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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

The first frost has come and gone. It’s appearance was welcome and brief, the garden left undamaged. The pace of growth slows and mornings are chilly. Hitty Anne Sabine recorded one of the last blossoms on the Purple Sweet Potatoes. They had bloomed beautifully, albeit elusively, throughout the season, with dark violet throats fading to palest lavender.

Tater Crop 1

The sweet potatoes were an experiment, grown in bags, raised from slips, inspired by the North Country Hittys; encouraged by Miss Belvia at Aunt Katie’s Community Garden and the good folks at the Living Tree.

Tater Crop 2

It is a minimal harvest, but a successful experiment – enough for a jolly supper for the Gardeners, Guests and very small dolls. The potatoes must cure unwashed for a time, but even with the dirt, aren’t they are a lovely color?

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The Summer sun, lifting above the trees, illuminated a sparkling cloud of no-see-ums billowing through the roses. Their retreat and advance appeared as breath drawn and exhaled. Cicadas chorused. Trying to beat the heat, the Mockingbirds had already begun their daily tasks, which were many and, naturally, included sampling the ripeness of every fig at the top of the tree.

There is always give and take in the garden. Always a balance.  If it is a game, it is not strictly played fairly by some residents. Weather-wise, this season had the Gardeners one up on the fig side and down by three on the other fruit trees. The summer had produced a goodly amount of figs – enough for everyone, really, but the Mockingbirds love to have the very last warble and often can look you straight in the eye while beaking your fruit.

EPSON MFP image

The fledgling sharpens his technique.

 

Agapanthus was pleased to have worked as part of the team that had rescued figs when so many had come ripe all on one day. Two afternoons of jam-making had produced a reasonable supply. The Fig ‘n’ Strawberry went into the freezer. The Fig and Lemon was properly canned and suitably labeled…a salute to the opposition and a game well-played.

Jam Labels Agapanthus

Hitty Agapanthus labels the jars of fig jam.

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Hitty Dixee brought home delicious fresh bounty from Aunt Katie’s Community Garden. The visit was spur-of-the-moment, prompted by an interview heard on the local public radio station and another spectacularly beautiful afternoon.

The garden is right in the middle of downtown Dothan, Alabama and serves the folks that live in the neighborhood, as well as the wider community.  There is so much growing in that delightful half-acre! It is hard to take it all in…and Dixee was blessed to take some out! She came home with kale, carrots, beets, herbs and sweet potato slips…plus a heap of knowledge and encouragement imparted by Ms. Belvia Jones: Teacher, Hostess, Gardener and remarkable human being.

Aunt Katie's Bounty

Tiny carrots for Hitty Dixee

 

You really should go, but barring that, to find out more visit:

Aunt Katie’s Community Garden

and

The Dubois Institute For Entrepreneurship, Inc.

 

 

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What was meant to be an hour or so of tidying following a rainstorm turned into an afternoon of berry-picking. Hedydd was startled to hear the whoops of glee from the front garden. It was a rare moment of perfect timing and worthy of celebration.  Now, it was not an abundant crop, but the berries were close to ripeness and not yet greedily consumed by the neighborhood birds.

Am I Blue Too Too

Nobody really minds sharing, but it is pleasant, occasionally, to enjoy the literal fruits of one’s labor. Hedydd picked baskets of blueberries and dewberries, even a pineberry or two. There was enough for supper and to spare…and a gracious plenty left for feathered friends.

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The days have been busy, but blissfully sunny and cool…practically a miracle in the Wiregrass. The Bean Tipi is coming along nicely. Gardening began in the kitchen on Saturday evening, with the pole beans soaking in warm water.

Bean Bean 2

Come Sunday, Panthy soaked the peat pellets in a pie plate, (Say that three times fast!) before pressing a handy chopstick into service, poking holes so the beans could nestle cozily in a warm dark cocoon.

Poking Holes

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They begin arriving, so it seems, the very day after Christmas. Every year. Relentlessly. Full of temptations no gardener or hope-to-be gardener can possibly resist. Before the last gasp of an Alabama winter, the stacks pile up on the odd counter or coffee table. If hidden, they call to you in an achingly sweet chorus, fluttering their gaily colored pages, making impossible promises, weaving dreams too fantastical to utter aloud.

“Horticultural Materials or the Seduction of the Seed Catalog”

botanical-materials

Paisley dog-ears the page, marking the choice of Green Wizards for this year’s garden.

No one is immune to the appeal, least of all the Mad for the Farthing Crowd. Since they share the same sort of vascular system as do these beauties, one can understand the draw. And all the dollies love pretty flowers.  However, they do feel that these seedy snares ought arrive in plain brown wrappers. Recycled plain brown wrappers, of course.

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Three or four days of genuine Winter had caused modest consternation in the garden. The Lavender and the Pineberries had relocated to the front porch, where the brick wall, soaking up sun during the afternoon, could then release the necessary warmth during the frigid nights. In the evening, the pots and boxes were gently tucked in, every care being taken to secure their safety until the temperature had risen in the morning to above freezing.

berry-white

“Your Sweetness Is My Weakness”

The Pineberries appeared to have enjoyed all the attention. They began producing fat berries, flourishing as the weather warmed. Hitty Hedydd thought it prudent to document this fruity phenomenon before the Mockingbirds, never ones to miss an opportunity, took advantage of this January surprise.

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