Friday, August 31, 2007

Dear Research Librarian,

I am looking for a copy of a 2-page article that mentions using peach tree leaves as an ingredient in sourdough bread starter. I have one cookbook that also mentions this, which says to use crushed leaves, but found only -1- recipe online, so I am curious. The recipe online says to boil the peach leaves but it seem like that would kill any enzymes or yeasts, so I am very curious as to what this article says.

The Sourdough Biscuit Rose P. WhiteWestern Folklore, Vol. 15, No. 2, New Mexico Number (Apr., 1956), pp. 93-94doi:10.2307/1497483This article consists of 2 page(s).

It is evidently available on line in Jstor, , but this database is not available through OPLIN, at least I couldn't get there.

I looked online at the Western Folklore society web site but didn't see any option for ordering reprints.

Here is a list of participating libraries , I see Ashland University is listed, is there any way I could get a copy of this article even though I am not a student there, without having to drive to Ashland?

I am willing to pay for the cost of copying the article, and mailing it, if it cannot be emailed.

Can you help me? Thanks in advance,


Not this time

I received a call from the Extension office late last night. Unfortunately, the master gardener's program which is offered in Ashland county this fall is going to be offered during the daytime, on Tuesdays. That is impossible for me.

The agent said that since many of the people who have expressed an interest have also requested an evening class, there may yet be another class scheduled.

Wait and see.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste teh fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. – Henry David Thoreau

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

I am afraid the summer is passing away quickly here. It's still hot, but the foods that are ripe in my garden are passing their prime. I have a peach tree. I remember exactly how old it is - my next-door neighbor found it sprouted in her compost pile the year I got married. She gave it to me as a housewarming gift for our new home. I planted it in a pot, and finally put it in the ground. It is now about 15 or 20 feet tall, five years later, and if not for the late frost last spring, now might be the exact season for the peaches. The year before, I had 5 blossoms, which turned into one fruit, which fell off the tree when it was about an inch in diameter - DH says it was a casualty of the June drop. This year, nothing! Not a blossom. I am hoping for peaches next year.

Waiting for the season to arrive, expectation of that first peach, the first tomato, the first melon, the first pea, the first leaf of lettuce - anticipation adds to the pleasure of the taste, and to the pride in the harvest. And when the season passes, there is a kind of sadness; that specific taste will be gone until next year, when the cycle begins again.

Peach Leaf Sourdough Starter:

1 quart fresh peach leaves, unpacked

3 cups water

3 baked potatoes, medium size

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Bring water to rolling boil and steep peach leaves in it for 15 minutes. Drain liquid and add enough water to make 3 full cups again. This will have a rather unappetizing green color but don't worry! It will disappear during the fermentation process. Peel hot baked potatoes and put through food mill or sieve. Scald 1/2 cup corn meal in 1 cup of the liquid until it reaches boiling point and thickens. Stir constantly so that it will not become lumpy. Now combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl (do not use metal or plastic). Cover with cheesecloth and set in warm place (about 30 to 85 degrees F.) until well fermented. In warm humid weather this will take about 24 hours. In cool dry weather a few more hours may be required for mixture to become active throughout. Stir every few hours during the process. When it is ready, pour into a large glass jar (2-quart glass pickle jar with porcelain-lined zinc lid will do). Store in refrigerator at about 38 degrees. If necessary stir down a time or two until it stops foaming. It is ready for use when about 1/2 inch of clear liquid has risen to the top. This will take about 2 days. Stir well each time before using. When this starter has been used down to about 1 cupful, add 3 cups water, 3 medium-size baked potatoes, 1/2 cup corn meal scalded in 1 cup of the water, 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons salt prepared as for the first time (peach leaves are not needed after the first time). Set in warm place until it becomes very active in about 6 to 8 hours. Store in refrigerator and it will be ready for use the next day. A properly renewed starter improves with age and, once one becomes accustomed to taking care of it, it all becomes automatic. When, for some reason, it cannot be used about twice a week stir it thoroughly every few days and add 1 teaspoon sugar. Each time it is renewed, empty the jar, wash and scald jar and lid before filling with the new mixture. - Recipe by Olga Drozd on

Letting go

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -Joseph Campbell

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. - Hebrews 11:1,8

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar” --Thich Nhat Hanh.

