February 9, 2012

we are still in the world.  busy.  we have been busy.

andy has been cutting down trees to make more room for livestock and gardens.  sadly, one of the trees fell on the turkey coop.  boom, smack, crunch. ah, darn it!  i was outside when it fell.  and to our shock, we just looked at eachother and burst out laughing.  it was delightful and devestating at the same time.

we had to put hank down.  it was a sad sad sad day in the schmidt house.  and then, insult to poor hank, we got two cats.  OUTSIDE CATS.  company for the mice.

sparrow is crazy.  and so so so great.

and i am, well, well.  making yummy food and eating it.


one too many plants.

August 21, 2011

I thought perhaps you might like a glimpse at how jungle-like our greenhouse of tomatoes really is.  i was not exaggerating.  if U.S. currency were to suddenly switch to from dollars to tomatoes, we would be extremely rich.  in fact, on that thought….perhaps the government SHOULD change U.S. currency to said fruit.  i am pretty certain that between ourselves and my prolific tomato-growing mother-in-law, we just might have enough “money” to solve the debt crisis!  I mean let’s be honest—have the government’s  other ideas really been all that less far-fetched??  but i digress.  andy said, after crawling on hands and knees under a canopy of vines to reach a ripe tomato,   “i don’t think i should plant this many next year”. 


Andy is spending the weekend with his boss in Wisconsin.  They are going to a monster truck show and a stock car race.  should be a loud weekend, if nothing else.  I will be spending some quality girl time with my lady-friends.  should be much less loud.  although, we will have 2 babies and a two year old with us.  so, on second thought…andy and i may have pretty comparable weekends. 

me & my bean sprout.

veggie tales.

August 18, 2011

no, not the singing, dancing, silly-song type.  that kind of veggie tales are (fortunately) lying in a heap, composting, in the back corners of our collective memories of bible camp.  the kind of veggie tales i’m talking about are much more exciting–much  more delicious–much more satisfying–and a whole lot less annoying.  i’m talking about our garden.  it is a glorious sight this time of year, mid-august, where the days have cooled slightly–bringing highs in the 70s and evening lows in the 50s–and the sun shines heartily on all that is climbing vigorously forth from the soil.  i will never be un-amazed at the process of plants growing.  that a tiny seed, some smaller than a pin-head, can muster up enough gumption to grow a million times their original size with nothing but soil, water and sunshine to feed it is, to say the least, a fine miracle whose design can only be in the hands of the Creator.  i wonder what a seed thinks (if a seed can think) while it rests under a thin layer of dirt.  does it know its purpose?  does it know the great things it’s Creator has planned for it?  and isn’t wonderful to know that God loves a tomato seed?  that he takes pleasure in a beet sprout?  that the little baby cucumbers dangling so precariously from the end of a vine make Him laugh?  We worship a very splendid God. 

Pruden, the 1 1/2 pound mater.

And that God we worship has done, again, amazing things with those tomato seeds He loves.  For one, he has given the same love of tomato seeds to my husband and an incredible zeal for cultivating said seeds.  One look in our greenhouse and you will know the immensity of this zeal that Andy has.  It is a tomato forest.  Nay, a tomato JUNGLE of impressive size and complexity.  one must crawl, on hands and knees, navigating very carefully under and over vines, to pick any ripe tomato.  you have to really want it, because it is no easy feat.  yesterday, i was holding sparrow while trying to pick a few carrots that we had planted under our tomatoes.  i think she thought she was being attacked by large, pungent green leaves.  and because it is reflex for baby to open her mouth whenever anything grazes near there, she got her first taste of foliage.  we grew a number of new tomato varieties this year including the ThesallonikiMountain Princess, Violet Jasper, Riesentraube and the Pruden’s Purple.  Andy has been carefully documenting when each flowers, sets fruit and ripens as well as the quality of tomato.  So far, the Riesentraube is our favorite–a delightful, bright, fresh-tasting little cherry tomato.  And our least favorite, albeit extremely beautiful, is the Violet Jasper.  It is a very fleshy tomato, a quality we don’t care for.  Though to be fair, we made a fresh herb and tomato pasta dish that was out-of-this world with the Violet Jasper and it was, as I said, out-of-this-world.  It is just not a very good stand alone tomato.  Just yesterday, Andy picked our first Pruden’s Purple–a gorgeous, 1 1/2 pound tomato.  I was skeptical, as large tomatoes can sometimes go the way of carnival food–large proportion, poor taste.  BUT.  what a pleasant surprise.  This tomato was delicious, almost melon-like in texture.  It was a delight.  We have yet to try the Thesalloniki or Mountain Princess. 

