Salsa Summer

The air is beginning to change. I noticed two weeks ago, did you? Indian summer is creeping up on us. In Northern California that’s what we have for fall in my area. The tomatoes are getting riper by the day and the feeling of abundance that I get when I look at the grapes ripening on the vine is heavenly. Last night I collected a variety of tomatoes – sungold cherries, little romas, a beautiful orange heirloom and some black cherry tomatoes –  and cut them up into a lovely summer salsa to have with the cod I broiled. By adding garden fresh jalapenos, chopped cilantro, shallots, a dash of salt and a squeeze of lime I had the perfect complement to my fish. Served with a crisp caesar salad with homemade dressing I had a well balanced summer meal. Last night’s salsa became today’s guacamole. Refreshing with a cut vegetable salad and a few corn chips for lunch.

While collecting basil for pesto this morning, I was struck by the softness of the light on the flowers in the yard.

The cosmos and sunflowers grew prolifically this year providing us with a scene of astounding beauty every time we stepped into the back yard.

 

 

 

Back to thoughts of fall though. It is time to get the seedlings started  for the winter garden. Ofer has been making new soil for us to do our fall planting with. He combines the heavy clay soil from our yard with sand, compost and manure and then mixes and waters to create a wondrous mix for happy plants. We put the soil with our little seeds into four inch pots on this great shelf we found on the street. This year we are planting a lot of different vegetables – many of them are heirlooms we haven’t tried before. Romanesco broccoli, calabrese broccoli, kohrabi, red cabbage, brussel sprouts, lettuces, chard, artichokes (green and purple!), shogoin white turnips and golden globe turnips, red beets, Italian parsley, and parsnips. The next round of starts will include even more! The room we’ve created by moving the chicken yard fence is getting our garden juices flowing!

Thoughts of fall were also quickened by the strong wind we had last night. I felt so cozy in bed with the sound of the wind through the window that my musings went to one of my favorite winter warmers – fresh veggie broth. So, this morning when the breezes persisted, I collected celery and chard from the garden, a big onion and a carrot I had sitting around and cut them all up into a soup pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Delicious! It’s great cool, too.

This broth is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s wonderful as a cleansing soup for this time of year. Fall, according to Chinese medicine, is a time for letting go, allowing the old to move on. Clearing the lungs and large intestine, the organs associated with fall, is a beneficial thing to do at this time of year. Try some of the veggie broth, lots of chopped vegetable salads and freshly cut watermelon for a late summer cleanse in preparation for the fall that’s just around the corner.


Cast of Characters

In the garden there is a large variety of characters that make up the world we live in. This post will introduce you to them and as we wander down the path of seasonal life in the garden, you will get to know them as we do.
First of all are the animals. Our animal friends are numerous. Some we see each day and some we don’t.  At night the yard is filled with animal activity. Skunks and raccoons we see on occasion. Oppossoms are definitely there, but quite shy. We have an abundance of birds that enjoy the sunflowers we plant each summer. The fountain in our side yard is quite attractive to all of them.

 The most recent wildlife is the fox who is regularly marking the area – probably   scoping out the chickens. The animals we enjoy as regular companions are our cats. All of them enjoy many adventures in the garden every day! There will be many a story to tell about their antics.

 

Jade

Lao Hu

Sumiko

Petra

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our chickens provide us with eggs on a daily basis. We love the soft cluck, cluck sound that wafts through the air. The louder and more assertive announcements when they are preparing to lay an egg are quite fun, too! One of my favorite stories is when I was outside doing Tai Chi on the patio, some years ago when we first had chickens, and I heard the cheerleading squawk of a chicken. When I went to look, there was one chicken strutting around the yard saying “Look at me! I’m about to lay an egg.”  While the others took up the call, yelling “You go, girl. You go!!” It was one of the most hilarious things I’d ever seen.

 

 

 

 

 We are getting ready to start a new section of the garden and spent the weekend moving the chicken fence. Here’s Ofer and Yo’el putting on the finishing touches. Thanks to Jon, Steve and Andrew for helping move the coop! A new coop is on the way for the chickens this fall!
The bees are also a constant companion in the garden. We got bee hives a couple of years ago when we noticed that there weren’t as many buzzing around the flowers. Our vegetable garden had not been producing very well so we decided it was time to bring back the bees. Ofer is the primary caretaker of these lovely guests in the garden. Each year we see more preying mantis, dragonflies, butterflies and ladybugs enjoying the bounty of the garden.

Last, but certainly not least, are the wonderful plants that fill our world with joy! Gorgeous, majestic trees surround us while the friendly herbs, delicious fruits and tasty vegetables keep company with the decorative flowers. The natives we have planted are  flourishing as the years go by.

 


An Invitation

In our little slice of paradise, the garden is the center of life. Each season brings an abundance of interesting activities. Choosing the way we want the garden to be laid out, collecting manure to fertilize the beds, discovering interesting new seeds to plant, finding fun and unusual volunteers that pop up unexpectedly, the harvest that inspires creativity in the kitchen and the animal life that joins us are all symbols for the richness of life. We are often struck by the value of stepping out into the garden to see what will be revealed.
This blog will take you on the journey of the discoveries we make in the garden as the seasons unfold. Creating delicious and fulfilling meals from the abundance of the garden, meals that become food for body, mind and soul. Fun recipes, colorful photos, and garden wisdom will be shared.
We would like to invite you to step outside with us and take in the wisdom that life in the garden brings. See you in the garden!