Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fast Food Local, Local Food Fast

We live about 10 miles from the nearest fast food blight, and refuse to eat that way anyhow. Within 2-3 miles we have a few locally owned taverns that I would feel better about supporting, but there's an issue with my arteries and a threatened early shut-down if I eat in such a way. That leaves me with a do it yourself attitude about food.

I went to the garden a little bit ago and picked a couple of squashes, a pepper, and onion and a hand full of beans for lunch. Prep time was minimal because I never even wash anything unless it has soil on it. In a couple of minutes the skillet was hot, and the saute was over in 5. I added some bread we made yesterday from a sourdough starter from Neighbor Harald, (with a touch of real butter) an old fork from my wife's grandmother's collection and a handmade napkin, and the feast was on.
Since the world headquarters of Gulland Forge Broadforks is located here at home, we eat in a lot. In fact, we rarely eat anywhere but here, and especially this time of year. It's so easy to go and pick up our meals in the yard.

I have been working on the garden in the last few days getting things ready to receive the fall plantings. Yep, it's the middle of August, and time to plant again in south central Wisconsin where fall comes very early.

There are a lot of great things left to plant this season that are willing to put on a jacket and cap, so to speak, and come out of the ground in cooler weather. Now is the time to plant more lettuce, spinach, turnips, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mache, chard, carrots, parsnips, mustard greens, and peas.

So get up off the couch and get something planted in the garden. I am working on some new video this week for the Gulland youtube site, so make sure you take a look over there and watch me make it look easy.

Good soil to you,


Monday, August 10, 2009

Harald was mistaken

Harald is my next door neighbor, just across the driveway. He helped to build this house in 1948 for his Uncle Clarence. My next next door neighbor is about a half mile from here, and we're about two miles outside the tiny village of Black Earth, Wisconsin.

Harald is directly descended from the Norwegians that were among the earliest settlers here in Vermont Valley. He knows all the history of the area and even remembers the years the various trees were planted around the property and loves to share his stories almost as much as I enjoy hearing them.

He loves the deep rich soil here in Black Earth and told me when we moved in here that, "Whatever you plant in this beautiful soil will grow."

He's articulate, broadly wise, but very humble, and wow, does he love to grow food! He has gardens scattered here and there over several acres around the house. Look behind a copse of trees above his house and you'll discover his experimental squash patch. His 'kitchen garden' is swelled beyond capacity, and he says, "I'd rather mow it than not plant enough!" We've benefitted by Harald's propensity to plant more than he can pick.

Yesterday we were both out in the gardens picking and Harald finished and walked by with a huge bag of beans he had just picked. I piled him high with crookneck squash as he walked past my garden, even stuck a couple in his shirt pocket. You can't leave his house without a hand full of cookies, garlic, or something edible.

I was visiting him a few days ago and he saw a packet of carrot seeds on the windowsill and asked me if I'd like to plant them. I told him I thought that it was too late to plant carrots, that in 60-75 days it would be October and I thought it might be too cold.

Harald said, "Well, they'll never grow in this bag!"
Harald was mistaken, as you can see. I guess a seed was still in there. I'm going to love this batch of carrots.

Our garden is great this year, thanks largely to Harald, but mostly thanks to some of the best topsoil on the planet, abundant sunshine and plenty of rain. My wife and I are very fortunate to have landed here.

All good things,