Notes from a Maine Kitchen Blog Archive 2010
Photo copyright Russell French 2009
It’s that time of year again. Shopping, wrapping, making lists, and then making more lists. When it comes to gift-giving my philosophy is simple: stay close to home and choose something that will teach someone something new.
The phone rings and it’s my neighbor, calling at two in the afternoon to tell me a deer has been shot on my land. Just out of the shower, hair dripping, I throw on some jeans and a sweatshirt, and run over to the field across the street and down the hill. I see a big red truck, smack in the middle of the field, its wide over-sized tires stuck deep into muddy ruts it has created, after days of intense rain. And there it is. A huge, white-tailed deer, with bone-white antlers nestled on the ground, right by the rear of the red truck.
Tall, green leeks stand like soldiers in my otherwise barren garden. Next to them are just a few cabbages (their outer leaves dotted with frost), Brussels sprouts, onions, and carrots holding on through the newly frosted nights and cold, white-dusted mornings.
Several months ago I wrote here about my trip to the White House to learn about Michelle Obama’s initiative to improve the food served in American public schools. Since June I have been busy trying to do my small part.
Here’s an update:
· I adopted Central School in South Berwick — a K-3 elementary school.
Labor Day weekend is all about taking it easy, but when the garden is spilling over with produce and the fruit trees drip with fruit, you have to pay attention.
This past weekend I got together with a group of friends and spent an entire day and night, in the sweltering heat, canning our summer produce. Canning is a rite of passage, a way of acknowledging that the summer is fading and colder days are to come. It’s hard to even imagine those cold days when you consider the recent heat wave, but the garden is winding down and it's time to get to work.
Like so many women in America, I saw Eat Pray Love last night, the new film based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s blockbuster memoir of the same name. There were a few guys in the theater, but this is a chick flick is ever there was a chick flick. Watching Julia Roberts traipse through Italy made me very very hungry.
We went away for eight days. That’s not a huge amount of time, but the garden literally transformed itself while we were gone. When we left for vacation it was lush and full of promise, but when we got back it felt like the holidays. There were presents everywhere.
The sun was so hot and the air so still this afternoon that the thought of going strawberry picking lost its appeal. But the phone message at the farm announced that the picking was “perfect.” I’d been waiting a full year for a decent strawberry, so we headed out. Once we pulled up to the side of the picking fields, we were greeted by a cool June breeze. Where did that breeze come from?
I couldn’t see any berries at first, but I could smell them. There really is no smell quite as wonderful as ripe fruit.
So last week I was invited to the White House …
Sorry, it’s just so much fun to write that sentence, I couldn’t resist. And, besides, it’s true.
My back is killing me, which can only mean that gardening season is in full swing. We spent this past weekend digging, weeding, mulching, and planting, and my lower back is not happy. But these days are magical. The sun is unusually strong for this time of year, but there’s still a cool breeze in the air. It’s perfect late spring weather.