Monday, 5 July 2010

I'm back.

Thanks to everyone for being patient during the month of June – I’ve been preoccupied with other projects.

The Girl turned six last week, and we had a birthday party on our land – thirteen six-year-old girls, mostly from her school in the next village over, along with a few neighbours. We introduced the Irish girls to the concept of a piñata, and they went wild with the stick.

We now have two new members of the household, rabbits for my daughter, and we hope to start on the chickens soon.

We’ve built five large garden beds now, with nine beds for herbs and medicinal plants and four beds for berries. For weeks now we’ve had salad and radishes, have been devouring kohlrabi and fennel bulbs raw like apples, and we are munching through rows upon rows of kale, bok choi and beets. We are trying chicory for the first time, letting it grow through and then covering it for winter.

This is an unusual year for growing; Ireland saw its coldest winter in decades and we started late because we had to build the garden, so everything has been off this year – our peas have only just begun to flower but our fennel and parsley have bolted. Tomatoes, peppers and corn, all staples in my native Missouri, grow only with difficulty here, and we have not been able to get much out of them.

We have been going door to door along the canal meeting our neighbours, and it is clear that most people who live here grew up here -- most houses are in clusters of families, with cousins living side by side. People from a different part of County Kildare are still very much outsiders, and I come from much farther than that. Everyone has been friendly, though, and slowly we feel ourselves joining a community. Children make neighbours of us all.

Photo: Red mist clouds the Hill of Allen, as the dry weather has apparently stirred dust from the bog.


Amanda said...

Your photo is beautiful! Growing food can be painstakingly slow. I can remember my grandparents having a garden and we would run through the corn and boy my grandfather would come out with his walking stick and tell us not to play in the corn. It is only now that I am older do I appreciate the gardens and how to grow your own food. July 17th I will be creating a little balcony garden with Green Beans, Cucumbers and Lettuce. I am not much of a Farmer but I would like to try.

Maya said...

a recipe for you all, with love from me:

Pickled Radishes
(note: I hate radishes. except these, which are one of my very favorite things.)

1 shallot, minced
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 TBS sesame oil
24-30 radishes, sliced thinly
2 TBS salt
1 tsp sugar

combine shallot, ginger, lemon juice, vinegar & oil, toss in radishes & stir to coat. sprinkle in salt & pepper, stir again. Let the radishes pickle at room temp for several hours. Will keep for 2 -3 weeks in the fridge (in theory - they're usually gone long before then).

Brian Kaller said...

Amanda, good luck.

Maya, thank you! We do love our radishes, and have devoured our first crop, but in a few weeks we should have our second, and this will be the first thing we'll try.
Keep in touch.