Hello, friends. Last Sunday, I left to visit my niece in Asheville. Between mid-afternoon Sunday to Monday afternoon, we took five hikes, including two to waterfalls. For scale, look closely at the rocks on the right for people. We had a lovely time. North Carolina surely is a beautiful state. I gathered an oak gall and a little bit of usnea on our hikes. There was lots of usnea, but our hikes were my focus. After our first hike, we went by the farmer's market, and I picked up a few things for dinner Sunday. We also did some thrifting, and I brought home a lovely pair of linen shorts. When I headed towards home Tuesday, I stopped by a nearby discount grocery I'd found online, only it wasn't truly a discount grocery. Most of their stock was regularly priced, and some was even higher, such as a 2# bag of organic apples for $7.49. They did have GF chips for $1.49, and I got a couple, but overall, it was a disappointment.
I'd offered my niece my old juicer, which she was happy to get. That worked out wonderfully well, as I could make my celery juice each morning while there. I planned ahead, and was able to stay on the MM recommendations during my visit. Between the produce I brought, and what was gotten at the market, it was pretty easy. I prepared smoothies and cut up apples for the drive each way. On Monday night, my niece suggested a curry house downtown. I wasn't sure how much I liked curry, but they had two that I could eat, so off we went. It was delicious! I'm still thinking about it. I had a Thai Panang curry, with veggies, coconut milk, lime juice and peanuts. So good! I've already found the Panang paste, and plan to attempt to recreate it at home.
Two loads of laundry were hung out to dry outdoors. The cucumbers have started bearing, and are bountiful. Several were shared with two neighbors, and some were shared with the owner of the gallery I worked at on Saturday. I pulled two bags of frozen leftovers to take for my lunch at the gallery, as well as water and fruit. I tried a MM recipe for Spicy Cucumber Chips, which we liked. I'm happy to find something to replace the Asian cucumber side I usually make each summer. There were two store bought onions going bad, so I salvaged what I could, dehydrated it, and added it to the soup mix jar. I harvested cucumbers, mulberries, black berries, figs, a yellow squash and a small eggplant that something had started chewing on. We're getting quite dry here, and are very much hoping for the rain in the forecast on Monday. The chickens are getting a chopped mash each day, and rewarding us with eggs. I used diluted comfrey tea to feed lots of flowers and landscape plants.
J harvested the onions that were ready. They're larger and nicer than previous harvests, which is nice. He planted two cover crops on currently unused areas of our main and pond gardens. The cover crops he used were phacelia and buckwheat. Besides building our soil, both of these will also support pollinators. After our potatoes had dried on the ground for several days, J & I sized them. I brought a basket of the smallest ones into the house to can at a future date. As last year, we spread them out on pine straw in small, medium and large sizes, J limed them, and then placed more pine straw on top. They're then covered with heavy plastic, and they're within a dog lot which is covered with tin roofing. This system works better for us than anything else we've tried so far. I used our first tomato in a salad Sunday, but it wasn't very good. J picked up a few Early Girl plants this year. We're hoping it's because of the heat and dryness, rather than those tomatoes in general not being good. Either way, they won't go to waste.
A few weeks ago, we were invited to an outdoor party this past Saturday night. It was called a Gratitude Fest, and was a small gathering of around 2 dozen. It was so nice to be out among a gathering of people, some old friends and also meeting some new. We were treated to live music from an excellent musician, and then danced under the stars for the first time in a long while. It seemed the quintessential summer night. I'm grateful for many things, but family, friends and summer nights have to be up close to the top. Though we'd originally planned our first cookout Memorial Day weekend, we were surprised to find a Carolina wren on a nest in the grill. Everyone has now flown, so we finally were able to grill over the weekend. I prepped potatoes and yellow squash with herbs, all from the garden, and made salads using our carrot and the tomato. Wishing you all the gifts of the season.