Thursday, May 29, 2008

Home-made Bread, more Mulberries and a Salad

Lots and lots of stuff going on at the homefront this past week. Too much to detail but suffice it to say my next "State of the Garden" post will have some shockingly wonderful plant pictures. Grow, grow, grow....

Last weekend was a long one and I do love a long weekend. Most people think of sleeping later, having their coffee in a leisurely way and reading the paper. I think of getting up early, tinkering outside before the heat gets too bad, enjoying my coffee with a little garden dirt on it and shredding up the paper to go into the compost pile. Sort of the same...just a little different!

I had the wonderful pleasure of Vanna's company this weekend and a natural gardener and forager she is. It just warms the cockles of my chilly heart to see her just seem to know what to do and how much she really likes the plants and what they give her to eat.

Part of my list of things I want to do on my own is pretty basic, making all my own baked goods from scratch. While there is probably nothing wrong with the bread I buy, per se, I do like to get the more tasty breads and they run from $2 to $4.50 a piece. Occassionally more.

When I completely break down costs to include not just ingredients like yeast and flour, but also energy and time, making my own bread doesn't actually give me any gain economically. But if I learn to make the starters and yeasts at some point, make big batches at a time and continue to grow and harvest my own additions like rosemary, then it begins to make sense and will save more in gas since that is the most perishable of all grocery items for me.

Here is a nice picture of 2 of the loaves. They were a bit dense, but that was by design since I wanted them for tomato sandwiches and didn't want too much disintegration.

The mulberries are slowing dying down in production. While my tree is easy for me to reach and to bend the whippy branches down for collection, there is a really big tree on the lots behind my house where they'll be building several houses called Rivers Edge. I'll post another time about that but this tree has been completely uncollected from and the fruit simply going to waste. The machinery and activity has driven the geese, ducks and birds away as of late. With Vanna there, I was able to hold the branches while she collected and we got a bonanza from the lower branches of that tree.

Speaking of Mulberries, I was carefully exploring through the poison ivy around the back edge of my property and those two "Halloween Trees" that look mostly dead are, in fact, a couple of really, really old mulberry trees. Half of each of them is dead, most probably from Hurricane Isabel several years ago to look at them. Half of each of them is quite alive and productive. Both are under attack by greenbrier, english ivy and surrounded by the remaining honeysuckle I haven't culled, but they are now a priority for this fall. They should be revered and shown to their full glory.

And on to a major milestone in my quest to live more sustainably. I have grown dinner. Yes, a full dinner. Only the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pasta was bought. (Now the pasta could have been made by me but I don't have the correct gadget yet.) While that may not sound like a whole dinner since I have 3 ingredients purchased there, the sum total was about 60 cents, I'm figuring. For that we had a wonderful fresh Pesto Pasta (one of Vanna's favorites), a big delicious salad with a home-made Mulberry vinegarette dressing. Yummmm.

To make the dressing, just press some mulberries through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl and add a dash of good balsamic and olive oil. Mix and serve. Delicious. Very zesty and at the same time sweet and fresh. Hard to describe but I think many would like it.

Here is the Boss Man, stalking the wind blown straw this weekend behind the house. He is shedding like crazy and isn't a big fan of the heat so it was nice to see him happy and carefree

1 comment:

Equitis said...

I have heard they used unripe apple peels taken fromm the thinned or fallen apples