Tuesday, November 2, 2010

salt away summer

that’s about it--my last summer veggie harvest...

and what’s probably my last 100%-homegrown meal of the year.

i picked almost all the remaining tomatoes and took down almost all the vines. i ended up with only 9lbs of unripe maters.

there are two tomato plants i left up because some pole peas are intertwined, no way to separate them and the peas are still going.

one of those plants has three tomatoes left, including this fused mutant, shown here baring its aberrant blossom end like the naughty little nightshade it is.

over half of the unripe tomatoes either started ripening or ripened fully before i got around to making any green tomato anything.

but i caught enough green ones to make three pints of delicious salsa verde. one jar is almost half gone already.

these are the two cherry tomato plant cuttings i’m trying to overwinter. i potted them with a couple purple basils. my expectations are reasonably low...the one on the right is already getting leggy.

there still hasn’t been a frost in my back yard and parts of the garden still look vibrant. nasturtiums, cosmos and borage remain in full bloom, and the kales have never looked better.

groundcherries are sending up new branches and flowers, setting more and more fruit. next year i need to get these going much earlier.

these banana peppers are confused. they’re finally getting enough sun after being shaded and strangled by tomatoes all summer, so they reckon it’s a proper time to start fruiting.

primroses are bamboozled as well. the weatherman declared it an “indian summer.” most parts of the valley have already frosted, and now temperatures are back in the sunny upper 60s, staying there all week. it’s like winter’s never going to happen.

a lot of space opened up in the main garden bed so i took some very root-bound herbs and greens out of their pots and planted them along the stone path: curled parsley, italian parsley, lemon thyme, sage and rhubarb swiss chard. everything looks miniscule compared to what was there before.

i picked up some locally-grown, organic garlic bulbs from north end organic nursery. three varieties: purple glazer (hardneck), chesnok red (hardneck), and susanville (softneck). this is my first time growing garlic. i planted a few cloves in my mom’s herb garden in mccall, and now i have to figure out a place for the remaining ones here. i like the idea of trying new garlic varieties but i’m conflicted about growing them. i go through garlic so fast it would take far more space than i’m willing to devote to grow even a month’s supply. also, i don’t like that i have to plant them in fall, because they’ll get in my way next spring.

i spent halloween over at jason’s. on the way there i caught a glimpse of gone feral in idaho’s fantastic display, just a few blocks away from jason’s house. boise’s a small place sometimes.

jason found a stray kitten and brought her home that afternoon. black cat on halloween...i suggested the name “samhain” but he’s pretty stuck on calling her “little black kitty,” or LBK. goose (his other cat) hates her, so he’s trying to find a new home. this cat is one of the sweetest i’ve ever met. she spent most of the evening in my arms, purring and sleeping and kneading me. she loves to rub her head against your face. anyone want a really awesome kitty? please? (nevermind--he's keeping her now.)

we had a cookout and ate more food than any two people should eat in one sitting. between the two of us we demolished a loaf of garlic ciabatta, save for two slices (in our defense, this bread was insane. it had huge chunks of garlic baked into it, and when we toasted slices on the grill it went all crispy-on-the-outside, warm-and-chewy-on-the-inside, so much garlic, drooool). we also roasted pumpkin seeds (and ate an entire large pumpkin’s worth), and made burritos with roasted bell peppers, soy curls, seasoned rice and green tomato salsa. i made special, super-flavorful tortillas for the burritos, which we toasted on the grill:

i basically followed my usual recipe for tortillas, but instead of water i used juice. i juiced three medium-sized tomatoes, a whole lime, a carrot, two large cloves of garlic and around a dozen cranberries. i doubled the other ingredients and added lots of spices to the flour: onion powder, chili powder, paprika, pepper and homegrown black cumin that i ground fresh with a mortar and pestle.

here’s what the cumin seed heads look like. these are still curing. cumin is one of my all-time favorite spices.

the aroma when you grind the seeds is like nothing else.

after all that eating we took a walk around the neighborhood then came back with the intention of listening to “ghost to ghost” on the radio. jason fell asleep basically as soon as he hit the bed, so i just laid there playing with the kitty and listening to ghost stories for a while, then i fell asleep too, with kitten curled up on my chest and purring. it was a low-key halloween, but a good one. i didn’t carve any pumpkins, hand out any candy, make any displays or even bother with a costume. i did intend to carve a pumpkin, though, and i might still do that. who cares that the holiday’s over.


GoneferalinID said...

What a sweet kitty!. Too bad I missed you guys on Halloween, it would have been cool to meet you. We are in the process of putting the garden beds to sleep for the winter, but so many plants are still going pretty strong.

To be honest, I want a break from both endeavors. Good thing I'm going hiking with old friends this weekend.

Thanks for sharing another beautiful post.

Kim and Victoria said...

If you can't find a home for your kitty.......and are thinking of giving her to the pound, let me know. Gees, I love a good cat. We have one now but I usually keep a couple.
Love your harvest. What do you usually do with your groundcherries?
Growing your own cumin, what a great idea!
We grew garlic last year and have just replanted. Do you have any roses? Garlic is supposed to be a great bug deterrent around them.

Emily said...

gone feral--i bet you're exhausted after those huge projects. i was wondering what you'd take on next but a break is a good idea. i thought i was ready for a break from gardening, but yesterday i was already drooling over seed catalogues and daydreaming about next year...ridiculous.

kim and victoria--very, very cool of you to offer about the cat. i called jason to let him know, and he had interesting news...turns out someone at his work wanted the cat, and that other person's desire for her was all it took for him to suddenly want to keep her. oh, and now he's naming her "samhain," "sammy" for short. he is a silly, silly man.

i've never grown groundcherries before, so i don't even know what they taste like--in fact i didn't know that's what this plant was when i planted it, it grew from mystery seed. this year i won't have enough for anything more than fresh eating, but some people make jams, jellies, pies, etc.

and yes i have roses--thank you for the suggestion, that's a great idea but i don't have enough space around the bush to plant anything else.

Jessica said...

I love that you grew cumin and am thinking of adding it to my herb spiral next year. Is it fairly easy to grow? Any advice for the novice?

I've been enjoying your photographs per usual, but I was blown away by the dancers. You have some amazing shots with great composition of these lovely ladies. I'm dying to go to a burlesque show. If I ever have a bachelorette party, that's what I want to do.

Emily said...

thanks, jessica! the cumin was extremely easy to grow and very, very decorative. the flowers are gorgeous. i grew them in a container with barely any space and they did just fine.