Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In the Weeds

This evening I ignored the piles of boxes still scattered all over our new house and took a bath in our new cast-iron tub that overlooks the meadow. For real, people. Although we're totally excited about the new home, it still doesn't quite seem real, although the work to keep it in shape is all too much so. We're just starting to tackle big-picture plan for an annual garden interspersed with perennials, as well as plenty of fruit around the property. Since the big plan is daunting, the short-term objective for this week is to clear some space in the existing "vegetable garden" for some fall plantings of greens and root vegetables that can be coaxed with a cold frame or overwintered. Take a gander at the photo below and you'll see why I put that term in quotation marks. It's basically a thistle farm with a few sad tomatoes fighting for light. You can't even walk in there without gloves and boots on.

Since we don't have any harvests of our own right now (*sniff*), I'm making do by picking as much extra produce as possible at our CSA. The cucumbers are out of control, so last week I picked some little gherkins along with the big, beefy picklers and made cornichons (with mixed results). But what I did glean from the experience is a terrific way to make new pickles, which are my favorite kind. New pickles are the ones that are still bright green and haven't been cooked. My cornichon recipe told me to soak the cukes in salted water overnight, and when I tasted one the next day it was salty all the way through. I won't get all salacious about said delicious, salty cucumber, but I will tell you that I sliced some, sprinkled them with wine vinegar, and ended up with my ideal fresh, crunchy pickle. Today I picked several more pounds of cucumbers and attempted to fine-tune the recipe. In a day or two I'll know if I was successful or not. But either way, don't they look pretty?