Monday Record June 13, 2011

  • Post published:06/13/2011
  • Post comments:3 Comments

Rain. Downpours. But the intrepid Garden Club of Amherst members were undaunted. I met them for a tour of the Elsa Bakalar/Scott Prior garden. In the background you can see that the old rhododendrons in back of the house near the woodland path are still blooming. The daffodils are long gone It's iris season in the garden right now. The Siberians don't mind how much rain they get. Of course, there are other bloomers right now like these…

Hen House #2 – Mine

  • Post published:12/07/2010
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When we moved into our house I was thrilled that there was also a hen house in the back yard.  The building is about 30 feet long, divided into three sections. We store the feed, kept in metal garbage cans, as well as bales of shavings, in the first section. We also brood our chicks in that section when they arrive around the first of June. There is a chicken door that allows the chicks to go outdoors into a…

Real Pickles

  • Post published:03/07/2010
  • Post comments:4 Comments

When I met Dan Rosenberg, founder and owner of Real Pickles at the newly renovated building on Wells Street I got a shock. Looking into the bright new kitchen I understood the reality of what raw, fermented food means. There is no stove. I have made pickles, which require no cooking, just brine, vinegar and seasoning. Then I’ve spent hours with the canning kettle to finish the preservation process. Rosenberg has built a substantial pickle business in less…

A Valentine Radish

  • Post published:02/15/2010
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It seemed only appropriate to serve Beauty Heart radish at our Valentine’s dinner. We were introduced to the beautiful pinky red radishes when we were living in Beijing where it is very popular. Members of my Women of China work unit brought some pickled Xin  Li Mei radish to a picnic outing. They called it Beauty Heart which I much prefer to Red Meat, as it is sometimes  called in seed catalogs. It is also called Watermelon radish…

Sprouted Wheat Bread

  • Post published:01/06/2010
  • Post comments:2 Comments

Bread is the staff of life. I love making bread in general, especially in winter when the oven helps warm the house, but in preparation for my sprouting workshop at the Northampton Winterfare on Saturday, Jan. 9, I decided to make sprouted wheat whole wheat bread. I got a good recipe from the Sprout People website, and the result is delicious. The recipe made two loaves. One, the prettier one, went into the freezer so I can bring…

Christmas Trees – of a sort

  • Post published:12/28/2009
  • Post comments:7 Comments

When we woke early on Christmas morning we immediately lit our Christmas tree, but we also admired the majestic yellow birch out in our field. This is the most notable tree in our landscape; it still shows the damage wrought by last year's historic December ice storm. It would be pressing a point to say that I did any gardening over the holiday weekend, but I did devote some time, energy and nerves to prepare another type of…

Apple Harvest

  • Post published:10/06/2009
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These apples may not be the most beautiful, but they are pretty sound inside which means I spent the afternoon peeling, chopping and boiling them down to make 5 quarts of apple butter, a delicacy I only discovered last year. Two quarts have already been passed along to my oldest daughter and her family. They like apple butter on black pumpernickel bread, we like it on French toast.  There is hardly any way to use apples that is…

Meet Me at the Roundhouse!

  • Post published:09/14/2009
  • Post comments:3 Comments

Replicas of The Roundhouse, built in 1899 were everywhere at this year's Franklin County Fair which celebrated its 161st anniversary.  This edible version was a prize in the raffle supporting a major renovation of the roundhouse. It is a beautiful icon of the Fair which has shown off the handiwork and skills of farmers  and residents of the county for 110 years. Nowadays there is a midway with games and rides, but for me, the heart of the Fair is…

A Final Harvest

  • Post published:11/23/2008
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The sun was shining when I went out to the garden, but temperatures were in the teens. It was past time to pick the last Brussels sprouts. I like to serve these, freshly picked, at Thanksgiving, but this year we will have them tonight, and give thanks for as long a season as we have had.

All Praise the Potato

  • Post published:11/21/2008
  • Post comments:2 Comments

As we prepare for our Thanksgiving feats I cannot imagine one table that will include potatoes. In my family we always have mashed potatoes and candied sweet potatoes.We don’t often think about the value of the potato; it is so basic to our diet. Many think of meat and potatoes as the beginning of any menu, but it was not always so.The potato originated in Peru 4,000 or 7,000 or possibly even 14,000 years ago. The Spanish conquistadors…