Cut ‘N Come Again Coles

I’ve known for years that broccoli will produce little broccolets after the central bunch is harvested, but imagine my surprise when I harvested a cabbage and found little buds growing out of the stalk. What the heck? I let them grow, just to see what would happen.

Several baseball-sized cabbage heads grew from the buds.

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They were loose, not the tightly-packed heads from the first harvest, but just fine for making soup or casseroles. Not bad, really.

Then I checked my other coles. The Brussels sprouts have put up new stalks from the buds at the base of the stalks I harvested.

One of the broccoli plants had developed six new stems,  and I protected them with floating row cover that winter. Each of them grew a full-sized head the following spring.

Who knew? This is another way to extend your harvest. Just keep in mind that the succeeding harvests will be smaller than the first harvest. (Well, except for Mr. Superbroccoli, who may have been a fluke.) With the soil-shading bulk of the first harvest out of the way, you can plant something else between the stumps of the first crop and continue to harvest while the new planting grows to the point where they need the space.

Summer Soup

summer soup

The woodstove heats the house on this chilly late fall day.. I rummaged in the freezer and found yellow squash, green beans, Roma tomatoes, a pint of blanching water from some vegetable or other. I put them in a big pot on the counter to thaw. Later, I added beef boullion powder, noodles, and a blob of pesto and put the pot on top of the woodstove.

An hour later, it was boiling hot and so delicious. Other than the noodles, boullion, and the olive oil in the pesto, it all came from our garden.

Spring in Delaware

delmarvaWe actually are having (or possibly have had) a real Spring here in Delaware this year. A normal Delaware Spring is 3 days long: three, balmy, lovely days which may or may not occur in a row. Then it’s straight on to four months of tropical heat and humidity that makes a mockery of the term “Temperate Zone.”

So the garden is in, with the exception of the warmest weather planting: beans, watermelon, cukes, and squash. The peas, garlic, and shallots are a foot tall, the eggplants and peppers tucked into their 5 gallon buckets, the lettuce and spinach sprouting, the crucifer sets: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lance-leaf kale, and broccoli getting themselves established. Tomatoes just went in: two Romas and a yellow cherry with ground eggshells dug into the soil surrounding them to help prevent blossom end rot, which is caused by a calcium deficiency exacerbated by uneven watering.

The native plums we planted last year bloomed for the first time, but not at the same time. I think they’re not the same variety: different shape, different blooming schedule. The more vertically oriented one was loaded with blossoms. The other, more spready one, had a total of two blooms. So no plums this year, but the raspberries look set to make up for it. The dwarf cherry, which was so affected by last summer’s heat that Ralph had to put shade cloth over it, survived and is putting out leaves. The iris, which smell like grape Charms, bloom at the foot of the driveway. We had to make the cages around the blueberries bigger: Missy the dog thinks blueberry twigs taste great!

I retired in March and finally got to move back to Delaware, back to my beloved husband and garden. Or husband and beloved garden. Whatever. It’s hard to tell when you’re a garden fanatic.

Either way, it feels good to be home.

iris

Why I Love My Husband

ralph & cody 1He woke at 5:33 am this morning, hearing a dog barking outside. Both of our dogs were in the bed with him. “Why don’t they let their dog in?” he thought and rolled over. The barking stopped, but began again, and changed from a mournful bark to an animal yelping in pain.

He got dressed and went out. It was 4 degrees, with 6 inches of new snow on the ground and wind gusting to 30 mph. He looked down the road and saw a dog in the street. He went back in for a leash and his keys, figuring he’d drive down and get the dog. He started the truck and swept the snow off the windshield. Before he finished, the dog was at his side. He opened the door and the dog, a big yellow Lab, jumped in. There was no point in bringing him into the house. Our dogs would resent the intrusion and there could be trouble. The dog shivered uncontrollably. Ralph turned on the heat and brushed the snow from his coat. He rubbed its legs to warm them. When he opened his coat, the dog stuck his head inside to warm its nose.

Ralph spent the next 4 hours cruising the neighborhood, knocking on the door of every house that he knew had a dog. Some of them weren’t too happy about that so early in the morning. No one said the dog was his.

He drove to the local animal shelter, which, it turned out, wouldn’t open for an hour. The Animal Rescue truck showed up. Another neighbor had heard the dog and called them. They’d been cruising the neighborhood looking for the dog while Ralph was cruising the area looking for the owner. A shelter volunteer and her 4 year old son showed up a few minutes later.

