Remember this guy?

I wanted to call this photo “Duck Duck Moose” — but you can’t really tell that he’s wearing a Moose on his sweatshirt.

Max is 13 months old.  He’s getting more and more interesting.  He imitates sounds and words and has demonstrated some fun new facial expressions.  He is always on the go and wakes up in a happy mood most days.

He eats like a wrestler training for a fight.  I swear one of these days I’ll see him crack 3 raw eggs into his sippy cup.
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Dark Days: Home Grown

So, you ask — another frittata??  What’s so special about this one, woman, that you keep submitting frittata to dark days challenge?  Well, in this frittata, I grew the greens myself!!  Chard (red and yellow), spinach, beet greens from 20 feet away.  (by the by, who knew beet greens were so sweet and delicious?)  Eggs, potatoes, oyster mushrooms from the farmer’s market.  Cheese and bacon — not local, but needed to get used up.   It was lovely.  Max ate it, too, and will be taking left overs to daycare for lunch tomorrow.  I think next week I might feel brave enough to pull up the beets.  I have no clue how thick they may be getting underground.

Meanwhile, I have tomato seedlings sprouting and I think I need to move them to a location that gets more sun.  None of our windows are particularly sunny — and then there’s rigging up a device to keep the kitty from getting too curious.  That’s a project for next weekend.

Lady Marmalade

Since Max had taken a liking to oranges (both eating and throwing around the room with much glee) we stalked up at the farmer’s market.  Then a mere minutes after we got home, Mother-in-Law dropped off a sac of oranges from a friend’s tree.  When life gives you oranges, you make orange marmalade.  I’m on hour 4.5 of marmalade drama.  I may have permanently damaged my glass-top range due to an unfortunate boiling-over situation. 

 I’m not sure if the marmalade will harden.  If it doesn’t, it will be used as an orange sauce for something like duck, or as a topping for ice cream.

Oh, and did I mention I have 8 jars of this stuff? Oy.

Garden Update: Night Stalker

I love taking pictures of the garden at night.  The flash really makes the plant look alive.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Mint – looking fantastic (I put it in my water…but I think I want to transition to mojitos!)
  • Arugula – lovely.  used it for a beet (farmer’s market) goat cheese salad this week.  I also put it in sandwiches.
  • The first spinach that I planted as a little transplant — I’ve harvested 4 leaves already and they were very tasty.  But there is some sort of critter that’s nibbling at it.  I tried spreading coffee grounds in the garden and I’m not sure if that’s helping yet or not.
  • those thin little strips you see are green onions!
  • The strawberry plant is gowing strong but I think we’re a ways away from fruit showing up.
  • Planted an orange tree!
  • Bought a striped lemon w/ pink flesh, a meyer lemon, and a bearss lime tree.  I need to figure out where it’s safe to plant them.  The one hitch is that I’d like to build a fence this spring and I don’t want them in the way.
  • Not photographed: I made another sheet mulching patch right next to the street.  When this one is ready for action I will use it as a butterfly garden patch.  The old sheet mulching patch needs quite a bit more time.
  • I also have started 7 types of heirloom tomatoes and chocolate peppers in egg cartons inside.  Two have already sprouted.  Stay tuned!

Next steps?  I think I want to plant a few more sunflower seeds — this time directly in the ground, and see what happens.  I think it may also be time to get some borage seeds going.

It’s been raining like MAD!  I think the plants are about to call for mercy, so here’s hoping we get some sun breaks.

Dark Days: One Month’s Worth

You know, I don’t like to think of myself as an all or nothing personality, but maybe I am.  I know the challenge for Dark Day is one local meal a week.    But if I am consistent about shopping at the farmer’s market, it results in a lot more  than one meal a week because the source is mostly the same.  Makes sense to me.  The flip side is if you miss the farmer’s market, it’s quite difficult to cook locally, but then I beat myself up about it — as in, “it shouldn’t be that hard to cook one meal in a week, what’s wrong with me?”  I don’t cut myself slack enough and I really should.

Anyway.  Here’s a triple play.  First we cooked pork shoulder with a simple salad of greens and deliciously sweet carrots.  The leftover pork then went into a stir fry the next night with  local rice, egg, green onion broccoli and carrots.

Then I finally got a great use for our virginal rosemary:  slow cooked beef shanks cooked in local beer, carrots, onions (and non-local tomato sauce) that just melted in my mouth!  The side was a mix of root veggies from last week’s farmer’s market.   It feels good to put out meals that I am proud of again.

Dark Days Guilt

(It’s not that I’m not making an effort to eat/cook locally … it’s that the effort to photograph and download is just breaking me.  I think my laptop is on its last gasp, because now it’s not recognizing my camera.  Boo!)

Last week we ate a local whole roasted chicken.  Have you heard of “air chilled” ?  The idea is that while it’s being processed it is chilled in a cold room rather than being dunked in water.  The result is that it is much fuller flavor.  We ate this with mixed salad greens from the farmer’s market.  On a different night, we also had Frittata — with local sausage, eggs, spinach, potatoes, but not local cheese.  (Can you tell I’m overcompensating — Jewish guilt for not posting enough)

However, much more exciting this week…I transplanted approximately 30 onion seedlings into the ground.  I suddenly felt like Octo-mom — I had to give each one a chance.    I also transplanted three sunflower seeds into the ground.  In case anyone is keeping track, out of the 8 sunflower seeds I started indoors, all 8 sprouted.

And last but not least, J. and I planted a Washington Naval Orange tree.  It is beautiful and already smells divine.  I think the next step is to buy another citrus and get it into the ground for cross polination. 

My back and legs were a little sore after this manual labor.  Since I quit the Gym, my plan is for steady yard work to make up the difference.

UPDATE: Here are the photos — a little (a lot) late.

Aquarium

Sprouting New Beginnings for the New Year

I had an amazing first day of the new year.  In addition to transplanting my sunflower sprouts from the egg carton to the red container, J. and I took Max to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  (Footnote: prior to maternity leave, I had imagine that maternity break would involve lots of day trips to Monterey to fill the time.  It took me about a year and a week to muster up the courage to do this trip).   I’ll post pics of that tomorrow.

The above pictures represent a photographic “state of the garden” for the new year.  The compost is progressing nicely.  The in-laws are giving us their tumbler composter, which I think will make life much easier.  I’ve been shoveling the compost in our bins every few days to help it along.  Tomorrow morning I may transplant my spinace seedlings to the ground since it looks like we’re going to have a warm week.  I pinched my first mint for a glass of water and it was lovely.   The dead looking tree — is a dead looking tree.  It was in one of the big planters the previous owners left.  I pulled it up and need to chop it down for the city’s yard waste bin.  I think I will plant carrots in the planter it came in, but probably not for another month.

Next project:  empty two other planters of death at the front of the house and plant borage in them.

Another thing that’s surprising me is how little there is of what I’ve planted so far.  I planted two chard baby plants.  It’s been about 6-8 weeks — and while they look pretty, it feels like too small an amount to harvest.  As in, this isn’t even enough for one meal.   I think it may be more satisfying in the summer when hopefully my crop will deliver more.