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marlingardener's Blog

Farm living and laughing


I'm Entitled!

Category: Vegetable gardens | Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:17 pm

It seems that more and more people feel they are "entitled". I just love the "I'm more important than you, so hop to it and get me what I want" attitude.

Last night, at 8:30 on a Sunday night, a woman pulled into our driveway. When we answered the door she said, "Don't get too close, I'm sick." Okay, but this isn't a clinic.
She wanted to buy some honey to put in her tea to soothe her sore throat. This sore throat just appeared suddenly? You couldn't make it to the grocery or Walmart earlier to get medicine? When informed that we didn't have any honey, and that if we did harvest honey it would be in late June, she replied, "But my throat is sore now!" Somehow we didn't feel all that sympathetic.

Then there was the guy that kept bugging us about our garden. "I drove by and them tomatoes looked awful good. I'd take a few of those." I informed him that if he wanted tomatoes he might plant a few himself. He got huffy, and informed me that because we had so many we ought to be "neighborly" and give him some. He isn't a neighbor; he's known all over town as a moocher; and any extra tomatoes were earmarked for the food pantry. He'll be back this year wanting something out of the garden. I should have planted the veggie gardens where they couldn't be seen!

We hosted a garden tour when we lived in town. The roses were blooming their heads off, the flower beds were all tidied, and we had iced tea for visitors. I was thoroughly enjoying talking about plants with folks. One lady asked, "Will those roses last for two days?". I told her that the Esperanza was a good rose, but tended to shatter after being fully open for a day or so. Then she asked, "What rose do you have that I can cut for my son to give his prom date as a corsage?" I couldn't believe the sheer nerve! I told her that a florist in town had lovely corsages, but charged for them. Sonny might want to get a job to earn some money!

We had a neighbor in town that called and asked if she could have a head of broccoli. We had plenty of broccoli, so I said she was most welcome to a head of broccoli. I went out to the garden later and she had clean-cut every broccoli head we had. When I asked her what she did with all that broccoli I had grown, she said she shared it with her family. There wasn't a garden among them. That was when I learned you never, never let anyone into your garden unsupervised.

And then there is the little, 90-ish lady at the food pantry that follows me down the aisle, asking if I have any of that yellow squash. She loves crookneck squash. If I do have some, she wants it, and she wants it right then, out of my basket. The squash has to be weighed before it's distributed because the pantry has to keep records on community donations. She stands right there and as soon as the squash is weighed, she points to the one she wants. That's fine with me - when you are 90-ish and enthused about fresh food, that's not entitlement, that's heart-warming!



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Using what you have--and harvested!

Category: Vegetable gardens | Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:44 pm



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Vampires, beware!

Category: Vegetable gardens | Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:54 pm

There will be no vampires within five miles of Red Gate Farm! I have been cleaning garlic the past two mornings (I do it in the morning to let the aroma disperse before my husband gets home from work and faints).
We dedicated a bed to garlic this year, and I may have planted a tad too much. We hung it in the barn to dry, and now it's ready to have the outer paper removed and put into storage, one way or another. When half of the tops are falling over and yellowed, we pull the garlic; wash it off to get rid of the dirt in the roots; tie three or four heads together on each end of a long string; and hang the string over a rope stretched between the barn rafters. With our humidity we let the garlic hang about six weeks. The test for readiness is to take a clove and squeeze it between your thumb and forefinger. If your fingers are damp, wait. If the clove doesn't have enough juice to dampen your fingers, it's ready to be cleaned and stored.
I freeze garlic. My favorite, although labor intensive way, is to freeze garlic puree. Cloves are peeled, put into my mini-food processor and chopped fine (I could do this with a knife, but laziness prevails!) and enough vegetable oil is added to moisten the garlic. Then the garlic puree is put into freezer containers, labeled, and frozen. It will last up to two years if you don't have a garlic loving family. The puree can be scraped out, even while frozen. I never thaw the puree--just grab a spoon and dig out what I need.
Garlic cloves, peeled, can be frozen whole. It's really great to be able to pull out three or four cloves when you are in the middle of a recipe and realize you haven't prepared garlic for it.
Whole heads of garlic can be frozen, also. In this case the heads are not peeled--just remove the outer paper until you get down to the "clean" and put into freezer bags or containers (I prefer bags so I can squeeze out the air) and freeze.
We also roast garlic and make roasted garlic butter to sell at the winery down the road, and to our own valued customers (the ones who pay cash).
Roasting garlic is really easy. Take a head of garlic, cut off the top 1/4" or just enough to expose the ends of the cloves, place the heads in muffin pans or any shallow baking pan (8" cake pans do well, but don't plan on baking a cake in that pan anytime soon). Drizzle with olive oil, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes (depends on the age of the garlic.)This is great squeezed on toasted French bread, added to oven-baked potatoes, or mixed with chopped tomatoes and spread on Foccaccia bread as an appetizer.
Even though the local vampires hate our garlic, we sure enjoy it!

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planting and watering

Category: Vegetable gardens | Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:24 pm

I just finished watering the seed beds in the vegetable gardens. So far only the spring spinach is poking its head up, but the seeds were only planted four days ago.
Thank heavens for our big water containers that collect rainwater off the barn roof. I don't have to lug water nearly as far as previously, and having it near to hand, I do a better and more generous job of watering!
This afternoon I'll be setting a plank between two sawhorses, cutting and sorting seed potatoes, and putting them out to heal over. I'll set the plank and sawhorses under the big hackberry tree so the potatoes will be shaded, but have great air circulation (winds are 10-15 mph today, which for Texas is a gentle breeze).
The hens will keep an eye on me while I'm working. I have six beady-eyed supervisors!

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