Thursday, October 31, 2013

Its Time To Go

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go;
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered, 'snow'.

Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned, 'frost'.

All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild beast stiffened
At remembered ice.

Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly;
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

Rachel Lyman Field, 1894-1942

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Harvest VIEW

The days are getting shorter and the sun is going down sooner every day.
There is lots of work to get done before the snow arrives.

Farmers are scrambling to get their corn fields chopped and stored and the last of the hay baled and wrapped.

Weanling calves and grown out steers are being sold, slaughtered and traded so there are less mouths to feed in the cold winter and to put some jingle in the pocket.

The days are still sunny and cool. The grass is still green and growing a little bit.

The cows seem content.

This is a silage caterpillar.    Silage is blown tightly into this long plastic tunnel. Its an interesting process.   It is airtight and keeps the winter feed from spoiling. Its full for the winter.

This is a bunker silo and is being filled and packed tight every day. A tractor drives on top of it to compact the silage.

Once it is filled it will be covered with plastic and old tires to keep it dry for the winter.
 This is a burning bush .
I notice them hidden in the woods and beside old foundations.
They only turn red in the fall.

Have you got one ?

This is Charlie. He is almost 30 years old. When it snows he becomes invisible.

 Large rolls of hay have been wrapped in plastic, to make them airtight, and are ready to stack.

These "marshmallows" are stacked in an accessible location so even in heavy snows a tractor can get them and feed them to the herd.

 I love finding old trucks in the woods.

You cant seem them in the summer because all the leaves hide them.


Have you got your pumpkins yet ?

How is the Last of your harvest ?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Final Harvest - Food is Where You Find It

The Rowe Community Garden was a fertile and productive resource all summer and kept growing good veggies right up until our big frost 3 days ago.

Just before the frost last week, several of us went down to continue harvesting kale, lettuce, broccoli and herbs.

 The bulldozer is coming soon to excavate the garden for the 20 parking spaces that the expanding rural health care clinic needs, so we are digging up as much of the rhubarb and asparagus as possible to transplant to other gardens.
The rhubarb has all been removed.
Now the asparagus gets our attention for transplanting.
Its easy.
Grab a shovel and dig.

 The roots are within 8-10inches from the surface of the soil and there is a 100 x 20 foot long row of asparagus that needs to find new homes, quickly.

30-40 clumps make a very nice asparagus bed.

Dig up an area for a asparagus bed, plant the clumps at the same depth they were previously, add soil and compost.... and Voila !  You have an asparagus bed!

Its all on a spur-of-the moment thing here.  Most people are thrilled to get free asparagus roots and just start digging a few trenches in their yards.  This is the best one I have seen so far.
It belongs to my friend, Mev, who has been canning veggies from the big community garden, my small garden and fruit that we have scavenged from abandoned fruit trees we have found in our travels. (Pears!)
She has boundless energy and is a darned good cook. She also spent hours down at the gardens weeding for the Food Shelf.

Here is a portion of the harvest that she has processed and shelved in her cellar.
She has given an equal amount away to kind friends and seniors who do not cook much.

This bonanza of food is fresh, home grown, organic and wickedly healthy and delicious.

                     She made the BEST tomato sauce from my tomatoes and spiced pears from an old homestead farm tree we found outside her surgeons office!!

Here she is doing a "shake down" of a 100 year old pear tree that no one knew was there until I saw it as I was driving to the parking lot.

She brought rope and a grappling hook to get the job done after her doctors appointment.

 We continued to return to this fruitful tree every week.

She also has a keen eye that can spot a choke cherry tree on the side of the road or in the woods.
Of course we have to stop and fill our bags so she can make choke cherry jam and other delicious concoctions.

Waste not, want not.

The toils of her hard labor.
And she makes her own wine too. (top shelf)

Whats your favorite thing that you canned this year ?
Have you scavenged for food lately?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Village Fall Festival--PUMPKIN MAGIC

Our village had their second annual Fall Festival and the food prep for the evening fund raiser began early that morning.
Thirty pounds of very fresh hamburger was slowly defrosted and then I went to a nearby farmers home and learned how to make hamburger patties by the dozens with a special nifty keen hamburger patty maker..