I don't want to pull plants out of my garden. After all the time and effort I have invested in these plants, I hope that they will still produce more, even though there is evidence to the contrary. My cucumbers are stricken with some kind of disease, and many of the tomato plants have totally lost their leaves. The corn is overripe.

There really isn't going to be any benefit in keeping these plants in the garden, and in fact, getting rid of them might help next year's garden by reducing infection with viral disease. If I pull them, I could possibly still plant and harvest peas, radishes, lettuce, and maybe spinach before winter in the space that's left.

hmmm. I wonder if this is a metaphor for other things in life that I hold on to? Resentments, fears, habits, routines?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Master Gardener Program

I'm looking into the master gardener program. This is a program that combines training and volunteering to create "expert" resources in the community to assist with public gardening education. I'll post more information when I receive the application package.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Farmer's Market Day

Yesterday I went to three different farmer's markets. I got to our small, local Bellville market just before closing time and I was lucky enough to catch Joan of Meadow Rise Farms just as she was packing up. She gave me a bagful of organic peppers for only $5. Unfortunately I was too late to catch the bread lady, who grinds her own flour and makes wonderful bread, she had sold her last loaf at 10:00. I also had a fried pie from an Amish girl, and bought a bag of buckwheat pancake mix.

I am really feeling like a failure since I haven't even taken one day this summer to load up my little Aztek with produce to sell at this market, but I'm in a quandary. Too much produce for my own use, not quite enough to make it worth the extra effort of going to market.
The second market I attended yesterday was a little farther away, the festival at Mohican Gardens that I mentioned a few days ago. It took me a while to get there on the highway, especially since I took the wrong exit at first, but the return trip was a little shorter as I took the back roads. There was a wonderful demonstration on herbs while I was there, I talked to a summer intern from the Ohio Proud program (he said to watch for a totally revamped program and website in November.) I also bought a carful of mums for planting around my patio. There were a few farm market stalls and I bought a loaf of bread. I picked up flyers for Turk Brothers custom meats in Ashland.
The third market wasn't intentional at all, but since I was driving by I had to stop. It was the Malabar farms produce stand. There was a great article in Ohio magazine about the farm produce stand and restaurant on Pleasant Valley Road. I bought three luscious, shiny eggplants. I will have to see how I will sneak them into DH's dinner..

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Less is more

Perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when nothing more can be taken away.” -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I made my French bread entry for the county fair this year, I learned something. I made it with flour, yeast, water, salt, and a very little amount of honey.

No milk, no eggs, no shortening, no oil, no "bread dough enhancer", or gluten. No seeds or flakes or herbs or spices. Just plain flour, water, yeast, salt, and a tiny bit of honey. That is all.

It tasted great. It won first prize, a blue ribbon.

This morning I got out a loaf I made a week ago, following this philosophy, and it was not spoiled or moldy as I half expected it to be. It was fine. A little on the dry side, but that was OK because I was making toast anyway.

Is this an epiphany or a revelation?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

No flood damage

Thanks to all those who have called and sent emails expressing concern over the flash flooding here. We were very lucky not to suffer any damage, although the surrounding communities will be cleaning up for weeks/months/years to come. There are picture galleries on the Mansfield News Journal web site of the damage, and you can look for related articles if you would like to help some of the people who did suffer damage in the storm and floods.

A gift from my sister

I mentioned to my father last night that I had gone to TSC in search of canning jars and baskets, and struck out in both cases. He asked why I didn't use the baskets my sister got for me? And I had to reply, "what baskets?" Evidently when the grocery store where she worked closed, my thoughtful sister asked for permission to take these lovely half-bushel baskets home instead of throwing them in the dumpster. Dad has been storing them in his barn for a few years. He said "I told your husband." Now, DH does not like clutter, so I am sure he just "forgot" to mention it to me. But see what good use I have put these baskets to! These tomatoes are the Quali-T 23 variety from Territorial. They are nearly perfect, except where the hornworms took a few bites. I still have several more to pick on the Mortgage lifter and Bloody Butcher varieties, but ran out of time and energy tonight.
The sweet corn in my garden is mostly past its prime. I will have to pick it tomorrow and freeze for soups and chowders this winter. Next year, I will have to revert back to the Burpee Super-sweet varieties that did so well last year. The old Golden Bantam variety just doesn't last very long once it is ripe. We probably had a window of only a few days when it was at its peak, and we can't eat that much corn that fast.
Tonight I picked all the zucchini, since I pulled out half my plants it is retaliating by refusing to grow.
I picked all the cucumbers I could find in the garden except for the ones that were an inch long. I am not sure if the heavy rains here affected the cukes, or if it was the hot, humid weather, but suddenly, all the vines shrivelled up and turned brown and the leaves have a yellow patching - is it cucumber mosaic? I will look it up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Festival schedule

