Saturday, April 30, 2011

Husbanding Floyd: Da Girls are in da House!

Remember these cute, adorable little balls of fluff?
A few days ago around dusk I heard them kicking up a fuss and went downstairs to find them out of their pens perching on the mantel, the china closet, and any other tall available space they could wrap their birdy feet around.  The instinct to roost had kicked in!  "Okay," I told them, "You're big girls now.  Time to move to the big girls house!"  Thank god.  Brooding them in the downstairs suite wasn't one of our better ideas.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gardening Floyd: After the Deluge

It's been about 10 days since the torrential rain that filled every branch, stream, creek, river, and pond to overflowing and completely saturated the ground.  We've had a mix of bright, sunny days and typical April showers since then.  The grass has been growing like crazy and the sound of lawn mowers is back.  Unfortunately the soil hasn't drained and dried enough to do seriously tilling and both the backyard gardeners and farmers of Floyd are falling behind schedule.  If the ground is too damp when tilled it clumps and balls up, damaging the soil structure, instead of leaving behind a nice crumbly bed for seeds and transplants.  It's a little frustrating.  These damp overcast days are perfect for transplanting but only if the beds have already been prepared.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gardening Floyd: April Showers Bring....

...May Flowers, supposedly.  But not when those showers try to wash the county off the map.

While I was sitting inside the other day whinging on about it raining and needing inspiration, here's what was going on outside.

This is our normally placid and picturesque pond...

...and this is what I saw when I got up from posting...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gardening Floyd: Inspiration

Sigh.  It's raining again.  I was supposed to be going to the community garden to help with staking out beds so when the tiller arrives he'll know exactly what needs done, but it's pouring.  We could have done it in drizzle or a light rain, but no.  It's windy, whippy raining.  I need some inspiration.  Maybe you do too.  Here's some photos of our garden from last year.
Scarlet Nasturtiums, Alibi Cucumbers, Currant Tomatoes

Spice Rack Challenge April: Dill

Lettuce Wraps Dolma-Style

Dill?  Really?  In April when it's barely time to sow the seeds?  Why not in July when this tender green herb is at it's fresh, flavorful, fragrant best?  Dried dill is just a ghost of it's summer glory and fresh supermarket dill is expensive, pale, and wimpy.  But I don't call the tune, I just dance to it.
Dolmas, also known as stuffed grape leaves, are a classic Mediterranean food traditionally filled with a lemony herb-infused rice and pine nut mix, sometimes including a little meat and sometimes not, gently simmered in olive oil, lemon juice, and water and served warm or cold.  When I was doing the festival circuit a container full of dolmas, a mini loaf of good bread, a chunk of cheese, and whatever fruit was in season was my favorite pack-along lunch.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gardening Floyd: Mid-April

The garden is beginning to look like a garden again!  We've had lots of rain, hail, and high winds, even some tornadoes which are unusual in the Blue Ridge Mountains but we've also had warmer temperatures.  The plastic is off three of our hoop houses (Mother Nature insisted in the form of wind), the earliest spring and cool weather crops are growing well, and the herbs are coming along nicely.

You may remember this peek inside a tunnel

Here's that tunnel now
Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Foraging Floyd: Wild Garlic (not Ramps)

This little bugger grows everywhere:
Whatever you call it; onion grass, wild garlic, that invasive s%#t I can't get outta my lawn, it is often the bane of landscapers, gardeners, and lawn maintenance freaks.  To me it's another flavor to add to the pot.  It's what carries us over until our garlic and shallots come in.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Outside the Jar: Strawberry Vinaigrette with Balsamic and Black Pepper

Strawberry season is approaching and I'm looking for ways to use the last of my dried and frozen strawberries to make way for this year's berries.  I'm looking forward to the first bowl of slightly sweetened berries topped with a hint of balsamic vinegar and a little freshly ground black pepper.  It occurred to me that those ingredients would make a great vinaigrette and I still had a handful of dried strawberry slices to be used so I set about to play.