Friday, September 21, 2018

White Patty-Pan Squash

Our biggest seller this year at the farmers market was the heirloom White Patty-Pan summer squash, and I had so many people ask how to use it that I thought I would show you one way my family likes to eat it.

This dish can be made ahead and baked later, if desired. If you are going to cook it right away, lightly oil a 9" x 13" baking dish (I like coconut oil) and turn your oven to 350°F.

First I wash the squash. I like them to be larger sized. Many people prefer "baby" squash, but for me, a larger squash has more flavor. Don't let them be too big though because the skin on an older squash can grow too tough to eat. 

Use a sharp knife and cut around the stem (pretend you are starting to carve a pumpkin). Be careful not to cut through the bottom!

Pull off the stem and use a spoon to help clean out the inside.

Arrange the hollowed out squash in your baking pan and set aside. Now make whatever filling you want. Here I used ground venison, corn, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme with an added can of tomato sauce and some shredded mozzarella cheese.  Use your imagination when making your filling. Bacon anyone?

Now fill your squashes and top with more cheese if you like. (I had extra filling so I spooned it around the squashes.) Cover the pan with foil and put in the refrigerator to bake later, or put it in the oven now and bake about 45 minutes until heated through and the squash pierces easily with a fork.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Winding Down the Garden Year

Oh, my, how the year has flown. My good intentions to post here more often went by the way. It just seems to take more energy and time to get things done!

The garden year started off uncertain as the weather seemed confused. Cold, then hot, then cold again. Only days before I took this picture we had a good 2' of snow on the ground. You could not tell there were garden boxes in the yard. Then it got hot and all the snow vanished.

I got everything planted by the new moon in June, and by the end of July the garden was growing well.

These were my four patty-pan summer squash plants from one of the garden boxes in the back yard. I could not believe how well they produced. I had a bumper crop of cucumbers this year, too.

Lara was excited for us to finally get to the farmers market in Park Falls. It really is fun to go to the  market! It's been so nice to renew acquaintances with the other vendors and to meet old and new customers.

Sadly, the deer devoured my big garden over at Dad's again, and I firmly resolve to get a fence erected around that garden spot. I lost all my winter squashes, corn, pumpkins, melons and tomatoes. They also munched to death the four apple and pear trees I started in a new orchard. So, enough is enough. Next year is sauerkraut year. I plan to grow lots of cabbage and I don't want the deer to get it.

I did notice a curious increase in customers wanting to buy finished, value-added products over raw produce. As a grower this disturbs me. I would much rather see people buy the raw produce and prepare it themselves. 

Since we did not have much to sell, we are finished going to market for the year. I am working hard to clean up the garden boxes and work my way through the forest garden. It looks like I may actually get ahead of my pruning and trimming tasks before the cold weather sets in again.

I have started red and black currant cuttings in the green house and am trying to see if I can get plum and peach trees to sprout from seed. I also have several kinds of hot peppers I started from seed in the greenhouse, but they are coming on so late that I fear I will not get any peppers from them.

Out in the forest garden I am enjoying my first plum harvest. I have enough plums to make a batch of plum jam. It isn't much, but I am so happy my trees are getting old enough to bear fruit. The hazelnuts look great, the new row of black elderberry plants took off grandly, and while the black and red currants didn't bear much fruit because they need to be pruned, they are also healthy. The rhubarb and horseradish in the hugelkultur bed are massive, and the grapes and hops are happily filling the trellis fence. Only one of the grape vines bore fruit this year, but it, too, was enough to me to make at least one batch of jam. I will be ecstatic when the apples and pears begin to fruit. 

Lately we have had a lot of rain and there is flooding both north and south of us, but thankfully we have been spared any trouble. Dad is still at the farm and doing well.  I am still on my diet and half-way to my goal. I am determined to reach my goal!

Canning, cutting a trail out to Tom's deer stand, and cleaning out the chicken coop to ready it for the winter are next on my "To Do" list. Might was well "make hay while the sun shines," as the adage goes.

Hopefully I'll post again soon. Take care!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Good Fortune

I had an unbelievable turn of good fortune a week or so ago:

I went for my annual physical and :( had to go to our local pharmacy afterward to get back on my high blood pressure medication. Now, downtown Park Falls is undergoing quite a bit of road construction, and I had to park some distance from the pharmacy and walk through the back alley to get there. After I got my medication and was on the way back to my truck I spotted the new bakery that opened a few months ago. It was open! So I decided to check it out and buy something sweet for Tom.

As I walked into the bakery I noticed that the owners were turning part of their space into some sort of yarn/craft area. It was obviously not finished, but I already liked it. There was a gorgeous spinning wheel there that I thought was part of the decor. I said, "I like your spinning wheel," and the bakery owner said, "It's for sale." I literally stopped dead in my tracks. I held my breath and hoped the eagerness didn't show on  my face. I mentally crossed my fingers and casually asked, " Oh. Well, how much do you want for it?" It turned out that the spinning wheel was being sold for another woman and the bakery owner knew nothing about spinning wheels or how much the wheel owner wanted as she had just received it from the owner that morning. My Providence detector started sounding loudly in my brain. So, I decided to take a chance and left my phone number for the wheel owner to give me a call. I bought Tom a cinnamon roll and went home. (Yes, I had a raspberry strudel!)

Later, the wheel owner called. We chatted a bit and then she told me she wanted $200 for the wheel and the spinning chair that was with it. I was ecstatic! I told the lady I would buy the wheel and chair for that amount and that I would meet her the following Tuesday after the bakery opened.

That Tuesday the wheel owner asked me if I wanted the wool she also had for sale. I told her I would have to see the wool and then it would depend on how much she wanted for it. She took me and the bakery owner's wife a few doors down the street, through the back of the business there, and into a large garage that was filled with all kinds of stuff that was for sale. She led me to a corner and kicked a plastic bin filled with various rovings. Then she kicked another bin and said she would throw that one in, too, for $15. About that time my eyes fell on a large Ashford drum carder that needed a belt and was sitting by its lonesome on a table and I asked what she wanted for it. She thought for a moment, then said she would give me the two plastic bins, the drum carder, a new in the box Harrisville warping board that just needed to be put together and the wood oiled, and a Harrisville rug loom with shuttle, all for another $100. I thought I died and went to heaven. I said, "OK," and we all went back to the bakery and celebrated with coffee and delicious pastries.

I would have loved to have stayed longer, but I had to get back home to take care of Lara, so the ladies helped me load the truck and off I went. When I got home and started going through the plastic bins, the good fortune kept coming. Among the wool rovings were luscious bags of llama and merino fibers, and in the second bin were one pair of antique and one pair of new in the box hand wool carders, a yarn swift, a Lazy Kate, two niddy noddies, several bobbins, extra spinning wheel maintenance parts, books on spinning, and I don't remember what else.  I just couldn't believe it. I was SO happy. That night I went on line to The Woolery  and ordered some extra drive belts for the wheel and the drum carder. I think God must have wanted me to have these things.

The spinning wheel is an Ashford Elizabeth. The chair matches it.

Here is the drum carder. When I can I'll get a packer brush kit for it.

You know what the best part of the day was?  I made some new friends. Thank you Pam, Heather, and Mike!