Pruden meets his fate.

We have been eating sugar snap peas and green beans by the arm load.  Is there anything finer that a plate of sauteed green beans and snap peas?  to be eaten with your fingers, of course.  no, not eaten–devoured.  you should see andy and i, it is likely quite barbaric, the way we eat our fresh veggies.  no regard for manners.  emily post probably dies a second time when we sit down to eat a plate of produce.  it is uncouth.  it is impolite.  it is delicious. 

the bird uncouthly eating her E.

we have also been eating carrots, an early crop we planted in the green house in april.  i LOVE to pick carrots.  plucking them from the damp soil is so rewarding.  and there is an art to it.  if you just yank, all forceful and impatiently, you will break the top of the carrot off, leaving the bottom half to sadly rot away.  you must caress the carrot forth.  coax it, if you will.  a little wiggle to the right, then the left, then the right again–all the while maintaining a steady, gentle upward pull.  sometimes you have to dig around the carrot with your finger to loosen the soils determined hold on it.  sometimes you have to whisper a prayer.  but always you must be patient.  and then, as fast as love, it pops up.  making the most satisfying sound when it releases.  put your tongue on the roof of your mouth and pull it off quickly, with some resistance.  hear that?  that’s what it sounds like.  and then, in your hand is a most gorgeous, long and slender vegetable.  we are particularly fond of the Cosmic Purple.  superb taste, very fun to look at. 


that’s it for now.  happy august, all.  autumn is just around the corner–thankfully.

begin again, again.

August 10, 2011

hm.  so much for posting once a week.  seriously, can i not even follow through with that?  dave, you are my inspiration.  were i to be like you, motivated, dedicated and the master of follow through, i would, among other things, have many more posts under my belt.  (you are the second thing that google brings up when you search!!) but.  we can’t all be dave schmidt, now can we.  who would represent those folks who operate under the ever popular “road to you know where is paved with bright, shiny good intentions” model?  worry not, fine comrades.  i have your back. 

much time has lapsed.  and much has changed.  everything around here is GROWING!  The pigs are, well, enormous.  and incredibly foul smelling (if you desire to have your nose hairs singed by the smell of vinegar, wander on over to the schmidt house, you will not be disappointed).  We are looking to butcher these fine specimens of rapid weight gain in September.  And we hope to try our hand at fun pigish edibles such as cracklings, headcheese and guanciole.  it will, as always be an adventure.

fat. yum.

the turkeys, rest their souls, are spending their summer days in the deep freeze.  (might i admit, there were a few days in late July where i was half tempted to join them, sans freezer paper, of course.)  we butchered them nearly a month ago, well before we had intended.  but the little hobos were disappearing at a rate that left us no choice.  in 4 days, we lost 7 of the 15 turkeys to wander lust.  sad really.  though it is comforting to think of them whistling a melancholy tune as they watch the sunset from a boxcar as it rattles eastward.  nonetheless, we butchered all but 2 of the remaining turkeys, scalded, plucked and wrapped them, and laid them to rest in the bottom of our new chest freezer.  don’t ask me why we allowed two to live…we just did.  and they are big and beautiful and weird.  we named them mitch and kathyann after our newly wed friends, only to realize in recent weeks that they are both toms.  oh well. 

synchronized roosting.

and the chickens are fine.  i’m not including a picture of them because they annoy me.  especially lebowski.  he really, truly never shuts up.  4am?  sure, why not.  noon? oh yeah.  3:30?  a fine time for a crowing.  8pm?  gotta shut the place down, don’t i?  geesh.  enough is enough. 

and the newest addition to the schmidt family–50, make that 49 (one was DOA) meat chickens.  these were purchased the day after we butchered our turkeys as a way to plump up (pun intended) our freezer.  they are doing well.  and growing remarkably quickly.  when you step into the garage it is practically deafening, all their tweeting.  and man, oh man, can they eat!  if there were money to be made in chickens entering hotdog eating contests, andy and i could both quit our jobs and rest on the fattening laurels of our meat birds.  but, since there isn’t, we continue to work to support the eating habits of our livestock.  

new york city.

and, because we are on the subject of birds, sparrow is of course, very well and cute.  new tricks include: going crossed eyed while reaching for toys held in front of her, successfully grabbing the toys, chewing on a plastic letter “E” and rolling from her belly to her back.  and of course, wowing everyone she sees with her blue eyes and ridiculous hair.  boy howdy, we sure love her a lot. 

the best bird we know.

i forgot to take a picture of the garden, so that update will be soon to follow.  i assure you we are dining fine on all our produce.  namely, this time of year, sweet snap peas and green beans.  oh the thrill of it all!!