Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Photo Gratitude

Stealing a bit from Soulemama's weekly {this moment}, I will be posting a single photo, no words, every Friday as a practice of gratitude - for the simple and extraordinary pleasures of life, for the ability to capture them with my camera, and for the honor of sharing them with you. 

Photo credit: Navah Spero

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

This Week in My Garden: May 28, 2015

This time of year, I want to rename my blog ktgrew and focus entirely on the garden. Not only does it take a lot of time and energy, but I want to be out there constantly. I love the quiet, meditative work of weeding, and my favorite thing to do when I get home from work is to walk among the beds, checking on each little plant to see what changes they've made. 

I finally have everything in the ground, though I may end up needing to plant more flowers if I want something to grow there. That bed is not looking promising, which doesn't surprise me since I had my doubts from the beginning

But everything else is in there, at the very least in seed form underground. 

And of course, I bought more plants and more seeds. I've now added spinach, pattypan squash, and delicata squash to the mix. 

The one unpleasant piece of the garden right now (aside from the mosquitos) is watering. I bought two soaker hoses to attach to each other and run throughout the garden, connecting to our regular garden hose. I spent a few hours setting that up last week and then finished over the weekend, turned the water on, and... meh. The beds closer to the beginning of the line were getting doused, but the beds at the end of the soaker hose got almost nothing. That was pretty disappointing, but I think the system was too long and winding, so I took it apart. Now I'm only using the side that waters the tomatoes and the squash plants, since addressing squash mold was the reason we put in the soaker hose (and the black plastic) in the first place. I haven't decided whether I'll use the other soaker hose for the other beds - it's not quite long enough to get everything. 

And now I've gotten the hose nozzle stuck and can't get it off. I spent 20 minutes yesterday trying to twist it, putting gloves on and twisting, using a wrench. It's not coming off. I think it's threaded incorrectly because water is squirting out the bottom as well. So until I can fix that, I can't use the soaker hose at all!

I'm trying to chalk it up to learning experiences. And it helps that I love it so much. I'm willing to forgive a lot of hassle for the joy of walking outside and picking vegetables from my own front yard. 

p.s. I can't believe how early I got started this year compared to a couple years ago

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

These Days: May

At Shelburne Farms - not our chicken, unfortunately

Trying not to scratch all the mosquito bites I've gotten in the garden
Listening to Invisibilia and wishing I were a neuroscientist
Baking pies (still, and happily)
Laughing at Jammer's new haircut 
Relishing the hot days
Loving my curly hair 
Weeding in the garden beds, especially around the radish sprouts (but not enough)
Looking forward to a weekend away with my sister and my dad 
Wishing we could figure out how to fix our riding lawn mower
Getting excited for our summer farm share 
Marveling at how different May feels from April 
Giving my wife a high five for snagging a good deal on our Christmas flights so early
Wondering when I'm going to find time to finish knitting my sweater
Enjoying a little small town Vermont
Feeling a little lag in writing motivation, and breathing through it
Listening to birds chirping outside our windows in the morning 
Soaking up the new growth of Spring 
Cheering for Ireland 

p.s. My travel wish list

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Vergennes Memorial Day Parade

Vergennes is about 40 minutes south of Burlington and is both the oldest and the smallest chartered city in Vermont. Their Memorial Day Parade, the biggest in the state, draws crowds from around the region. Because of some odd circumstances, I had to attend the parade yesterday for work. Thankfully, I got an opportunity to take some pictures. Even though it was rainy and cold, the crowd and the parade participants were committed to a celebration. 

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Project Pie: Vegetarian Taco Pie with Cornbread Topping

Project Pie: I'll be baking 24 pies before Pi Day 2016 to get over my fear of baking pies. And to eat delicious things. You can join me by posting about your pies in the comments or tagging your twitter, instagram, or facebook posts with #projectpie. Make something gooey and delicious!

If I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be Tex-Mex. I should probably be embarrassed by that, but I'm not. I love cheese and salsa and cilantro, refried beans, guacamole, tortillas. Margaritas. Tamales, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tacos. Nachos. All of it. I can't think of a dish in a Tex-Mex restaurant that I don't like. 

Now I've made myself hungry. 

