Monday, May 31, 2010

Funky Feline Fotos

Since the weather has been pretty crappy for the last several days, I don't have many fresh photos to post. So here's another gratuitous shot of the cat. I caught him coming over the gate on his way home from gallivanting. The bell was a gift from a friend in Washington state and the piece that holds the bell just happens to be in the shape of a cat.

I'm tempted to paint the bell and its mount black, to match the cat. What do you think?

Work on the garden has slowed with the rain, but Ken got the final plot tilled up and I'll be planting corn in the next couple of days. Warmer weather is predicted toward the end of the week, so I may be able to get the eggplants and peppers out of the cold frames and into real dirt soon. Then there are the sunflowers (I am determined) and some more herbs to get started. And the grass will have to be cut this week.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tarte aux fraises

This is the fourth strawberry pie I've made so far this season. The first was a strawberry and rhubarb pie where I cooked the strawberries in with the rhubarb. The second was fresh strawberries topping a cooked almond custard. The third was another strawberry and rhubarb pie, but with fresh strawberries topping the cooked rhubarb filling.

Une barquette de fraises, about 500 grams worth.

Yesterday I got another barquette of strawberries from our favorite strawberry and asparagus vendor at the market in Saint-Aignan. Ken suggested I do a strawberry pie the classic way, with fresh strawberries on top of pastry cream. So that's what I did. A pastry cream is eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla cooked on top of the stove very slowly until it thickens. Then, once it's cool, it goes into a pre-baked pie shell.

The tarte is glazed and ready to eat!

I washed the strawberries then halved them and arranged them on top of the pastry cream. They're finished off with a glaze of Ken's home-made quince jelly. The local strawberries this year are incredibly good! It's worth a trip to the market on Saturdays just for them alone.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Les jours se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas

An old French proverb that means, roughly, every day is different. And I suppose it's true, except when it's not. Last week we enjoyed several days of sunny warm weather. The weather is changing now and temperatures have been more spring-like than summer-like. Which is normal for this time of year. But it's funny how a few really nice days can spoil you to the point that you're disappointed when they're gone.

A weathered old grape vine trunk lying in the vineyard.

We are expecting rain over the next day or two and that's a good thing all around because, so far, it's been a pretty dry couple of months. In fact, we've had less than average rainfall since January. We have a rain gauge in the back yard and I record every rainfall, and have since 2004. Excel spreadsheets are so useful, aren't they?

The garden will enjoy a couple of days of gentle rain, as long as they're followed by some warm sunny days. I suppose I should get the eggplant seedlings out there today so they can take advantage of the free water. I do have fabric tunnels to protect them if it gets too chilly. But I could also just move them out into the rain in their cold frame.

I'll see how lazy I feel later on today. I need to decide if I'm going to the market in town this morning for more asparagus and/or strawberries and anything else. And then there's tennis to watch. There are several good matches scheduled for today at Roland Garros.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A thorny issue

Well, not quite yet. It's the fresh spring growth on some wild brambles, possibly blackberry, out in the margins of the vineyard. There are a lot of blackberry patches around and, depending on the year, I often see people out collecting berries in the late summer. They're rather small and seedy (the berries, not the people) and you need to gather quite a lot to have anything worth eating, but they're free!

Fresh thorns making their appearance in the vineyard.

I've been making slow progress in the vegetable garden. The weather has cooled down and it's overcast, so it's a good time to move seedlings out into their places in the garden. Yesterday I got twenty tomato plants put in. That means raking, setting up the stakes, digging holes, adding fertilizer, filling in, and watering. I still have about thirty tomato seedlings left. I'm saving some of them for a friend and I'll probably put a few more in the garden if there's room. The eggplant and peppers will be going in next, and I'm planning to plant a few rows of corn once the final plot gets tilled up.

I will also be planting some basil seeds in pots and getting them started under the cold frame. And cilantro and spring onions and chives... And I have to find a place for sunflowers!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grazin' in the grass is a gas

Can you dig it? This is the seed head of one of the varieties of grass that grows out in the spaces between the vineyards and the woods and in the fields that aren't cultivated. There is a good variety of plants and wildflowers in those fields and I imagine the insect, bird, and small mammal populations are well represented.