We made 100 of them and put them in the fridge until the Dance & Dinner at 6 pm

Ater the kitchen was cleaned up, my hamburg making farmer showed me her very rare Long Island Cheese pumpkin that she grew in one of her productive gardens.  It was BEAUTIFUL.   It felt so smooth to the touch.  I had never seen one, or felt one, before and there were only 2 out in her field that survived the summer. The other one had been eaten by a village family and this particular specimen was going to be put on exhibit at the Fall Festival.

After admirering her gardens we headed to the village to start setting up.
Since rain was predicted, another volunteer (who is also a busy farmer) purchased lots of very large tarps to cover the books at the annual Library Book Sale, OUTSIDE, at the library

Later I would recall this moment and realize how smart it was of him to actually think to do this hours ahead of time.   I certainly had no idea that rain would actually cause an issue with our special day.

For the second year in a row I was asked to judge the Giant Zucchini Contest.
I brought table cloths, ID stickers for the zukes and set up my table.

Mavis entered the only zucchini that grew in our garden. (bet you did not know that a reluctant cowdog could grow a zucchini, did ya?)
Two other village people entered their biggest and best as well.

Next to my contest table I set up another table for Share The Harvest.
Local gardeners brought in their surplus vegetables to share with anyone who would like some fresh food, compliments of the garden club.

My co-hamburg maker brought in all her extra yellow squash, patty pan squash and cucumbers.
Not only is Peggy a farmer, master hamburg maker and an excellent gardener, she is also our village librarian.  She was in the process of setting up tables and bringing outside 5,000 books that needed to find new homes.  This is the library's big fundraiser for the year.

I had never seen a patty pan squash before either, so I was rather mesmerized by them.
I later took 2 home and cooked them up and was not impressed by their total lack of taste.
Have any of you cooked them  ?

So as the Fall Faestival opened I had a full table of veggies to give away.

This unusual Pumpkin got a lot of attention and many questions were asked about it.
Everyone that "met" the pumpkin had to hold it and touch it.   Feels different from any other pumpkin I have ever "met."  And its the only one of its kind in this village, thats for sure!


There were many books for sale from local authors.
Our village is fortunate to have so many well known writers in its midst.

There were many other vendors setting up their tables on Main Street.

Lots of folks came by to say "Hi"

Ed came and got some squash.

When I looked up from my table I saw a young man trying to carry a huge zucchini across the street.
It looked like he was having a hard time balancing the big vegetable and walk at the same time.

Derek came right up to the contest table and proudly registered his big zuke.

He grew it himself in a garden at a friends house.
He was inspired by the contest winners from last year and wanted to be part of the unusual event.

I would be weighing all the zucchini at high nooon.

It was now 10 am and most of the squash had found homes and another local gardener brought a bushel of tomatoes to give away.  A nice change of color.

Everyone made connections on Main Street, greeting old friends and exchanging all the latest news.

A woman from Louisiana was in town for a vacation and she picked up a few patty pan squash for lunch.

The local famous sweet corn farmer, Mr Leet, was selling his delicious products from the tailgate of his truck.

Others were enjoying the local ice cream.

At noon I got the "Official scale" and started weighing all the entries in the Giant Zucchini Contest.

It wasn't even close. Derek won the contest by a big lead.  7.2 lbs won it.
His zuke was the biggest and deserving of the Grand Prize.

Every person with a camera took a photo of our winner.

And then we did the Champions Walk down Main Street as people cheered, clapped and high fived this third grader.
His prizes:
A 8x11 color photo of Zucchini
Zucchini seeds for next years garden
A Zucchini cook book
A 250th anniversary shirt from the town
AND bragging rites for the year!

Just as the cheering and clapping died down the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down.

Everyone grabbed tarps and covered the books, all the other exhibits and the vendor tables.

Peggy got soaked as she rescued the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin from my table.

The Dance and Dinner was quickly moved from the wet municipal parking lot to the local church vestry.  Everyone hustled to move food, grills, tables, chairs, music,  tents and everything else.
It was a mammoth challenge and all the library volunteers rose to the occasion.

