"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

June 21, 2011

Fine Herbe: Chervil

A bouquet of chervil fit for a gnome––like frondy, fairy ferns.
"According to Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz in The Encyclopedia of Herbschervil is 'essential in French cooking, often supplanting parsley which it does resemble although the leaves are more feathery, and the flavor is reminiscent of anise.' Think of chervil like a delicate and refreshing parsley alternative. Use it in pesto, as a garnish, in salads, with asparagus and starchy vegetables like beets and potatoes, eggs, or seafood—especially oysters. It withstands neither prolonged heat nor drying. Use fresh and add at the last minute. Buying dried chervil lacks flavor and aroma."

You can read on chervil from The Herb Companion here.

You come back when you're ready!


June 15, 2011

From the "Icky Ooey" Department

I find a strange beauty in these dreaded hornworms but also a savage delight in watching their green guts––from chomping on my tomato plants and filling their bellies––spill all over the patio.

Munch, munch, munch––the little buggers!
Imagine my surprise to find most of one tomato plant defoliated the other morning. First of all, surprise because only the night before the plants were fine and secondly, because I'm growing all of my tomatoes (and most of our garden) in large pots this year. How did those little buggers even find them? Or better yet, climb up the clay pots to their own personal salad bars?

The best organic preventative seems to be handpicking the little buggers off the vines and dumping them in soapy water or snipping them in half (that is, if you don't want to squish 'em first). But they blend in beautifully on your plants and come in all sizes: from one inch to four. Here's some more information on the dreaded hornworm caterpillar:


Apparently, the tomato hornworm is easily confused with the tobacco hornworm, which has a red antenna. Either way, they eat the same plants. And this country certainly had its share of tobacco crops at one time––some still farm it. So maybe my gang has crawled up from some dormant tobacco shed on the ridge.

Well, I know they turn into magnificent moths upon maturity but no moth is worth some gorgeous, vine-ripened summer tomatoes from our garden!

Squish, squish!

You come back when you're ready!


June 7, 2011

You Might Be a Farmer's Wife...

Image source: Eyewitness to History (with accompanying oral history)
I found this list of farmwife attributes yesterday by a random search on old farmwife photos. I don't know who the author is but its website is credit enough.

Here are some of my favorites from the list:

You might be a farmer's wife...

  • If your name is taped to the side of a cake pan
  • If the vet’s number is on the speed dial of your phone
  • If you’re in the habit of buying foodstuffs in bulk
  • If the word "auction" makes you tingle
  • If you’ve ever washed your kids or the dishes with a pressure washer

  • If "a little bit of lunch" involves 6 courses and a dessert made from scratch
  • If the "fresh ingredients" your recipe calls for reminds you to do the chores

  • If that pail with a hole in it is a flowerpot in the making
  • If taking lunch to the field is as close as you get to a picnic
  • If your rock garden was hand-picked
  • If you’re on the lookout for new uses for "Jell-O"
  • If your tan lines are somewhere below your shoulder and above your elbow
  • If you buy antiques because they match the rest of your furniture
  • If your driveway is longer than a stone’s throw
  • If your kids’ wading pool has ever doubled as a stock tank, or vice versa
  • If you have a yard, but not a lawn
  • If you have lots of machinery and each piece is worth more than your house
  • If the neighbor’s house is best viewed with binoculars
  • If the directions to your house include the words, "miles," "silos," "last," or "gravel road"
  • If your storage shed is a barn
  • If your farm equipment has the latest global positioning technology and you still can’t find your husband
  • If Eva Gabor is on your list of "Most Admired Persons"
  • If you consider "hot dish" a food group
  • If grass stains are the least of your laundry problems
  • If your refrigerator contains medicine, livestock medicine
  • If your car’s color is two-toned and one color is gravel road brown
  • If you’ve ever said, "Oh, it’s only a little mud."
  • If you’ve ever used a broom to shoo a critter
  • If family "pets" include deer, coons, squirrels, foxes or birds

Stay tune for more photos this summer––I have a significant "back blog" of things to share with you.

You come back when you're ready!