}

July 6, 2012

Turnips and Turkeys, It's Thanksgiving - Deconstructed

In our sweltering heat of July, any Turnips left over in the garden generally become too woody to eat, but given our cool spring, even these large, rather woody-looking Purple Top Turnips, were salvageable, providing us a decent yet simple lunch of buttered turnips with a little salt. As nothing goes to waste around here, the plentiful greens which are now too fiberous for steaming, were shared with the poultry - mainly the ducks, chickens, pheasants and heirloom turkeys.

Spring Turnips, such as these Purple Top, are best picked when no larger than an hens egg, when they are crisp, clear and white inside. But in some years, a moist, cool spring, such as we had this season, will allow one to eat even larger roots before they become woody and too horseradishy.
THE TURKEY'S, CHICKENS AND DUCKS WERE WARY OF THE GIANT BUNDLE OF FRESH GREENS. THEY ARE STILL IMMATURE, AND INEXPERIENCED WITH SUCH MATTERS. LIKE THE PLASTIC KIDDIE POOL? WELL, INTHIS WEATER, THE DUCKS DO!.

OUR GOLDEN PHEASANTS HAD NO PROBLEM, HOWEVER, SNATCHING UP EVERY MORSEL OF FRESH GREENS. AS TRUE DENIZENS OF JUNGLES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, THESE BIRDS LOOK FOR ANY OPPORTUNITY TO ADD GREENS AND INSECTS TO THEIR DIET.

ONE OF OUR SADDLE HOMER PIGEONS WAS CURIOUS, OR JEALOUS, BUT REALLY, HE COULD CARE LESS ABOUT EATING GREENS.

THE DUCKLINGS HAVE GROWN SO QUICKLY, THEY ARE ALREADY GETTING THEIR PATTERNING, AS THEY ARE INDIAN RUNNER DUCKS, THIS SELECTION WILL BE CLOSE TO A WILD MALLARD IN COLORING. THE TWO HEIRLOOM TURKEY BREEDS WE ARE RAISINS ARE STILL, WELL, RATHER UGLY, AT LEAST WHILE THEY ARE IN THEIR AWKWARD ADOLESCENT STAGE. NOT THAT TURKEYS GET ANY MORE ATTRACTIVE AS ADULTS.


AFTER THREE MINUTES, ALL HECK BROKE LOOSE, AND IN A FRENZY GREENS AND TURKEY, NOTHING WAS LEFT TO SPOIL IN THE SUMMER HEAT. NOW, THEY CAN ALL REST IN THE SHADE.

July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

Convolvulus tricolor 'Royal Ensign'. Today, an uncommon cottage garden annual related to the morning glory. 


To quote Google  today, "This land was made for you and me."

July 1, 2012

A Farm-to-Table Dinner to Celebrate the Sweet Peas Blooming

LAST NIGHT'S GARDEN PARTY FEATURED  SWEET PEAS OF EVERY COLOR, GOOD FRIENDS AND ENOUGH FIREFLIES TO KEEP THINGS SPARKLING WAY INTO THE WEE HOURS.

The weather was perfect, the peas, the sweetest, and the friends and food, special - last night Joe and I hosted a small farm-to-table dinner outdoors to celebrate our friend Jess's new career choice - to step from her job as a designer as a lead designer at Hasbro, to start her own design consultancy. She didn't want a party, so I told her that it would be a party to celebrate our new baby ducks, a harvest from the garden, and of course, the peak bloom of the English Spencer Sweet Peas.


Jess was allowed to invite twelve of her best friends, all are, or were, Hasbro designers ( where we all work), or our spouses who love to do nothing more than to hear others talk about My Little Pony, Nerf, Transformers, or Battleship all the time! Actually, we all were very well behaved, and kept our discussions off of work, and more about the garden, the menu and, of course, Jess's future plans. Jess is a vegetarian, so, I naturally made rabbit. It just seemed 'right' given the time of year, and the location, a fancy dinner served in the garden. Jess was delighted, and, she even ate some!

There are many ways to plan an outdoor dinner, but if you want the event to be special and memorable, I like to bring the furniture outside. As Jess said, " It was just like 'Downton Abbey'. We have old photos of such parties in our humble back yard from the 1920's, when my grandparents would bring out the dining room furniture, uphoulstered chairs, even sofa's. It wasn't extravagant, it was the only option -  in the 1920's, inexpensive outdoor furniture did not exist. Besides, I wanted this event to be all about the experience - special, from the music ( 1940's jazz) to the food ( somewhat aTuscan farm menu) had to be crafted carefully, so it too some planning.  It was well worth it, and best of all, the weather cooperated.

THE GENTLEMEN BECAME LAZY IN THE HEAT, ( OR WAS IT THE CRAFT BEER?) WHILE THE LADIES SNEAKED OFF TO EXPLORE  THE GARDENS. IN MANY WAYS, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN A SCENE FROM 1890 (MAYBE WITH SOME HATS AND PIPES).