Feeling refreshed and inspired by a few nights deep in the woods, we were up bright and early Saturday morn to start our farm chores. We put away all the gear from our trip, cleaned up the house and were ready to greet the land. To start were the usual daily tasks of tending the cats, dogs, fish and watering the gardens, greenhouse and orchard. A quick spray and wipe down of the solar panels, which had gone awhile without cleaning. Then we decided to continue the fall prep of the greenhouse and veggie
|Andres harvesting Tulsi leaves|
|Buttercrunch lettuce seeds|
On to the veggie garden. We've had such an abundant summer of various squash, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, basil and melons in our garden...so much goodness! We've been continuously trimming back the massive squash vines to keep paths clear and make it possible to find the veggie treasures. Now it seems that the plants are nearing the end of their cycle. The two winter squash varieties we grew are both full of plump squash, ready to pick. However, I just learned from the woman who provided us the seeds that it's best to leave them on the vine if there is still life in the leaves and to harvest once all the leaves are brown or before frost comes...whichever happens first. So I continued to cut back the dead and dying leaves from these and other plants.
|Where the green beans once lived|
Meanwhile, Andres had been tending other tasks. One of these was making hot sauce with peppers from our garden--yum! I'm hoping he'll write up a blog post soon with the recipe and some pics. Another task, the best of which (for me!) was him making us a beautiful and hearty brunch of poached eggs and lots of veggies from the garden, spiced up with yummy curry sauces. It was delicious, as his meals are known to be. In the midst of his cooking, he also harvested and prepped lots of basil for me to make up a big batch of pesto, which I did right after our meal. Though I don't tend to measure things out, I'm happy to share what I added into the mix. Lots
|Andres plucks basil leaves|
After storing the jars of pesto in the freezer, I soaked a big jar of almonds and a jar of buckwheat groats to make granola at some point in the weekend. I cleaned up the kitchen, started some laundry and decided it was time to get creative! I headed to my little art studio (a mosquito tent :-), and was just about to dive into a project when Andres came to inform me of a fire that had just been reported just a handful of miles away. We have only been in this area a little over 2 years and while we're familiar with the fire potential, we have not experienced any imminent danger. And we were unsure if the current fire (on Tyler Foote & 49) was an imminent danger. We discussed it for a few moments, while continuously refreshing YubaNet (so grateful this exists!) for updates. The fire copters could already be heard flying in to do their work. Was it over-reactive to start packing things up, or unwise to continue our day as though all were well? And should we message the family on their vacation to find out what they want packed up, or was this causing undue fear? While we had begun making a verbal list of what we would pack up and what needed our attention before leaving the land (if it should come to that), we did wait it out a bit to see what the reports said about containment. Within an hour of us learning about the fire, it was reported that much progress was being made and some resources were even being called off. An hour after that, the fire had been fully contained. The main thing this experience pointed out was that Laughing Heart needs to have an emergency protocol in place so that whoever is around knows how to tend all that needs tending (shut off the gas, collect the animals, etc) and is aware of the wishes of other landmates. Big thank yous to all the firefighters and to YubaNet for keeping us informed!
Once back at home, I decided to continue the granola making process. Before going to bed last night, I strained the water from the almonds and groats and left them to dry out on cookie sheets. I gathered up lots of goodies to blend together and this is what was created. It's a combo of dates, coconut oil, almonds, walnuts, buckwheat groats, flax seeds, hemp seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla & honey. After this picture was taken, I added raisins and coconut shreds as a final touch. Homemade granola is so the way to go! Thank you for encouraging this, Andres.
Since the day was still cool and the oven
still hot, I decided to make good use of the situation and bake a treat! Andres LOVES when I make carrot muffins, which I haven't done in awhile. And since it is his birthday week, it seemed like the perfect time! So I pulled a few carrots from the greenhouse and collected all the ingredients. A little of this, a little more of that, stir it all up, pop it in the oven....ding! The final product, a gluten free, dairy free, hearty, chocolate chip, walnut, carrot cupcake. Looks good, smells and tastes divine! Then I decided it could use one more touch. Homemade frosting! My favorite concoction is cacao, coconut oil, vanilla, maple, cinnamon, cayenne and banana. Blend it all up, then let it solidify in the fridge for a couple hours...it's the best! A great way to wrap up a weekend of tending home, garden and loved ones. Hope your weekend was as sweet!
|Cricket, hoping it's a doggie treat|
One last share...these beauties are currently shining their light in the flower garden...