We repot the parlor fern and Nora tapes toilet paper bandages around the stems for a faster recovery. (She's wearing her farm safety T-shirt. Apparently that symbol on the back means "slow moving vehicle." If this is supposed to apply to Nora, I beg to differ.)
This is it for the apple harvest this year. In past years, I've pulled over 30 bags of apples from those trees (once during a snowstorm--it was BEAUTIFUL--the yellow apple glowing in the white snow.) Storms, cedar rust, larvae and my ignorance about how to prune them have contributed to the lack of apples. Next year will be different. I've been doing my research.
There are about five crab apple trees, which serve mostly to entertain the person washing the dishes and dreaming out the kitchen window as the trees put on their exploding pink dresses. This year I'm going to make them functional, too. (Not that daydreaming isn't functional.) Crab apple jelly.
The apples' fate.
These are the cilantro/corriander seeds. I'll admit; threshing these are a pain. But not as painful as paying 4 bucks for 4 ounces of them at the store. Plus, I can plant them, too.
The Backus boys came over Saturday and helped Nora and me pull carrots and gather decorative gourds. Here's our haul. Notice all that dirt? I'm going to admit something to you: if I eat a piece of dirt, I throw up. I know. Not very tough of me. Because of an unfortunate potato chip incident when I was 5, I haven't been able to eat anything that crunches grit-like. Egg shells and dirt. I completely lose my appetite.
Carrot tip of the day: If it's split, don't eat it (see below.) This is usually a sign that it's gotten too old and big for its britches. Plus, those cracks are the perfect home for bacteria. Another interesting thing: Do you notice how the carrot is kind of twisted? That's because my soil leans toward the clay side of the spectrum. Plus all my stomping around compresses the ground, so the root torques itself through the tough spots. Kind of like us, I guess. We find a way around it, but we sometimes come out changed somehow.
(A quick aside: I walked around the dirt roads around Utica today. For a good half mile, I was walking into the wind, leaning in. I couldn't hear anything but the hard air forcing sound out of my ears. I turned around and silence. Birds. Trees. The same spot with two different ways of hearing. Internally, I smacked my figurative forehead. I'm trying too hard again. Walk with the wind, stubborn kid, and you'll hear all of life rather than the silencing struggle of "getting through it.")
Do you see those dark spots at the top of the carrot? That's not dirt but carrot sunburn--the top parts exposed to the sun.
And after washing and chopping and peeling, I have 3 pounds of carrot sticks. Okay. I know what you're thinking. Three pounds? After all that work--the planting and watering and hoeing and washing and...well, I'm not going to argue with you. It seems like a small payoff, but did you count the time I did something simple with my hands, something that didn't hurt a soul? Something that allowed me to talk to God for a long stretch out in the sun and here at the sink? Something that proved the miracle of some small hope turning into something so much larger than the small seed it began as?
And I make a couple different carrot pickles: honey and dill with white wine vinegar. Hot peppers flakes, peppercorn, thyme, bay leaf and apple cider vinegar.