Since Julia said they would welcome all publicity, I have taken the liberty of copying the text from the email she sent me to give you the information about the festival: Granted, it is the next county over from here, but it is only 20 minutes away!

She also mentioned that due to the floods, rains, tornadoes, and general high water here, there is significant mud at Arbor Hill Heirloom Organics, so therefore no parking available. Activities scheduled there will take place at the Mohican Gardens farm.

Troutman Vineyards
Deanna and Andy Troutman opened the winery at Troutman Vineyards in June, 2001. The property was owned for many years by Russell Stauffer, who raised chickens and sold produce in a roadside stand located near the house. Andy and Deanna moved to the property in the fall of 1997 with plans to start a small, high-quality winery. Deanna, a marketing executive, and Andy, vineyard manager at Wolf Creek Vineyards, began planting vineyards in Wayne County in the spring of 1998. Tours of the vineyards and winery will be available both days. If you have questions on growing grapes or making wine, Andy and their staff will be on hand to answer questions. There’s also a petting zoo for the kids. Visit with the goats and chickens. Enjoy their beautiful farm setting and a taste of one of Ohio’s resurging farm enterprises; Ohio Wines.

Arbor Hill Heirloom Organics ( Saturday Only)
Visit the farm of Scott Savage and family. At this farm you will have an opportunity to learn about vegetable crop production and the specialty of this operation, fingerling potatoes. The Savage family produces and market gourmet potatoes through farm markets locations in the Columbus Area. Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Assoc. representatives will be on hand to discuss Certified Organic Crop Production. Scott Savage will be available to share his experience and recommendations on growing for Farmers Markets.

Tea Hill Organic Farm
This family farm operation is engaged in the production, processing and marketing of free range poultry and other organics farm products. The farm business includes operation of ODA inspected, custom slaughter poultry processing facility . Workshops and tours of their Free Range Poultry operation and Poultry Processing Facility will be held both days. Tea Hill Organics is open April through November, and its products are available from the farm, at North Union Farmers Markets in Montose and Cleveland, Ohio.

Mohican Gardens More than a place to purchase plants, our goal at Mohican Gardens is to enhance your enjoyment of gardening by providing quality plant materials, practical advise for your gardening projects, and an opportunity for you to build an appreciation for the beauty of nature. Beautiful designs and gardening ideas abound from the conservatory and many display gardens. Themes include water gardens, herb gardens, shade gardens, cutting and fragrance gardens.

Activities at Mohican Gardens will include: Kids Cane Pole Fishing Grab a pole and we’ll meet you at the pond. Kid’s Cane Pole Fishing Derby. Cane poles and adult supervision provided. Saturday 10:00 – 12:00 and Sunday 4:00 – 6:00

Getting the Good Bugs Saturday, 11:00 : Ron Becker OSU Extension Learn about “IPM” Integrated Pest Management Effective management of pest in your garden or vegetable crops through monitor crop conditions and pest activity to minimize the use of chemical application.

Cook It Up Fresh and Local Saturday,12:00 : Julie Ann Spreng Cooking with Herbs, Ready for some aroma therapy! Cooking with herbs, it smells and tastes so good!

Greenfield Farms Cooperative Saturday, visit their display and check out the produce! At 2:00 learn about this local farm cooperative’s involvement in organic food production, how the cooperative operates and where to find their products.

