• Tag Archives carrots
  • The Final Harvest

    Fall                                                Waxing Autumn Moon

    Going out today to collect the rest of the rest of the harvest.  A few potato plants I missed the first time around remain.  Leeks, those Musselberg Giants.  Some carrots, some chard.  Beans.  Rain has appeared in the forecast for the first time in weeks.  A good thing, but it reduces the clear days for harvesting and mulching.

    When I get those leeks inside, chicken and leek pot pies come next.  I’ll use carrots and maybe a potato or two.

    Still no news from Saudi Arabia.  The weather has cooled down in Riyadh, only 93 today.

    Been pushing to finish the fourth book of Game of Thrones, but will have to give up on ending it before the cruise.  Too many words, not enough hours.  I’ll have to finish it in a deck chair. Darn.

  • Bee and Garden Diary

    Mid-Summer                                                                                          Waning Garlic Moon

    Today I performed partial hive box reversals in all three colonies.  The second hive box of three gets rotated to the bottom and the first or bottom box rotates up to take its place.  This means that all the hive boxes have to be moved, so it is a labor intensive activity, especially so now that some honey has begun to be stored.  One hive box was very heavy, my back a bit reluctant.  Having done that I checked the top box on colony 1 and the top two honey supers in colonies 2 and 3.  None of these have much honey.

    Since I put queen excluders on 2 and 3, I pulled those off, intending to leave them off for a couple of days.  At the hobby bee-keeper meetings I’m told this is a common way to get the bees to move up into the honey supers.  I’ll put the queen excluders back on maybe Wednesday.  Since I reversed the bottom and second hive boxes, there’s not much chance the queen will get up there.

    So far the bee season seems to have hurdled the early cold and rain and settled into a more normal pattern.

    The potatoes and leeks both have mounds around their stalks now, blanching for the leeks and more space for the potato plants to produce tubers.  A lot of gardening tasks are very time sensitive and these were among them.  When the potato plants flower (now), they begin to set the tubers.  As the leeks grow, only the parts covered by soil will blanch, turn white, and be useful for cooking.  As the young apples begin to grow, the bags have to go on before the apple maggots come out to play.  Also now.

    The bees, too, require definite care and different kinds of care all through early spring and summer, then less attention around now, when the honey flow begins.  Later in August will come extraction, then preparation of colony 1 for overwintering.  Gonna try one more time.  Colonies 2 and 3 will move out near the truck lane, into the sunny part.  That’s for next year.

    Our tomato plants started from seed have begun to mature, though they are far behind the two plants Kate bought at the green barn.  Those plants have blooms and green tomatoes.  It remains to be seen whether we’ll get any tomatoes from the others.

    We’ve harvested one full planting of spinach, several of lettuce, some sugar snap peas and just this week, lots of strawberries.  We have onions, carrots, beets, more lettuce and spinach, plus pole and bush beans all underway.  There are cherries and plums in the orchard in addition to the apples and the raspberry canes are in good mid-season form.  We’re going to have a good season as we continue to learn how to use our garden to complement and supplement what we buy at the grocery store.

  • A Garden, Some Latin, Ai Weiwei

    Beltane                                                     New Last Frost Moon

    The potatoes are in the ground.  The lettuce has two leaves, as does the spinach, a few beets have emerged.  The leeks look a bit droopy, but they’ll pick up.  The garlic is well over 6 inches now as it makes the final push for harvest in late June, early July.  None of the carrots have germinated yet and most of the beets have not either. The onion sets we planted havecropped-free-ai-weiwei mostly begun to show green.  The bees show up now around the property, working as we do, tending the plants in their own, intimate way.  The gooseberries we transplanted look very healthy.  The daffodils are a carpet of yellow and white.  A few scylla out front brighten up the walk with their blue.

    Most of today went into Diana and Actaeon.  I’m down to verse 227, the finish line is 250.  I’m close and moving faster now than I was.  One of the things I’ve learned is that doing this at a pace which would allow you to complete a project in a reasonable time frame would require real skill.  I’m a hobby Ovidist, to be a Latin scholar would take decades.  Who knows though?  I might make it.  When I finish this first tale in the Metamorphosis, I’m going to have some kind of celebration.

    Buddy Mark Odegard has come up with three remarkable designs for a Free Ai Weiwei t-shirt.   Here’s an example and the one most seem to prefer:

  • Cooking With Clay

    Winter                                            Waning Moon of the Winter Solstice

    A long time ago I got a clay pot for cooking, a romertopf.  Over many years I used it at least every several weeks, then it went in the cupboard, not to come back into the kitchen.  Until today.  A free-range chicken, 40 of our garlic cloves, two of our onions and the last of our leeks went in with the last of our carrots and 7 small potatoes.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 475, take the top off to let it brown and voila!  A tasty, moist chicken with sides already done.  Throw in a steam in the bag collection of green beans, a Kate made chicken gravy and we were ready for lunch.

