Sunday, May 24, 2015

Farmer's Markets Are Open

 Yesterday, we headed out early to go to one of our favorite farmer's markets.  All of them are open now in our area.

 This one is located in a 'holler'.  Holler is a colloquialism for hollow, a dip between two mountains.  You find lots of tiny communities in these hollers.

The mountains were literally breathe taking.  We came over some summits and gulped at the beauty. These mountains are gorgeous in the Fall but their Spring beauty magnificent.

This is an Amish farmer's market.

Since it is so early in the season, offerings were limited to plants, flowers, rhubarb and onions.

However, being Amish, there were lots of baked goods and canned items for sale.

There were lots of booths set up inside too and breakfast was served all day long.
This Amish kid was selling donuts.

Now that is a beard.

The Amish and the Englishers share the roads.

Desperate for a fish.  Don't slip!

I love these drives.  Not only is it beautiful in the mountains, you never know what you might see. Like a big tough biker and his teddy bear.  Click for a closer look.

You pass lots of farm machinery this time of year.

A beautiful sheep farm.

Those dots on the hillside are cows.  It was a nice cool sunny day and you could see how happy all the animals were to be out of the barns and grazing.  It's the perfect time of year for them before it gets too hot, which BTW happens tomorrow.
And you never know when you might see one of these.

Friday, May 22, 2015

My Memorial Day Weekend Garden

 I walked around my upper garden early this morning trying to mentally organize all of the cooking I have to do over the next two days.  I had to stop myself to enjoy how everything is looking right now.

 I love this time of year in the garden.  Everything is planted and orderly.  Perennials are mostly all opened. Soon it will turn into a jungle so it is nice to appreciate it now.

 My cistern is running, click for a closer look.

 One of my mirror chains hanging in the oakleaf hydrangeas.  When the sun hits these chains it is so beautiful.

 The second planting of lettuces is just coming up.

 Sunflowers, cilantro, blueberries, bay leaf and an olive tree that is loaded with olives.

 I still have not decided what to do with my mostly dead maple (thanks doofus neighbor) so I am growing Brown Eyed Susan vines up it this summer.

 This is the greenhouse I bought recently.  I haven't done much with it yet because I am going to paint it to match my house.  I am dreading it but my main house is going to be painted this summer and Teddy is not going to be happy about workmen crawling all over it.


 Basil and tomatoes.  These have to be covered tonight because we are going to have a frost.  We've had a few nice cool days and it really reminds me of Memorial Days from years ago.  I always loved waking up on chilly Memorial Days, decorating my bike and riding it in the parade in the small town I grew up in.  My dad would dress up in his fireman's uniform and march with all the other firemen.  I would be so proud when I saw them all.


 The big planter in the middle of my path.

 One of the cherub planters.

 Perennials in the raised bed planter.

 Climbing hydrangeas.

 These are the Salem Witch daylilies.  They will bloom on the 4th of July.

 The other raised bed planter.  Both of these used to hold my maples which had to come out because their roots were splitting the rocks.

This weekend marks the unofficial start to Summer and is bringing me closer to my countdown to Fall.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blueberry Rhubarb Pie

This is a first for me. I've made too many strawberry rhubarb pies to count but a blueberry rhubarb pie?  My CSA gave me rhubarb and I had some nice blueberries and I wanted to bake a pie so why not?
 I mixed 2 pints of blueberries with about 8 stalks of diced rhubarb, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of flour.  I also squeezed in the juice of 1 lemon.

 I made my cream cheese pie crust:
Oops, I forgot a couple pics.  Mound the filling in the crust and place the other piece on top.  Roll or crimp the edges.

Brush the crust with cream or milk.

Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Bake it at 350 degrees for an hour or more. 

The pie is done when you can see the liquid inside of it bubbling.  I've baked so many pies I can tell when they are done by the smell.  I never tasted these but I was told it was the best pie anyone had ever eaten.  So, I guess blueberries and rhubarb are a good combination.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Garden Totem Tutorial

Of all the posts I have put up since I started blogging, the ones that are the most popular are the posts where I show how to make garden totems.  I just made this one yesterday.
 First, I go to thrift store and buy pieces I think will work.  Most of these pieces can be picked up for less than a dollar, some as cheap as a quarter. You also need a tube of clear aquarium glue which you can buy at any craft store or hardware.  Wash all the glass thoroughly or run it through your dishwasher.

 Fit pieces together as you build your totem.  If your totem looks like a bunch of old plates and glasses glued together, you have failed!  The finished totem should look like one solid piece that was meant to be.  It should actually be difficult to see what the individual pieces are. Use enough glue on each piece to get a good seal but be careful that it doesn't glob or run.

 I look for small ceramic flowers and birds at the thrift stores and add them to a clear orb to make the totems more interesting.  Just glue them in place.

 Also, turn any plates you use upside down so rain can run off of them and not collect.  Built the right way, these totems are surprisingly durable. I've mad ones that people have had in their gardens for years and years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Asian Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

 Between a trip to the Asian store and my latest CSA box, my fridge was bursting with vegetables.  I decided to make a salad for The Blog Tech to take to work to share with his friends.  I sliced a head of napa cabbage, some bok choy, green onions, red and green peppers, cilantro, Asian basil and pea shoots.  I boiled 1 pound of Asian noodles and added them too.

 For the dressing, I put 5 tablespoons of honey, the juice of 5 limes, 1/4 cup of sesame oil, 1/2 cup of canola oil, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice vinegar and some minced garlic and ginger in a jar.  Shake it until combined, taste it and adjust seasoning then pour it over the salad. Depending on the size of your limes you might need to add more honey and oil.

Toss it and let it sit for a while and toss it again.  Since there is so much cabbage in this, it needs to wilt a bit.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jap Chae Recipe

I have a friend that really likes Korean food so yesterday I made her jap chae.  This is a favorite of mine too and I almost always order it at Korean restaurants.
 The secret to this dish is to get the right balance of soy sauce and sugar.  I use 1/2 cup of soy sauce mixed with 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Whisk in 4 tablespoons of sesame oil.

 Then add lots of chopped garlic.  I added about 8 minced garlic cloves.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

 Boil 1 package of sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon) for 5 minutes and drain them.
Place them in a bowl.
 Add about 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce mixture and toss them around to coat them.

 Cut 2 carrots into matchsticks.

 Thinly slice 1 red pepper, 1 medium onion and the green parts of a bunch of scallions.

 Slice 8 mushrooms.
Quickly stir fry each vegetable separately in a couple teaspoons of oil.  The vegetables should still be crunchy.
 Fry the noodles in a bit of oil for about 3 minutes. Cook some fresh spinach just until wilted and toss that in too.

 Toss everything with the rest of the sauce.  I sliced some kimchi and added it on top and drizzled some kimchi juice over the dish.