Sunday, July 31, 2011

Garden Update: Rain.

   Welcome to Jul-october! So far this summer has been one of the coolest and rainiest here in Seattle that I can remember ( although 1999 will live in my memory as the worst. I can remember thinking " Maybe July will be better, then, maybe august, and then, maybe September will be awesome?" But no, summer never came ). OK, ok, so we've had a week of nice weather here at the end of July, but there are mushrooms growing in my lawn for pity's sake. MUSHROOMS! Plus, two years ago this week, Husband and I closed on our house and were frantically painting before we had to be out of our rental and it was 100+ degrees! Come on 2011, what's up?
   Anyway enough ranting, the cool rainy temp has been a blessing to the cool weather crops and all the perennials I transplanted this spring.  

   Part of the bumper crop of lettuce Husband harvested and is determined to eat all of. Bless his heart. I have just chocked it up to a lesson learned not to plant so much and would be happy to feed what I can't possibly eat to the chickens, but not him.

   This is the jasmine I planted in a pot just outside our front door. It has the most delicious almost tropical smell that helps make up for low cloud cover.

   No, this is not rhubarb. This is ruby red Swiss Chard that has grown monstrous, and it is glorious. Our greens this year are so tall and robust that they have created a mini forest in our garden. 

   Gorgeous collards. Soon I will have to do a post about all the delicious things we have been making to try and keep up with our greens, which have yet to bolt and are still producing huge leaves.

Dino Kale ( aka Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Black kale ) to the right, and Red Russian kale on the left.

   Our potato bin exploded!

The "Canada" variety of rhubarb that I planted this year was just a couple of nubbins and now is exceeding my expectations for growth.

   The raspberries that I transplanted to the Pie Patch from where they were sneaking into our yard from the neighbors are taking hold and producing some really nice big robust stems and foliage. I think we might even get a few berries later in the season.

   Chicken update! Polly and Pickles are growing up and to our surprise Pickles is a rooster. There must have been some mix up at the Farm Co-op because we had thought we were getting a Black Sexlink pullet. I know that determining the sex of a chick is not an exact science, but Sexlinks are a breed where one can determine the sex at birth because of the feather coloration. But... I don't believe they gave us a Black Sexlink at all. I think Pickles is an Australorp. Google image the two breeds of rooster and Pickles fits the bill for a big beautiful Australorp rooster. sigh. Urban farmer drama!

   Finally, here is one of the only warm weather plants that is doing any good. A Lemon Cucumber vine from seeds that Husband brought back from the Organicology conference in Portland earlier this year. I am trellising them up some curly willow given to me by my wonderful neighbor Grace and they look super neat climbing up the twisting branches. Here's to hoping that the weather will turn fabulously hot and we will get some fruit off this baby! Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sooo fine...

    So my Mom gave me a big ole basket of fresh raspberries from her garden the other day and I had a few left over from a pint that Husband brought home from work. I felt a bit overwhelmed but then asked myself, can there be such a thing as too many raspberries? Never! Especially if you are into making your own...ICE CREAM!!! Which I am.
   It all started when we received an ice cream maker attachment for our Kitchenaid as a wedding present (  thank you mystery gift giver, there was no tag on your gift but we love it!!! ). Since then I have been making ice cream on a semi-regular basis. I have made pumpkin, strawberry molasses, ginger lemon, and just recently made an amazing roasted apricot sorbet.
   My favorite so far has been the pumpkin, the custard base of the ice cream pairs perfectly with the roasted pumpkin and spices. I got the recipe from David Lebovitz's lovely blog The Sweet Life @ He is not only a lucky human being ( living in Paris blogging about delicious food ) but somewhat of a ice cream guru. I have not checked out his book The Perfect Scoop, but I did run across this nifty gadget sanctioned by him at
                     Ice Cream Recipe: Create Your Own - Fine Cooking Recipe Maker
   The gadget has it's limitations but it is a good way to start inventing your own flavors and after working with it a couple of times I am starting to see what the basics of making ice cream are and how to move beyond the ingredients listed. Next flavor: Honey! Maybe with a little cardamom? We shall see.
   Anyway Husband and I went over to see our food lovin and sharing friends Annie and Blain and their sweet new addition Ferne Adele. We brought the raspberry ice cream to share and had a lovely evening holding a darling baby and eating wonderful homemade goodies. The sweet life indeed.