Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Tomato

We had to head out to our hometown early due to an illness in the family, so I decided to 'pick' the green tomatoes while they were still on the vine. As they ripened, we enjoyed the first tomatoes of the season. Aren't they pretty?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Beet Harvest

We had beets and beet greens tonight with our carrots and lettuce and onions. Yum!

OK...She wins.

Ms. Wabbit wins. There is a most adorable baby rabbit right in the middle of my carrots. She has trumped the Scarecrow, my harassment and all the other critters (including the neighborhood cats). I was harvesting the carrot squares and jumped when something moved. I will leave two squares of carrots for Ms. Wabbit and her baby (maybe babies?). So tiny...

Wonderful Carrots!

No wonder Ms. Wabbit persevered in putting her little baby in their midst! She is a good mother after all.

Fennel Progress

At least the fennel seem safe.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tomato Blight

My tomato plants are heirloom, grown from seed so I was hoping we might escape the dreaded blight the community gardens are all experiencing this year. I have been diligently cutting off all leaves which hang too close to the soil and disgarding them in the plastic borough bags, but after our three inches of rain yesterday, in checking the garden, I found four plants with wilting and spotted leaves. One variety is the teardrop-shaped tomatos. So cute! I hope I don't lose any and it would be such a shame since they are so close to being ripe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

'Striped Grass

They Keep on Blooming

Dickinson College student, Nate Kirkland's memorial sunflowers


Here's a simple but very accurate formula for calculating how much water is coming off your roof (and how much water you are losing if you are not harvesting it).

Take the area (2,000 square feet) and multiply it by 8 (amount of rainfall). Take that number and multiply it by 623. Divide that amount by 1000, and you have the amount of runoff in a season. If you also want to figure evaporation, then multiply your answer by .92 or 92% (.08 or 8% is the factor generally used to figure evaporation in a desert environment: 100% -8%=92%).

Thus, a 2,000-square-foot roof, receiving 8 inches of rain per year, will have about 9,710 gallons of runoff. Or, that same area receiving one inch of rain will have 1,246 gallons of runoff. If you want to calculate evaporation, then multiply 1,246 by 92% and that will give you a fairly accurate figure.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hot Banananananana Peppers

We ate some on veggie burgers tonight. Yum!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Five Herb Ice Milk

I made Five Herb Ice Milk with the gift of herbs from the bee man who sells his products at Whistlestop Bookshop. His Lancaster, PA company is Dutch Gold Honey. The mim was given mint, basil and parsley. I added chocolate mint and lavendar. Here is the recipe from Epicurious on the recommendation from Sidewalk Shoes' blog:

For ice milk
  • 4 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh lemon balm sprigs
  • 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh basil sprigs
  • 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh tarragon sprigs
  • 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh mint sprigs
  • 2 (3- to 4-inch) fresh lavender sprigs
  • 4 large egg yolks

  • Special equipment: a candy or instant-read thermometer; an ice cream maker

Whisk together milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan. Add herb sprigs and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Gently boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute.

Lightly beat yolks in a large bowl. Pour hot milk mixture through a sieve into a large glass measure, pressing gently on sprigs before discarding, then gradually add to yolks, whisking until combined.

Cook mixture in saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, 3 to 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Pour custard through cleaned sieve into a clean bowl and cool completely, its surface covered with wax paper. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice milk to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Cooks' note: The lavendar was too strong. Think it would be better to use just the chocolate mint. Ice milk keeps 3 days.

Black-Eyed Susans

Lithrum and Bees

Mystery Gift

My neighbor gave us this beautiful plant as a thank you for cat sitting. It is unknown what it is...any thoughts?