Sunday, November 17, 2013

Harvest Time

Someone, sweet blogger, asked where I was.  Such a sweet gesture which also makes me feel guilty for not writing in a while.  I haven't really had anything interesting or thoughtful to write.  My mind was blank like our gray skies these days.

This morning I got up before the sunrise as I most often do on these shorter days.  The air was thick with fog but a nice temperature.  I put on warmer clothes and took my camera walking.

 First I went to the end of the driveway and peaked through the deer gate.  Then I walked down to the dock where our winter loons have arrived and appeared just as black dots on the water's surface.

Soon I saw the sun trying to get my attention through the mist.

The weather here has been teasing.  Mornings can be cold or wet or even foggy or even warm and dry, mid-days with or without sun have still been comfortable, but the minute the sun hits the low horizon of gray clouds in the late afternoon, the temperature falls dramatically.  This crazy weather juggles my list of getting it done...whatever "it" is for that week, day, moment.

We harvested the last of the persimmons.  They sit like golden eggs hard as rocks in my iron basket in the kitchen.  Two nights were below freezing, so we have brought them inside and maybe in a week they will ripen to their custardy sweetness...or give us an alum mouth and we will throw them out.

The fig tree gave us hundreds of tiny figs this few ripened that we ate them in hand while studying the carpet of green figs that had fallen to the ground.  A judicious pruning is in order for next year if we want fig sauce and fig bread.

The oysters have been cleaned of summer algae with enough harvested that hubby made a Korean oyster stew (that is what he called it) which tasted more like a Thai seafood soup with an abundance of rice noodles.  I continue to use my Hungarian smoked paprika which accompanies many dishes these days. The weather was cold enough for us to safely eat a raw half dozen before the soup.

The kaffir lime tree which now sits inside in the kitchen corner gave us many limes this year. I would lie in bed at night and hear the thunk of a lime as it fell to the floor and then spent the better part of the next morning trying to find where it had rolled.  I made a delicious lime cheesecake which was full of butter-fat and sugar and that unique flavor of kaffir lime.  Only 400 calories for a small piece!  The fresh flavor of citrus is such a rare treat when you do not live in the tropic or temperate climates.  Their gnarly skin shown in the photo below belies their floral fragrance.

I took up the huge bouquet of dried garlic from the basement and began to peal and process for the freezer by tossing the cleaned buds in olive oil and putting a large handful into small freezer bags.  I know that they lose texture and flavor when frozen, but I have found the garlic buds are quite delicious when gently roasted before adding to any cooked meal.  I also put a few up in olive oil in the refrigerator in a jar for winter meals and saved three fresh cloves.  The white garlic parchment skins have flaked everywhere throughout the kitchen and it looks like snow.  I spend forever sweeping each morning finding a new white skin.  Of course, I have to spend an hour or less getting a photo before I begin my work!

During one cold afternoon I also broke down and made chocolate chip cookies.  We limit ourselves to two a day!

Today, with the temperature kissing 70F for a few hours, we cleaned out the garage, cleaned and oiled our garden tools, and threw out dated chemicals.  I took the amaryllus bulbs that have been going dormant in their pots in the garage for over a month, cut off their roots and knocked all the soil away from those fat bulbs and put them in a black garbage bag for the basement resting.  I will wake them up in 8 weeks for winter color.  I then washed all my clay pots and stacked them on a shelf in the garage.

I sorted various seeds from pods and heads that I had collected and placed on the garden shelf.  Now I am going to fix a drink and read my book, The Luminairies by Eleanor Catton...thus far a good read, even if I am not sure where this going.  I slogged through the "Bosnian Chronicles,"  until half way and then found it did not capture me in spite of a being awarded National Book Award.  It was well written, the characters well just moved way too slowly and focused mostly on how depressed the characters were living away from their homeland.  Thus, all the reasons that I have not been blogging.


Olga said...

You have been quite busy gathering in for the winter by the sounds. I do not believe I have ever tasted a persimmon.

messymimi said...

A good use of the few warm days left. Enjoy your garlic!

