Sunday, October 31, 2010

Late October

Had one of my very last cucumbers from our garden today. Who would have thought that all this water was good for them. They are crisp and taste wonderful. The only thing I knew would do it justice was a fresh made hummus made with home made beans. I was even able to use some of my very last cherry tomatoes.

Our winter garden is doing very well and we have been picking lettuce to put on sandwiches, the broccoli looks like it will make it, the spinach should come back from all the slug bites, and the swizz chard is still surviving. For some reason some of the onions I planted in March have resided to finally come out. I think this is because they are finally getting the required moister. I will probably have to eat them small.

This picture at the bottom has a plot that I am preparing for next year. Let me know if you have questions on how to go about it.  The seemingly clear plot has carrots and fava beans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Food Preservation Journey

So where should I be in my journey? Here in Oregon we are hitting low temperatures of about 45 and highs in the low 60s. There are apples, pears, and squash in abundance. I still have tomatoes in my garden,  and in the valley wine grapes are just beginning to be picked.

What am I doing? I am almost done with everything. At this point I am bartering for fruit like figs, I think I will pick the last batch this next week. This is a great time to be canning apple sauce, dehydrating pears and apples, and gathering things such as honey and soap from the farmers markets before they close for the year.

What should I be excited about now? I love the change of seasons. If you planted a winter garden you will have greens for a while longer. Winter will be the time to relax and enjoy all the wonderful produce you stored. You can use the time to reflect on what you did right and to plan on the changes you will make for the coming year. This is the time to make as many things as you can in the oven, to open a nice can of peaches, or a jar of honey or jam to put of fresh scones. Its the time to cooked slow meals and to open a nice bottle of wine.

I get as excited about winter as I do about summer. It is never easy to adjust from one season to another, but I find a lot of joy in this journey of a yamhill squirrel.

Monday, October 11, 2010


My friend Paul Adams and I did a little bartering with popcorn and dried fruit. Paul Adams runs the Seseme Street CSA here in McMinnville and this year he grew popcorn. In case you do not know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Paul grows food in his city garden and families from the community pay a yearly fee to be a part of the bounty. It is amazing to see how much food a person can grow in their front yard.

As for the popcorn, I love making popcorn. Talk about growing your own snacks. I have not grown popcorn in my garden, but the success Paul had is making me want to try this coming year.

Paul and his lovely daughter Lucy :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


It's mushroom time. Last week Lincoln City had their annual cook-off. My wife's family and I always go to this event, it is always very popular. We have even gone on the morning mushroom hunt with an expert guide. The hunt is free and all of us found some mushrooms.

I must admit, I am very much about the hunt, I just love it. I don't do a lot with mushrooms, I usually just cook them with eggs for breakfast. I also like to dehydrate them in the dehydrator or in the fridge. Yes, if you leave them in the fridge for a few days they will loose all their moister, just like garlic.  I use the dehydrated mushrooms when I am making soups (specially Asian soups).

This is the time to look around and find a mycological society  near you area. I know we have at least 3 here in Oregon and you will be surprised to how many you might find near your area.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Harvest Time

This is a great time to go to your local farmer's stand and pick up some great vegetables and fruits. I know that sometimes people say that eating locally can be expensive, we were able to buy all this for about 60$. This is a lot of food. A lot of the apples, plums, and pears will be dried. The green beans will be blanched and then frozen. The dried beans will be taken out of their pods and then stored in kerr jars to cook later in the winter. The tomatoes will be canned and used to make tomato sauce later in the year.

This was a very productive trip. I know that it seems like a lot of work but later in the year it really pays off. My wife and I usually only go to the store for things like grains, flour, meat, and dairy. That's not to say that I stay away from avocados and chocolate. This saves a lot of time and money. Hope you will take on the challenge and put something away for winter this weekend. Have fun squirrlin'