Why one kid is practically naked and the other is in a sweatshirt I have no explanation for.
We got our first tiny egg from our spring-batch of chickens! We’re not sure if it came from Sunflower the Barred Rock Hen, or Dandelion the Buff Orpington, but it’s sweet how the eggs start so small, as if the hens are just practicing.
Speaking of starting small: Dandelion and Sunflower, circa March 2010
And now, mixing it up with the sorority sisters.
Oh, and scroll back up: we also recently harvested our first zucchini and squash! They’re rolling in now, a squash a day and I just told Dan that I’m committed to exploiting their delights this year, instead of sheepishly leaving them on my downstairs neighbors’ kitchen table. I love how briskly and efficiently they grow. They’re like newborns who outgrow their onesies overnight, making you feel like you’ve done something right as a gardener. What I don’t like is the rubberiness of cooked zucchini, or how it seems if I turn my head for a few days, I am cultivating a garden of baseball bats.
So far, we’ve just been slicing zukes into our de facto meals (which are some permutation of beans, rice, eggs, cheese, elk and whatever veggies are on tap), but I’d love to hear your favorite zucchini/summer squash recipes, and especially ways that you preserve this humble cucurbit.
Our first zucchini we ate raw, dipped in purslane salad dressing.
Do you love more than is perhaps reasonably so, the devouring of vegetables by your children?
And now that I’ve got you all curious about purslane salad dressing, here’s some recipe love:
First, harvest all the purslane that’s been flinging itself between your carrot rows. Next, pull off the leaves. This is incredibly time consuming, though perhaps you can get into the Zen of Plucking.
Still life with blender and plucked leaves. You know purslane right? Weedy, low-growing plant with fleshy leaves and tiny yellow flowers. High in omega 3's, citrusy, mucilaginous (don't be scared by that word, it means hydrating, cooling and soothing to internal tissues). I still have tons. Who wants to come over and get plucky with me? Will share spoils.
2 cups purslane leaves, 1/4 cup water, juice of one lemon, 1/4 vinegar (rice or balsamic), 1/4 cup olive oil, pinch of salt, one clove garlic, 1/4 cup yogurt.
Purslane salad dressing: approved by 3 year olds, serve with flower bouquet.
Also, in new and exciting happenings, for the first time, we harvested all of our carrots mid-season and planted 4 whole new rows. Previously, we’ve pulled all our carrots after the first fall frost, giving them the full growing season to get big and sweet, though sometimes they got so big they’d split or become woody. But, by mid July this year the carrots were already a respectable 6-10 inches and fantabulously sweet. The kids chomp them raw and whole, specks of mineral-rich dirt still clinging to the roots. We’ve also done a 2nd planting of chard, lettuce, kale and beets. We’re learning how to coax more food out of this small plot of land. We’ll see how big our next carrot crop gets by the end of the growing season – which is closer than I want to admit to myself.
Farmer Rose with a haul of garden candy.
I also pulled all the chard (going to seed after 3 years of providing) out of the greenhouse, harvesting gazillions of those tiny stalk-leaves, in another exercise in the Zen of Plucking. Then, I dumped a bucket of goat manure (obtained via freecycle) in the greenhouse bed and transplanted some of the cucumbers from the garden into the greenhouse, where they’ll be so much happier and warmer at night.
climb babies climb!
And lastly, Dan and I had our first mountain date of the season, which included twenty luscious minutes in the alpine flower zone, before the highest peaks began arguing, cracking the sky with lightning.
- someone’s napping in the wildflowers – see the knees?
What’s new on your homestead?
And how do you like your zukes?