Galeux d'Eysines squash/pumpkin- please, let me know. We like pumpkin but at the rate they are producing- at about 15+ lbs each- that's a LOT of pumpkin! I don't think we can feasibly eat 150 lbs of pumpkin before it goes bad and I definitely don't have room in my freezer for that much. At least one is reserved for Mom and Dad and I have 2 other possible takers. But, seriously- let me know and we can work out something. I hate to think of them becoming compost. And, the bonus- they are incredibly tasty. So, drop me a line. I've got 8 out in the shop right now and 2 more to pick probably before the end of the week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's all about the pies...

This morning was the second annual pie sale at our church. It is a fundraiser for our local crisis center. Since I'm on the committee, I ended up being co-leader of this event. Since I13 needs to do a community service project for school (I personally think this is GREAT!) he asked his teacher if baking pies and helping at the sale would count as his 4 hours of community service. Of course, it did. Hurrah!
But we decided to do something a bit different this year. Since the sale starts at 9 am, we decided to do a breakfast theme and make quiche. I13 has helped make this before so I got him up early this morning to help.
Learning to flute pastry. Not as simple as it looks...
We made three quiches, which I'm happy to report sold out quickly. And as a bonus, they were from local ingredients (well, except for the cheese)
Broccoli/cheese and Southwestern quiche.
One quiche was a broccoli one made with some of the broccoli that I froze earlier this year. Yum. It was the first to be sold out. The other two were Southwestern inspired with jalapeno peppers, onions and sweet corn, mixed with cheddar cheese. Eggs were from Kalona and milk from the local dairy. Mmmm... I was a bit surprised at the number of comments I got about the ones with the corn in them. I guess lots of people never considered putting corn into a quiche and thought it was inspired. Um.... Ok.... I didn't think it was THAT inspired. I had several people ask for the recipe and I had to be honest and tell them that there isn't one- we just threw them together.
I13 dishes up a piece of pie for a hungry customer.
The guy in the background is Michael K. He was the other person helping. He happens to be the food writer of the local paper. I find it kind of funny that he was amazed as well that I didn't use a recipe. He evidently uses a recipe for everything. I know that lots of people cook that way but it just seems alien to me to have to use a recipe every time you cook. I probably wouldn't cook as much if that was the case.
All in all, we made over $400 for the crisis center, so it was a productive morning.

In a totally different note- Please send good thoughts to Colorado. Another wildfire broke out this morning, only a few miles from my sister's home. They are now talking about possible evacuations in Big Thompson Canyon where we celebrated J16's birthday this May. Fortunately, the winds are pushing the fire away from my sister's house but it can't be good.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

KinderGarden Field Trip

The KinderGarden projects are wrapping up this month. Not much is happening in the garden around here. I picked another pumpkin. This brings the total harvest to 9 (7 in the shop, one eaten, one given away) and there are at least 2 that will be ready in a week or so and more small ones on the vines. We will definitely be good on our vitamin A this winter!
Since we are having absolutely lovely weather (and didn't make it to the farmer's market this morning) I dragged K10 along with me to our local orchard. This is really local- like less than 3 miles driving (probably even less in a straight line). He initially wasn't thrilled- he was given the choice between coming with me or helping V fix some wind damaged boards. He opted (with a grumble) to come to the orchard. I told him that we could pick apples or just get some already picked- they are the same price. In the car on the way he decided he wanted to just buy the apples and go home. Of course, once we got there......
Who can resist apple picking in September. So, we got our baskets and talked to Paul, the owner, who gave us a map of the orchard.
It's quite the place.
We could have taken the tractor ride but K wanted to walk.
Of course, silly me, I forgot my camera. I have some crappy photos on my phone but now my phone is refusing to talk to my laptop...sigh.... But I did get some pics of the aftermath.
K10 and the smallest apple he could find!
It is a Minijon
A mini Jonathan- most on the tree were much larger than this one but he couldn't resist.
We ended up with two large bags of apples.
Enough to fill the fridge drawer.
But best of all, Karl asked if we could go back to the orchard in a few weeks when all these apples are gone.
Knowing where your food comes from is a good thing :-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things gotta change

