Saturday, September 26, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?





I missed being in my garden this year and don't plan to go another year without growing my herbs and edible flowers.

I transplanted a clematis that was not doing well in a previous location. In the heat of early summer it died back but I had
confidence it would be back. And here it is, growing at a rate of about a foot a day and if the weather stays nice I will have a few flowers!

I mentioned my prickly pear cactus in an earlier post and and I am hoping for a huge cactus in a few years. I had to learn about the process for rooting a prickly pear-but it seems to be doing fine. The cut had to scab over before placing it in a cactus mixture. So, now it's a bit of wait and see! I have my blender on stand-by!

We also cleared a second piece of property attached to our main lot and have ordered a new garden shed. I have happily busied myself drying seeds and planning some new trees, including 2 Tuscan olive trees and some prune plums and my Kadota figs. I have the most wonderful peaches and apples and think a mini-orchard might be just the thing!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mini-Beefstakes and Kadota Figs




This year was the first year I begged for tomatoes and anything fresh from the garden. Fortunately for me, friends were generous.

One of the best surprises were a minature hybrid beefstake. Looking more like oversized cherry tomatoes, these flabbergasted me with their sweet, robust tomato flavor! So much so, that I am fermenting the seeds to dry for next season. It will be a challenge to sprout the hybrids but I am about to begin the drying process.

I will report back on the progress.

The second picture is of the Kadota figs I found at one of the local homestores. And I am happy to report they love their new locations and are bearing fruit, already. I am planning to place the bushes around the pool to keep a close eye on them. I intend to grow them as a bush. (My mother remember fig bushes in Louisiana - not trees.) I happened to catch Walter Reeves on PBS this past weekend doing these exact two processes. I learned a lot about planting figs and can confidently proceed.

The other planting that I have scheduled is a species of cactus (probably from South American) that bears the beautiful pinky-red tunas or prickly pears! To our amazement we stumbled upon the beautiful succulent in Grantville, Georgia while visiting a salvage company. It was loaded with the ripening fruit that I use for my cocktail from a earlier post.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Ribolita!




Ahh! Ribolita. Tuscan comfort food. I crave soups in the fall and this has to be one of my all-time favorites.

My friend, Ombretta, made Ribolita and sent it home for us one day when I was a little under the weather. My friend, Char, had recently passed away and I wasn't my usual adventurous self. Still a little weepy I stayed closed to home and was pretty quiet for most of our visit.

A beautiful basket of food was waiting for us one rainy day. I can still remember the aroma wafting up from the basket. What an incredible dinner we enjoyed that evening-along with a wonderful bottle of Enzo's chianti. There was Ribolita, Ragu with Polenta and wonderful bread and cheeses.

Ombretta had prepared all these delicious foods for a group of us that were to gather for a trek up a mountain with a picnic to follow. I'm sorry now that I missed it because our outings were such memorable occasions.

I have a pot of white cannelini soup of the stove. It's missing the black cabbage and Tuscan unsalted bread but I might just have to head to the Farmer's Market tomorrow and find the missing ingredients.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cleaning House



We are in the final days of fixing a serious leak in our 98-year old house. A large cast-iron pipe suffered a hairline crack and leaks were appearing in several places.

Big deal. . . a hairline crack. Well, when that four inch pipe is embedded in concrete it becomes a little more of a "to do".

As of yesterday the sheetrock is back in place and the dust is settling. Everything now must be vacuumed, washed and spit-shined! Thankfully, we covered all the furniture. We held a yard sale to get rid of things that didn't need to come back into the house-but truly, it has been like starting over.

The good thing through all of this is the opportunity to visit some of my favorite pieces and revisit the memories attached to each of them.

The teapot featured here is a one of those special treasures.

It was brought to the U.S. by a Ukrainian friend when she visited the states for the first time. The piece is typical of Russian Gzhel pottery but mine is marked U.S.S.R. It serves as a reminder of the times.

During her visit, I was asked to cater her friend's birthday celebration. Specifically, they were interested in some Lousiana foods but wanted to mix it with traditional foods of Russia. And what a mix it was. There were tongues and other organs prominently displayed next to the Louisiana BBQ'd Shrimp. Bottles of vodka were at the center of every table and the music was typical Ukrainian folk music.

It was a spectacular party with new friends and I have this beautiuful teapot to remind me of a special friend.
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