Saturday, October 29, 2011

The world is standing on its head

It's snowing. Seriously - in October. See the white stuff on the grass? That's snow. Crazy.My raspberries haven't even dropped all their leaves! You can see them poking through the sad looking porch, which didn't get done this year.
The threat of the weather forced me to go out early this morning and pick the remaining tomatoes, some collard greens, and herbs. It was very cold, and Jacques, who insisted on going outside, sat on the bricks by the tomatoes complaining loudly about the weather. I still had to go out later to pick up my farm share and run a few other errands. It's amazing how it takes some getting used to the cold weather. It's like we are in denial that it could really be so cold so we don't dress appropriately. I forgot some gloves or mittens. My hands were absolutely freezing! I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to knit next... and after standing at the gas station trying to deal with the debit machine while you can't feel your fingers, it was really a no-brianer...mittens. And they will be some fabulous color work things. I'm leaning towards some geometric patterns, but then I saw these. Octopus mittens! Well, since I finally think I picked the last of everything in the garden, I might as well give the summary of that. Had a dickens of a time with the tomatoes this year. I tried using the seeds I got in Germany last summer. This went really well in some respects. All the seeds sprouted and I ended up with ENORMOUS plants. But not much fruit. So I was listening to a garden show one day and someone called in with the same problem that I had. Turns out was too much nitrogen in the soil. All ya gotta do is counter act that with some bone meal. Worked like a charm. Unfortunately a bit later than I would have liked. I didn't end up with the same amount of tomatoes had I figured this out sooner. But they were still delicious. I found the same farmer again when I was there this summer. He told me the seeds were from Poland and had been in his family for over 90 years. I got a better look at some of his tomatoes, there were some really funny lookin' ones. Maybe I'll try those next time I'm there.

I did finally get Chinese Lanterns. Now that I know what they look like, maybe I won't "weed" them all out next year before they can turn into this. They are really pretty. I also finally figured out what to do with all of the Melisse. This is a plant similar to lemon verbena although it's not quite the same. It is delicious in tea - especially sun tea. I've also used it in some cooking when I needed a slight hint of lemon - it's especially yummy in quinoa.
However, My entire bowl here, turned into melisse pesto. Wow. Imagine pesto but with a very nice lemon flavor. Very very yummy. What I will NOT plant again next year is catnip. This little guy showed up on my porch about three weeks ago. He was very sweet, and had some sort of injury to one of his back legs. He was sleeping on a piece of cardboard wedged between the house and a slab of marble on my porch. It took two weeks before I had a chance to take him somewhere to see if he had a chip in him.
Turns out his name is Scott, he has a chip and had been adopted from PAWS, (which was where I took him to see if he had a chip), so they just took him back. On the other had, I'm glad I took him last weekend, he would have been so cold this weekend.
And yes, the other one is still with me. I don't know why I cannot just make the flyer to get him adopted. He's miserable, I'm miserable, Jacques and Swee'pea are ticked off... sigh, he has a very sweet side - but he is such a pain at other times.
He is a catnip fiend. When he does sneak upstairs, after checking out if there is any food in the food bowls, he heads right over to the bowl with all of the catnip toys and goes bonkers. All of those toys were in the bowl, five minutes earlier.
He's also quite agile, turns out. My Dad and Ann came to do an east coast road trip and book-ended the trip by visiting me, or keeping Lucky company, depending on how you look at it. After they left the first time, all of the sheets and things were piled high on a chair. Look you found the prime comfy spot immediately! When they came back the second time, we went out to visit Ephrata Cloister. This is an amazing little place. We've been working on a collection (at work) that has about 22 illuminated music manuscripts made a the cloister in the mid 1700's.
The manuscripts are beautiful. Each one made with special little drawings scattered throughout. We've been very curious about where they came from. So my Dad, Ann, and I went out, and then this past Friday, Leah, Mary and I went to visit.
Here's where they made those amazing manuscripts. This room has very low ceilings.
It was still great even the second time around. Much colder though! Whew! The cloister was self-sustaining. They made not only their own cloth, clothes etc. but they also made their own paper, had a tannery and a print shop.
In other updates, I'm valiantly trying to finish some long over due projects, like putting the base board on here. I've got it cut to size - but it's not attached yet. I still have to cut the hole in for the electrical socket. It seems like a very do-able winter project.
The other winter project will be my ceiling. I heard from both the insurance and a roofer person in September... then nothing. I did call my insurance adjuster and he will be out until this coming Monday. Hopefully I'll hear something then. If water is coming down this way - I'll bet warm air is getting out that way and I have no intention of heating all of West Philly this winter.

So what do you do when it snows in October? Pick up a little pumpkin at the farmers market, stuff it and bake it. Yum.
Stuffed Pumpkin
some sort of Italian sausage - I used mild 'cause that's what I had.
onion (large)
bay leaf
quinoa (cooked)
a mildly sharp cheese that will melt nicely
Saute all of the above, clean out the pumpkin and stuff with filling. It will hold more than you think it will. Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Yum.

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