I'm feeling a bit bummed out. I had some unsettling news yesterday. Well, it's unsettling for me at least.
I had my annual physical yesterday and my doctor and I decided it was time to try medication for my blood pressure. It has been slowly creeping up for years- actually since I had trouble with my blood pressure when I was pregnant with I13. At that point I ended up on bed rest until they could safely induce labor (not fun- I'll tell you). But, anyway- I'm now on blood pressure medication. Other than a headache today, I really can't tell any difference, but it's early days yet.
But, there need to be changes. There is a chance that losing some of this extra weight I'm carrying around will help things out. Not a guarantee- since my blood pressure was elevated some even before I put on the weight- and both my parents have trouble with it as well. So, diet changes and exercise are now coming up. At least J16 and I are already signed up for our bellydancing class starting next week. It's something.
I'll be posting reports about my progress periodically to keep my honest.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

IDC- Labor Day edition (a day late)

I know, it's not Labor Day anymore. But I was busy and not feeling well yesterday- or today for that matter. I have managed to catch an end of summer cold. Blech. I'm stuffed up, feverish and generally feel like I'm walking around in a fog. There is something about having a cold that just makes me feel stupid. My brain is swimming through really thick molasses.
But, it is time for my usual beginning of the week IDC.
1. Plant something- nope. I did order my hardy kiwi vines that we will plant this fall to cover the pergola but they haven't arrived yet.
2. Harvest something- Pumpkins! Tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, edamame. No eggplant this week, I'm letting a couple ripen for seeds and the rest are still little.
3. Preserve something- froze edamame and pumpkin puree.
4. Waste not- spent time yesterday mending 4 pair of V's work pants. Of course, I had to dig through my not-yet-unpacked boxes of sewing and craft supplies to find my button jar. It was kind of like Christmas looking through those boxes. I am SO psyched to get a new cabinet and UNPACK! After over a year, I'm itching to get at it again. Not that I haven't been busy with other things but there is something so satisfying about making something beautiful. V has been busy working on walls in the basement. We actually have walls framed around what will be "the well room" that will house the pressure tank and be used for other storage. V's workroom will be between the well room and the rumpus room and that wall is taking shape as well. We will have built in bookshelves in the wall so we don't have as much drywalling to do. We need to get moving since our new couch is to arrive in October and we need a place to put it. It's kind of fun, the walls we're working on now are all using 2x4's salvaged from the demolition of the basement last year.
5. Want not- hmm, not much out of the ordinary. I really didn't do much shopping or stocking up on anything this last week. But I did make several batches of waffles for the freezer yesterday morning- a double batch of chocolate chip and a batch of pumpkin waffles. I'm going to have to tweak the pumpkin recipe- it was OK but could be better.
6. Community food systems- nothing really this week. I didn't get to the orchard or the farmer's market last weekend. We did eat locally raised elk burgers on Sunday when we were at Old Threshers.
7. Eat the food- Pumpkin waffles, stuffed peppers, caprese salad, beef from the freezer. This time of year is so easy.
Now, I'm off to bed soon. Even though I slept a lot today I'm still tired. It is supposed to get almost cold tonight- into the 40's!! It seems that fall is coming....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Old Threshers 2010

The day in photos.

Lots of walking. It was sunny and not too hot- but DUSTY!

Oak Ridge School museum
The oldest standing public school in Iowa


And horsepower of a different sort

Steam tractors big and little

Equipment to bring in the harvest: old

and new.
A 2010 John Deere combine.
Price tag: $307,520!!!

Lunch by a life-sized rubber alligator.

And later afternoon- a tradition.
Probably the best caramel apples in the world.
Only from under the grandstand.
They've had the same recipe since I was a child.