    My cooking tends to be like that, large amounts with leftovers, whether soup or chicken.

  • Planting and Reaping

    Fall                                            Waning Harvest Moon

    The last forty bulbs, a monet tulip collection, have gone in the ground.   I planted a couple of hundred daffodil and tulips at various spots in the orchard, which we see from the table while eating breakfast.  The others, more daffodils and tulips along with a bunch of new lilies, went into the tiered beds off our patio.  Spring color has such an invigorating effect after winter.

    It was more hassle, but I went ahead and amended the sandy orchard soil where I planted the monet tulips.  Without the composted manure/top soil mixture, the sandy soil would not support these tulips for long, especially since most tulips are biennials at best in our garden.

    With all the bulbs and corms put to bed, I went to work taking out all the remaining root crops:  onions, beets and carrots.  We had a large number of each, enough to add to our stores for the coming winter.  I also picked four big leeks since I plan to reprise my leek based chicken pot pies.  Over the next week I’ll have to pull the remainder of the leeks and make something with them.  The last butternut squash came in as well.

    With the exception of putting the bees up for the winter the only remaining necessary garden chore will be mulching once the ground freezes.  I have oak leaves and still hold out hope that I can find actual bales of straw somewhere.

  • Rusty Latin

    Fall                                                         Waning Harvest Moon

    Back into the Latin this morning with my tutor, Greg.  Boy, I got rusty in just two months off.  This language stuff requires constant attention.  When I went through college and sem, I took courses that I could set aside for weeks at a time, do a reading and note review in one big gulp, then be fine for a mid-term or a final.  I can’t do that with Latin.  It’s probably why I never learned a language.  The repeated application just didn’t suit the style I brought to learning.  Now, older, I’m more methodical, more patient with myself and feel no pressure for a grade.  Makes the process better, though not simpler.

    So.  This ends the intellectually demanding week I’ve had since Tuesday morning.  Whew.  A bit of let down now, a kick back and read.  Then, I’m going to pick up the Latin again this afternoon after the nap.  Strike while the mental iron is still hot.

    The weekend will see me finishing the bulb planting-24 tulips, harvesting carrots and beets and leeks and squash, maybe even some more greens.  I’ll also get the bees ready for their cardboard wraps, though I won’t put them on until sometime in November.

  • Harvest

    Fall                                      New (Harvest) Moon

    Second round of apiguard in the parent and the divide.  The top box on the package colony has gotten heavier, but I plan to feed them some more as I will do to the parent once the apiguard comes off in two weeks.  Sometime in early November I’ll get out the cardboard wraps and cover the hives for winter.  That will pretty much finish bee work for the year until late February or early March.  I’ve given away honey and plan to give away more.  Part of the fun.

    A quick walk through the vegetable garden shows kale and swiss chard looking good, a few rogue onions that escaped the harvest, plenty of carrots, beets and butternut squash.  The harvest is 2010-10-04_0351not yet over and will go on until the ground threatens to become hard.

    While I drove through the countryside on my way back to Lafayette on Monday, I passed field after field of corn and beans, some harvested, some not, about half and half.  Seeing those scenes put me right back at home, especially the corn fields.  Here’s a field near Peru, Indiana with the combine spilling corn into a tractor trailer for transport either to a corn bin, grain dryer or even straight to the grain elevators, all depending on the price and moisture content of the corn.

    Indiana is no longer home, Minnesota is, but Indiana has a large section of my heart, the chamber of childhood and early young adulthood, a room full of corn fields, basketball, small towns, a baby sister and brother, county fairs and James Whitcomb Riley poems.  I was glad to be there the last few days and to walk again in the part of my heart filled there so long ago.

    We move now toward Samhain, Summer’s End.  Blessed be.

  • Chicken Pot Pies and Memories

    Fall                                                 Waning Back to School Moon

    Before the Vikings game on Sunday I made two chicken pot pies, whole pies filled with chicken, vegetables and a thickened vegetable broth made in the process.  These are my second and third meat pies and I find I enjoy making them as much as I do soup.  Something about baking a pie that has meat and vegetables intrigues me.  This one had our leeks, potatoes, onions, carrots, garlic, parsley and thyme.  My favorite vegetable from this garden is the leek.  The subtle flavor and the delicate flesh of the leek both appeal to my palate.

    Here are a few of the ingredients plus a tomato and raspberries from our garden.  This potato looks similar to the woman of la mouthe in the MIA’s collection.  At least to my eye.670_0300 Fresh ingredients are key to Italian, Chinese and vegetarian cooking so a garden facilitates those cuisines, at least during the harvest system.  Our best meals of the summer happen in September.

