August 23, 2009
Night before last, we were relieved to hear the local weatherman announce that north Texas was over the hump. Things were as hot as they were ever going to be this summer, and each new day now would be slightly cooler. After a month or two of temperatures ranging from a cucumber cool 95 to a slightly sultry 105, this sounded like good news to our northern sensibilities.Although we ourselves slow right down in heat like this, that doesn’t mean that all activities have shut down here on the farm. In particular, our garden has been going great guns. Who would have thought that so many veggies could grow in just 300 square feet?
The purple cabbage blossomed early and found its way to our table as the primary ingredient in Frances’ cole slaw. Tomatoes, large and small, have morphed into gazpacho, spaghetti sauce and salad ingredients since June. Overflowing summer squash were quickly escorted to the gas grill and became side dishes for two months. The overage came to work with me where they were quickly snapped up by colleagues. The okra we fried and pickled. I know that okra is popular here in Texas but let’s just say we don’t get it. The biggest surprise was the crop of cantaloupes, which were perfectly sweet and refreshing at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
On the herb front, there were many successes. Chief among them was the basil. All summer long we enjoyed homemade pesto from that basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. Other herbs that emerged included oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary and sage. These herbs were twinned with olive oil and vinegar each night for our salad dressings, and frequently found their way into various rubs for grilled meat dishes.
The two biggest disappointments were the sweet peppers and eggplant, neither of which blossomed. However, when we pulled the remains of the cantaloupe plants out several weeks ago, we found some of the eggplant holding on for dear life, so we are busy resuscitating them.
As summer eases on into autumn, we are beginning our second season. This week Frances started from seed enough veggies to carry us through till winter. These include a variety of tomatoes, along with scallions, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, lettuce and spinach. And of course, we’re still enjoying about two dozen fresh eggs a week from the four chickens. More about them soon. And with the cooler weather, we’ll introduce a new part of the web site — the primitive hand-hooked rugs Frances makes from wool.