Rock it to me, sock it to me, rock it to me, sock it to me.

I can dig it, he can dig it, she can dig it, we can dig it, they can dig it, you can dig it, oh, let's dig it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another asparagus tart

I hope it's not the last one of the season. En principe, asparagus season won't wind down for a few more weeks. But toward the end, the price of asparagus starts to go back up as it gets rarer and we stop buying it.

Steamed asparagus wrapped in ham slices, ready to go.

We got another beautiful bunch from our preferred grower at Saturday's market, along with about a pound of his son's strawberries (picked the evening before, he told us). The asparagus were thin ones this time. We've been used to fatter spears, so this was a nice change. Before they're cooked, the tips of the spears are a violet color. But once steamed, all the violet turns to green, as you can see.

The finished tart ready to serve.

I made a crust and did what has now become a standard recipe at our house this time of year. I used less ham to expose more of the asparagus in this tart. And because the spears were thin, I was able to make six bundles for the pie instead of just four. It's a great rustic lunch, served with a local red and a green salad. And it was delicious!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Funky Feline Fotos

I took advantage of some time Ken was spending in the yard with Callie to bring Bertie upstairs onto the deck on Sunday. He made himself right at home in one of our planter boxes.

Don't bother me, I'm lounging.

It must have been the cool dirt that attracted him on this particularly warm day. When he's not out prowling the neighborhood, he's usually curled up in the cool garage napping.

What are those neighbors up to over there?

He really enjoyed his new cat-o-lounger. He stretched, rolled, perched, watched, and napped in there all in the space of about half an hour. When he was done, I carried him down to the back yard to see Callie. I made Callie sit and stay and sat down in front of her with the cat.


Both animals were very tense, but Callie was good and didn't lunge at the cat. I kept talking calmly to both of the them for what must have been about five minutes. Then, suddenly, Bertie slipped to the ground and that was the end of that.

The dog lunged and the cat went up a tree. I think we need Jimmy Carter to come negotiate a treaty or something.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Well done

The annual cleanup of the space around the ornamental well is now complete. We have transformed the well's look over the years since we've owned the house. It has gone from being hidden behind shrubs and crowded with growth to being spare and spartan. I prefer the latter to the former.

The bed around the well is ready and the walkways are cleared of grass.

One year I decided that lavender would look nice planted inside the well. That lasted until the lavender got too bulky and started not looking right. So I moved the lavender and planted some flowering plants along with some herbs. The annual herbs got to be a lot of trouble so I replaced them with perennial mint. The mint fills the well in summer but, of course, it's beginning to crowd out the purple campanule (bellflower). So be it.

Last year I put some bulbs in around the base. There was also some thyme. But this past winter the moles invaded this section of the yard (the little brown patches you see are former mole hills) and the base of the well was not spared. Very early this spring the weeds invaded and it was a mess. So I dug everything out. As much as I could. There are still some roots and bulbs that escaped my spade.

This year I'm planting annuals around the base of the well. Some marigolds, zinnia, and flax. We're looking forward to a little color this summer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

L'abri de jardin

The garden shed. It sits out back by the gate that leads out into the vineyard. When we moved in, the door was busted and there were boards nailed up in its place. The shed was full, and I mean packed full, of junk. It was weeks before I could get up the courage to empty it out.

The shed last week emptied of most of its contents.

But when I did it was like an archeological dig. The shed had been closed up for years before we bought the house. There were probably more spiders inside the shed than anything else, along with dead lizards and rodents. Old broken and mended yard tools were stacked, piled, and hung everywhere. There was even a scythe (a scythe!) which I've kept just so I can say I own a scythe.

The shed contained boxes and jars and bags of fertilizers, insecticides, and other stuff that looked pretty scary. I got rid of the worst of it, but there is still some actually left that I thought I might one day use. I haven't.

The cleaned out shed, waiting for most of the stuff to be put back in.

The cleaning took about a week. Several trips to the dump later, I had organized the shed to hold our gardening tools, wheelbarrow, rototiller, and lawnmower. And other stuff. Since then (2003), I haven't cleaned the shed out again, although we did have a new locking door installed in 2004. I had good intentions to clean it out again last year, but never got it together. So this year, this past Friday, was it.