Perennial Garden Designs by Lorie Ambrose, Walk through the Perennial Gardens Saturday 3:00 – 4:00

Cook it Up Fresh & Local Cory Barrett, Executive Chef with Lola Bistro in Cleveland, Ohio will provide a cooking demonstration. Great ideas for that “fresh” summer cuisine. Sunday 1:00

Forestry Management by Jeff Wilkinson, Forestry Consultant, Jeff will provide insight on Best Forestry Management Practices. Sunday 2:00

Herb Gardens by Lorie Ambrose, Learn about growing and preserving Herbs Sunday 3:00

Country Line and Square Dance! Grab your partner and kick up your heels or just sit back and enjoy the fun! Saturday evening 6:30 – 8:30

Through out the day: Saturday Farmers Market Fresh Produce, Herbs, Floral Baskets, Mums and Baked Goods, 10:00 – 3:00

OSU Master Gardening Program by Ashland County Extension Master Gardeners. The Master Gardeners will be on hand during the day to answer gardening questions and provide information on the Master Gardening Program. (Saturday)

Maplewood Farms, Tom Baumbrger will be demonstrating his portable band sawmill. Tom will be available to answer questions on various types of wood, their uses and forestry questions. (Saturday and Sunday)

Aqua Doc, Pond Management Have questions on controlling pond vegetation, proper aeration and other management problems? Visit with John Wilson for information on pond management and their management services. (Saturday and Sunday)

Those Great Old Barns Ashland Co. Barns and Rural Heritage Society Barn Display of Mohican Township Barns. (Saturday and Sunday)

Ashland County Organic Festival

I turned on the radio at work this morning to listen for weather reports, and couldn't believe my ears. My first reaction was that I had stayed up too late last night blogging, and my subconscious mind was now taking over my conscious mind. But I turned up the volume, and listened --

2nd Annual Mohican Valley Farm Festival - Free workshops and tours for those who just want a taste of country life or are interested in starting farm production. August 25 and 26.

The participating/sponsoring vendors are Arbor Hill Heirloom Organics, Mohican Gardens, Troutman Vineyards, and Tea Hill Organic Farm.

They are having cooking demonstrations "Cook It Up, Fresh and Local", gardening workshops, a vineyard tour, and a number of other workshops and demonstrations..

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Split tomatoes

The problem with using the camera in my cell phone to send to the blog is as you see here - you can never see the quality of the photo until it's online.... and everyone else sees it too! Anyway, here are some of my cracked tomatoes.

Too much rain

I drove through a tornado yesterday on the way back from Parma from a meeting. A monsoon on the way there, and a tornado on the way back. Overnight, it must have rained all night, because when I got up this morning there was a river running through my back yard. My next-door neighbor's lawn became a lake.

According to the local paper Mansfield News Journal, there might have been a tornado about a mile from my house, and several roofs were damaged in the immediate area.

Just went out and checked, and all my lovely salad tomatoes have cracks in them from too much rain. I'll have to process them SOON or they will go bad. Like, tonight?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Aiden on the farm

We are starting them young! Aiden loves the tractor. My oldest grandson, almost 4 years old. He thought it was hilarious that we don't have any animals on the farm. He kept saying "You have 4 cows." I said, no. He said "You have 3 cows" I said no, zero cows. "Two cows." "Zero cows." "One cow." "Zero cows." "HEEEEE HEEE HEEEE HEEE." When we arrived and opened the barn, he looked in, and said "Where are the cows?"

This way to the elderberries!

Aiden spent the weekend with us on the farm. He is proudly pointing to the elderberries he helped pick. Funny, the elderberries that are growing in the shade are ripe, and the ones in the sun are still green. Anyway, Grandma got tired of cleaning elderberries before she had enough for a pie, even though Aiden was helping. She mixed in a pint of frozen black raspberries to finish the pie.

Aiden was eagerly anticipating the pie, but when he tasted it, he didn't like it.

Former farmhand William remarked that I should save the elderberries to make elderberry wine, he thinks it makes very good wine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Love and Bees

"I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called "bee yard etiquette". She reminded me that the world was really one big bee yard, and the same rules worked fine in both places: Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved."
- Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

I read this book several years ago, and this paragraph really stuck with me. I was pondering it today while at work, walking through an area fill with people who are relative strangers to me. Does it seem that some people are defensive, and they swat, or strike out, as soon as they see you? And I think I need to learn to whistle.

