31 October 2009

last gasp

a honey bee gathers the last of the nectar from the asters

i guess i titled one of my gardening blog posts "last gasp" last year. sorry, but that's what it feels like around here. last burst of gardening energy, before winter sets in, and a mish-mash of a blog post, to cover a lot of ground before i dive into national novel writing month, tonight at midnight.

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the last cosmo of the season and the view from our window, one week ago.

let's start with the garden:
the rye cover crop is now a lovely green blanket over what was once the sprawling cherry tomato bed. we are still plucking perfect tomatillos off the vine, and i have made two batches of salsa verde (for canning) and countless batches of quick fresh green salsa. and still, there's more.

i've been enjoying the herbs we still have flourishing in the garden, and was astonished at the bounty i brought in last week, as i was preparing dinner for some friends. not all of our fall carrots have matured, but some have, and they are lovely. we are cherishing the last of the beets. the candy-striped ones are called chioggia.

we harvested another armload of leeks and made the memorable leek and goat cheese galette. since another blogger has already documented this process beautifully, i won't repeat it here. this time, i chose to make 4 individual galettes, instead of one big one. it looks so lovely on the plate, surrounded by a wreath of fresh water-cress. since it was just for carl and i (cosmo rarely eats what we eat for dinner), we got two full meals out of it. i think this might be my favorite dish right now. at least my favorite of dishes that come out of our kitchen. and i swear it tastes better with leeks, thyme and parsley from our own garden.

in other garden news, my friend stephanie, garden-educator-extraordinaire, taught me how to create our newest garden bed. first i spread out some cardboard, then a layer of our compost, a thicker layer of leaf-mold from last year's autumn leaves, then a layer of straw. it took me a couple of hours to complete, and it's huge! cosmo had a lot of fun "helping" me. in the spring, we'll dig some holes for transplants, add a little compost or soil to each hole, and that's it. the following year, it should all be broken down, and soil-like, and can just be dug and worked like our other garden beds. i am so thrilled.

we still have lettuce, arugula, and a tiny bit of spinach, which i hope will over-winter with some straw on top. apparently the carrots can stay in the ground too, with a layer of mulch, and they'll come back in the spring.

on to gleaning, and other topics:
we ended up making pear fruit leather, and a pear/cranberry chutney for canning, with the rest of our gleaned pears. one of our neighbors has a particularly nice crab apple tree, with large fruit, that tastes good right off the tree. she told us to help ourselves, and we did.

nothing like starting the morning trimming little tiny apples. but aren't they beautiful?

then carl made this glowing jelly while i was busy shopping at the free swap out at bloomingfoods (they used the truckload-sale-tent to house a glorious exchange of useful stuff, all free of charge! crazy, huh?). there was a littlecrab apple juice left over--tart, and nectar-like. we sipped it from tiny crystal goblets.

take a gander at that incredible tromboncino squash! it was a gift from our neighbor jack, whose son is a farmer. they say you can use it just like butternut, but i found it to be more stringy and watery than a butternut, and lacking in that brilliant orange color. the soup-in-progress (shown below) features a true butternut, and a garden herb bundle.

i managed to get the basement into a somewhat presentable and inhabitable space--in time for our housewarming party, and in time for the crafting frenzy, which has already begun. since some potential recipients of my creations may read this blog, i cannot reveal all the particulars of the crafted goodies that are being churned out of this space, but after the holidays, i'll try to do a re-cap.

we took a short drive to the hoosier national forest last weekend, to climb the fire tower for the ultimate autumnal view. i failed to bring the camera to the top of the tower, but my wimpy little lens wouldn't have even come close to capturing that spectacular vista-- so, it's probably better left to the imagination. cosmo enjoyed the short nature walk, and the lady bug explosion that happens here every fall.

cosmo was down for a few days with some virus, other than the flu. it was quite mild, and luckily, he's over it in time for halloween. hope yours is fun.


Anonymous said...

Your tomatillos are amazing! Did the hard frost yesterday get the plant? I hope not.

Our beets are not yet ready to harvest; I can't wait to taste the first one! We've been eating the beet greens in our salad though.

We harvested the first daikons today. Dh made a yummy traditional Chinese dish with it. We still need to try that galette though. :)

Anna said...

You are, as my mama would say, happening! I'm intrigued by the garden bed prep... may have to talk my boyfriend into letting me make his yard a bit more productive...

mep said...

I just saw a recipe that involved candy cane beets, and I thought, "But where would I find them?"

Cosmo looks so grown up in the picture with his goblet of juice.

As ever, I love these glimpses of your garden and life.

Good luck with the novel!