It didn't take much more than a couple hours to empty the shed and use the shop-vac to suck up all the spiders (living and dead), spider webs, neatly wrapped spider food (yuck), and spider eggs, and to sweep up the mess on the floor. Now I've got everything back inside and a small pile of stuff to cart off to the dump. And the shed is clean and pleasant once again.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

These will be walnuts

There's a lone walnut tree out in the vineyard from which we have, in the past, gathered walnuts. The tree has on-years (lots of nuts) and off-years (not so many). Last year was an on-year, but one of our neighbors got out there before we did and gathered up much of what was on the ground. But, he told me, the 2009 nuts were very small; not really worth the trouble.

Walnuts and a worm. Well, technically, a caterpillar.

Still, once in a while, we get some and use them. I took this picture earlier in the week just to show you what the immature walnuts look like. After looking at the photo on the computer, I noticed the little inch worm on the upper left and the tiny line of silk he was spinning. He's a bit out of focus, but I thought it was cool that I hadn't even noticed him when I snapped the pic.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fraises des bois

We're in strawberry season right now. There are several varieties of locally grown berries in the markets these days and the prices are coming down as the season goes on. But one variety that we're not likely to see there are the tiny fraises des bois (wild or woodland strawberries).

Les fraises des bois are blossoming right now!

We have some growing in our back yard, but they're in the lawn and usually get mowed down before they can produce berries. There is a small patch of them outside of the mower's path, but it's not enough for anything but a small taste now and then.

Fraises des bois are plentiful out on the edges of the vineyard where the woods begin. Which makes sense given their name. Those berries will most often be eaten by the wildlife before any humans can get to them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Curly cue

Just another plant picture from out in the vineyard. I don't know what kind of plant this is, but I know it's not a grape vine. They've not yet reached the curly cue stage.

Something curly nestled in the tall grass.

I'm still waiting for our ditch to be filled in. The mayor said it would happen this week. That leaves today and Friday, so we shall see. In France, patience is a virtue, and since we've been waiting for almost a year, a little more time won't hurt. But it would be nice if it happened during spring so that the grass can grow over it before winter. Hope springs eternal.

We got the house cleaned up a little bit on Wednesday as we were having some visitors for drinks before going out to dinner. Of course there's still a lot of dust and a lot of stuff is out of place due to the attic work. Speaking of which, the electrical and heating work got finished on Monday and Tuesday, but the general construction guys have not shown up this week. They could be waiting for materials (we're expecting closet doors and the floorboards) or working on another job. We don't know.

But I can tell you we're itching for them to get it done so we can begin the finishing and painting process.

And, by the way, while I was eating my steak tartare at a restaurant last night, the woman who prepared it for me came by and asked if it was cooked to my preference. Ha!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Au lever du soleil

Here are two different views of a recent sunrise. The clouds were hanging in the east, but beginning to break up. To the west, the sky was clearing faster. It's interesting how the colors change on either side of the sunrise.

Looking slightly southeast.

Our weather has been slowly improving and is predicted to be more seasonal, even a bit summery, by week's end. This break in the cold means that we're able to get outside and continue with yard work. Although Ken's allergies have kicked in and he's not enjoying it.

Looking slightly northeast.

If all goes well, we should be getting the vegetable garden in this weekend. I've begun hardening off the tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings in anticipation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I am no longer stumped

On Sunday the clouds cleared away as the sun came up. The morning warmed up a bit and we were able to get a little work done in the yard before lunch. Ken did some weeding in the potato patch, and I worked on an old stump with a pick-axe.

June 2007. We put our rain gauge in a flower pot in an attempt to make the stump useful.

The stump was left from the linden tree we had cut down in 2003. We've wanted to be rid of it for a while as it's right where we'd like to put some lawn furniture in the summer. But inertia is a powerful force and we had other priorities and just never got it together to deal with it. It's been slowly rotting for six years, but it wasn't until last summer that we tried to level the ground around it. Nothing doing. There were still stubborn bits of the stump that wouldn't yield.

May 2010. Ready for seed. And we need to clean out the bed around the well. The smaller bare patches in the grass are the remains of last winter's mole city.

