Garden Delights

Happy Saturday, my friends! It's a farmer's market day today, and so I'm writing fast. I'm hopeful I can find some of those short fat carrots I like for making Spicy Dilled Carrots. Just FYI, they look like this:

I like them because they are just about the right length for my 12 oz. canning jars, and they are easily quartered with no skinny ends. We used to get them in our CSA shares, and I can often find them at the farmer's market. They've been in short supply lately. Maybe I'll get lucky today. 

I planted something similar in our vegetable garden this year. It's my first time growing carrots. I suppose I could be wrong...and maybe I just don't know what I'm looking for...but I'm pretty sure my carrots did not germinate. Fortunately, I was able to get a seed "tape" of carrots from Territorial Seed, south of where we live. They should arrive today, and I'll give them another try. In the meantime...farmer's market, please don't fail me. I've used my last jar of carrots, and we're nearing Catastrophic Carrot Withdrawal Syndrome. (That's CCWS. It's a disease I just made up, but I swear to you, it is real.)

Okay, well, I didn't expect to get off on a carrot diatribe first thing out of the gate, but there you go. Just more evidence of how dire the situation is. As for other stuff, I started my day in the kitchen yesterday. It was time to churn the strawberry ice cream I made the day before. Oh my, oh my, oh my. This stuff is so good, it's practically an oral orgasm. We refer to that as an "Ohh Ohh" around here.

It was still a little soupy when I put it in a plastic container. That's the reason for the early start. By dessert time last night, it was frozen to just the right consistency. It has the creamiest texture, and the bits of icy frozen strawberries give it the nicest little crunch. Ohh, ohh. It's downright pornographic, if you must know. Happily, I believe the recipe is available online without a subscription to America's Test Kitchens. Give that link a try. If it doesn't work, email me, and I'll be happy to send it to you. You should know, it's a bit of a production to make it, but it's well worth making it once per year.

Okay, but let's consider what else happened during the day. Another Coral Sunset peony bloomed. They're so pretty.

This next one will probably open today. It's known as "Fairy Princess."

Back up on the front patio, I noticed the first tiny cherry tomato.

After lunch, I went to work on my quilting. As it turns out, the scariest parts were nothing to be afraid of. It's a collage quilt, and it has a lot of these skinny little doodads on it. I was most worried about stitching down the edges of these pieces. Would they fray? Would they curl up? As it turns out, none of my worst fears were realized. I'm using a microtex 60/8 needle and monofilament thread. It's a bit of a maze getting to all the raw edges.

With those curves, I've shortened my stitch and slowed the needle to as slow as I can. It's all going very well. Possibly, I could get it to binding stage today, but it will probably be tomorrow.

So I spent a couple of hours on that yesterday, and then called it quits. When I went upstairs, I found Smitty basking in the afternoon sunshine. If you're a kitty, this is the best time of the year.

There was just one more kitchen task before dinner. I'd used the seedy sides of the strawberries to make strawberry-infused vodka. It's the easiest thing ever, and it can be done with most any fruit. You simply add the fruit to a container and then pour a fifth of vodka over. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 hours, strain the fruit out, and then funnel the liquor back into the bottle from whence it came. It turns out so pretty.

You could use any clear liquor for this, but I've always used vodka. You can also use pretty much any fruit for this. Raspberries and blackberries work nicely. If you're using a fruit with a less permeable skin...say, cranberries...you'd want to chop them up a little bit. Larger fruits, like peaches, would also need to be cut into smaller pieces. Finally, it needs refrigeration when it's finished. It can be used in any mixed drink made with vodka, or you can simply pour it over ice. I'm just happy to find a use for those seedy sides from the strawberries.

After dinner, we had a visitor to the field. We haven't seen any deer for a while. It's a good indication the coyotes have left the area, at least temporarily. Pour thing must have ear mites because she was scratching her ears with her front hooves.

It was all I could do not to run down to where she was and scratch her ears for her. I doubt she would have appreciated my effort in that regard.

Okay, so there are a few things I need to do before I leave this morning. I'll leave you to do whatever you're doing today. Have a good day, Everybody!


Barbara said...

For me, summer hasn't really started until tomatoes reappear in local farmers' markets. ~ Jose Andres Puerta

Joni said...

Best of luck on your carrot endeavors. I thought of your pickled carrots as I was planting my raised bed carrot patch. I do not think your seed failed, it was just too cold to germinate. You will have success with the seed tape.
Your coral sunset peony is beautiful! As I was planting my 89 dahlias this week, I told my friend that I didn't have them labelled properly, so the plantings could not be colorized this year. She was wise and told me to think of them as a scrap quilt. Such a delightful time of year.

Kate said...

Those are very pretty looking carrots. None in our stores look like that. Hope you were successful in finding them at the market. Hopefully you'll have some time for stitching this afternoon.

piecefulwendy said...

Good luck on the carrot hunt! I'm glad the coyote presence has lessened, too! I'm so curious about your challenge piece. I'll be doing the same at some point, but I need to start first (at least I know what I'm doing!!)

Brown Family said...

I hope you had a productive day at the market. Great visitor! Your collage quilt is very interesting!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Those carrots always look so perfect but I agree that they're hard to find.
Nice that the deer paid you a visit but hopefully she/he won't decide that your garden is good for adding variety to their diet. (Speaking of deer - yesterday evening we were coming home and saw a deer AND two juvenile moose)