Stephen Hayes said...

You might not have been blogging but you sure are keeping busy.

Lonely Rivers said...

I think this might be one of my all time favorites of your posts. It is a quiet, perfectly paced reflection, exquisite and ordinary all at once. Your photos, always wonderful, provided lovely visuals, but the gems were in your words and the unexpected and choice little descriptions sprinkled like Hungarian paprika throughout the piece. I love good writing.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I'm fascinated by the Luminaries, also. Haven't purchased it yet, but hoping.

Indian summer here. 88 degrees today. Husband and oldest son took a dip in the lake. Men - it's not bad, they said. Right.

Where you live appears most lovely. Enjoy.

Pauline said...

Sounds like you've been too busy for blogging. I, too, am reading The Luminaries, am appreciating the beautifully structured sentances but hope like hell it livens up soon. I might put it aside for the holidays. Love the photos from your early morning walk.

Granny Annie said...

I desperately want a good camera but still probably could not get great pictures like you do. Last night I went out to try to capture the gorgeous moon and my cheesy camera just won't do it.

You are surrounded by such beauty and activity and it is wonderful for you to share with us when you can.

Freda said...

Exotic foods, exotic photos, exotic place...... looks fascinating to me. Every Blessing from Freda at Dalamoroy

Valerie said...

Hi Tabor, thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope to see you again when maybe there will be something to interest you.

Harvesting goodies must be really satisfying. I confess I have never tasted a persimmon, not even sure if they are available in the UK. Not sure about the oysters though, I was forced (yes, forced) to swallow one as a child and never wanted to try again.

Rae said...

Your photos are wonderful. I can certainly understand your absence from blogging. You have certainly been busy.

Pauline said...

It's not hard to get caught up in the mundane and think it's not worth writing about but it always turns out to be interesting to someone else!.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Oh my
so enviouse of the limes, garlic and oysters :)
I am not writing as much either
share your reason.
The cookies - I would eat 4 or 5 with a big glass of milk.
Love your images
and always your sharing...

Friko said...

Sometimes life becomes juicy and fresh, like your limes.
Blogging is such a dry, solitary, non-productive enterprise. Without a break from it we’d become dry as dust ourselves.

Cheyenne said...

I love your photos but that first one blew me away. Gorgeous.

Hattie said...

I just erased a long comment by accident. Got to say those photos are special. And I love knowing that you have an indoor lime tree!
I hope the persimmons ripen properly for you. They look very good.

Peruby said...

The mention of the taste of alum made me chuckle. Blech!

Anita said...

I smiled when I pictured you "getting the right shot" of the garlic. Your time was well spent-it's a nice shot. Isn't it funny how we get distracted in favor of our photography and writing? :)

I'm reading the new Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) novel - The Signature of All Things. One third into it and liking it.

Mage said...

I think you are in your homeland. :) Surround yourself with SAD lights and read books with happy endings. :) Me, I ended up skimming the "Hitler's Pope." It was meticulously researched and didn't give me a feel for this pope. Endless. Maybe all I missed was in the words I skimmed, but excellent research doesn't make a readable volume.

Wonderful soft gentle colors in those shots today.....then the persimmons. Schmidley posted color today and called it Mage's Tree. Hugs.

colleen said...

Well you came back with a bang! So many rich images, scents and tastes to think about. We have nothing so exotic that we grow. Just harvested the last of the potatoes. Gonna try your idea for preserving garlic.

Linda Reeder said...

Wow. You sound like Martha Stewart, and as a fan of hers, I mean that as a compliment!

Kat said...

Those are FABULOUS reasons not to blog. Sounds lovely. I haven't been blogging much lately either. Living life. Doing some of what you are doing as well (cleaning the garage, yard, baking, etc).

That first picture is AMAZING!!! I love seeing part of the fence as a peephole. Wonderful!

The Domestic Sweetheart said...

Beautiful photos!!

Just found your blog & love it! I'm a new GFC follower :)

PS - Thought you might be interested in the Almondina Giveaway I'm hosting