I ran home to change my wet clothes and then reported for duty as volunteers set up for dinner.

Nancy was cutting and arranging the sunflower center pieces.

The grills starting arriving.

A tent was quickly erected on the church lawn.

The official Burger Chef started grilling.  I was the souse chef for him.
He actually raised and donated the beef we made the hamburgs from.
Local. Fresh.  Delicious.

People started arriving for dinner.

The vestry was transformed to a dinner hall.  Lots of hungry locals came to enjoy the food, company and music.

We ran out of space as it rained outside.

The band had a trivia game about local history and everyone participate AND won prizes.
I won a great library shirt!

 Daughters brought their mothers and mothers brought their daughters to this special fund raising event for the library.  Our little village library is more like a community building. Its where we planned out the community garden, have book club meetings, garden club meetings, special guest speakers, computer assistance and other cultural events.
More importantly, this church and the library are the two places where people can go for help if they need food, clothing, or other assistance.

The librarian and I, with help from other garden volunteers, supplied the food shelf, at this church, with fresh vegetables from the Rowe community garden and our own gardens all summer.  The frost has ended the gardens and winter is fast approaching so food will have to be purchased to restock the shelves.

The band played and we all sang along.
Fun songs, many of them Scottish because this area was settled by an entire Scottish village that came over, by ship, from Scotland in 1774.

This band has a very humorous lead guitarist.
He is also a teacher, town meeting moderator, farmer and church deacon.
Laughter is what you hear whenever this band plays. They give generously of their time.

A good time was had by all and eventually people left, we all cleaned up the vestry and went home, exhausted.

Post Script:

Well, after we got rained out on Main St, the librarian gave me this unique pumpkin..and it has changed my foodie life.
I gotta tell you that I have NEVER tasted anything SO delicious in my life.
Not even Lobster chowder, my favorite, can hold a candle to the flavor of this orb!

It made the BEST pumpkin soup and the sweetest pumpkin pie I have EVER had.

Thankfully, I just acquired TWO more of these rare pumpkins this week from my Librarian. She found them hiding under tall grass as she was closing up her garden. I am making more soup, pie, cookies, muffins, breads and anything else I can think of, putting them all in the freezer so I can relish the flavors of autumn all winter long!.

 I will never use any other kind of pumpkin again!
I am growing some next year!

I saved some seeds!
Anybody want some ?
Seeds are from Vermont grown pumpkins. Grown by our village librarian.

I am willing to part with 20 seeds per person for a $5 donation to our local church food shelf.

Its a win-win for you, the local food shelf and your garden!

Email me if you are interested in this delicious project.
Please put Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Seeds in the subject line.
Help restock the food shelf.

I guarantee that you will never want to eat any other pumpkin after you taste this one!

More facts about this tasty treat:

Long Island heirloom.
Medium-large, flattened, medium-ribbed, suggesting a wheel of cheese. Smooth, tan skin, slender woody stem. Deep orange, moderately sweet flesh for pie. Long storage. A beautiful oldie. Avg. 6-10 lb. Avg. yield: 2 fruits/plant. 

 This variety of squash is more closely related to a butternut than a pumpkin and has been cultivated on Long Island since the 1800s. Sometime in the 1960s they started to disappear. Maybe they fell out of favor or maybe there was a blight that took the crop out. In any case, it’s taken a long time to come back, but thank goodness it did. In addition to being irresistibly cute (it’s shaped like a ridged, flattened wheel of cheese) it is much richer in flavor and color than your run-of-the-mill pumpkin. It’s squashier than butternut too.

An interesting video about the attributes and advantages of the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin 
Orange Paradise

Hot & Gold
 " the most important discovery I have made, as someone who has wanted the perfect Pumpkin Soup Recipe for years, is that the secret is not the recipe. The secret is the kind of pumpkin. Who knew? And what I have learned through all these weeks of pumpkin and winter squash learning and sharing is that the very best pumpkin to use for pumpkin soup bears the unlikely name Long Island Cheese Pumpkin."


If you go to all the links and read, you will notice a common thread about the absolute deliciousness of this kind of pumpkin.

Have a food adventure!!

Have you tried this pumpkin ?