Good Neighbors

We have a very good neighbor. He goes fishing at Lake Erie as often as he can get away during the summer and brings home the limit of walleye. I'm grilling some of the filets tonight - the recipe I'm using couldn't be simpler. Place the walleye filets in a glass or ceramic container. Skewer zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and onions and place them over the top of the ceramic container. Sprinkle about 1 tsp of Old Bay seasoning over the veggie skewers, and then squeeze one lemon and souse them all. Put the vegetables on the grill first, as they will take about 30-35 minutes, and brush with a little olive oil and another sprinkle of Old Bay. Let the fish marinate for about 20 minutes, then grill 10 minutes on each side. (Our grill thermometer says the temp is about 350 to 375 when we grill.) Baste with remaining marinade after turning. Plate and serve with yellow rice or sweet corn fresh from the garden!

We froze these fillets last Saturday as I knew that DH would not be home. I thawed them under cool running water. My neighbor's wife says to be sure, when freezing them, to fill the bag or freezer container with water to keep the filets from freezer burn.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Perfect Summer Meal

DH is on the road again, so I'm eating alone. I am cooking sweet corn, fresh from the garden 20 minutes ago. In a few minutes I'm going to take it out and slather it with butter, add a little salt and some freshly ground black pepper. With the corn, I am going to have fresh sliced red tomato (Mortgage lifter variety, a cousin of Brandywine) and some cucumbers peeled, sliced with a little cider vinegar and few drops of honey. I'm going to have a slice of locally-produced Amish farmer's cheese with some french bread I baked yesterday. For dessert I'm having a blueberry-ginger cake, trying out the recipe for the blueberry festival. The only thing that would make this better would be to share it. Poor hubby - he will probably stop at McDonald's on his way home. It is just so NOT THE SAME.

I had a terrible earache earlier today - the whole side of my face is sore, including the throat inside. I stayed in bed late, then finally dragged myself to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and out to the patio where I sat down in the sun in the zero-gravity recliner, laid back, and shut my eyes. Just listening to the sounds of summer really relaxed me, so much that I was startled when I spilled my coffee all over myself!

I heard the rise and fall of the cicadas singing, the "wheet-wheet" of a robin, an occasional warble from a sweeter bird. Behind the cicadas I heard crickets chirping. And of course, I heard the cars roaring up and down the highway, an occasional motorcycle revving its engine at the local racetrack, and once a semi-tractor/trailer rig going past. I heard the crunch of a car's tires slowly winding down my east-side neighbor's lane. I heard the whine of an occasional housefly or hornet flying past me, and some stupid bug without navigational skills kept plopping into the brick wall - it sounded like a June bug but it's a little late for one of those. I heard the whisper of the breeze tickling the tree branches, and the rattle of some dry leaves blowing across the patio. A little later I heard my neighbor dropping what sounded like rocks into a plastic bucket, making me feel guilty for lying down in the middle of the day. So, I got up and pulled weeds from my flower garden.

Looking for bread recipes in an old Farm Journal "Breads" cookbook, I found this recipe for marmalade: I think I'll make it with yellow summer squash instead of zucchini, and shred the squash instead of slicing it.

Places to visit

Bright Meadows Farm - a winery near Hallifax Virginia. I need to visit, if nothing else, just to buy a bottle of wine with their label!

According to Ben Franklin, "Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fairs and Festivals

The Richland county fair closed a day early! Well, it closed on schedule, but since I've been coming to the fair for over 30 years I didn't look at the schedule. They have evidently decided this year that closing on Saturday night gives vendors and exhibitors more time to pack up and move out.

Well, that's all well and good. Except that I didn't read the fair book, and when I went yesterday late afternoon to pick up my exhibits, I thought I was in the twilight zone. Nobody was around, the office was closed, the midway was torn down. I stopped by the office today and found that sure enough, they did keep my non-perishable exhibits, so I picked them up. It turns out that the scheduled time for pickup was 8-12 a.m. Don't know if others were in the same boat as me or not! But it was really weird, going to a deserted fairground, and kind of sad.

One of the assistants in the Home Arts department confided in me after the judging was over on Wednesday last week, that someone's quart of peas exploded. The department superintendant and the assistants believe that this person takes commercially canned vegetables and re-cans them for the fair. Hard to believe! But there was the evidence, spoilage in the jar of meat canned by the same person. I am having a hard time trying to understand the motivation of the person who would do that. The assistant mentioned that this person is a home ec teacher. That makes it even harder for me to understand!