So this year we built a fire on top of the stump and burned it away. A few swings of the pick-axe was all it took to be rid of the rest. Ken ran the rototiller around to level the ground. I raked it smooth and now we're ready for grass seed. There's another stump a little further out in the yard from and old pine tree that came down. We'll deal with that one next. Check back in six years.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Un tout petit escargot

I took my camera on Sunday's morning walk with Callie once again. As I was leaning down to take a picture of some fraises des bois (wild strawberries), I noticed this tiny snail on a leaf. It's so small that I assume it's a youngster. And there seem to be little hairs on its shell. I've never seen anything like that before.

This snail is not more than a few millimeters in diameter. Tiny!

I had to take about five photos of it to get this good one.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Boulettes de courgettes

Or, as I like to call them: zucchini balls. These are made with grated zucchini, minced chili peppers, onion, and ginger, and chick pea flour. Then they're deep fried until golden brown. It's a great vegetarian dish and they're surprisingly delicious.

The balls are formed and ready for frying.

You can eat them with any sauce. Ranch dressing would be good. Ken made a spicy dip with fromage frais de chèvre (fresh goat cheese) for this batch. We ate them alongside some spicy chili and guacamole. A terrific combination.

This batch made thirty boulettes. Yum!

I don't remember where the recipe came from, but I found it a few years back when we had a surplus of zucchini from the garden. Since then, I grate our extra squash in the food processor and freeze it in zip-top bags. Then, when the mood strikes, I can thaw it out and make a batch of balls.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Genêt à balais

At least, that's what I think this is. Scotch broom (cytisus scoparius). Every year there's more and more of it on the edges of the vineyard. These are the flower heads just getting ready to open. It's interesting to me to see the very young petals with their red color just before they open. Once the flower is open, all the red is gone and just the yellow remains.

Bloomin' broom.

I read that the plant is called "broom" because the stems are (or were) dried and used to make brooms.

Again, I took this picture on Wednesday under heavy gray morning skies. The 11th, 12th, and 13th of May are known as les saints de glace (the ice saints), referring to the last days of frost in the spring of the year. And this year, the saints lived up to their name; the first half of May has been cold and miserable. But on Friday, May 14, almost as if on cue, the morning dawned sunny and clear and the weather feels like it will improve.

Then comes this morning. Sunny, but a chilly 5.9ºC. Arrrgh!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Laugh it up, fuzzball

Continuing with photos from my manual photography session on Wednesday. Here's a little dandelion-type plant showing flower buds about to open and a fully formed seed head before the seeds are blown away. Keep in mind that the camera is hand-held in all of these shots; no tripod!

These flowers are much smaller than standard dandelions at about 2cm in diameter.

The title of today's post is a line from a very well-known movie. Do you remember it?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Little daisies

We've been under heavily overcast skies these past few days and it's been dark. Too dark, almost, for taking pictures. In this kind of light, my outdoor photos tend to turn out dark and blurry. But I try anyway, and on Wednesday I thought that I might have better luck if I used the camera in manual mode, setting my own aperture and shutter speed.

These little daisies are only about 15mm across, so I had to get very close in low light.

In low-light conditions, the camera's automatic settings prefer to decrease shutter speed rather than open up the aperture. That results in a longer exposure and a blurry photo, unless the camera is on a tripod. I'm not sure I want to take the tripod out with me on walks with the dog. With the manual settings, I can open up the aperture all the way and increase the shutter speed to reduce the blurring. A wide open aperture reduces the depth-of-field in the image, but that's not really a problem with these close ups; a little background blur is desirable as long as the main subject's in focus.

I love how the petals are tinged with a magenta color.

These photos were done that way. If I increase the shutter speed too much, the image comes out too dark. Sometimes dark photos can be lightened up with Photoshop, but it depends on the picture. So it's just a matter of finding the right balance. The camera helps with a little on-screen scale that shows what happens when you change the f-stop and the shutter speed. And the LCD screen helps, too, but that's hard to see well outdoors.

Of course, if you're a photographer, you know all this already.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain

Every spring the grape growers try to thwart the hungry deer who love to nibble on fresh young grape vine shoots. They electrify several fences and they string up long lengths of red and white tape along woods' edge (the tape flutters in the breeze). This year we are seeing scarecrows.

Callie wasn't scared, but she was curious.

