Friday, November 05, 2010

Neglect the garden, let the ground harden…

Well, not exactly. This is California, dude…we’ll keep growing things all year round, since Gaia is so cheerful about it out here. But things are definitely slowing down. Buds are harder won. Growth is measured in barest of centimeters. The trees are shedding their leaves, things that love not the cold are shriveling up, the powdery mildew is back in full force…we’re heading into the slow time of the year.

For which I am actually a bit grateful. For a while there, it felt like I spent all my time in the kitchen, trying to do something with all the stuff coming in from the garden.

Tonight, I cut the last of the sunflower heads. What I planted were all grey-striped mammoths…but one of the heads appears to be full of black seeds. They’re definitely a different breed, too, squatter, fatter and thinner-shelled than the gray-stripes; I’m assuming that somehow, we got one “oil” seed (popular for bird seed and cooking oil) in the mix. But they are seriously different looking seeds so, I mean, really? How did that happen? Recessive genes coming to the fore?

Gardening, it seems, is full of such mysteries…

…the ones we planted…

…the one oddball…

…uh, sure, they TOTALLY look like twins…

I pulled out the last of the zucchini bushes, and found this monster hiding under all the foliage.

Holy smokes, throw a saddle on it, quick!

There was also a ‘bonus’ cucumber on the vine I was sure was dead.


I love the sound the dead corn rows make when the breeze passes through them. Kind of eerie, but kind of grounding at the same time.


Now, I’m not entirely sure what the beans think they’re doing; they’re supposed to love warmer weather, but yet here they are, erupting out with a bunch of new pods just when I was fixin’ to till them in for a winter’s worth of decomposing.

These are Christmas limas – big, flat pods and lots of ‘em!

Look like this when they’re all dry and ready.

These are pinto beans and holy smokes, they’re going to town too!

Why hello there, Future Chili…

Remember the artichokes the cats were chewing on and that I transplanted twice and then thought were probably going to die?

Who you callin’ DEAD?!

Now, far be it from me to discourage anyone’s dreams, but I think the pumpkins are being…a bit overly optimistic.

Um, really? New pumpkin babies? In November?

We’ve got three pumpkins still out there in various stages of orange-y-ness, and have so far brought in two adorable little specimens:

The other one got carved for Halloween by a neighbor kid. We’ve named this one “Pie.”

The lemons are getting nice and yellow.

Fewer than last year, but still impressive numbers.

The cupboards are packed with Mason jars full of stuff. Sauces, relishes, butternut squash puree, beans, soups and stocks. The freezer is still awfully full, with Ashley’s steer and Cheyenne’s hog.

My grocery bills have plummeted to around twenty bucks a week, most weeks.

Also, I have discovered something relatively easy (especially if you own a deep fryer), decadent and inexpensive for a lazy weekend morning: Homemade apple fritters.

2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
4 large tart apples

Start your fryer going (or heat about 2 inches of oil in a deep pan), warming it up to 375. Mix up the batter, which is everything but the apples. It should be mixed until more-or-less smooth, but you don’t want to overbeat it either.

Peel the apples and coarsely dice them. Mix into the batter – it should be pretty thick.

Then you drop them by the dollopful into the oil and fry for between 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side. Dust with cinnamon sugar and serve up. Try to look exhausted so that maybe someone will let you have an extra one. Hasn’t worked for me yet, but I keep trying because hope springs eternal and all that.

Hmm. Apples are healthy, right?

Soooooooo…apple fritters would make an awesome dinner, right…?

(…aw, c’mon, work with me here, people…)

(…sweet rolls! I could use whole wheat flour! Huh? Huh? Totally well-balance nutrition, right there! I mean, throw a handful of ‘whole grain’ into anything and it’s instant sainthood, right…?)

(…oh, fine, be that way…works for General Mills, ya know… “whole grain nutrition, now with 62 cups of sugar per ounce!” and we’re all, “ooooh, whole grain nutrition, you say! Well, I’ll take fifteen boxes!!” so, I mean, I don’t know what your problem is…)

(…sweet rolls would be an awesome dinner, I don’t care what you say…)

(…with frosting…with lemon-infused frosting…)


Theresa said...

Sweet rolls are even better with cream cheese frosting...just saying. (And while I have yet to serve them for dinner, they did wind up being lunch one day because I'm a "bad" mom.)

Anonymous said...

My MIL always said cake was good for you because it had eggs in it. She was serious.