When I started these posts, I was a little worried about having enough content. After my first two or three entries, however, I now struggle with CUTTING enough content to avoid overwhelming our reading friends with too much information! This week was certainly another struggle. Included in today’s post will be information about the bargain eggs at St. Francis of the Woods on Highway 33, the opening of the Edmond Farmer’s Market and some treasures I found there, a beautiful olive oil, tea and vinegar shop in Edmond, broccoli and why it bolts, and…101 ways to cook with spinach. Okay, I’m joking about the spinach – I’m just sharing one way. If I were going to write a book on 101 ways of anything right now, it would be, “101 ways to pack 12 gallons of cleaned lettuce in your refrigerator.” We’ll get to that. But first, my journey to St. Francis of the Woods… Continue reading My Little Victory Garden, Entry Nine: Gimme a Little Quiche!→
Sunday night I’m standing over the sink washing my “first fruits” of the Black Seeded Simpson heirloom lettuce from my garden. I’m probably drooling because there is just nothing quite as tender and mild as a first bite of the first cut from garden greens. I rinse the leaves, put them in a big bowl, cover them with cold water, and began dreaming about my first salad. I already have my Cordero Farms Sweet Italian sausage browning on the stove and my mission tonight is a beautiful ravioli dinner.
Here’s the story of how I made the dinner, how I visited Cordero Farms and loved on some lambs, and how I enjoyed a few moments with new friends of the RDC:
I play lots of food games, kitchen games or garden games. Mostly with myself, but they still entertain me for hours. One of these activities is a game I like to call, “Beat the Restaurant.” It involves ordering a dish I really love from a restaurant until I have “cracked the recipe code” in my own home kitchen. Sometimes this takes a couple of years because we don’t really go out to eat that often, and the chances of Mick agreeing to go to the same restaurant just so I can order a dish I’m trying to deconstruct aren’t very high. So what I’m about to share with you is special, and it has to do with my little Victory Garden.
My Garden Report for this past week? Things are definitely coming along. Spinach is now ready for early picking. And I did, of course. I cut about 1.5 cups of the most beautiful little perfectly deep green leaves and thought to myself, “I’m going to share my recipe for Cafe 501’s Spinach, Pear and Blue Cheese Salad!” Other restaurants serve something similar, but I’ve never had it anywhere except Cafe 501 where they use the perfect dressing. Yes, it’s perfect (in my head)…for a LOT of things. I’ll tell you about the “lot of things” after I tell you about the salad, deal? Here are a couple more photos for my garden report section: Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Entry Six o’Clock Dinner Secrets→
Today is Sunday afternoon, March 20th, and my family is going foraging. I have just a few veggies and herbs we can now eat, but it’s certainly not enough. I know, however, there are more outside so I thought I would take you along with us. I’ll also take you to Crestview Farms, just down the road from my house, and talk about home-produced eggs. So…let’s get going!
Garden report ~ First things first, here’s how my early garden is growing: onions are now at the early green eating stage, Swiss Chard actually looks like it might do something, and a few sprouts are…oh, maybe one-half inch tall now? Lettuce and spinach are at the “micro-green” stage and if I wanted to get fancy, I’d be cutting. I’m going to wait, however, because I prefer to eat mouthfuls of those luscious crops. Broccoli and cauliflower look promising and are now about three times their planting-time size, and so far…no sign of potatoes. My oregano came back and my asparagus is beginning to make so all-in-all things are looking okay. I’m still contemplating our extra bed. Mick and I have finally decided on a size and location. And now, for the fun stuff!… Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Entry Five-Egg Foraged Omelet→
About Thursday at noon last week I realized that even Queens of Multi-tasking have limits. Actually, I think it was 11:45 a.m. when I stopped and wrote three e-mails. All of them canceling appointments I had previously set up because “I was going to be running errands around town for my daughter’s wedding and might as well take care of (X).” I took off my multi-tasking crown and tossed it somewhere into the back of my SUV; it landed alongside three bags of clothes (dry cleaner, gym bag, sack of clothes I had to buy because I forgot my gym bag last week), four boxes of Mason or Kerr canning jars (drinking glasses for the wedding), six wedding presents for my daughter and her fiancee’ I had collected from church and friends over the last week, school books (both teaching and learning) and five crumpled pieces of paper. If unwadded, lists of 10-15 things “to be done before the wedding” would be revealed on each of the paper balls. They rolled to and fro on the floor of my car as I drove madly around town, forward when stopping and backward when I took off again.
