Karen the Farm Lady tantalizes you…
I’m finally 100% happy with my bread. Yes, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, rice-free, potato-free, vegan, made with this homemade flour blend. Now, I just need to post the recipe. But that takes a while. Saturday, maybe?? Monday?? Stay tuned. My friend Kim (of Gluten Free Real Food) sampled the bread yesterday, and she said it was really good.
Yesterday, I turned all this basil (about ¼ of what I could have harvested from my garden) into little ice cubes, made by chopping washed leaves with a bit of olive oil in a food processor (a delightful, free hand-me-down from the afore-mentioned Kim), putting 1 Tbsp of the mixture into ice cube trays, and topping it with filtered water. It made 40 “ice” cubes, which I will happily add to soups, stews, sauces, etc., in the dead of winter, and think happy thoughts about my garden. I’m going to make some more this afternoon.
I worked this morning in my garden, staking my tomatoes, weeding, and making a general assessment of overall garden health… I was going to plant more carrots, but Fiala, my almost-three-year-old “planted” the seeds in the family room carpet yesterday. I have determined that all — or at least most — of my garden problems were simply from the intense heat. The days are still hot — usually hitting 105° daily — but the nights are relatively cooler — in the 70s or at least the low 80s. Now,
- my Mexican Grey Squash are growing very nicely. I still haven’t harvested any mature fruit, but there are about six squash growing healthy and strong… At least 2-3 of them should be ready to eat in another week or so.
- My pole green beans have recovered from serious heat stress and are growing fresh green leaves and blossoms.
- There are a total six green tomatoes on my eleven plants — don’t laugh! Up until now, I have harvested ONE tomato, and it was really small. So, I’m really delighted about my tomato plants — growing more robustly in the last few weeks than they have all summer.
- I also have 7-8 volunteer tomato plants sprouting up… I’m not sure if I’m going to have room for all those tomatoes! We’ll see.
- My green chile plant is blooming nicely.
- My Hopi Pumpkin plant is absolutely taking over the world — it’s about 10′ x 10′, and now it is finally producing some green pumpkins which are NOT dying, but actually growing bigger. I hope I get to reap some before I grow terribly annoyed by the prolific/invasive grower and root it out.
- I have carrots that are growing nicely.
- Red chard growing nicely, too, though it seems like the bugs REALLY like it, so I’m going to have to spray it with some organic pesticide… (I bought Raid Earth Options chrysanthemum-pyrethrin-based pesticide because I had a buy-on-get-one-free coupon. For the record, it discourages bugs for about three days, and you can’t let any overspray hit bees, or it’ll kill them. And, a garden needs its bees!!)
I’ve put up ten quarts of pickles in the last week or so, using cucumbers from the CSA/farm share to which I belong. Four in the first batch, six in the second batch, which I canned this morning. The first batch was WAY TOO SALTY, because of some vague wording in the recipe I was following coupled with me not being sharp enough to figure out the error. The best part of the too-salty pickles is the cloves of fresh garlic I threw in. YUM. I’m going to have to pickle me some garlic!! In the new batch, in each jar, I used ½ tsp dill weed, ¼ tsp each brown mustard seed, coriander seed, and black peppercorns. No garlic this time — not enough to spare! I look forward to eating my not-too-salty farm pickles.
This last bit isn’t really farm-y or even food-y. BUT, I’m pleased with myself, because it is a cheap way to make my home more pleasant. :) My sister, who teases me unmercifully on topics ranging from my horse teeth to my hairy toes to my crunchiness and everything in between (I love her dearly and she keeps me humble), bewailed my sadly scentless laundry. I explained that we couldn’t do scented detergents or fabric softener because of Fiala’s skin issues. When she mourned for me, it really got me thinking about ways I could make my laundry smell pleasant and fresh without hurting Fiala. A few weeks ago, I was at Trader Joe’s and noticed their filter-paper enclosed lavender dryer sachets. Voila! Perfect. The $3.99 price tag made me grumble, but four packets which each last 6-10 loads… I figured the package would last me a month. Well, my local natural foods market (Sprouts, which is taking over the West — you may see one near you soon! It’s a good thing.) is running a 25% off their bulk products this week. They have a lovely wall of half-gallon jars full of spices and herbs, and I thought, “I wonder if they have dried lavender flowers? I could make my own dryer sachets!” Turns out, they DO carry lavender! Even on sale, it was $13-something per pound, so I tentatively filled up my little plastic ziploc baggie with what I figured was more than enough to make four sachets to do a little price comparison. The total cost??? FIFTY TWO CENTS. That’s it. And when buying lavender as an herb, it was taxed at the grocery rate (1.8%) instead of the general merchandise rate (≈9.8%, depending on the municipality). And, I already have a little cotton drawstring bag that I’m planning on using. So, I’ll have my gently lavender-scented laundry now, at 1/8 the cost. Ha! I feel pretty good about that one. Because I get excited about weird stuff like that.
And now, this post is so long, I guess I could have used the time it took creating it to have done the bread recipe. :\
Posted on September 16, 2011, in Arizona, Budget, Celiac Disease, Clean Eating, Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Dairy-free, Desert Gardening, GFCF, gluten-free, Groceries, Random Stuff, Vegan. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.