17 June, 2013

Things to Eat: Daylily Buds

So daylilies are invasive and beautiful and at least around here, incredibly prolific. Did you know they’re also edible? You can eat the shoots, tubers, buds, and flowers. Evidently dried flowers are used in some Chinese recipes as “golden needles”, and they can be used to thicken soups and gravies. We have an abundance of them here at the Manor, because as it turns out they are perfectly willing to spread from seed if you don’t deadhead the buggers.

Anyway, if you want to reduce the number of seedpods they produce without wasting them, here is Andrea’s Simple and Easy Recipe For Daylily Buds!

You will need:
A bunch of daylily buds, just when there is some orange on them but before they mature and open.
A clove or two of garlic (garlic to taste, really)
Olive Oil
Skillet that will hold the amount of daylily buds you have picked.

Step one: Go dig up a garlic bulb from your garden and grab a couple cloves. Alternatively, you may purchase garlic at the store, but it won’t be as good. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Step two: Gather as many daylily buds as you feel like you want to eat. They are delicous, so plan accordingly.

Step three: Wash and drain the buds to get any bugs off them that may be lurking.

My hand holding a paper plate on which are many freshly-washed daylily buds, all about 3 to 4 inches long.

Step Four: Heat your skillet to a high medium or a low high heat and coat it in olive oil. Then add just a wee bit more olive oil. Wait for it to be good and hot, then crush your cloves of garlic directly into the pan. Stir the garlic around a moment and enjoy the smell of sauteeing garlic.

Step 5: Dump your daylily buds in the skillet. Sautee until the bases are a bright, vivid green and the tips have caramelized.

Step 6: Put sauteeed buds on plate, grab your fork, and dig in. They are mild, crunchy greens with a taste sort of like a green bean but not quite.

8 June, 2013

Holy Crap Bees, also I am a forgetful planter

So I have no idea what the viney things at the south end of our garden are this year, other than “Some kind of melon or squash” but whatever they are, we are going to be drowning in them. The strawberries are already producing epic amounts of berries compared to previous years, the zucchini have just started flowering and as soon as a flower open a bee gets to it and it closes and sets fruit, it seems like.

Turns out having a busy hive of resident pollinators really does make a difference. I’m more than a little bit afraid of what’s going to happen when the beans and peas start flowering. The peas nearly buried us last year and that was without a beehive 50 feet away. This year I suspect we’ll be trolling the streets of Fredericksburg and Culpeper looking for cars with their windows down so we can leave bags of peas in them, and with an 80 Gallon air compressor so we could steal it. Ok, that last part may be a lie!

But next year I’m definitely keeping a record of what I’ve planted where, so I have some idea what kind of fruit or vegetable the garden is about to bury us in.

4 March, 2012

Spring is always sort of hopeful.

So despite the fact that apparently NO ONE ON THE PLANET wants to hire me, or at least if they do they don’t have offices located in Northern Virginia, I am feeling kind of hopeful.

And anyway, there are still good things going on. For instance, yesterday we went down to see Christine and picked up baby chickens! Three Madagascar Games and ten bantam Sumatras. Alas, one of the little Madagascars didn’t make it through the night, but then she hadn’t grown any since hatching so I suspect there was something odd going on there. The remaining dozen chicks are doing just fine.

There’s also eggs in the incubator, due to hatch in 9 days — a mix of eggs from Christine’s flocks and six crele Old English Game Bantam eggs from Merlin and his ladies (we’d set him up with a flock of 3 ladies of his very own for just this purpose).

Daniel’s been working over the garden beds, too, so today I planted what I am affectionately calling our “Salad Bed”. It’s got salad beets, lettuce, spinach, sugar snap peas, and short fat Nantes carrots in it. Plus a row of garlic, which is not really a salady thing but we do love garlic so there we go. There’s one more bed being worked over nice and deep for potatoes, Other Carrots, parsnips, and salsify. We have a lot of other stuff left to go in but most of it needs waiting until the temps warm up a little more and the threat of frost is past. So in a couple weeks it will be time to plant other peas, sweet corn, sugar pumpkins, cantaloupe, muskmelon, Bull’s Blood beets, endive (chicory to some), romaine lettuce, and I am probably forgetting something in there. Oh, squash, we have buttercup and butternut squash to plant, as well. Daniel should probably get going on the beds.

Later this year I’ll be learning to pickle beets, because I do love some pickled beets. And anyway, at least between the garden and the chickens we won’t starve to death, for sure. If we’re lucky, the weird warm winter hasn’t destroyed the blackberry crop, and I can make some jam and just can some berries straight up for pie filling and the like.

Speaking of the weird warm winter, the grey tree frogs are out in force already a little east of us, so the spring peepers cannot be far behind. And there’s slugs out already, in early March! How’s THAT for weird? We normally don’t see them til a little later in the spring!

At any rate, pictures of baby chickens to follow once I have found the charger for Daniel’s camera…

5 June, 2011

The world rolls onward, the garden gets useful.

The original crop we planted in the garden is mostly a month out from harvest, theoretically. Today I got around to thinning the carrots, finally, and fed the thinnings to the chickens. The Black Seaman tomatos are getting buds on them! So soonish there should be black tomatoes, which means funny-colored pico de gallo and funny-colored tomato sauce and funny-colored salsa…

Also today, we caught Annaham crowing. Previously I was pretty convinced Annaham was a hen, and Annaham’s comb and wattles are still very henny, but her tail is very roostery, and then there’s the crowing thing. So we shall see.