“What’s his name?” they asked.

“I’ve been calling him Bob.”

“Sit, Bob, the boy ordered. Bob sat.

“Shake, Bob,” the boy said. Bob held up his paw.

Ralph knelt next to him. Bob nibbled at his beard. “Do you give kisses?” Ralph asked. Bob licked his face.

Bob wore no collar or tags and has no chip. Was he dumped? Did he slip out through a hole in someone’s fence? We don’t know.

Just in case you are wondering what I was doing during all this, the answer is “sleeping in my bed 500 miles away.” Ralph called and told me about it later.

Reboot

Image Hi! Teri here. Just wanted to thank those of you who’ve chosen to follow my blog. So here’s what I’ve been doing lately, instead of posting:

SuburbUtopia is now on Etsy, selling my handmade crafts.

I’ll make it easy for you to check it out. Click here.

You know, just in case you have some last minute holiday shopping to do.

Forgot One Moneysaving Hint

Many years ago, the National Lampoon said it best.

Headline: Housewife Serves Dead Bird to Family

Caption: Tearful confession—“I made soup from the bones!”

Rebooting

baby rooWell, the garden was a disaster this year. The squash died, the Corn tasseled but failed to fill out, the brocs and kale perished in the heat, the dog dug up the cukes, the potatoes grew luxuriant, but only provided enough spuds for one party worth of potato salad. The beans finally started blossoming after Labor Day.

The habanero peppers, however, made up for it. Even the tiny starts that never made it out of their 4″ pots produced multiple peppers.

So I started sewing. And I seem to have invented something. I’m calling it Baby Roo, and it’s designed for moms with tots in strollers. One, there’s the hassle of lugging around a diaper bag while pushing the stroller. Two, there’s the issue of showing up at work with a distinctly non-professional-looking diaper bag, its pink and/or blue butterfly/flower/Hello Kitty motif announcing “Mommy Track” to all and sundry.

Thus the Baby Roo. Converts from stroller-mounted bag to large, handsome purse in seconds. I’d really appreciate it if you’d check it out. Please go to www.quirky.com, click on the parenting link, and dive down to the bottom. (The newer the entry, the further down it is. I’m currently about 5 clicks in.) Mouse over it and click “Vote.” If you’d like to comment and offer suggestions, they have a way to do that. Those who contribute to the refinement of an idea (The Community) get a cut of the profits, should the thing be successfully marketed.

You might note that little thing dangling from the Baby Roo. That’s a Bottle Koozie on its Bottle Keeper. No more chasing the rolling bottles your child drops when he or she encounters the next shiny object.

Thanks!

 

Better Late Than Never

So it’s been a while since my last post. Here’s why:

It started with the quilt for Ariel’s wedding.

That led to a commission for a baby quilt.

That led to an invite to participate in a craft show in October.

And an invite to show my work at a yoga studio in Delaware.

That led to my having to start sewing. A lot. And thinking up things to sell.

That led to my inventing a couple of new products (more about that in future posts.)

And that led to my taking a quilting class and meeting a bunch of wonderful, talented ladies who are incredibly generous with their knowledge.

And then a couple of people in my writers group asked me to critique their works-in-progress. It turns out that one of them is a marketing pro who is interested in swapping crits for marketing advice. So it looks like I’m going to be doing a lot more sewing. Plus building a shop on Etsy.

Just wanted to keep you posted. I’ll be posting photos in about a week, once the finished wall hangings have been quilted.

Roasted Root Veggies

Quick! While it’s still winter…

Eating and Living Real

Besides a bowl of soup, nothing quite warms you up on a cold winter evening like some comforting, roasted veggies fresh out of the oven.  This recipe is very versatile – throw in whatever veggies you happen to have in the fridge.  I often serve these veggies with some grilled protein source; last night it was butterfly pork chops cooked in apple juice to add a subtle flavor.  Be creative with this recipe and you might surprise yourself at the different combinations of veggies that this works with!

Roasted Root Veggies

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Ingredients:

1 lb potatoes, roughly diced

1 lb sweet potatoes, roughly diced

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

(Any other root veggies you’d like to add in: turnips, parsnips, etc)

1 red onion

Several gloves of garlic

2-3 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Fresh or dried rosemary (I used dried this time but have used fresh in the…

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