Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crop #14, Kohlrabi - Continued from Crop #13

Well, well, well. The picture of Kohlrabi is back with the green bean posting. Somehow, when I went back to edit that last blog, I cut off the paragraph about kohlrabi and it just disappeared into cyberspace - so here goes again. Kohlrabi is a strange looking member of the cabbage family and ergo, an excellent fighter of cancer. It looks like a sattelite growing out of the ground. It comes in green and purple variety but both are white on the inside. Its texture is crunchy like a radish and we like it raw. We peel it and slice it into chunks . It's a short timer in the garden and not too many people know about it but whomever tries it, likes it. It's one of those summer treats, like corn on the cob or a tasty tomato. Yum yum!

Crop #13 Green Beans Galore

Today Bing picked five more quarts of those pea pods and about four gallons of green beans. That was only one row of two and a half rows of beans. He'll get the rest tomorrow. It's so nice to work as a team now that he's retired. It was a lot harder all those years where I had to do the picking and preserving. I pressure canned ten pints of the tasty legumes and washed and stored the rest in the refrigerator in a closed plastic bag. Years ago, we gleaned a bean field and came home with bushels of beans and that is when I found out that beans will wait in the refrigerator a couple of weeks without losing freshness if they have humidity and cold. That was a nice revelation because if there is an MVP of the vegetable producers, beans may be it. Whatever strain Bing plants, it keeps on producing till frost sets in. But this year I'm going to try to keep up with the beans and get as many as we need and then offer them to others when we have enough. By the way, Happy Birthday to our neice, Annemarie, there isn't a nicer forty year old around!

Crop #14 is Kohlrabi. It comes in purple and green but we like the purple skinned. This is

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Crop # 12 Firewood for the Future

Not a garden crop but a very important crop since we've lived here in the Northwoods. Every summer Bing has provided us with enough hardwood firewood to warm the house for the following year. Actually, he always stays a year ahead so that the wood can dry for a year since burning moist wood can be dangerous. Since we don't own forested acreage, he's always on the lookout to scavenge downed trees or prune someone's woods. He has offten placed ads in the newspaper saying that he'll cut trees for people if he can have the firewood. We've never lacked for enough wood to keep the house toasty warm through the thirty six winters that we've been here. It's a lot of hard work to down the trees, cut and split the logs into firebox size, load the truck and then unload the truck when he gets back home but I'm pretty sure it's one of the main reasons that he is still a powerfully strong and healthy man. Our three boys were an integral part of the wood gathering process throughout their youth too and all have the muscles and work ethic that reflect it. I'll put it in this record right now to thank all four of these loving men for all the hard work they put in to keep the home fires burning. May everyone have the comfort of warmth when the winds are blowing cold.

Crop # 11, Tasty Pea Pods

What a treat from the early garden. These sugary pea pods are delicious raw right from the row or stir fried tender crisp. If you get them before they are too big, there is no string with which to contend. But even if there is a string, it's easy to peel it away and eat everything else. If we get an overabundance, they can be blanched and frozen for future use.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Here's my latest addition to our lake newsletter. They call it, "Message from Eileen".

Hi Neighbors,

The Northwoods is in its glory - the summer days are here and the lake is receiving visitors. It took quite a while for the temperatures to get summer-like this year. But they did, as they always do. Moods lifted. The sunshine warms us and the breezes cool us. The air temps are in the eighties and the lake temps in the mid seventies. We lucky Crescent Lakers sit outside on our decks and docks. All around the lake there is a collage of summer delights - hammocks and swings, canoes and kayaks, tubes and skis and grills - and of course, that wonderful invention, the pontoon boat. The dark of night is filled with the smell of campfires and the canopy of stars seems close and wondrous. Be sure to stop your busy swirling lives long enough to bask in this short season and take in the beauty surrounding us.

The Dave and Joanne Hibbard family of Green Bass Road put on another fantastic fireworks display on the fourth. Our thanks to them, the association and all the donors who help purchase the amazing pyrotechnics. It is such a treat to be among the boats on the lake as the bombs burst in the air. It seems almost magical as suddenly and silently so many boats assemble and then disappear - no snarls or traffic jams or road rage involved.

The boat parade the next day was fun as well. It's a chance to share the joy of the holidays and keep our children and grandchildren knowing that our country's freedom is special and wonderful.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and join us at the July 19th meeting!

(P.S. The pictures are of our decorating the boat for the boat parade contest and three of the kids dressed for the parade. They look extra chesty because they had to have their life jackets on under the costumes.)

Crops #'s 5 & 6 & 7 & 8 & 9 & 10

The pictures show the story of these next six crops in our summer growing season. The strawberries are producing nicely - they're not as big and sweet as the Pick Your Own Berry Farm sells but they're still a treat to the senses. If we had more rain this Spring, they might have gotten a little bigger but we're not complaining. This is the best we've done after many tries. The trick has been to keep the quack grass down so that the plants can develop.

The other picture presents a salad made by Bing. He picked, washed and prepared all the ingredients from the garden and then spread the Ranch and French dressing across them. The five tasty garden goodies are Buttercrunch head lettuce, spinach, Swiss Chard, kale and green onions. Sounds like a powerhouse of nutrients, doesn't it?

Thanks God, for all the wonderful food you have made available to us!