When I mentioned that I didn't mind taking third in the black raspberry pie behind the person who won best-in-show and best-in-class (over all baked goods at the fair), my boss mentioned that the Cracker Barrel restaurant sells excellent black raspberry pie filling in jars in their gift shop. He said I should put it in a Pillsbury pie crust and save myself a lot of work. Again, I don't understand the reasoning. Why would anyone "cheat" to win a $3.00 award, when you can't bake a pie for that price? The only reason to even enter is for bragging rights - and how could you live with yourself if you bragged about winning a contest you had to cheat to win?

I did notice that this year most of the winning pie crusts didn't look all that "flaky", they seemed to be finer textured than mine. Since I won several ribbons last year, using the same pie crust recipe, I have to believe it was a different judge.

The Lexington Blueberry Festival is this weekend. They are having a blueberry bake-off. Trying to decide whether to enter or not. It would mean staying home for the weekend, not going to the farm. DH was just there last weekend, so he may be amenable to staying home. There are three categories - pies, quick breads, and other desserts.

I fixed spaghetti-zucchini carbonara tonight, just for me. A zuchini, a yellow squash, an onion, half a green pepper, 1 garlic clove, 4 mushrooms, 4 strips of bacon, 2 tablespoons salad olives, 1 tsp capers, and 1/4 cup flaked parmesan cheese. mmmmmm. A glass of red wine and I am happy! And enough left over for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ripe for Change (Trailer)

I'll bet $10 there won't be a screening here in North Central Ohio anytime soon!

In my kitchen

Someone asked the question at Mary Jane's farmgirl connection - "What does your kitchen look like?" Well, here's mine - kinda small, but functional. I am sure I will not win any interior design awards, and if anyone has suggestions for eliminating clutter, I'd like to hear them! Just don't tell me to get rid of any of my five spice racks.

Friday, August 10, 2007

How to use zucchini?

Zuchini to Compost today. The foot-long ones. There are more in the garden. Last week I committed zucchinicide - I pulled up three plants that were still bearing. It hurt me to do this, but it had to be done. I couldn't even get to my tomatoes. This was just after I found 8 giant zukes. And added them to the 25 other zucchini that were on the kitchen table waiting for me to make something else. So far I've made bread, chocolate cake, orange squares, pancakes, stuffed zukes, grilled zukes, steamed zukes, deep-fried breaded zukes (ooh those were good) cubed and stir-fried zukes. Needless to say, I couldn't face cooking another zucchini. They sat on the table for a week. Then DH took them to the wheelbarrow outside. That was two days ago. I still haven't done anything with them, so today, he kindly removed them from my sight....

One of the farmgirls posted a recipe for mock pineapple for using in stir-fries:

Mock pineapple
12 cups zucchini, chopped up to resemble crushed pineapple
1 46 ounce can of sweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

Put the juices in a large pot with the sugar and bring to a boil. Add the zucchini and boil for 20 minutes. Put in sterlized, hot pint jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Makes about 8-9 pints.

I've got cukes, too. I've already made 11 pint jars of dill pickles and 7 pints of bread and butter pickles. This will probably last more than a year. I've still got at least 6 zucchini plants in the garden.

I just ordered a couple of books from B&N - From Asparagus to Zucchini
and Life's Little Zucchini Cookbook The first is a collection of recipes and advice from a community-supported agriculture organization. The second just had nice photos on the cover. Can't wait 'til they get here! It's not like I don't have zucchini recipes already, it's just looking in 100 cookbooks to try to find them.

I've got lots of tomatoes ripe in the garden now too. Looks like I'll be making salsa this weekend. Tomorrow morning I'll go to the farmer's market and get peppers, since the seeds I planted this year must have been sterile - I saved seeds from a purchased pepper and not a one germinated..

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tag, You're It!

I just learned about blog tag: List seven random things about yourself in your blog, then "tag" seven other bloggers by leaving their names in your post, and visiting their blogs and leaving comments for them to find. Once they are it, they do the same, and leave a comment on my blog with their seven taggees. This could spread quickly!

