Monday, August 12, 2013

Foraging for Kale

We have been in the throes of a heat wave.  There's been no rain in nearly a month and we've had hot dry sunny weather all July.  Though most people complain about the rain all winter, I choose not to as I know how desperate we on Vancouver Island become during the dry and hot summer months. The garden beds have dried out (and required the installation of soaker lines to keep my poor plants hydrated) the forests have become dangerous (though the true danger is from people and carelessness) and my world had taken on a fine dust covered film. I have also not turned on my oven in over a month.
I was able to harvest my garlic and it is curing in my shed for about a week and a half and now it needs to be cleaned off, have the chaff trimmed from it and it needs to be stored for overwinter consumption.
Yesterday the skies were gray and overcast almost all day.  My Mum & Dad came up in the morning to bring up Grandma's old love seat, a chair of my Great Grandmother's (on my Mum's side) and Grandma's bed.  We also finished most of the back fence project - the lattice is installed and it looks AWESOME! And finally, after lunch we assembled the bed.  I now have a spare bed and once again I get to do some re-arranging to make things a little more space friendly.
Late in the afternoon, after Mum & Dad had headed back down to Thetis Island, I was sitting inside thinking on making myself some dinner and the skies opened up and POURED.  I'm not talking sprinkle, I'm talking out and out pouring rain.  It was glorious!  It rained like that off and on all night and most of today and I could practically hear the trees sighing in relief.  My plants outside look happier and my apple and pear trees (and the little coral bark maple out front) are even looking perkier.
As a result of the MUCH cooler day today I even turned on my oven for the first time in over a month!  I baked cookies and granola.  I packaged up and vacuum sealed the granola for future use since I opened a box of cheerios the other day and need to finish that before starting something new, but still, I've not had my own home-made granola in what feels like AGES.
Since I wasn't needing to stain or cut or organize anything fence-wise today, I also took some time to harvest and freeze some of my kale for winter consumption.  I had to battle aphids - there was quite the infestation in there - but I won that battle for now... next year I will buy ladybugs (hee hee hee) to eat the aphids for me... after much soaking and washing, I laid out the leaves on cookie sheets and froze them. 
Did you know that after about an hour in the freezer kale will shatter if you drop a leaf on the floor?  I didn't know that either.
Kale frozen, I decided to try my hand at making kale chips and a kale and pear smoothie.  The smoothie is delicious - though I think next time I will have to puree the kale before adding the other stuff so that there isn't so much to chew on (ha ha ha!)
The kale chips are in the oven and I may be ready to try some of them after supper when I watch TV. 
The kale harvesting has cleaned out about a third of my bed - I am selectively pulling plants out now as the big ones I am leaving will continue to grow through the fall and provide me with healthy greens through the winter.
All in all a good day and a great weekend!
With love across the waters,