Friday, March 18, 2011


When the Fios guy came to install it there were a bunch of these salamanders trapped in the pit of the conduit box. I collected them from amongst the stones at the bottom of the pit and placed them near a nice pile of rotting logs. I may not have placed them in the best spot, but they would have died of starvation trapped in the pit if I didn't move them.

We'll see if anymore show up in the pit this spring, now that I know to check it I will.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day! Time to Plant Peas!

This morning was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and Gabe and I were planting peas in the garden. The weather is so nice at this point that the Mouse Trap needs to be opened during the day to keep from cooking the greens. I've already cooked them a little leading them to be a little bitter, but I hope the cold works that out of them.

Gabe and I were two peas in a pod this morning as we worked on making holes and plunking peas into them. This year I'm growing two tall varieties Tall Telephone and Sugar Snap as well as two bush varieties Lincoln and Oregon Sugar Pod II. Last year's inter planting with the crops that will replace the peas in the summer worked so well that I've planted a much larger space with hundreds of plants. I plan to have the winter squash take over their row come summer.

I will be the first to admit that Gabe slowed down the process immensely, and every single moment was a delight. Here he's helping me push down the dibble to make holes for the peas. Every time I repositioned it he'd grunt "PUSH!" and we'd make a new hole.

After we'd get the holes in I'd hand him a pea and tell him where it'd go. He'd eventually get them all on his own, but this process involved more teamwork and was more fun for me. I absolutely loved that Gabe exclaimed, "We do good teamwork!" about half way through the planting and again several times after that.

I never imagined that he'd have the dexterity he has at his age. He only missed a couple times in hundreds of pea drops.

He was so intent here and melted my heart by saying, "I'm a good good planter daddy." To which I said, "Yes you are, you're a good good planter."

More Dibble work in the raised bed, please ignore the muddy support structure that was bent by the crazy winter snows.

Gabe did a great job here of stretching out to get the peas in the raised bed, and listened very well about not stepping in it.

For the sugar snap peas I wanted to do some bamboo supports as well as using the metal so Gabe and I worked to push them into the raised bed together.

I was happy all day after this wonderful morning shared with Gabe and Mommy in the garden!

Gabe said, "I like this game daddy. I'm going to go get more sticks." after we finished.

So he did, and pushed them in all by himself...

A hug for mommy and his baby sister and we were ready for daycare and work. Now we just have to hold on for a couple months until the yummy peas arrive!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First Parsnip of Spring

This root has been hanging out in the ground all winter long with its buddies. With the warm weather we've had I was able to pull it out today. The little side root tasted amazing, and the main root was quite good as well though a little tougher. We ate this one raw, and I look forward to eating more cooked as spring continues to roll on.

I can already taste the Asparagus...

The Recipes Have Moved!

The recipes, cookbook planning posts, and food bank discussions were cluttering up our nice garden blog, so I have moved them to a new home. Please come visit! :D

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Community Gardens, Pulled Pork

Chris has been helping to get the Community Gardens in Franklin up and running, and the project made it to the news today.

I've been watching Gabe while he's off at the meetings, or staying late to put together snazzy 3D images to show people what's possible. Ironically, he dug up some 3D models of garden plants out of mothballs to populate the virtual beds - 3D models that I made probably eight years ago! So, in a remote sort of way, I'm helping, too. . .

Progress on the cookbook continues. I decided that I need to learn more about cooking meat, so that I can have a reasonably comprehensive meat section. I cooked ribs a couple of weeks ago, but they turned out a bit tough, so I'll have to refine that recipe. More recently, I made pulled pork. Huzzah! It was glorious. Pork shoulder is a wonderfully economical cut of meat. Brine it all day, cook it all night, and viola, delicious, perfect sammich makins.

I used this awesome recipe for the pulled pork, and shortly I'll be writing up my own revised version.

With these long-cooking meats, I am looking for recipes that not only freeze well, but can be done without a slow cooker. As it turns out, when searching for recipes for chunks of meat that require extended cooking times, it's actually tough to find non-slow-cooker recipes online, because everybody and their mother wants to share their fabulous shortcuts. Not that I have any beef with slow cookers, mind you, but the pantry cookbook is for those who can't afford one and likely don't already have one.

I have also so far avoided recipes that call for disposables, such as plastic bags and aluminum foil. This is to save my audience a bit of money, but also because my ulterior motive is to keep that single-use garbage out of the landfill.

However, I still see no good alternative to my addiction to semi-disposable plastic boxes. They're just so darn useful. And so long as you prevent them from falling out of the freezer (which causes them to shatter) they do last a while. Are there any good alternatives that aren't single-use or painfully expensive??

It also seems that my microwave is conspiring to teach me how to cook foods without its sleek convenience. The old geezer went kaput yesterday, just in time for me to learn how convenient the broiler is for reheating pulled pork.