Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Deer Sauce

It is nearing sunset. I am looking east out over the field glowing in the evening light, and I see the first signs of changing color in the hedgerow. What in midsummer is a mass of green, is tonight a revelation of individuality as invasive vines that cover tree trunks are just now giving way to yellow. The swallows, as if on cue, have begun their swooping “bug dance” down the length of the field. It is a wonderful time of day.

I have just finished my evening Bobbex ritual at the south end of the garden. Twice now the deer have come in and “had their way” with my tomatoes. I never once thought this fence of mine would keep deer out … in fact the only animals I think it DOES keep out are skunks. But for years now the deer have politely CHOSEN not to enter my garden. And I have appreciated that. Perhaps the smell of this year’s bounty is too much for them. Or maybe they powwow and say, ”She’s got enough this year. Help yourselves.”

So I went in after the last deer rampage and gathered all the partially eaten fruit and immediately began a sauce with it. I am running out for room in my freezer from all the “deer sauce.”

Today was a perfect day on many counts. First, if I were still teaching, I would have ended up inside of school building instead of in the great outdoors. Thirty years working inside of a fluorescent box with no windows took its toll on my spirit. Second, I went to the beach where the water was tolerable, the air dry and the sunshine plentiful. Third, I had a BLT for lunch. OMG! Is there anything better on the planet? I think not.

And to those of you who “teach the children” and chose to get in the harness today for another school year. I say thank you. You are among the precious few who can say about what you do each day that “your work is your love made visible.”

Saturday, August 25, 2007

One Local Summer Week #9

This week's local meal comes courtesy of Morning Glory Farm. I used a pound of their locally raised ground beef and of course their mouth watering, picked this morning, sweet corn. To that I added a grilled zucchini, green beans and tomatoes from the garden. This is almost too easy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Victors on Display

The Prize Winners

OK, OK ... I thought you were TIRED of hearing about my vegetables by now. Or maybe it is you want proof that I am not making this up?
Big Zack ~ BIGGEST Tomato
Boxcar Willies ~ Second Place Heirloom Tomatoes
Little Mamas ~ First Place Plum Tomatoes
Little Mamas before they were entered

Raven Zucchini ~ First Place Summer Squash Green

Saturday, August 18, 2007

OLS Week #8

Wow ... Number Eight. Time is marching on. This week's meal leaned once again on my fisherman friend, Gordon who caught this lovely Bonita off Wasque. The sides are a grilled patty pan squash and, of course, sliced tomato both from the garden.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Results of the judging

Very Exciting Day ! A Third Place ribbon in garlic. A Second Place ribbon in heirloom tomatoes (they were Boxcar Willies) and THREE Blue Ribbons! One in plum tomatoes, one in zucchini and last but not least .... drum roll please ... Big Zack took the Biggest Tomato.

Come to the Fair !

The Day of Reckoning

Well here it is. The day of reckoning. This morning I bounded out of bed and headed for the garden. Can I find 15 “fair worthy” green beans? YES! Now it is time to decide on the garlic. Do I go for size (Sicilian Artichoke) or tightness of wrapper and uniformity (Polish Hardneck)? Which pair would you choose? And then it was time to fetch and weigh Big Zack. His circumference this morning was 17 and 7/8 inches and he weighed in at 1 lb. 10 oz.
Big Zack

Then I trimmed up the beets and the shallots, fetched a few extra cherry tomatoes to use in case one dropped or split.And then I lined them all up on the stairs for their class photo before packing them into bushel baskets .

The Class of 2007

When I arrived I discovered that in my haste on Monday, I had failed to reserve a place for of all things Red Tomatoes. Grrrrr. But my disappointment was soon set aside as I greeted other vegetable enthusiasts. “How did you manage such lovely okra?” “Oh you would not believe. We use old black bait barrels and put them up against the south side of the house and cover them in black seaweed mulch.” Or “What lovely yellow wax beans.” “Thank you. There would have been more, but my father broke his leg last night.”

