Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
In fact, the birds squawked and fought while I picked, eager for me to go inside to the pitting machine so they could continue their feast. This pitcher represents about 25 minutes of picking, enough for two sour cherry pies. My grandmother thinks that this might be one of the last years for this tree, as cherry trees only live so long before they give out. I told her she'd better plant another tree right quick! The pies she makes from these cherries have been a part of my summer equation for almost as long as I can remember. Her recipe is simple (and probably originally came from the back of some long-ago box of tapioca), but oh-so-delicious with fruit you've picked yourself.
Granna's Sour Cherry Pie
- 4 cups sour cherries
- 2 2/3 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 Tablespoons kirsch
- Double pie crust
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 - 2 Tablespoons cold butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Mix cherries, tapioca, sugar and kirsch together in a large bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.
- Pierce bottom pie crust and brush with beaten egg white. Bake for five minutes to set.
- Pour cherry mixture into pie crust and dot with butter.
- Affix top crust; vent.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
And raspberries. These bushes produce even fewer berries over the season, and most of these are eaten without a thought by the barn manager. In fact, I had to call my grandmother this afternoon to remind her to go and pick the ripe ones early in the morning tomorrow before the barn manager arrives. I ate one of these today (shh!), and its flavor was tart and bright.
There are also strawberry plants at the farm, left over from a long-gone strawberry pot (imagine!) that I planted five years ago. They spilled out of the pot and took up permanent residence on the south side of the little house. These have been producing ripe fruit for about a month, but they have to be harvested a little before they're ripe or the bunnies and other rodents take little nibbles out of the sides of each berry and the ants polish the wounded berries off. I did get a good-sized handful of very sweet berries earlier this week. The taste of summer.
And finally, we have hay! So exciting to see those big golden rolls dotting the landscape (and to ride on the green lawn-like fields they leave behind).
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I took this dark photo of baby booties in the natural light between waves of the storm. I love to have these on hand at all times. Because they're so tiny, they can be tucked into a regular stationery envelope and sent off to friends around the country at a moment's notice when we hear that a baby has been born. It's also fun to use the ends of sock yarn. With the crazy hand-dyes, they come out so cheerful! More information on flickr.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
But with the hot weather coming up, and given the fact that I would gladly wear a simple little dress each and every humid day of the summer given the choice, I decided to break out the fusible interfacing and give it another go. This is my muslin of McCall's 5620, made from some just barely acceptable medium-weight apparel cotton from the sale bin at Hancock's. (I'm not a huge fan of flutter-bys...) But there's a reason I'm not letting you see all of it. I made my regular (read: shockingly large-- really, the pattern industry and the wedding gown people...) pattern size. However... this won't really be a "wearable muslin", as it turned out ginormous. As in, "Honey, does the Volvo need a cover against the elements?"-huge. Sure, I noticed that there was a ton of ease listed on the pattern envelope, but I guess I thought that the pleats would make up for that and make it hang okay. Wrong-o.
Maybe with some heavier fabric it would hang a little closer to the body or something, but as it is, I've made myself a fancy swimsuit cover-up with pretty purple facings. Sigh. If I ever get a bee in my bonnet to make this again, it'll be at least one, maybe two sizes smaller. I mean, even the arm hole openings are huge on this thing. And my seam allowances are near-perfect, I promise...
Monday, June 2, 2008
The quilting came much easier on this one (practice makes perfect, I guess), but I think the white Kona cotton must be a little stiffer than some of the other colors. The brown and orange and blue quilt came out of the dryer feeling much softer than this one did. Has anyone else had this experience with the white Kona cotton?
This is probably the best photo of the quilt. I just threw it out on top of the tall grass (yet to be made into hay) at the farm and snapped away. Summer certainly can grow up some good photo assistants!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
This first week caught me a little off guard, as our CSA hasn't started up yet this year (next week!), so we headed over to the Arlington Farmer's Market yesterday to rustle up some local grub. The results were delicious, but a little mixed on the strictly local front. Let's just say I've found some holes in my pantry that are going to take a little more digging to fill. All distances below are from my door. Without further ado, we ate:
- Sauteed chard from Wheatland Vegetable Farms (just up the road from my natal home!) in Wheatland, VA (37.95 miles)
- A pesto-ish sauce made of garlic scapes from Wheatland Vegetable Farms (37.95 miles) and basil and parsley from the backyard (0 miles)
- Baby lamb loin chops from EcoFriendly Foods, Inc. (Emerald Family Farms) in Moneta, VA (206 miles)
And for dessert:
- Cherries, strawberries and sugar snap peas from Westmoreland Berry Farm & Orchard in Oak Grove, VA (66.07 miles)
Everything was really really yummy, so yummy that I can't pick a favorite element of the meal. But I think I may need to find another source for meat. The 206 miles to Moneta and EcoFriendly Foods is too far for the challenge-- I'm going to try to keep to the 100 mile radius rule if I can. I'll have to see if my cousin Sara has any beef left for by-the-cut orders, and I'll have to go to the Loudoun farmers' markets when I'm out that way to see what they have. That, or eat vegetarian for these meals, as we normally do anyway. This sure was a nice celebration meal to kick off the summer, though.
Local items that I need to pick up:
- Cheese. I should have bought some at the farmers' market; there was much available. It would have made that pesto tastier.
- Flour. Duh. (This is my family's business. Those of you who know me in real life are probably laughing pretty hard at me over this one...)
Items that I need to find a local source for:
- Milk, cream and butter. Anyone have any leads on these? There may have been some at the Arlington market, but if so, I missed it. Earlier this year we found a local buying club for raw milk. I'm sure it's fine and delicious, but I'm not sure I'm ready to go that far yet. I'll stick with pasteurization for the time being.
- Sugar. I don't know enough about this one, either.
I think that with those ingredients I'll be able to make some pretty spectacular things this summer. I'm looking forward to it!