Monday, August 11, 2008
And we continue to grow all sorts of goodies.
Finally... our garden is doing great and is producing all sorts of yums and showy blooms. I found a wonderful variety of pickling cucumber from Territorial Seed that I planted this year. I really like the pickling varieties as they stay small and sweet. The figs are almost ripe and have already set the second round of fruit. We have not yet, within a season, been able to harvest this second crop as it always turns cold before they can ripen. Perhaps this year...
I am also growing an heirloom variety of sugar pumpkin that I am pretty excited about. They are on the smaller side and are lovely from the outside with deep grooves and an intense shade of orange, and are fleshy and sweet on the inside, perfect for pies and all sorts of goodies. I'm open to receiving all recipes that include fresh pumpkin - even after distributing some around Indianola, we're going to have quite a few to play around with. Pumpkins always make me think of my sister, Laura. I believe it was back around 1980 that my parents, on our several acres in rural Johnson County, Iowa, where we grew most everything we ate, grew an enormous pumpkin. They sent a photo into the Press-Citizen newspaper of my sister sitting on top of this orange mammoth. She would have only been three or four years old and I think this pumpkin weighed close to 80 pounds. She could have easily fit inside. I'm going to have to dig the photo up, scan it and post it sometime around Halloween...
Our two bulb beds have really been producing wonderful flowers this year - several varieties of dahlias, gladiolas, bells of Ireland, purple coneflower, some stunning tigridia and a number of other bird and bee friendly flowers. I was out in the garden the other day and watched two Rufus Hummingbirds fight over one echinacea flower. I had to laugh - there were probably a hundred other flowers for each of them to choose from.
BASIL! We have a serious bumper crop this year and I believe we'll have enough pesto to survive the long, wet, dark winter. There is truly nothing like pulling a jar out of the freezer in February, thawing it and coating a plate of pasta with the essence of summer. Kelsey does his "selective pruning" like a true basil master and I was surprised after he was done to look at both the bountiful harvest and the still full and thriving basil garden. It looks like we will get three very large harvests this year. The evidence of the first is in the photo with the red cooler - we spent three hours on Friday night, plucking leaves off of stems while watching the summer Olympics. Kelsey then made over twenty, eight ounce jars of pesto on Sunday.
So there are some people who like to cook and who can pull out a recipe book and recreate recipes that guests enjoy and want to know more about (this is me). There are then the people who want to learn more about the culinary arts and who enjoy cooking enough that they go into this as a profession to make a living. Then there are people who are true food artists, who LOVE food and who can't NOT cook - all of the time. The latter is our friend, Joe. Joe and Sara recently moved back to Seattle and came out for an overnight stay here in Indianola last week. They always bring so much great food with them, this time we said just bring yourselves... I did not go to the grocery store or plan anything special. From what we had laying around, including a few leftover items from the fridge, Joe cooked up an amazing meal. A fresh Asian veggie salad, spicy grilled salmon with basil/peanut sauce, and grilled spring onions and zucchini which we had over lovely, basmati rice infused with cardamom and other spices. And I thought he might be able to do something with the bread, cheese and tomatoes that I initially brought out...
I was surprised, given the years we've spent apart from them and given how our lives have changed, that we fell so easily back into our close friendship, talking and laughing in the garden and over dinner. It is good to have them back. And they loved Owen... and loved Owen... That always feels so good.
I wanted to make sure I mentioned another "growings-on." I am fourteen weeks pregnant - due on Valentine's Day. We are very excited for Owen to have a sibling and know that this will be good for him AND for us. We're doing most everything differently this time, including having our second at a hospital (Swedish) and finding out the sex of the baby the first week of September. These very much feel like the right decisions for us. While our current OB/GYN assures us that this is not a high risk pregnancy and that we should not at all expect any complications, what we've learned the last year is that Owen's injury most likely occurred during labor/delivery and we want to make sure that we have all of the available technology readily accessible during our next birth experience.
We leave next Thursday for Stanford and will spend a day and a half visiting with Mac and Margery (Grandpa Marshall and Nai Nai) before Owen is admitted to start the ketogenic diet on Monday the 25th. I know I've asked for this a lot this last year, but please send him your good thoughts. We really, really, really want this to work from him.
My next posting won't be until after Labor Day, after we return from Stanford, after Aunt Laura has come to visit (!!!) and after we've learned whether Owen will be having a brother or sister. I'm sure it will be a good, long posting.
Until then, enjoy the last rays of summer!
"A garden is evidence of faith. It links us with all the misty figures of the past who also planted and were nourished by the fruits of their planting." - Gladys Taber