Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chimney Rock NC

We needed to make a trip to Asheville to get some gardening supplies. I'll post more about that later. Friday was also our 11 year anniversary. So we turned the trip into a little sight-seeing vacation.

As you can see from the picture above, there was not much of a view when we first got to Chimney Rock. We posed on Vista Rock but we were laughing because it was literally surrounded by a cloud. There could have been anything (we were imagining a beach, aliens, big city) on the other side of the fence. We couldn't see anything.
We stopped for a rest in the Opera Box to get another view of the cloud.
We hiked our way up to the highest point and it was beginning to clear up. We posed for an anniversary picture:) Photo by Ellen.
On our way down the mountain we stopped at the Chimney again and we were excited to see the clouds had parted a bit and we could see Lake Lure and the village.
We hiked down another trail over to the waterfalls.
Arianna found a baby salamander. Ellen caught it and wanted a picture for our nature journal.

Looking up at the falls. They were so tall I couldn't get a good picture of it from the bottom.
They found a crawfish eating a dead snake.
They were on the edge of the falls. We had a great view from this point--huge waterfall on one side and the valley on the other.

Here's another view of the mountains on the other side of the valley from the trail on our way back.
Here is a view of Chimney Rock from the gift shop and parking lot.

The view of the lake from the same spot.

 On our way home we made a wrong turn and instead of going back through Hendersonville we realized we were on the way to Black Mountain (which is the opposite direction). So to make the best of our mistake, we stopped in downtown Asheville to eat at one of our favorite restaurants The Laughing Seed.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I admit, I was wrong

We can't eat all the greens that we are growing--at least not fresh. So, while still eating about a pound a day (and giving away several pounds) we were able to blanch and freeze 6 pounds (3 lbs collard, 3 lbs kale). Daniel and I spent the evening in an assembly line of washing, chopping, weighing, boiling and freezing all this.

 From the picture below you can get an idea of how tall and big our onions have gotten.  I was standing up while taking the picture. Some of them are as tall as I am! (I took this picture the same day we harvested a ton of greens) The biggest are multiplier onions that we planted last year, but instead of harvesting them all we left some in the ground. Daniel also planted some other onion sets and slips that I purchased at a local shop.

These beautiful blanket flowers came back from last year. We started them from seed a few years ago and they have really taken off. From now on I should be able to have fresh flowers inside for the rest of the summer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New pet, planting tomatoes, imovie, Alegria

I found this guy walking across the driveway on Friday and so we brought it in to study. While Daniel was holding it, a small egg came from the tiny white dot on the side of its neck. We found it a mate and made it a habitat so we can keep it inside for a little while. The girls have named them slowmo and slumzo.

Daniel and I planted all the tomatoes that we started from seed. We are growing several different kinds this year--Matt's wild (cherry), Golden, Abraham Lincoln (reg. sandwich variety) and one black cherry. I got a few other varieties from the store in case our heirlooms don't do well. We also planted our baby basil, peppers and eggplant that we started from seed.

Our homeschool coop has been doing a drama class all year. The students were asked to write skits. Then they each got to cast and direct them also. I made a movie out of the first one we filmed. I was using my little flip video camera and imovie. It's the first time I've used imovie and I had a lot of fun with it. You might be seeing more of these:)

To finish a wonderful weekend we got to see Cirque du Soleil Alegria. The girls have been waiting for weeks for the show. We were so amazed at every moment. Loved it! If it comes to your town you should definitely try to get tickets. If you look around you can get discounts. I got a great deal on ours through Groupon!

Friday, May 06, 2011

From Yard to Table

Picking peas this morning. Eating them fresh all day...
May 6, 2011
If you know me you know that I LOVE kale. I use it all year around in about everything I can think of. It is super healthy, easy to eat raw or cooked, relatively easy to grow, and pretty too! The dark greenish, blue color is beautiful in the garden.
May 6, 2011

We have one whole row of kale this year--about 60 plants. People ask me, "What do you do with all that kale?" Although we give some away to neighbors and friends, the answer is we could eat all of it! (and the row of collards also but I'll save my I love collards post for later.) You can use kale in any dish that calls for spinach. I steam it to replace it for cooked spinach in lasagna, and add it raw to soups, Indian dishes, dips, etc.

My lunch today
One of my favorite ways to eat it is in a raw salad with oil and vinegar dressing. To get the best flavor you have to message (or rub) the leaves with the dressing for a few seconds. I like to chop it up, put it in a bowl and then drizzle a little balsamic vinegar, ume boshi plum vinegar, and canola oil on top. Rub the leaves with your hands--there's no way around it being messy. Recently I've been adding a few slivered almonds for fun. Let it sit for a little while (30 mins to a couple of hours) to absorb even more flavor. You can see the leaves turn dark green and look like they've been steamed. They taste tender and oh so good!