All worn out on the way home.

Aren't they cute?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brodé Galeux d'Eysines

I did a little more research about my warty friends. It seems the name I had was incomplete. The correct name is: Brodé Galeux d'Eysines. Translated from French it means "Embroidered with warts from Eysines". A very apt name.
This beauty weighed in at 17.6 pounds!
I saw on some site that the estimated yield is 1 or 2 pumpkins per vine. I must definitely have overachievers then! I also learned that the warts are somehow due to the sugar in the pumpkin as it ripens. More warts= more sugar. Evidently they will continue to grow even after harvest so the warts are a good indication of which need used first. Since this little guy is almost completely covered, we decided to have a taste test. There must be quality control, you know.
Firm and meaty, small seed cavity.
I roasted 3/4 of the pumpkin in the oven and made puree. I'm saving the other 1/4 for roasting (diced) with olive oil, onions, garlic and rosemary. That mixed with parmesan and served over pasta is heavenly!
I'm pleased to confirm the reports that this pumpkin isn't stringy. It worked up like a dream.
12 cups of puree
Packaged and ready for the freezer.
Mmm, pumpkin bread......
I only froze 10 cups, J16 and I ate the other two with a little salt and pepper. Yum, I'm glad we have lots of these!!
We did send one pumpkin and a bag of hot peppers home with I13's friend who came over this afternoon. Nikki is a delightful girl and it was quickly evident that she is just a friend who is a girl- NOT a girlfriend. The children all had a wonderful time and Nikki spent as much time with J16 as she did with I13. They took a tour around outside, climbed on the big dirt pile, all helped frame a wall in the basement and played games. Nikki would like to come back again and we would be delighted to have her.
The lovely cool weather is supposed to last a few more days. Ahhh... After the summer we've had, temps in the 70's are heavenly!

Friday, September 3, 2010

KinderGarden weirdness

Troll Bridge Farm has been invaded by alien pods! Or, as J16 put it: "They look like a giant's boogers". Hmmm..
Pretty cool, huh.
A Galeux d'eysines pumpkin.
For some reason this morning, I remembered reading that these shouldn't be left to get too ripe on the vine as the "warts" will continue to grow. So... I decided I'd better check them. Oops, several pumpkins were totally covered, much to the delight and grossed-outedness of the children. They look kind of like they are covered with peanuts.
K10 models a pumpkin
Gotta love that face!
I13 looks like he isn't sure he really wants to be holding this weird thing.
J16 has picked her favorite.
All in all, we picked 8 pumpkins today.
They're happily curing in the shop.
We counted at least 5 more big ones on the vines and a multitude of little ones. And the vine is still blooming like mad. I'll have to check the remaining pumpkins more frequently so we can get them with a pleasing amount of warts. LOL! These are supposed to be excellent eating pumpkins- I guess if you can get over the bizarre look. But, for all their strangeness, they are fun!
KinderGardens is winding down. So, a few photos from the Goth Garden. Once again, my favorites of the year:
Sunflower Moulin Rouge
Black Pearl Pepper
They are starting to ripen and look like little bright red marbles!
It was a lovely but WINDY day here. I'm not sure the temperature ever got above 70F and we had 25-30 mph wind all day with higher gusts. Not quite the hurricane conditions some folks may have had but quite breezy. It really made it feel like fall. In fact, I'm making some beef stew for dinner tonight since it is so cool outside. It was a lovely, relaxing day at home for me since today was my comp day for working last weekend. So, I get a 4 day weekend. Ahhhh.... today it was laundry, dusting and sorting my closet (EEEK). I only got through about half of it before I got distracted by other, much more fun things- like picking cucumbers and tomatoes and discovering pumpkins!
I hope you all have a safe, fun filled holiday weekend. Enjoy the last of summer.
To those on the east coast with the hurricane and to those in New Zealand with the earthquake- my thoughts and prayers go out to you.