"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Salt Of The Earth

After a huge storm knocked over one of my lemon trees, I decided to use a green Ponderosa lemon to make a citrus salt.  

I zested said lemon for one tablespoon and combined it with 1/2 cup of flaked sea salt, rubbing the two together to mix well.

I spread the mixture in a line across a parchment covered baking sheet and left it in a 225 degree oven for one hour.  After it cooled, I put it in a salt cellar and can't wait to try it on something.

FYI ~ Did you know salt has been harvested for 8000 years?  Animals and humans would die without it (and/or die from too much of it).  Wars have been fought over salt.  Egyptians burials contained salt.  In 1930, Gandhi led 100,000 people in a march to make their own salt, which was illegal under British rule.  This act of civil disobedience avoided the salt tax and changed the course of history.  And, salt of the earth comes from the book of Matthew in the Christian Bible, from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Just a few salt factoids.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Container Gardening

It happens to the best of us.  When we can no longer squat and bend over to toil in our gardens and refuse to crawl or scoot around on our behinds, we think of other ways to garden.  This summer, I have decided to try some crops in containers; old containers I have piled up around the farm. I don't even remember where they came from. Recycle? Reuse?  Repurpose? All good. 

Used this old enamel cook pot for carrots, and yes, I over-planted as I have done for thirty years (I told you I never learn).

Since I seem to have problems with slugs, grasshoppers and birds, my strawberries have done well in this old enamel wash pan.  This is a french variety of fraise des bois, a wild variety that though small, are perfumed and strongly flavored.

More strawberries in an old graniteware cook pot (at least, I hope that is what it is).

Another enamel washpan with dandelion greens.  They have thrived.  Lastly, I dare not show you where my pumpkins are growing this year.  I planted them in an small plastic swimming pool used for goslings and cracked with weather and age.  Though somewhat unsightly, it is around the side of the house and not visible from the drive.  I have learned that planting plants so huge and with large root systems isn't the best for this little pool container, as I have to water it daily since the roots take up so much water and it is hotter than hell here. I will be trying some fall plantings in containers soon.  It will take me a while to figure out the differences in planting ground versus containers.  My lasagna garden did better than any garden I've tried, though I learned it also has to be watered frequently since it is raised above ground level.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fermentation Bandwagon

I have been canning and putting up my garden bounty of late; I'm getting burned out.  But, I am beginning to learn about fermentation, and want to try it out.  I was going to begin with kimchi, but these cayenne peppers fell off the plant early and I decided to go with pepper sauce.  

What is fermentation?  Think probiotics.  Good for your gut health.  Supposedly, there are numerous health benefits from fermented foods, which is basically food left in a slurry of live bio-cultures and a lactobacterial-salt slurry of microorganisms. For thousands of years, humankind has preserved food thusly; think wine, milk, bread, soy sauce, kimchi...  Food wasn't pasteurized or refrigerated like today's food.  I do draw the line at rotting fish and/or birds buried underground to ferment. 

Did you know cocoa beans must first be fermented in the production of chocolate?  I have to let these peppers ferment for two weeks, then place them in a blender, and voila, pepper sauce.  I'll let you know how they turn out.  Fermentation - it's the new/old thing in food.

Monday, July 8, 2013

One In A Million

I love reading blogs, but once in a while, I find one that is jaw-dropping.  I just have to share it with you.  This blog, by Ivan Day, has to be one of the top blogs ever written.  Encyclopedic in his knowledge of the history of food etc., he makes the most incredible food I have ever seen.  I have accused him of being a supernatural being, but he cops to being a mere mortal like the rest of us.  Nevertheless, I'm certain he must work at Buckingham Palace for the Queen.  I love this blog and hope you will too.  This is a jelly using one of Ivan's macedoine molds.

Another macedoine jelly. Does food come any more beautiful than this?

And this pineapple flummery was made by Ivan in a 1790's Wedgewood mold.  Have a look at Ivan's blog, Food History Jottings.  It is incredible and I am so glad to have found it (and thank you Ivan for letting me show some of your pics and post about your blog).

Monday, July 1, 2013


Perhaps a cuckoo's nest?  Supposedly, Native Americans learned basketry from watching birds make their nests.  It was interesting to make while waiting for my crops to bear and reading GONE GIRL.  Summer fun.