It seems to be a theme of mine that no afghan I begin will be finished within 5 years. It just doesn’t happen. One afghan, which I began in high school, grew to gigantic proportions and was finally completed at a writing retreat some time after college. The next was completed in all but piecing together for years until I finally admitted to myself I wasn’t going to make any more pieces and joined the darn things together. My problem is, quite obviously, that I’m in denial that I won’t actually do what I set out to do, so I don’t do anything at all, for a while. Then — at a certain point — I just want to get the pile of yarn out of my sight, so I finish it – albeit not in the original way planned.
I know I’m not the only one with the never-ending projects. This makes me feel slightly less lazy and foolish.
Well, perhaps mimicking the changing seasons, my life has changed once again. My apprenticeship at Pokrov Farm has come to an end, and I am very grateful for the six months of learning and growing that I did there. For those of you who remember that it was originally going to be a year-long venture, don’t worry. It was a difficult but mutual decision and seems best. I have the opportunity and time to spend the winter in the city, researching my plans for next year, and saving money to hopefully find another apprenticeship come spring.
I never thought I’d say it, but I’m pretty much sick to death of pork. Not trichinosis sick, but ughh-god-get-it-away-from-my-nose sick.Through a long twist of fate, my household ended up with a whole pig after our wedding, filling our entire freezer and my brother in law’s entire freezer. Over the last four months, I’ve eaten more pork than probably the last 4 years combined. At this point, the smell of thawed, perfectly fine pork turns my stomach. I’m just over it, and don’t want to kill my love entirely.
Unfortunately, my husband and I haven’t managed to work our way through all of the meat, so it became apparent that we needed a solution. Trashing the meat was out of the question, and I couldn’t deal with more slow cooked roasts. Then one day it dawned on me: disguise the meat via grinding and seasoning.
We make sausage.
Autumn is here. It was 39°F this morning. The days of heat and sun are mostly over, although we may still get some Indian Summer – ish days (I doubt it). 50s and lower from here on out. It’s been a busy summer mostly because of the garden, and now that is ramping down, leaving time for — yes — the wintery clean-up-type projects. Getting ready for new things, like the sheep and goats, and the meat chickens. Lots of planning. Lots of shoveling (manure, what else?). Beautiful, blustery, dramatic days with glimpses of Mt. Hood through the clouds.
I made beer that tastes like beer. Have the presses stopped yet? No? Sniff. Well, I’m not sure what else I expected it to be like, but it still felt huge to me.
You know what else felt huge to me? Getting to finally use the mouth-pipetting skills I earned in the endless titrations that made up chemistry practicals at Brijlal Biyani Science College during junior year abroad. Home-brew, you have officially made up for those times I had to run outside to spit out chemicals I had pipetted too enthusiastically into my mouth.
There they are, three adorable little pint jars of pickles sitting on the counter, getting tastier and tastier by the minute. I can’t wait to taste them when they are actually pickley, in a week or so. For now, I am just crossing my fingers and hoping that my wanton recipe-hacking hasn’t created a monster. (Well, ok, I did taste-test the brine, and it was pretty damn good, so I’m not too worried. It’s just that I didn’t really follow the recipe…)
The garden at the farm has been producing cucumbers like crazy for the past few weeks, giving us between 1 and 9 pounds of lemon cukes and pickling cukes every few days, so we have had extra. We have even had a customer order some from us! Having the surplus meant we were free to preserve some, which has been a goal all summer — to have enough extra of *something* that we would be able to can it. The hope is to can pickles, tomatoes, green beans, pumpkins, and anything else that sits still long enough for me to get my hands on it.
On the day we set out to test the lacto-fermented (dill) pickle recipe, we had 9 pickling cucumbers roughly 2-5 inches long each, and approx. 35 lemon cucumbers of varying sizes. The lemon cucumbers averaged out to fit 5 sliced up in a quart jar (this was also probably about 1.25 lbs per jar). Some of the lemon cukes were the size of baseballs, no joke; others were a little bigger than golf balls.
A month or so before I left my hometown to spend a year as an exchange student in India, my parents took me and the rest of the family across the river to the Big City of Portland to eat Indian food, I believe, for the first time. I have no recollection what we ate other than palak paneer. For those of you pitiable enough to have never eaten it, palak paneer is a spinach curry with cubes of Indian farmer cheese. It’s heaven on your plate, spice in your belly, and squeak between your teeth. I was instantly in love.
Farmer cheese, meet Alice. You’re going to be very happy together.
When we were quite small (7 & 8 years old? 8 & 9?), Aurora and I spent a hot sticky day in our godmother’s kitchen, making raspberry jam. I remember mashing raspberries, I remember a (metric) crap-ton of sugar, I remember steam pouring out of a giant pot, and I remember learning that our godmother was allergic to what sounded like every food under the sun. What I don’t remember is eating any of the jam.
It’s been a while since I wrote about the garden, and I have some tasty photos, so here we go. Whee!