Apr
28
2012
0

Bug Catching Season is Here

Hannah has always loved bugs, and though I’ve noticed she isn’t quite as fearless as she used to be, she will still capture a bug, make it a bed out of paper, and fill it with grass and dirt to make sure it’s comfortable. And seal it in some tupperware to make sure it never escapes. Ever.

Yesterday she had a bug in her hands, and she said, “I’m going to keep it forever!” I said, “Good idea, make sure you are holding it in your hands on your wedding day. That way you can just trade bugs not rings.” She gave me a really irritated look, which I probably deserved. But she really liked zooming in on the camera to see this bug’s face, so I think she let it go. I’ll try to simulate it for you here.

Written by dan in: Foraging,Garden,Kids | Tags: , , , | No Comments
Nov
17
2011
0

Pattens in Nature

My design class took a field trip to the Volunteer Park Conservatory (one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets) yesterday, in search of patterns in nature for their final project. Though I have a relatively strict no-decorative-plants rule in my garden, I’m loosening up on that stance in my advancing years. I’ve planted some succulents along the front stairs, and I don’t fight against the poppies and daffodils that come up every year.

I can only aspire to a thumb green enough to cultivate a whole room full of cacti like the Cactus Room at the Conservatory… if you’ve never been there it is a must-see.

Nov
16
2011
0

Talkin’ forgotten vegetable blues

We have a history of neglecting the fruits of our garden, and here is another instance. We grew a bunch of little delicata squashes last year, which were a bit of a pain to use because they were kind of petite. So down into the basement they went. We’re trying to pinch pennies these days, so in scouring the food storage, Alicia found them and decided it was time to make some risotto. They had changed colors from white with green seams to a golden yellow, almost like little pumpkins. Those things were over a year old, and still going strong… talk about staying power.

Nov
14
2011
1

The Feast of the Forgotten Vegetables

Our friend Lark just invited us to the most impressive dinner party the other week, inspired by a festival she ran into somewhere in Europe I want to say. Maybe France? Or Spain. At any rate, it celebrated the late-season root vegetables and hearty greens that are still around, nearly forgotten in the garden. She and her sisters-in-law cooked probably 10 different dishes, served thali-style, and it was absolutely incredible.

I was doing some late-fall putting away of the garden this afternoon, and came upon three artichokes that were still OK. Inspired by the Feast of the Forgotten Vegetables, I tossed them on the porch to bring inside, though I will admit that in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Those will sit in the crisper for a few months before I throw them in the compost.”

We just let our artichokes bloom this year, partly because the purple thistle was so pretty, and partly because I was for some reason intimidated by the spiky things. This is our second year growing artichokes, and until tonight, we’d never cooked them. But after the kids went to bed I wanted a snack, and there they were.

Boiled for 20 minutes. Melted butter with lemon. Seriously, these were the best artichokes I’ve ever had. Surprisingly tender. But seriously, as a side point, who figured out you could eat those things? “Ok, now you’re going to scrape inside of the very bottom of the leaf off with your teeth — no seriously, it’s good.”

I’m on board. No more letting them blossom for the color, we’re eating them from now on.

Nov
07
2011
1

This is a real food. From our garden.

I teach color theory every spring, and when we talk about color psychology I always say that blue is an appetite suppressant because there are no naturally occurring blue foods. I’ll have to add an asterisk to my lecture next semester. We grew these blue potatoes this year, and when they are mashed, they make the most impressive blue color. They get a little more purple when they’re heated up.

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