It made sense that one of my pies would hail from that land of delicious fusion. I drew from one of our favorite recipes for the flavor profile and then added in a few extras, making a definite Tex-Mex win. And it's healthy. Sure, it has some cheese and that cornbread topping, but the bulk of this pie is sweet potato and black beans. So you can pat yourself on the back for getting in some good-for-you veggies while you're chowing down. 

(I apologize for the dark photos. I worked late in the garden, and when this came out of the oven, we were both so hungry and it smelled so good. We needed to eat it asap!)

Vegetarian Taco Pie with Cornbread Topping

Favorite cornbread (this is the one I use)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
2 red peppers, roasted
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or regular)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 8 oz can sliced black olives, drained
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
2. Put the diced sweet potatoes into a pot and cover with water. Place on a burner at high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 10-15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. 
3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare your favorite cornbread recipe and set aside. (Note: I had already-roasted red peppers in the freezer. You could use roasted red peppers from a jar, but if you're using fresh, now would be a good time to throw them into the oven.)
4. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, drain the water. Mix in the next 10 ingredients.
5. Pour the sweet potato and black bean mixture into a pie plate. You will have extra left over if you are not using a deep dish pie plate. 
6. Smooth the mixture, and spread the sliced black olives on top. Then sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of the olives. 
7. Finally, top with the cornbread mixture, spreading gently to cover the whole surface. 
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (It might have the taco mixture on it, but make sure there is no uncooked cornbread batter.)
9. Serve with sour cream, salsa, and a few avocado slices. 

p.s. Happy Memorial Day! And thank you to all those who have served (and to their spouses and children for sharing them).

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Let Yourself Be Drawn

No links this weekend. If you're anything like me, you have so much to do in the garden and around the yard, you don't have time for reading! And gardening makes me a better person, so I figure it's all a wash. 

See you next week! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This Week in My Garden: May 21, 2015

 Not out of the woods yet! 

Man, these New England temperature drops are rough. I don't think it ended up dipping below 38 degrees last night, but I pulled things into the garage and covered plants that were already in the ground just in case. And they're warning of frost for Friday night. I'm getting quite good at this moving the plants in-moving the plants out business. 

I'm about ready to throw up a greenhouse in our front yard.  

The garden is such a hodge podge this year. Some plants from seed, some starts from Gardener's Supply, some from Jericho Settlers Farm, some from Red Wagon Plants. And we don't even have everything in the ground yet. 

Jericho Settlers is a small farm about 5 miles from us, and I stopped by there Sunday for their annual plant sale. $38 later, I left with 5 tomato plants (2 slicers, 3 roma-style), 3 eggplant plants, and 4 zucchini plants. 

Then yesterday outside the grocery store, someone from Red Wagon Plants was putting out their seedlings and I chatted with him a bit about the beautiful day and our garden. He asked me if I needed a tray, and I said I didn't because I was just grabbing a pot or two. We chatted some more while I grabbed a rosemary plant, and then a dill plant, and then a basil plant, and then another basil plant. And then, as I juggled 4 pots in my arms, we laughed, and he gave me a tray and I added another basil plant and an oregano plant. I just can't help myself with the plants!

As you can see, I've begun putting in our soaker hose, which will hopefully help out with happier plants and no squash mold. And I planted three rows of radishes and some wildflowers this week. I'm skeptical about the wildflowers. The back of the package told me to sprinkle them across the growing area and then "rake them in," which I did. But I can't see that working super well. 

What's left to do? Put down black plastic for the squash and melon plants (also, buy those or put in the seeds - haven't decided yet), finish the soaker hose, plant the green beans, put the new herbs in the ground, plant the cucumbers, and plant some more flowers.

Oh, and address the little grass infestation we have here. 

But we're getting close to having everything in the ground, and I'm feeling that excitement from seeing new growth, even while I rush plants in and out of the garage. 

I'll be sharing our garden progress every Thursday during this growing season. I'd love to hear what's happening in your garden, and if you write about it, please share a link to your blog in the comments!

p.s. Previous weeks: May 14, May 7

p.s.s. I've never grown oregano before and don't use it much in my cooking, but it looked so pretty. If you have a way you love to use oregano, please share!

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