Now it is all in the hands of the judges. Should have a report by the end of the day.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I've only found one so far

The Compost Operation

A few weeks ago I gathered a back end full of lamb manure from the farmer across the field. I then began the Charles Wilber method of cooking it and turning it into usable compost for the garden. I am using two new wire bins and have placed them right on top of one of the garlic beds. So far I have turned it twice and it is still humming along out there at 120 degrees. I expect it will decrease in size by half when I am through cooking it. I really think that my garden productivity this season is related to the quality of this composted local manure.
the lamb manure "cooking"
But I also have two other composting centers. One is a pair of bins that take essentially yard waste. I do nothing to accelerate the decomposition and only turn it once a year. In the spring I move the decomposed stuff from the center of both bins to a storage pile and then I put all of the undecomposed stuff back into one of the bins to slowly cook for another year.

And finally there is the garbage operation. I use a black plastic bin that holds the heat well and is designed to let the rain in . Right now it is like an oven in there cooking at 145 degrees. That's because I just turned it which I try to do about once a month.

An Update on Big Zack

With only four more days to grow, Big Zack is doing his best. In one week he grew from a circumference of 14 3/4 inches to 16 1/4 inches.

Yesterday I fashioned a sling for him out of a dishtowel.

Carol suggested that it would be easier to be awed by Big Zack if there were something next to him that indicated relativity. So first I draped a tape measure over himand next I clipped my cell phone to his stem

Somehow this does not seem to do him justice. Big Zack is a mighty tomato with the potential to break records. If only the Fair were over Labor Day.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

One Local Summer Week #7

Lobster is a celebration meal in our house. I remember the night we landed on the moon, my mother ordered up lobsters and we were sucking the meat out of the lobster legs as Neil Armstrong took his "one small step" our "one giant leap."

So this week my son came home from a year in Bangkok and we decided to celebrate with lobster. How lucky am I that lobster falls within a 10 mile radius of where I live? I always take the lobster pot with me to the fish market and after the lobsters are purchased we dip the pot in the ocean and then gather rockweed from the jetty. The lobster cooked in seawater is sublime.

For appetizers we had blue fish pate and a bowl of steamer clams.

The corn was from Morning Glory Farm ... picked that morning ... and the tomatoes were from the garden. This is high summer indeed.

Friday, August 10, 2007

From the Garden Gate August 8, 2007

Big Zack

Shhh! Can you keep a secret? The fair is less than a week away and I am working on one gigantic tomato out there in the garden. Last Thursday its circumference was 14 ¾ inches. Its name is BIG ZACK. I don’t stand a chance for him to be RED by next Thursday, the opening day of the Fair, but I do expect him to weigh a good bit. He started out as a pup.

June 1July 3

I gave him lots and lots of composted lamb manure once he made it in the ground. Then in mid July I started sacrificing the other tomatoes growing on the vine with him. Now Zack is benefitting from all the energy the plant has to give. I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

One Local Summer Week #6

This week I decided to go vegetarian. Using a recipe I found in Martha Rose Schulman's Provencal Light, I whipped up a Zucchini Gratin with Goat Cheese. The recipe can be found here . The fun part was finding the local goat cheese. There is a sweet little farm tucked back in a part of the island known as Christiantown so named because it is where an enclave of Native Americans came to worship. You drive up the dirt road, past the Mayhew Chapel and up the hill to Christiantown Farm. You drive past the goats getting into mischief with some old piece of farm equipment and are greeted happily by the enthusiastic laying hens who all come out as though you have corn in your pocket. The cheese is found in 4 oz. packets in the fridge in the barn as is the coffee can full of ones for making change.

The only downside to this recipe was that it required you turn on the oven .... to 400 degrees no less. But we managed and the resulting gratin was worth the added heat in the kitchen. I added a salad of cherry tomatoes and cukes and some grilled zucchini.
Goat Cheese - Christiantown Farm ---- 3 miles
Eggs - Flat Point Farm --- 3 miles
all other ingredients - the garden