    Visiting Westminster today brought up all kinds of memories.  Don Meisel, former head pastor, came into the men’s room once during a Presbytery meeting.  I had a report on top of the urinal, reading it.  Don said, “My, you must get a lot of work done.”  Presbyterian humor. Another surprising Don Meisel moment.  There on the wall of a hallway was the exact same Granlund sculpture, the Tree of Life, that I bought Kate for her 50th birthday.  Don had given it to the church in memory of his wife.

    Jim Campbell’s name came up, too.  Jim was a top exec of Northwest Bank and a leader on the Community Involvement Program’s board.  I worked at CIP for 4+ years, starting as a janitor and week-end staff person during seminary and moving up to Director of Residential programs.  Jim came to me at one point and asked if I would take on directing both the Residential programs and the Day Activity Centers.  I thought about it and said no.  That surprised him, I could tell.  It surprised me a bit, too.  I had no interest then or later in advancement, even though I did end up as an Associate Executive Presbyter.

    Then, the chapel.  What a peaceful space,  a definite English feel to it wood, limestone, slate floor, a beautiful organ.  Wilson Yates, then professor of society and religion at United Seminary, married Raeone and me in that chapel in 1979.  Ed Berryman, the organist, refused to play the music we wanted.  I don’t remember what it was.  We had Handel’s Water Music.  Ed liked it.

    There were, too, many mornings of bible study with urban clergy in the now much renovated basement area.  Bible study was always one of the fun parts because Presbyterian clergy pride themselves on their scholarly ability.

    Well, off to bed.  Gotta catch the Empire Builder at 7:30 am.

  • Grounded

    Lughnasa                               Waxing Back to School Moon

    Finished digging the potatoes.  The crop seems smaller than last year’s, but I can’t tell for sure.  Still, we don’t eat potatoes often and we have enough to last us quite awhile.  Kate made an early autumn roast vegetable medley with onions, carrots, leaks, garlic, beets and one potato I pierced with the spading fork.  It was delicious.  So was the raspberry pie–of which we have two.  Our raspberry bushes have been exuberant.  We’ve still got leeks, greens, beets, carrots and squash in the ground.  Some of it will stay in the ground until the frost and freeze gets serious.  I made a mistake last year with the carrots and didn’t get them out before the ground froze.  They became organic matter for the soil.  We also left our entire potato crop out in our garage stair well.  When the temps dropped down, way down, the potatoes froze, then thawed.  Not good for potatoes.  We’re trying to not make those mistakes this year.  We’ll make new ones!

    Working with Leslie today reminded me of the punch there is in ministry.  Yes, the institutional confines squeeze life out of faith, but the individuals, the people can put it back.  She asked me an interesting question.  We got to talking about Christianity and she wondered, “Do you miss it?”  I’m not sure anyone has asked just that question of me.  I don’t, not at a faith level.

    I miss the thick web of relationships I once had there.  I miss the opportunity to do bible study.  That may sound strange, but higher criticism of the bible is a scholarly affair requiring history, language, knowledge of mythology and tradition, sensitivity to redactors (editors), an awareness of textual differences, as well as a knowledge of the bible as a whole.  I spent a lot of time learning biblical criticism and I enjoyed it.  Not much call for it in UU or humanist circles though.

    By the time my nap finished it was too late to put the shims in the hives.  I hope there’s some clear, sunny time tomorrow.  Also need to put the feeder back on the package colony.

    The Vikings.  Not sure.  Favre needs some better wide receivers, yes.  The defense played well.  Adrian Peterson did, too.  It felt as if we were outcoached the last two games.  Not sure about that, that’s a murky area to me, but something doesn’t feel quite right.

  • Domestic, Horticultural and Apicultural Matters

    Lughnasa                                Full Artemis Moon

    Still waiting on the extracting equipment though I imagine it will arrive soon.  Then, setting up the honey house with the extractor and the capping knife and the capping container.  I’ll move some things around, get ready for winter storage of honey supers, put in a solid table for handling supers and frames and foundations.  It’ll be finished when I get the metal sign to hang over the door.

    Today found me at Home Depot early picking up a filter for the humidifier attached to the furnace–didn’t know it had one till gas repairman pointed it out–and a refrigerator coil brush.   Turns out refrigerators work more efficiently if their coils get cleaned.  Who knew?  Up the road on Hghwy 10 I went to Anoka Feed and Seed to order another 8 cubic yards of wood chips.  The sky has that late summer blue.  Autumn does not show through the sky and the winds yet, but it will.  It’s already evident in dying plants and woolly caterpillars.

    Back home I pulled some carrots, beets, chard and Kale.  I also dug for a couple of new potatoes, but I’m not finding as many potatoes as I found last year.  Hope I just haven’t gone deep enough.  That got my hands good and dirty.

    This afternoon I plan to get back to the exercise routine which has seemed too strenuous for the last two weeks while I was sick.  Looking forward to returning to that habit.