July is in full swing, and the gardens are looking fabulous.
I'm grateful for a deep well - with the heat and no rain, we certainly would have lost our plants if I didn't water a few nights a week.
Don't these brussel sprouts look fantastic?! I can't wait to get them into the freezer and enjoy them roasted with olive oil this winter...
Lucky for me, I'm the only one that likes them.
As I talked about in the devotional this week, I'm not only enjoying the gardens this year, but I have had more success than any year past.
Yellow Crookneck Squash
Just this morning I took Trey out to the garden with me (always an experience) and picked a dozen tiny yellow squash and cucumbers to make a jar of baby dills.
I picked a dozen or so large yellow squash as well, and this weekend, when I take a group over to my favorite Amish produce stand during our Food Tour , I'll pick up some red sweet peppers to whip up a batch of summer squash relish to can.
Stay tuned for that recipe, complete with pictures. It's my mother-in-law's recipe, and Mom English has been canning for a gazillion years, so I can promise, it's a winner.
Don't Tom's cabbages look amazing? He finally told me his secret last night.
When he was ready to transplant the seedlings, he dug out the row and covered the bottom with horse manure from the field.
When the cabbage roots reached the manure, it gave them the extra oomph they needed. Plus, the manure holds moisture better than our clay soil.
Oh, and he placed a thick layer of grass mulch around them.
Storage is the name of the game. Winter squash that can be stored are one of my secrets to keeping food costs down in the winter. These acorn squash will get a bit bigger than softballs and make a tasty meal filled with sausage stuffing...
They're also tasty filled with butter, brown sugar and apple pieces...
This is me being all optimistic. I purchased some small cantaloupe seedlings a bit late and planted them in composted horse manure in their own raised bed.
It's awfully late in the season, but who knows, if I put some clear plastic over them, I may just be picking cantaloupe this September. Stay tuned...
CookBook Store, Freetown, Massachusetts
I was almost tempted to entitle this: What I did on my Summer Vacation.
Okay, seriously, I ducked into some super cool places during our vacation. First of which is by far the BEST bookstore I've ever visited. Chuck Williams of Eagle Trading Company knows his food and how to cook it. Chuck grew up in the deep South of Georgia. His childhood chicken-butchering memories run so deep he still won't eat chicken.
This is what heaven looks like. I'm sure of it.
I sat in his shop and we talked food, self-sufficiency, canning, fermenting, butchering and even a bit of faith.
I was delighted to find a 1936 Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook. My husband was delighted that I used the book to bake a Shoofly Pie (Stay tuned, I'll do it one week on the kitchen page.)
Chuck Williams, Eagle Trading Company
My mother loves to call Chuck and have him track down impossible-to-find cookbooks. I enjoyed his wealth of knowledge and gentlemanly way. If you are looking for a rare, hard-to-find, or international cookbook, Chuck is your man.
No, I can't give you a website, but trust me, you'll enjoy talking to him.
Tell him Rosalyn sent you, and that she's looking forward to his visit during butchering this fall...
Eagle Trading Company, Assonet Village, Assonet, MA
Old trucks and farm roads. Love 'em. When I was a child, my dad had a truck a lot like this one, but it was green. I loved watching the
big boys ride on the step side, hanging on, all tough and well-balanced. My dad bought a new truck before I had a chance to ride on the step. Tragedy.
When we head to the farm, there is a point where we turn off the paved roads onto a dirt and gravel farm road.
Trey loves this part of our drive. He immediately asks me, "Can I come up front?" If I hesitate, he is quick to remind me, "The policeman won't mind." When we're at the farm, we drive farm-style. Our dirt roads and around-the-field farmtracks, are every child's dream. No seat belts, no car seats.
I taught my best friend's daughter to drive on the farmtracks in our pickup truck. She did a great job. She learned to turn before she hit the steep bank of the corn field. She mastered stopping for traffic, err, cows.
She even picked up some speed going up the steep hill. Our hair was whipping around, we were going 25 miles per hour!
I love that there is space in our life to suspend the rules of the road. There's something nostalgic about it. I look back at the times in my childhood when my parents shook free of our day-to-day rules with affection and appreciation.
Hope you have a place in your life where you can let loose and ride on the step. Or unclip your seat belt. Or let your child sit in your lap.
Just look out for cows.