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Quote of the Day: Neighbors

June 30th, 2013

Gardens are living things that get pimples and have awkward growth spurts. They age and get wrinkles. The garden doesn’t care how it looks though. Only the gardener does (and maybe the neighbors).

Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn, 2nd Revised Edition

My mom’s neighbor is an avid gardener and her gardens show it! We’ve watched her garden grow, as they built their house around the same time my parents build theirs. Here are some photos of her lovely garden.
Gingers Garden 1
Gingers Garden 2
Gingers Garden 3
Gingers Garden 12
Gingers Garden 4
Gingers Garden 5
Gingers Garden 6
Gingers Garden 7
Gingers Garden 8
Gingers Garden 9
Gingers Garden 10
Gingers Garden 11
Ginger’s gardens have changed a lot throughout the years. I always enjoy visiting my mom to see what Ginger is doing. She has one of the most beautiful crabapple trees I’ve ever seen, sadly it was planted when they first moved in and she doesn’t remember the variety.

Do you have any neighbors with beautiful gardens that you get to enjoy?

Jawdroppingly LARGE

June 29th, 2013

Yesterday evening, we went out to a friend’s house to check out his Tamworth pigs.  This is a breed I’ve been considering raising, as I read they do very well when pastured in the forest.
Tamworth Pigs 1
This big guy weighed in around 600 or 650, although Tamworth boars can grow to 850. It was jawdroppingly LARGE when he came out of his hut.
Tamworth Pigs 2
The lady weighs in at around 300 and is currently pregnant and expecting piglets in August.
Tamworth Pigs 3
Thankfully, because of Nina from Ruit Farm I have found a breeder that lives only a few miles from us. In the future we hope to raise a few different types of hogs in search of our favorite breed. These guys were definitely impressive, but it does get me thinking about Guinea Hogs which are a smaller breed.

What’s the most impressive farm animal you’ve ever been around?

Friday Favorite: Easy Bake Ovens

June 28th, 2013

When I was a little, the Easy Bake Oven was one of my favorite toys.  I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise since you know I love to cook.
Easy Bake 1
Yesterday, we got out my mom’s Easy Bake and baked up a storm with my two older nieces. It was my sister’s (their mom) birthday, so they wanted to make her a cake.  Happy Birthday WENDY!
Easy Bake 2
My parents had to choke down many an easy bake cake, piled high with frosting. It’s nice that the tradition remains alive. Even my mom’s neighbor received her own individual cake.

Did you have an Easy Bake Oven when you were a kid?

Elderflower Fritters

June 27th, 2013

The elderflowers are starting to fade. Every year, when they bloom, I have great intentions to pick them for fritters; then every year I forget. This year, I finally remembered, or I suppose I was finally in the right place at the right time.
Elderflower fritters 2
My mom has a ton of elderberry bushes in her garden. There are a few different varieties because my parents have been collecting them for years. They love the berries, my mom makes jelly and I usually make elderberry syrup.
Elderflower fritters 3
Last week, I picked about a dozen blossoms, whipped up a quick batter.  Here’s the recipe in case you’re interested:  3/4 cup of organic flour, 2 Tablespoons of melted butter, 3/4 cup water, milk, a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla mixed to a batter.  After letting this sit for 30 minutes, fold in a beaten egg white.  The blossoms were dipped and fried in coconut oil. I learned that you should shake off some of the batter or the delicate elderberry blossom flavor gets lost.

Elderflower fritters 1
The stems should also not be eaten, so after using the main stem for dipping in the batter, I snipped it off with scissors right at the base of the flower clusters. After removing from the pan they were sprinkled lightly with a little organic sugar. All-in-all, these were a hit. Not a bad way to get some extra coconut oil in your diet, and a much healthier version of heavy fried fair food!

Have you ever eaten elderflowers?

Cilantro

June 26th, 2013

I LOVE cilantro!  Perhaps it stems from my childhood in Colombia, where it was sprinkled on top of pretty much everything, perhaps I just like it, who knows. It’s probably from my childhood though, because I like it when it starts to bloom. The ferny bits of cilantro are much better in my opinion. That’s how we always had it in Colombia, the flat, parsley like leaves weren’t seen very often.
fresh cilantro
My mom had a plant in the garden that was blooming, so I’ve been enjoying ferny cilantro sprinkled on everything. The other morning I made soup for breakfast with duck stock and freshly cut yucca.
breakfast soup small
If only I had some ripe hot peppers, I’d make the Colombian version of hot sauce that’s green from all the cilantro.

What’s your favorite fresh herb?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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