Maybe they should be called scaredeer. In French, they're epouvantails. There are two of them; one on each end of a particular parcel. It's the parcel of younger vines that M. Denis the elder planted about five years ago and takes care of himself. I don't know if he's on to something or if he's just on something. Time will tell.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Periodic Puppy Pics

Callie's been really good with all the upheaval in her life right now. First, the furniture is all moved around and her favorite sleeping place in the entry is gone. Second, many of the inside doors in the house are closed to keep down dust and she doesn't have as much freedom to roam around. Third, the construction is often noisy and loud. And finally, there's a cat living somewhere in the house.

Sleepy, but ever vigilant with one ear up.

But after a few nervous days, Callie settled into the new routine. Every once in a while when we have the doors open, I find her stretched out on the bed snoozing. She's going to be really surprised when the work is done and she has new places to hang out. Or maybe not.

I suppose she'll simply adjust and find a new routine to settle into.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tarte aux amandes et aux fraises

I made this pie on Sunday from a recipe sent to me by one of my readers. Thanks, Nadege! It's made with an almond filling and topped with fresh strawberries. And since local strawberries are in season right now, well, I couldn't resist trying it out.

What a treat!

The filling is made with almond flour (finely ground almonds), eggs, sugar, and almond and vanilla extracts. The recipe calls for a sweet crust, but I used my standard pâte brisée (pie crust). The filling was sweet enough to handle the regular crust just fine. I glazed the baked filling and the berries with a combination of Ken's home made cherry and quince jellies.

There is still some left if you hurry...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Tarte aux asperges et jambon blanc

One of my favorite asparagus dishes is this ham and asparagus tart that I saw made on tv one day. I've been making it during asparagus season for several years and it never disappoints. Of course, I've adjusted the recipe a little for our taste, but not too much.

This is the paper that this recent batch of asparagus came wrapped in.

Ken found these local white asparagus, from the nearby town of Soings-en-Sologne, in a supermarket for a good price the other day, so he bought them. They were fat spears, all wrapped in paper and a net bag. A more fancy presentation than the stuff I usually get at the Saturday market. But they were good and they made a fine tart.

The spears are wrapped in ham and baked in a cheesy custard.

The tart, as you probably know if you're a regular reader, is made with an egg and cream custard flavored with grated parmesan cheese. The cooked asparagus are wrapped in a slice of ham, and the whole thing is baked in a pie crust until yummily done. As they say in France, "c'est un régal!"

Saturday, May 08, 2010

La niche

We asked the contractors to put a little niche into one of the walls. And they did. I'm very happy that this potentially lost space will not be lost after all. It could become a bookshelf or a place for objets d'art. We shall see.

The niche is in. That's a closet opening on the lower right.

The taping and mudding is proceeding at at lively pace. And the guys have taken the wallpaper down in the stairwell. That part is really cool. I've been dreaming of the day that we could be rid of that wallpaper, but the fact that it was in a two-story stairwell made doing it ourselves very problematic. Now it's gone. Wow.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Taping and mudding

For those interested, here are a few shots of the attic conversion as it stands to date. The guys have started filling in the gaps around the windows with drywall and have also started the taping and mudding process. That's the process by which the joints and screw holes begin to disappear into a single smooth wall.

Looking northwest. The chimney will be covered, probably with plaster.

As you can see, they still have a long way to go. After all that's done, they will have to sand it smooth. Then they'll leave it for us to finish. Ken and I will be applying the primer and paint to the walls ourselves. Sweat equity, they used to call it on "This Old House." Saving euros is what we call it on "Cette Vieille Maison." I made that bit up.

Looking east. You can see insulation peeking out around the window.

And like I mentioned previously, the next big step is the installation of the finish flooring. That will be pine planks that are about six inches wide. They come in lengths of six and a half feet, but they will likely be cut into smaller lengths for installation. We will also be responsible for finishing (staining and varnishing) the floor once it's in. More sweat equity.

Looking southwest. There's the stair coming up. The red wall will be plastered.

It's going to be a busy summer.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The sparks fly

On Monday the work crew put in the stair to the attic. It only took one day and now it's "operational," as one of them said. Part of the process involved removing a section of the wrought iron railing on the landing.

I took the picture quickly through a dusty glass door. But you get the idea.

