Hebe’s Coming Out

Our large maple tree in the front yard came down Saturday since it was showing its age by growing several conch fungi. It was a beautiful tree in its prime but needed to be removed before we woke up with it in bed with us! Hebe, the goddess who greets you at our front door, is lacking her leafy bower. She weighs many hundreds of pounds so I think it will be easier to grow some vine for shade around her instead of moving her to another nook. Her nectar for eternal life that she is offering did not reach the maple!

The plans are to change our manner of yard care into a permaculture mode…starting with the front yard! What that means exactly, I’m not sure, since Nathan is the instigator of all of this. The main thought is that there should be several life-giving purposes to the placement of things in relation to my front door. A lawn is mowed at least once a week, using fossil fuels that are nonrenewable and polluting the air faster than we care to think. My take on all the discussions is that nut and fruit trees will be the top story with a perennial carpet of plants giving nutrients back into the soil.

In light of that, we are needing LARGE sheets of cardboard, if you happen to have it sitting around. Once the tree is cleared, the ground is to be covered with cardboard and mulch, similar to what I’ve done in all the flower beds to keep the weeds down.

On to tasty delights of local harvests! I have enjoyed the crisp flavor of Tokyo Bekana in my sandwiches and in salads. The midribs of Mei Qing Choi and Joi Choi add a sweet juicy crunch to carrot salad. Steamed buttercup squash is less hassle than a pie and richer in flavor, oh my goodness! The season for salsas is coming to a close when my cilantro finally decides it is frozen, though I am going to try and freeze some in ice cubes to see if the flavor holds.

Harvest this week should include: a choice of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or Brussels sprouts since there was not enough of one type of brassica for everyone. There should also be a small bag of greens including: claytonia, spinach, lettuces and bull’s blood beet tops and then head lettuce, buttercup squash, onions, radishes, carrots and a variety of Asian greens.

Fiesta time

Whew! The new tunnel is now completed! We called some friends if they would not mind rolling out of bed early Saturday morning to help us put the plastic roof on before the wind picked up. Terrific friends for a perfect day. It isn’t all that complicated; we just didn’t want to sail away on the breath of a breeze.

Both tunnels have also been moved one plot west. We jumped track several times in the process, but in general we stayed the course. Friends came over to glean green tomatoes. They were awestruck by the size of the vines and the tomatoes. Haha! It was party time, dreaming of all the salsa verde. On Sunday, we had a progressive supper while sitting at our table eating homemade tortillas as more food arrived! In thanks for the green tomatoes we received pozole, a pork and hominy soup. What shall I say? It was a sweet ending to a most grace-filled weekend.

Our walk and talk tour on Thursday past was a lot of fun. Questions help us ponder the whys and wherefores about life in a constructive manner. I tried out a new hot pumpkin beverage and judging by the leftovers, only 2 jars had something remaining at the bottom, it was well received. Nathan had suggested using pint-sized canning jars for glasses, which I have plenty of at the moment.

We have planned a fun season finale for those who can come this Saturday anytime between the hours of 2 – 5 p.m. Squash is the main theme since there are a few mammoth Boston marrows left for us to slice and dice. There will be a variety of foods containing squash to sample from beverage to dessert but not the usual fare: no pies or quick bread. Squashy activities are planned such as decorating an acorn squash and squash bingo with prizes. Let us know if you can come and if you are bringing children or a friend or two. We will be indoors unless it is a balmy day.

The harvest this week should include spinach as well as head lettuce, carrots, potatoes, pac choi, onions, squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, chard and cilantro.

All the Asian greens go well with any quick cooked vegetable; they don’t like to stew. I had leftover noodles this week and each night I made a different dish other than the original spaghetti. I start with onions and a bit of garlic, add in whatever veggie is handy, meat or beans for protein, noodles at the end of the cooking, a bit of salt and ya, listo! Cheese can be added at the end so it can melt a bit. Cilantro on top for pizzaz. Hot salsa for sitting up straight and in 15 minutes the meal is ready!