Sunday, August 1, 2010

Birdhouse Gourds and Open Fire Pit Cooking

Well, Rayna’s enormous birdhouse gourd plant has finally began producing giant gourds. Whatever she did to prune the plant last week certainly bore fruit this week (as you can see from the pictures).

Mike and Beth returned from a week long Wisconsin vacation at 8 a.m. and wasted no time in getting back to the garden that same morning to harvest what had grown in their absence. They’ve made pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread and pumkin cookies, but need new ideas for their bumper pumpkin crop – particularly because my nemisis – the squash bug – is taking its toll on their pumpkin patch.

Mike – from Four Seasons City Farm – stopped by to admire the garden and our new rain tank
We’ve also had some nocturnal raccoons visit to try out our small corn crop and a few items in Charlie’s plot.

I took some additional pictures to share with the rest of you. My shelled bean crop and squash are probably reaching the end of their useful life. My peppers have been affected by the extraordinary heat (by not setting fruit). However, I’m in the height of canning season and have canned lots of tomatoes, salsa, pickles, and pasta sauces (when I’m not shelling black, kidney, pinto, pink half-runner and red peanut beans and marinating and grilling squash).

On Friday – while finishing up my evening constitutional – I stopped by Cozy and Jay’s house to say hi and then stayed for a cocktail which then turned into an extraordinary cookout. Jay is quite the open fire chef. He has a collection of cast iron skillets which he puts on a grate over his fire pit to cook. Their neighbors participate in a CSA and share extra vegetables with them (along with the harvest from Cozy’s backyard garden). He fried up some potatoes and grilled brats and cheeseburgers. But the piece de la resistance was what he did with kale. I’ve never really liked kale and just took some to be polite, but he sautéed bacon in the skillet and then added chopped kale (along with chopped mushrooms and onions) and topped them with a vinaigrette. It was to die for. I had two servings. I simply must get that recipe;-) Great way to end a Friday.

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