I feared the let down as the family pulled out of the driveway this past Tuesday. Our Boston relatives had been on the farm for just over two weeks: they held down the fort while I was in California, supported us through the realization that we will face the rest of this season sans apprentices, and delightedly worked with us as we created a wonderful 75th birthday celebration for Gram. The Sunday party was amazing. It took each member of the family along with his or her special skills, to make the event as perfect as it was. From the 4 layer lemon cake perfectly baked by Madeline and her dear Aunt Phoebe, to the poetry recitations coordinated by Uncle John, from the seasonal tea sandwiches to the bouquets dotting the small tables, it seemed like each detail was tended to and the day honored Louise in a the way she truly deserved. The guests were from all over these hills and hollows of south central Kentucky and shared a love for Louise and a desire to celebrate with all of us at the Hill and Hollow Farm Stay. With each event in that space, we get one step closer to realizing our vision for that space, indeed, a good time was had by all.
I knew in the wake of their departure there was only one thing that could raise my spirits on those hot, humid august days and that was get into my indigo dyeing. I know, I know, you all have heard all about it, but I am afraid I am obsessed and you will have to hear another snippet. There truly is nothing quite like the magic that comes together in the art of plant dyeing. From the farmers work of raising the dye plant (in this case the Japanese Indigo, polygonum tinctorium) to the shepherd’s work of raising and shearing the sheep, to the dyer’s work of putting it all together, we just love it. Our indigo plants are currently perfect and I was more than happy to ease my post family visit doldrums by turning over 40 skeins of our farm’s yarn deep, varying shades of blue on two consecutive days this past week.
This was our first solo harvest in a long time and honestly it went flawlessly. The tomatoes are offering us a few luscious fruits, a new planting of patty pan produced my favorite UFO style summer squash, and the other tastes and scents of late summer proved to be wonderful company on this harvest day. I am already looking forward to seeing you all again tomorrow and of course, wishing you all a great week ahead.
week fifteen in your basket:
lebanese or Patty pan squash
Ratatouille this is adapted from martha stewarts recipe, many, many good ones out there,
absolutely pefect use for all the summer vegetables in this week’s basket!
1can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 medium eggplant cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 large onions, diced large
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
2 sweet peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
2 large zucchini or squash (1 pound total), diced large
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to break tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let sit 20 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bay leaf, and marjoram to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving