In which I catch up with spring and jump into summer

What a busy spring it has been! Since the last of the chickens went into the freezer the garden, the hoop house, and the barn have taken much of our time.

In May we celebrated my husband’s 75th birthday – wonderful friends, great food, much laughter!  We grilled two of our large chickens – they each weighed in at 8 lbs-marinated in Apricot/Garlic/Hoisen goodness.

homegrown fresh ham ready for the grill

The fresh ham was marinated in garlic, paprika, cumin, rum, sugar–then rubbed with more garlic, sugar and paprika.  It smoked for 8 hours and was a great success.  Yum!

As usual we joyfully celebrated the first totally homegrown meal of the season; fried chicken, kale, new potatoes, with lots of gravy.  Now pretty much most of our evening meals are largely home grown with the first of the summer bounty coming in to be combined with our eggs, the stored pork and chicken.

Kip’s seven chicks from the incubation experiment have grown into lovely little birds. Their coloration ranges from mostly buff blending into speckled gray and black to mostly gray and black. See how sweet they are?

dominique/buff orpington cross chicks

I am delighted with the veggies growing in the hoop house. We’re getting summer squashes and cucumbers.

Out in the large garden the spinach is gone and I think we will be eating cabbage and chard soon. We harvested the second row of potatoes yesterday; RED NORLAND.

Red Norland harvest

The large bed of Yukon Gold potatoes will be ready next week. All the seed potatoes came from last year’s crop as did the Elephant Garlic which is also ready to be harvested. This morning I sowed a double row of winter carrots. Even in the heat of summer we have to think of the chill of winter if food self-reliance is our realistic goal.

potatoes gone - soon carrots

Other fall plantings of collards, kale, and more scallions will come over the next two weeks.  The big planting of Italian Flat Beans and Kentucky wonders will end up being canned, while the yellow bush beans get eaten fresh.  I plant a 4 foot row of the yellow bush beans every two weeks or so through the season as soil becomes available.

Last week I went off for a lovely two days in Richmond with the Southern Foodways Alliance Summer Symposium to talk about Mary Randolph and the black cooks in her kitchens. There is some serious and delicious food action happening in Richmond!!  The cooks and restaurants and provisioners organized to feed us all were inspired by The Virginia House-Wife, that 1824 classic of fine food.  Some cooks did riffs, others did authentic, all were incredible spreads.

The rain has been persistent and regular all spring—one hates to complain—but I could use a few dry hot days!

The tomatoes are waist high in the wire towers but only the cherry tomato has blooms.  It will be late this month before we eat our own.

Any ideas my friends? I have not been able to find a successful way to set my cookery class schedules so as to end up with the necessary sized group and the dates/topics possible. I love teaching and I miss students coming to my house.  I have PayPal for payment and can also get a Square so people can pay when they get here.