Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fall Cleanup

The snowstorm that blanketed communities north of us yesterday left us with just a couple of inches on top of ice -- not too bad, until you consider the howling winds and the sub-zero wind chills.

The official first day of winter might be one week away, but the season has decided to slip in early and give us all reason to stay inside and get cozy. And I'm happy to do that: I've had the oven up to full steam to bake baklava and biscotti for the Woo's Brews Grand Opening later this week as well as to bake baklava, cookies, and bread for market. I even put a pot of vegetable stew on Sunday evening when the chill first hit and have been enjoying that ever since. (It's good to start using what's in the freezer and the pantry!)

But a part of me regrets the early snowfall. Why? Now I can't find the last remaining vegetables in the garden!

I am terribly slow at cleaning up the garden in the fall, and this year, with a few root crops planted for late harvest, I really let things slide. Somewhere under all that white stuff there are some beets, parsnips, rutabagas, and salsify roots -- not to mention kale, chard, and cabbage that might be well frozen at this point. I've recently picked up a couple of books on winter vegetables, and I'm inspired to cook, but if I can't unearth my treasures, what can I do?

So I'm cleaning up in other areas:

--I finally wrote up an article for The Ethicurean about Olney Friends School. I attended a summit there in late October, partly looking at the school's future but also exploring larger issues of sustainability, and I was impressed with their farm and connections to local food.

--After four and a half months of silence, I've finally caught up the farming blog, if only to post the last photos and give a cursory summary of how the season sped to a close. I hope to sit down and write up something more encompassing about what I learned this year (and post it at The Ethicurean), but I'm taking small steps...

--I'm working my way back into my pile of books on food and farming. As mentioned above, I've found two delicious cookbooks -- Recipes From the Root Cellar and The Winter Harvest Cookbook -- and I hope to review them for both The Ethicurean and for the Local Roots newsletter in the next couple of weeks. I've also got another gardening book to review, plus Gene Logsdon's latest, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind (easily the best farming title ever).

--And the first seed catalog -- from Fedco -- has come in, so one of these evenings, I'm sure I'll curl up with it and start my list, then start winnowing said list when I compare it to what seeds I already have on hand. Because it will be spring again before you know it...

There's always plenty to do to clean up around here!

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