At any rate, we also planted some plants we picked up from Home Depot: red, orange, and yellow sweet bell peppers; a couple of strawberry plants; a Mr. Stripey tomato plant; a yellow pear tomato plant (we are going to be deluged with tomatos); and a zucchini plant. And we put in some seeds to see if they could make it through July to give us a second crop: capitaine lettuce, salad beets, buttercup squash, and watermelon, all courtesy of my friend Gowan who sent me surprise seeds. I learned this time, though, and did not overplant things like I did with the last set of carrots.

Once we harvest the purple spinach, I will dig out the “Teflon Spinach” seeds we bought, which theoretically are heat- and drought-resistant, and plant those for Third Crop, along with possibly some other shortish grow-time things. Sometime in September we’ll put parsnips in the ground for Fourth Crop, and if I can find some collard seeds maybe plant some greens, too — they’re much better after a frost, much like parsnips. I’m tempted to order some mangel wurzel seeds to plant, just to grow forage for chickens.

Having grown such mighty variety this year, we shall dig some of our own chicken-enhanced compost into the beds after Last Harvest and let them rest, and then next year shall be the year of Nitrogen Fixers: peas, green beans, black beans (my favorite of the actual beans), and probably building a fourth garden bed in which we can plant the corn and squash and lettuce and spinach and tomatoes and carrots and things. Although I strongly suspect after this year, when we have five Black Seaman tomato plants what sprouted from seeds and then one Mister Stripey and one yellow pear tomato plant, we will get slightly more conservative with those. I’d like to grow some pumpkins, though.

5 May, 2011

Finals week continues.

Here, have a gratuitous picture of baby purple cauliflower. This stuff is horribly expensive to buy at Wegman’s, but we got the seeds as a wedding gift and they appear to be growing like gangbusters.
A shot composed mostly of dirt, but with a row of little seedlings running down the middle, each with four tiny round leaves soaking up the sun.

4 May, 2011

Finals week continues.

Here, have a gratuitous picture of baby purple spinach.
A shot mostly composed of dirt, but you can also see a few bright magenta-purple spinach shoots bravely unfurling their little leaves.

3 May, 2011

Finals week continues.

Here, have a gratuitous picture of corn shoots, before I thinned them out.
Two crowded rows of corn shoots, most of them with their leaves still tightly curled into tubes but a few starting to uncurl.  Someone obviously needs to do some thinning.

2 May, 2011

Finals week continues.

Here, have a gratuitous picture of the vegetable garden.
A four foot by eight foot raised bed with sides of untreated 1 x 8, filled with good dark earth.  At the far end, you can see shoots of corn coming up.  A row of bags on sticks at the right side identifies where various vegetables will ideally appear.

25 April, 2011

Planting time!

Yesterday we cleaned off the dog crates in the kitchen because we needed to find seeds. Don’t ask. We’re not the most organized people in the world and sometimes we do hire crates for moving house .

Anyway, we’ve got one raised bed built and as an experiment Daniel is going to fork compost into the bed next to it, where we will probably plant potatoes and carrots this season, reserving the raised bed’s super-rich soil for spinach, tomatoes, corn, peas, and possibly cantaloupes. I had forgotten we bought cantaloupe, I think it was probably my fault.

Anyway, we cleaned off the dog crates and found our WEDDING SEEDS, a gift from our friend Steph. There’s purple carrots, purple spinach, purple tomatoes, and purple cauliflower. I was having a bit of a purple fit when filling out the wedding registry, you see. We then tracked down the other seeds we’d bought, which turned out to be nowhere near the dog crates: peas, regular green spinach (apparently I am also on a leafy greens kick), cantaloupe, two types of sweet corn (I love sweet corn, I blame growing up in DeKalb, Illinois, home of the flying ear of corn), regular orange carrots, and parsnips. Root vegetables and spinach, ahoy!

Having found the seeds it was off outdoors to plant them. We forked over the non-raised bed and added compost, and by “we” I mean “Daniel” while I did helpful things like say “wow, that looks like hard work.” To be fair, I also planted seeds in the raised bed and helped cut potatoes into sets.

Hopefully the squirrels, gophers, birds, and deer will leave us some of our garden. We got all the purple veggies in, plus a couple rows of corn, and will full the unraised bed with potatoes first, and then other seeds when we see how much room we have.

23 April, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends…

School is into the final rush to completion and you have NO IDEA how much I want this to be over with. Due in the next two weeks: one 5-7 page paper for bio, two labs for bio, one chapter quiz for bio, two math lab thingies, two final exams, and a short paper for Civil War history plus 4 shorter assignments for same. I may keel over and die. Except there’s a good chance I can get bio at least knocked out tomorrow and be DONE WITH IT FOREVER AND EVER. Exciting.

Meanwhile, my friends keep me entertained.

Via my friend F, a link to a pic of Viggo Mortenson playing a version of Manor Rules Footsoccerball.[1] F says, “I think Daniel’s got a harder time of it than Viggo.” It’s true in SO MANY ways, F.

katie at Save the Pit Bull, Save the World posts asking What’s a person in search of a nice family pet puppy supposed to do? and gets some interesting discussion going in the comments.

In another case of interesting discussion in the post and comments, Marji at For the Pit Bulls asks Where are all these fake service dogs?”

Here at the Manor, my beloved husband has fully recovered from his last game of Manor Rules Footsoccerball and has built an 8′ x 4′ raised garden bed and filled it with really good dirt. It’s the kind of dirt I remember from growing up in Illinois: black and rich and smelling all organic and, well, dirtish. Which means that we bought the dirt, because here in Virginia the dirt is red clay and I’m sure it’s very fine dirt and all, and things do seem to grow in it, but I still get wistful about that good black dirt in Illinois.

[1] Since the alt text on that pic is not illuminating, I will tell you that Viggo is playing Manor Rules Footsoccerball in a movie costume, with a chihuahua. He appears to be in no danger of being bitten on the groin.

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