Hello, friends. After an appointment last week, I went by Trader Joe's and a local natural foods market. On Tuesday, I met a friend for dinner and free live music to celebrate her birthday. I'd seen one of the musicians earlier this summer, and thought she'd like him too. Two of her gifts were made or altered by me. There were daily walks with the pups. While harvesting parsley one day, I noticed several swallowtail caterpillars feeding on it. I recently saw a friend had put a large laundry bag over her plants with caterpillars to protect them. I only had small bags, so I covered them them the best I could for one day, then found some large ones at Dollar Tree, and changed them out. These are busy days in the garden, with cucumbers, green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, tromboncino, tomatoes, peppers and hazelnuts being harvested. There were even a few of the peach runner beans, which I cooked up in a recipe with tomatoes, onion and garlic. We enjoyed them, though the hot, dry days have made all the beans a little tough. Good fiber!
One day, I got a call from J, asking if I'd be willing to bring the guys their suitcase welder, as the large portable one had broke down. They were working at the place where he and his business partner had first worked together as employees. The plant has gone through numerous changes since then. At one time, a good bit of food was planted there. These days much of it goes to waste. I gathered 10 asian pears, and around 3 dozen figs while there. A few figs were eaten fresh, and the rest were dehydrated. I'm thinking of making a tart with the pears, but haven't decided. I also gathered a few flower heads of zinnias and dianthus. Free organic food and seeds was a nice bonus for doing a good deed. J worked there again the next day, and brought home another 12 asian pears. I stopped by a nearby feed & seed for chick food on the way home, and saw their plants were all 75% off. I came home with a lemongrass, 2 moonflower vines, and 2 plants labeled as spirea tomentosa, but learned they are something else entirely, with yellow flowers. Oh well, it will be a surprise, unless you can enlighten me. The plants were all $1 or $1.25 each.
|mystery plants (see long, narrow leaves below lemongrass leaf)|
I had intended to can squash, and had just put the canning rings in a pot to boil when J called about the welder. So, plans changed, and I canned squash the next day. While keeping an eye on the canner, I shelled the dry lima beans. When I was done canning, I blanched and froze fresh limas, and made a batch of yogurt. For my upcoming birthday, I'd been thinking of asking for headphones, which I sometimes use to listen to things on the computer, or watch a movie J isn't interested in. The right side of the headphones hasn't worked right for some time, and takes a lot of fiddling to get it to work. It occurred to me that I may be able to fix it by replacing the jack, so ordered one for less than $5, which J will solder for me. I've had them for years, and replaced the ear foam within the past year. The headphones are good quality, so if the jack works, they should last a good while longer.
While canning, I kept enough yellow squash out to make this
dish. For another meal, I pulled sloppy joe sauce from the freezer, and J pulled a chicken from the freezer another day. The ice maker broke a few weeks ago. It took several tries, and a bit of sleuthing, but J managed to fix it for not much OOP. Another day, I canned tomatoes, then dehydrated the skins for bird suet. I'd been wanting to try a plant version of mozzarella, and did when I made a caprese salad. It was surprisingly good. Even J said he would eat it. This will help me better keep to my Dr's recommendations during tomato season. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying. It's been a few weeks since there were any figs to harvest. I checked on them, and found 4 big, perfectly ripe figs to harvest. They were so good. J bought a new TV, which came with Roku. I think that means I'll be able to watch more of the This is Us show for free, which makes me happy.
On Sunday morning's walk, I harvested a couple of chanterelles and an old man of the woods
, which were both taught during the mushroom class. Old man of the woods is a new edible for me, so I cooked up a small piece with the chantrelles, eggs, tomatoes and garlic to try. The instructor said the taste benefited from drying and rehydrating, so I dried the remainder. It's always a good idea to eat a small amount when trying a new mushroom, to make sure it agrees with you. We traveled several hours east on Saturday, for a family reunion. I brought cucumber couscous salad to share, and brought a large bowl of lima beans to shell on the drive. After we got home, a friend and her husband delivered several bottles of their honey, brought wine and crackers to share, and a few rose of sharon seedlings. It's so hot and dry again, I'm going to keep all the plants watered for now, and plant them when they have a better chance. I hope your week has been a good one.