I need to take a short hiatus to deal with some family issues. Don't worry, I hope to be back by the end of the week. I've got a great topic for Gardening 101. I'm not so sure I'll have an OLS meal this week, but never say never.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
- Cut down any tall vegetation and woody weeds in your new garden location. Remove any woody material or things that have gone to seed. Lay a base layer of cardboard or newspapers at full thickness over the area. Make sure to overlap the edges. This is biodegradable and keeps the light from reaching the stuff underneath.
- Next add a layer up to 4 inches deep of soil improvers - compost, grass clippings, leaf mold or fallen leaves, composted manure, mushroom compost, or animal bedding (old straw or hay). A mixture of these materials is good. You can buy many of these at a garden center, if you don't have them laying around, but leaves and grass clippings are free (so is animal bedding and manure, if you a lucky enough to have animals! No dog or cat poo though, these can contain icky things that can infect us as well).
- Then add a top layer of straw or hay. This will retain moisture and look good. Wood mulch looks good, but a caveat - wood actually takes nitrogen out of the soil as it breaks down. Shredded bark mulch is a better choice, but expensive. I'd stick to straw.
- Water this all to settle the layers and keep it all from blowing away.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
We went southern this week with the local menu. There we no leftovers tonight. The Monkey had two helpings of everything. Some days nothing satisfies like fried catfish. I grew up on the banks of the Missouri River. With the uncharacteristic heat and humidity we've had, I almost feel like I'm back home. The recipe for the catfish was in this month's Gourmet, which is full of local food articles. It was quick and easy without the mess of frying. Don't think that oven-fried means low-fat; there's 4 tablespoons of oil for 4 catfish filets. I toyed with the idea of making some hushpuppies, but thought it safer for the arteries to pass this time.
Oven-Fried Catfish - NC farm-raised, from exactly where I'm not sure. It's soaked in eggs from the garden and dredged in cornmeal from Blue Hill Farm - around 25 miles away.
Green Beans, Yellow Wax Beans from our neighbors' - 2 miles, and Potatoes from the garden - 0 miles, seasoned with Bacon from Spring House Meats/Hickory Nut Gap Farm - 10 miles.
Sweet Corn from a farm in Old Fort, NC - 20 miles
We washed it down with iced tea. Mmmm...
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
We shared our meal with Chef Boots and Dr. E, who came up for the day from Winston-Salem. Chef Boots didn't bring bread or dessert, which made me slightly sad, but he made up for it with the wine. Sorry, it wasn't local - on bottle was from California though! We chatted and relaxed and put together an impromptu afternoon feast. A few non-local ingredients were used, but they were already open in the fridge (and just where am I supposed to find North Carolina olives???) It may seem like we're in a rut, but it's a tasty one. Here's the Independence Day menu chez Little Creek.
Grilled Steak - from Virginia (which falls into our "traveling" category of local - it's grown in the county where we spend about a week a month working) - pastured about 5 miles from the worksite.
Cole Slaw - made with cabbage, onion and parsley from The Garden - 0 miles. (The oil, salt, pepper and celery seed were not local, but the vinegar is from NC)
Roasted Potatoes - The Garden - 0 miles.
Carrot Salad - made with carrots, shallots and parsley from The Garden - 0 miles. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar (Italy), calamata olives (Greece), salt and pepper were not local.
The carrot salad was amazing - beautiful, simple, satisfying and intense. I plan on making a lunch of the leftovers today. The carrots were so sweet that the last thing they needed were traditional raisins (or as Chef Boots likes to add, dried cherries) We tried some calamata olives and a savory basalmic viniagrette, which Charlie remembered from somewhere, and it was perfect. Since the baby carrots were really too small to shred like in a traditional carrot salad, Dr. E sliced them up, which left them crunchy and showed off their color. The viniagrette I made was simply a little organic olive oil, equal parts baslamic and white basalmic vinegars, sea salt and pepper. Mixed bites with the cole slaw were quite tasty and we thought next time we might combine the two.
We finished off the day watching fireworks in Black Mountain from the school's playground, with friends; our friend, Dave, picking the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar. Perfect.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
The updates of week one of One Local Summer are up. It's so exciting to see everyone's meals from all over the country (and out of the country too). I spent last evening perusing various entries. I'm getting lots of ideas. It looks like I'll have new blogs to read. Now I just have to find the time.
In the garden I've pulled out the onions. They are small this year, but have good flavor. They are curing now. Charlie has bought lumber to start construction on the root cellar under the porch. This year we won't have to store potatoes under our bed! I've planted more haricot verts, golden wax and Roma beans. I like the Romas for canning. I've also started to fill in where we've dug potatoes. I'm planting cow peas and black eyed peas in those spots. I may not get much of a later crop, but they make a good cover crop and can be left on top of the row over the winter. I've somehow managed to squeeze in lots of garden work in lately. Now if only we'd get some real rain...
Eating locally and gardening go hand in hand. We are finally getting to the time of year when we can go out to the garden and pick dinner. The tailgate market has been a giant boon to the whole process. We've met neighbors that we haven't had a chance to meet in the three years we've lived here. There are many more like-minded people in this valley than I expected and it makes me hopeful that we'll never have subdivisions popping up. There's seems to be a genuine concern to keep this area agricultural and natural. We've also found lots of things we can't grow ourselves - beef, pork, sweet corn. Last night Monkey and I (Charlie was up in Virginia) ate an almost entirely local veggie meal of black-eyed peas and rice, early sweet (very sweet) corn from the co-op in Old Fort, and salad from the garden. The only non-local items were salad dressing, butter and the rice. That's not our "official" OLS meal this week, mind you. We're planning that for later in the week...