I'll start:

1. I have two daughters and two grandsons. If I can get good pictures I'll post them here.

2. I am married to the nicest man on earth - our five year anniversary is coming up in September.

3. I've worked in IT for 28 years for one of the big three automakers. I'm a certified project manager (PMP), a certified production and inventory manager (CPIM), ITIL Foundations certified, and a certified data processor (CDP). (Yawn...) The system I currently support uses radio communications through the computer to give fork truck drivers information on what they should pick up or drop off.

4. I love to garden (if you read this blog you already know that.)

5. I love to bake. I've got four pies cooling right now for the pie auction at the county fair.

6. I love to knit. I've usually got about 10 projects going, right now I think there are a few more than that.

7. I am a lifetime Girl Scout.

Who are my taggees? Let's see, I'm going to pick by linking through my interests on my blog profile.

OK, got to take the pies to the fair, I'll be tagging you all shortly!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

County Fair Report

Lots of competition this year at the fair! I got a second on my rhubarb pie, a third on the black raspberry, a second on the honey-pecan pie, a third on the relish display, a second on the jams and jellies display, and a second on the purse. One first-place ribbon on the french bread - but nothing to brag about, I was the only competitor in that class. Oh well, the competition will only inspire me to improve.

I used Paula Red apples in the apple pie - note to myself, the apples were too "crisp", it needed to bake longer or cook the apples in advance. The cherry pie filling was a little bit too runny.

The zucchini- chocolate layer cake took no awards. This year some of the ladies entered their cakes in Tupperware containers and did not follow the instructions to display on a disposable plate or board and cover with Saran Wrap. The judge's assistant said it was a blessing- it was so much easier to open than the Saran Wrap. I'll have to remember that for next year.

Fair entries

I baked pies for the fair yesterday. Rhubarb, apple, pecan, cherry, and black raspberries. Pies, and a chocolate layer cake, and french bread. Took some jams and jellies and relishes. Probably the relishes will be disqualified because I didn't read the rules carefully enough - I used old-fashioned glass tops, which depending on the judge, may not be considered "safe" enough --- (meaning, they can be used over and over again, so we don't have to buy new lids every year). I took some early and some late tomatoes from my garden - first time I've entered the produce show.

I entered the scarf I knit last fall and the knitting bag (called it a purse) I made out of a recycled thrift-store sweater.

The judging started at 9:00 am and should be over some time soon. It's pouring rain here, so the fairgrounds will be a mess. I'll have to take an umbrella and maybe a raincoat. I'm going to visit my grandmother first - they've moved her from one hospital to another. Then afterwards stop by the fairgrounds and see how my entries did.

Local Food, Local Restaurant

I just learned that there is a new chef at the Malabar Inn restaurant. This restaurant is located at the Malabar Farm State Park (former home of Louis Bromfield) and is the restored 1820's stagecoach inn belonging to the Schrack family. I've dined there before, and although they served local food, it was mostly so-so fare. But, my hopes are high for new chef Dan Bailey. The menu is here and looks fantastic.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hornworms and Dill

Headline News: Dill DOES NOT repel tomato hornworms, at least in my garden! (See post)Look at these guys!

I found 5 of them in the space of a few minutes! If they are this big when they are caterpillars, what the heck do they turn into when they metamorphose? If you dare to look closer, click on the pictures to see them full size. Actually they are kind of pretty, when they are not chomping away on my tomatoes. Maybe I could design a sweater pattern with white diagonals on a green background... hmmm.

Then there is that HUGE gross factor when you try to pull their soft, squishy body off the plant, and they hold on for dear life (which is why I sacrificed a few leaves.)

Yes, that is green worm poop. If you see little balls of black poop or green poop like this under your tomatoes, look above it and you will probably see stems without any leaves, totally defoiliated. It doesn't take long - I didn't see any evidence of these guys yesterday. OK, so now that I know the answer, I find this web site that says that dill is a TRAP PLANT for tomatoes. TRAP PLANT!!!! that means that the fragrance attracts the pests. You're supposed to plant trap plants somewhere other than your target plants! Oh, well, now I know.

USDA - Latest News Releases

The Ohio State University Extension News Releases - RSS feeds


USDA Agricultural Research Service

Purdue Agriculture News - Agricultural News

MSU Extension Emergency Management Updates

Geek.Farm.Life Podcast