May Garden Journal 2017
It's such a great time of year in the garden. I love dirt!
Here are my first tomatoes. I cut back a volunteer tomato that had been growing in the greenhouse over the winter and it not only survived but went on to give me tomatoes. Still waiting...
The pumpkin vine really took off, and by the end of the month you can see the pumpkins are bigger every day. These are Cinderella's Carriage Pumpkins.
Progress from the corn over the month of May. All the leaves looked shredded, but they went on to grow decently.
Snow Peas! My daughter's favorite. They grew in spite of the insects that killed half the plants. Next time I will plant them where it is not so windy though.
Loganberries, whatever those are. They look like raspberries but they're not quite as sweet and a little more perfume. Still, even grown in pots they are prolific.
These are surprises from the fall. The kale I had cut down at dirt level and it grew back. The beets had been sitting there since maybe last October. Better late than never!
A lot of carrots that I planted last fall. The best we've had so far. All the weird ones we call 'dancing' carrots. The rabbits love them.
Above left are some citrus trees we inherited and some herbs I started. On the right are Missouri Bill's Soup Beans with volunteer Cosmos.
Garlic I planted last October, and on the right a zucchini.
Odd Cod Chowder
It started with a pound of defrosted cod in the refrigerator which nearly ended up in the trash. I found a recipe from another packet of cod which I'd kept, and this was born. It was one of those simple things that may never happen again, but it was so good I'd hate to forget. Even my kids loved it!
My son is getting over a cold and still has some lung congestion, so I tried to keep the dairy to a minimum and boost it with ingredients that help a cold. Garlic would have been nice, but there was none in the house. We had leftover basmati rice which had been cooked with a little salt, pork broth, and the fat in the pork broth. A curiously delicious combination.
1/2 stick Kerrygold butter
1 red onion or a few shallots, diced
1/2 Tablespoon chopped ginger
1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric
1 sprig of thyme
2 Tablespoons flour
2-4 cups of sautéed mushrooms... or anything else
7 cups (approximately) chicken stock
1/2 cup half and half
1 pound defrosted cod in pieces
salt and pepper
Korean pepper flakes
(Optional) warm cooked rice or a chopped potato or two
Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the onion. Let it all simmer and bubble, adding a pinch of salt. When the onion is soft, add in the ginger, turmeric, and thyme. (If you are using potato, add it now and give it a few minutes to soften.) Stir in the flour. After a minute or so, add the cooked vegetables, the chicken stock, and the half and half. Bring it up to a boil, add the fish pieces, and then turn it down to gently cook the fish (and potatoes). Once the fish is cooked, add the salt and pepper.
Serve the soup over warm rice if you like it that way and add a sprinkle of Korean pepper flakes. SO GOOD!!!
May Chicken "Harvest"
I came home after a week away and was awakened the first morning by the rooster crowing at 4 am. That sealed his fate. It had been a long time since I'd had an uninterrupted night's sleep, and I wasn't ready to go back to a 4 am wake-up call. Since it is a lot of work and angst to butcher/cull/harvest chickens, I decided that two of my oldest hens who haven't laid an egg in a year or two would meet their maker as well. One of them received a last minute pardon from my nine year old son who claims she is his favorite chicken, but no one cried over the rooster or the mean old hen. (Except my daughter, but only on principal, not because she liked them. She is a tenderhearted girl.)
I think this brings me down to twenty chickens, seventeen of which are middle-aged, if not quite perimenopausal. I think that when they stop laying, their day may also come, most likely early September this year.
I feel a certain amount of fear over the chickens, not because I feel bad about eating them, but because I am so afraid of hurting them or killing them badly. To put this into perspective, I'm also afraid to trim my dog's nails. I finally realized that sometimes you can outsource, and it doesn't need to be a cause for shame. Some people have no problem trimming dog nails, some people can butcher chickens. I do other things.
My father and husband stepped in for the part where I had to look away, but I stuck around for everything else. I have enough trouble touching chicken feet when they're alive let alone grabbing filthy dead chicken feet to swirl a bird in hot water before plucking them.
Once I removed the head and feet I felt much more reassured that the bird was done suffering and the rest really wasn't too bad. In fact, once I saw the quality of the meat I knew I'd be doing this again. So if this is really disturbing to you, don't look, but if you were ever interested in anatomy, keep reading.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!