Saturday, August 28, 2010

August Harvest


What a doozy!

I harvested the following from both the St. Bernard Community Garden and the Woodlands Community Garden this morning:
  • 'Katahdin' and 'Yukon Gold' potatoes
  • one tiny (and slightly tasteless) watermelon
  • habanero peppers
  • 'Sungold' and 'Tomaccio' cherry tomatoes
  • 'Long Slim' cayenne peppers
  • a 'Cherokee Purple' and two other tomatoes
  • red onions
  • an eggplant
  • leeks
  • deformed, end-of-season cucumbers
Then I made home fries for lunch.

I am loving this weekend. The weather is gorgeous (back in the mid-eighties) and my lovely friend and former CA room-mate Crystal is coming for a visit! Enjoy your own weekends and this fleeting end-of-summer feeling.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wind and Chill

Yes, that's right. It's been windy and rainy and chilly here in Philadelphia the last few days and I am loving it. Fall is my favorite season and I love sleeping with the window open and being able to keep the comforter on the bed the whole night (instead of kicking it off in a sweaty tantrum in the middle of the night as I've been doing so far this summer).

I picked up my monthly allotment of plants from the Camden City Garden Club yesterday morning and it turns out that they just got a delivery of cool weather crops and I got first dibs! So now I've got my fill of cilantro, broccoli, two kinds of lettuce, mustard greens, swiss chard, peas, and bush beans. The beans are actually a summer crop, but I'm still going to try because beans seem to do well on my porch and I need something to replace the spent tomatoes, marigolds, and snap dragons.

Beans and red leaf lettuce:

Swiss chard:


Now bring on the chilly weather!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Antique Score!

The town where E and T live is really small; a post office, a hunt and tackle shop, a grocery store, a gas station, an amazing antique store (that we discovered last year), and now, a thrift shop! (The thrift shop might have been there for a while, but it's new to us.) Pretty good for a small town. Last year I came home from Bramblefest with a good haul of "antiques" and this year was no different. Check out my amazing finds.

A Tadashi dress from the thrift store. According to the internets, this brand usually runs over $100. Mine was $13. Booya!

Reversible apron.

Four small Fiestaware plates that my mom bought me, one of which matches the bowls she bought me last year. I plan to collect this stuff randomly as I come across it until I've replaced all of my current dinnerware with Fiestaware. Nerd alert!

And here's my favorite find, a cardigan clip. My excitement is possibly due to my borderline obsession with Mad Men (the only reason I would consider getting cable).

So cute!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sweet and Savory

We've been getting lots and lots of tomatoes in our CSA box lately, which I am more than happy about because the tomato plants in my garden are falling short. My absolute favorite way to eat them is to slice them thickly and sprinkle a generous pinchful of salt and sugar on each one. Sometimes I add a basil leaf to each slice, but usually I eat them just like that, held over the plate dripping and juicy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Precious

Bramblefest 2010 was a success! We made six different kinds of jam: Bramble, black and blueberry, blueberry lime, plum peach, peach cinnamon, and low sugar peach.

As predicted, the brambles were not very fruitful this year, though we insisted on venturing into the thorns anyway. We managed to collect about 2 lbs of berries, which we mashed and juiced to add to the bramble jam.

My parents also came prepared with these adorable picking buckets that we tied around our waists.

And this year we had a new family member to help us pick: Maybelle! She's a tiny rough and tumble love bug farm kitty.

Here are some pics from the process:

And here's the haul!

We made 51 jars of jam, mostly in 1/2 pints. Next year we vow to make more 4 oz. jars because then we'll have enough to give as gifts. As it is, I don't want to part with my precious share.

P.S. We managed to hit up the antique store in town as well (two of them, actually!) and I'll share my incredible findings from that in another post.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Juicy Preparations

There's been a flurry of activity in my inbox recently, mostly centering around the topics of fruit, jars, kittens, and antiques. That all adds up to one thing: Bramblefest 2010!


The time has come to head up to E and T's house in northeast PA to harvest wild berries, eat amazing home-cooked food, gather wildflowers, laugh at chickens, play with the new kitten, shop for antiques, watch movies and of course, make jam. Lots of it.

We're a little worried about the brambles this year because E and T did some work on the property and the brambles took a hit. But they will bounce back. And while we wait we will supplement. Yesterday Chloe and I went to Mood's Farm Market in NJ for some pick-your-own goodness. It was raining but we stuck through, having a blast, stuffing ourselves with fruit, and harvesting over 5 lbs of blackberries ($1.40/lb) and over 20 lbs of peaches ($0.75/lb!).

My mom is bringing blueberries, so it Aunt E, and Katie is bringing plums. Good lord, I think a lot of it will go into our bellies before it goes into the cans and I can't wait. I'm particularly excited to try some recipes from Marisa McClellan's local Philly Food in Jars blog and to experiment with the spices. Mood's is her favorite pick-your-own and I've been wanting to go for a while.

So happy weekend everyone, and check back next week for the results of Bramblefest 2010!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Philly Homegrown visited the Walnut Hill Community Farm recently and look at the beautiful pictures they took!

Monday, August 9, 2010

ACGA in Hotlanta

I'm back from the American Community Gardening Association conference in Atlanta and I had an incredible time! I met some amazing people, I was educated and inspired, I saw many beautiful gardens, and I ate incredible food! Here are some highlights.

*A canning class with Miss Classie Parker of Just Food in NYC, where I learned how to pickle okra and boogie.*

*A great harvest table and weighing station in the Back to Eden Garden*

Scenes from the Taste of the South dinner:

*Genius bike racks at Pearl Academy Agriculture and Environmental Center*

*Goats at Pearl Academy*

And, last but not least, the Atlanta Botanical Garden:

I'm already excited for next year!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2010 ACGA Conference!

Despite my current lack of funds, I managed to register and get transportation to the 2010 American Community Gardening Association's Annual conference this weekend! With lots of help from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Green Thumb (the NYC Dept of Parks and Rec's community gardening program) I will be traveling to Atlanta, GA tonight on a bus from NYC. I get conference registration (which I already secured a scholarship for), round-trip bus fare, and a shared hotel room for the low low price of $0.00. Amazing. I mostly have Sally to thank, my wonderful friend at PHS who does the community gardening program there. I had an incredible time last year, and I can't wait to be inspired and energized again this year. The bus ride is over 16 hours though, so thank goodness for my new quillow.

Here are some current pics from the community gardens to get you excited. Also, I just found out that The Woodlands Community Garden is in final judging for the PHS City Gardens contest, so keep your fingers crossed again for us to win!

**Walnut Hill Community Farm, with painted shed and 1,000 gallon water tank!**

**Incredible shed organization at The Woodlands, thanks to Joe (who also re-roofed the shed and made the picnic table**

**Red pontiac potatoes, katahdin potatoes, some mystery blue potatoes, and a cayenne pepper from The Woodlands**

**St. B garden overflowing with zinnias**

**St. B garden harvest**


Monday, August 2, 2010

Sew Sneaky

I went to another class at Spool this weekend, my local hip fabric shop. They have the most gorgeous fabrics, and they cycle through inventory really quickly, so even though the shop is small, the selection is always changing.

And check out what I made! It's a pillow . . .

But what's that sticking out of the bottom?

It's a quilt!

Now what would YOU call something that's both a pillow and a quilt? Why, a Quillow, of course!

I can't give you the pattern because it's not publicly available on their website, but I found one here that's approximately the same.

I'm really happy with my quillow, I can't wait to take it with my on the looooooong bus ride I'll be going on soon (more about that in the next post!).