Five days later, the crown is still resting haphazardly in the back and I’m not quite ready to don it again. Rather, I’m still thinking about all the seeds planted in my Life Garden last week: memories, new friendships and relationships, a new marriage in our family and, well, more memories. I’ll talk about those in just a minute. First I want to honor this post by reporting on my garden.
“My Little Victory Garden” was neglected most of the week. I took solace in the fact that our neighbor’s sprinkling system was watering my seedlings nightly. Evidently last summer during a long hot week, Dennis (my neighbor to the west) told Mick that he was watching after my garden by adjusting two of his sprinkler heads to rotate 360 degrees, thus also covering my garden as well as a portion of his yard. Nine months later, I thanked him in my head for that little gesture by commenting to myself, “Well, at least the garden is getting a little water at night. You rock, Dennis.” Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Entry Four-Ever, I DO→
I was talking to my dad on the phone Saturday, sharing with him that I was getting ready to plant potatoes. He said, “You’re not waiting until St. Patrick’s Day?” I didn’t even know that was a THING. (Later, I felt slightly better when Mick told me ‘the sign said sometime between February 20th and March 15th.’ Heck, I wasn’t even being risky if we were using the sign’s standard!)
I wonder how many THINGS I don’t know? I found out another THING while on the phone with him. He recalled for me that my grandmother Porter (Julie At The Ranch’s great-grandmother as well) used to peel her potatoes fairly thickly, then simply plant the peelings, saving the core to cook for a meal. Then he, my mother across the room speaking “through” my dad, and I had a third conversation: How many eyes do you need per chunk of potato planted? She said two, he said probably just one. Knowing me, and my inability to identify exactly what constitutes as a bonafide eye, I’ll probably plant three or more. It’s one thing for roots to be growing forth from the potato, hence easily identifiable makings of a plant. However, are the little dents with tiny dots in them ALL eyes? Who knows. My potato chunks may have four eyes or more due to my lack of experience.
So, earlier that morning, prior to speaking with my dad: I was feeling a little guilty having only purchased three seed potatoes from the feed store. I looked around a bit more and found a packet of last year’s cucumber seeds for fifty cents. A discussion ensues…this time with Mick.
Mick: “Don’t you want to buy THIS year’s seeds?”
Me: “Why? Don’t you think LAST year’s will grow?”
Mick: “I don’t know. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Me: “Okay, first of all – that’s silly. Of COURSE they’ll grow. Secondly, I’m simply trying to find something to add to my potato purchase so the total will be over a dollar. These are nice people and I’d like to spend more than eighty cents with them!”
The majority of Oklahoma experienced a sustaining drought throughout last fall and on through Winter 2010-11. No rain. Zero. When this kind of thing happens in the winter, it’s not quite as noticeable as it is when green things are growing. However the situation was pretty bad: until just a few days ago fire warnings had been published, all our snow had only amounted to mere tenths of an inch once melted and the winter wheat was really suffering.
Then last week the rain came. In torrents. Although our whole state didn’t get moisture, a good deal did and that “good deal” included My Little Victory Garden. Two days after Mick had plowed up the beautiful soil into a soft loam for planting, the rain came with a vengeance. My yard still has “wavy grass” reminders, my garden was flooded and the aftermath is a now uneven, cracked plot with sand in it. Why sand? The rain was so hard it found a weak, lower area in our neighbors yard and drilled down behind our retaining wall, oozing out the native sandy loam through the cracks. But that wasn’t the worst damage. My garden got off easy.
Gardening means so many positive things to me that I was having a hard time finding just the right phrase to title my new series. I gave serious consideration to “Kelly Does Dirt,” “Dirty Fingernails Are Nature’s Perfect Manicure,” “Fresh Veggies Are Better Than Making Whoopee,” …well, you get the picture. In other words, I was having a hard core creativity block.
When I gave up brainstorming and closed my laptop, the title “Victory Garden” popped into my head. I realized I didn’t even know the history of the term. So, I “Wikied” it. *I’m guessing I utilize the resource at least once a day. Here’s what I learned:
Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herbgardens planted at private residences and public parks in United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front.
What a gift! History had at that moment handed me what I needed. It seems that there has been somewhat of a resurgence the past few years in private residence and public community gardens. Further, my gardens have been my own personal morale booster; they truly have helped me feel empowered by the contribution to our family and health. The “reward of labor” comes almost daily at the height of summer’s harvest.