As they cut, sparks filled the room, along with a cloud of gray smoke. I grabbed the camera only to find that my memory card was not inside. By the time I retrieved the card and was ready to take a picture, the big sparks were over. But I did get this shot of a smaller spark shower. You'll have to use your imagination to envisage what it was like with about five times as many sparks.

Since the stair went in the crew has begun the finish work on the drywall: filling in gaps and cracks, taping and mudding, and other detail work. The next big job will be to install the finish floor.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Une botte d'asperges

I think it was Starman who left a comment on Ken's blog recently to the effect that although he loves white asparagus, he had never seen it for sale in bunches. I've seen it for sale as loose spears of course, but around here you mostly see it bundled into what's called une botte (a bunch, a bundle, a sheaf, or a bale, like hay bales).

Most of the time a bundle weighs one kilogram. Some vendors make their bundles smaller in what I think is an attempt to fool buyers into paying more. I may have fallen for that once or twice. I try to be careful about that now.

There's a restaurant in the nearby town of Contres, between St.-Aignan and Blois, called La Botte d'Asperges (The Bunch of Asparagus). We ate there once in season, but that night their asparagus was a bit fibrous and therefore not very good. We were disappointed and haven't gone back.

The Sologne region, which is right next door to us, is known for its white asparagus this time of year.

Une botte d'asperges that I got at our Saturday market.

The same asparagus, peeled, trimmed, and ready for cooking.

White asparagus is the same plant as the green variety. The difference is that the white stuff is never allowed to see sunlight. As it grows, farmers pile up dirt to keep the shoots covered. Then when they're ready to pick, the harvest crew uses a special tool to dig out each spear by hand. This is one reason why white asparagus is not cheap. We're lucky to get good local spears in our markets sold by the people who grow them. That keeps the prices reasonable for us.

Unlike green asparagus, the white spears need to be peeled before they're cooked. The outer skin is tough and fibrous, but the inside is tender and delicious.

And here they are cooked. And they were delicious.

Carrots and leeks are often sold en bottes (in bunches). Radishes are almost always sold that way as are little bunches of herbs like parsley, cilantro, or chives. Bales of hay are called bottes de foin. And just to confuse things, une botte is also a boot -- in the American sense (what you wear on your feet), not in the British sense (the trunk of a car).

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sur le mur y avait des glycines

I planted this glycine (wisteria) in 2006. It was about two feet tall then. The first year it grew roots but didn't get any taller. I was disappointed. Then, in 2008 and 2009, it started to grow taller and began to branch out. The flowers get fuller and more numerous as each year passes. I started training it with a horizontal wire support two years ago; I need to add another this year.

Our glycine in 2010. Just a young whippersnapper.

It's still a long way from being a mature, majestic plant. But one day, if we're lucky, the back of the house will be covered with these blue-mauve flowers every spring.

By the way, the title of this post is a line from a song. Do you recognize it?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Tarte aux fraises et à la rhubarbe

Saturday's market run netted me some terrific local strawberries known as gariguettes. They're spring berries and are among the most flavorful strawberries you can find. Gariguettes are tastier than any strawberry I ate in California, and I ate a lot. They're also a bit pricey, but they are so, so worth it during this very short season.

Rhubarb and strawberries, ready to go.

Couple that with the rhubarb that comes up every year in our garden and you have the makings for a strawberry-rhubarb pie. I used the recipe in the Joy Of Cooking as a base, but made mine as a single-crust pie rather than the traditional covered pie. We cut it for dessert on Saturday. It was still warm when we cut it, but that wasn't the best idea because the juices ran out all over the place. Still, it was delicious.

The finished pie.

Next time, if I do this again this year, I'll try to remember to let it cool for several hours before cutting into it to give the juices a chance to set up.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Let Out The Choke

Here's a holdover from last year's garden. It's an artichoke that dried on the plant and over-wintered. Now it's opened up and is all fluffy. These artichokes were mostly failures. They produced artichokes, but they were small and tough. Not worth eating.

The black bits were exposed over winter and froze. You can see this year's leaves on the lower right.

Two of the four or five plants that I put in have come back again this spring. This will be their third year, and even though there's nothing edible on them, they still look kind of nice in the garden, so they'll probably stay until they die.