Monday, September 24, 2007

Pick a peck of Peppers

The garden hasn't been a complete loss. The meal on the plates here came almost all from our own little piece of earth. Squash, stuffed pasillo peppers, all the salad and a chunk of the second of our two watermelons grown in the greenhouse. The beer as well is a pale ale that we brewed right here at Seven Trees. Now that's eating local!

Here's the pepper dish up close. The pasillo and the pimento peppers seen here were stuffed with sauteed hamburger, onion, garlic, corn and taco seasonings, then covered with diced canned tomatoes and baked 30-40 minutes. J then uncovered them, placed a slice of local made pepper jack cheese on each one, and baked them another 15 minutes uncovered. It was so tasty a meal we almost wept!

Strange harvet this year though. While we lost the tomatoes to blight... the pasillos and the red pimento peppers all grew like gangbusters as well as our two little watermelons. I'd say things are warming up in the northwest, when southern crops grow better than the cooler weather varieties. Although we had some nice cabbages, spinach, kholrabi, kale, carrots and the like, they did come on early. Next year we'll plant cabbages and other crops a bit later, so we can enjoy a later harvest. Plus some crops like kale taste better after a frost. It sweetens the flavor considerably. Our kale plants were so early that they may be too spent to winter over for this.

We still have a bunch of carrots, some lettuce, and spinach ready to eat now plus more successsion planted through the summer that weather permitting we might also see make it. The drying bean harvest continues, specifically Hidatsa Shield Figure Bean ... not only beautiful, but also prolific. The other dry bean we planted was Good Mother Stallard's, but they are not quite as happy where we placed them, so we'll have to keep that in mind for next season.

And of course when either of us have a moment to spare, we've been painting our small run-in barn. The weather hasn't always been cooperative, but we should get it done this week... fingers crossed... including adding the last of the 1"x6" cedar trim, and painting it as well. The colors were matched from a 1920's craftsman/bungalow house book that showed color palettes from that era, and we intend to paint and trim the house with the same colors... even the chicken house. We'd like everything to match when all is said and done. The idea of craftsman/bungalow's was that they blend in to the natural environment rather than protruding starkly from it, and while the picture doesn't convey this; the new colors have seriously made this structure "blend" much better into the nature that surrounds us here. Exactly what we wanted to happen. Once we get the chicken house painted, then we might try to do the house one wall at a time... see how much we can do in between rain, freeze and snow. Worse case is... we'll start that project next spring, once we build up our sorely depleted nest-egg again! Living and buying locally isn't always inexpensive, but it IS the right thing to do.

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