Picking, praying mantis, and peppers

It’s supposed to get into the 30’s overnight with a wind chill bringing it down to the 20’s, so I started picking yesterday after I got home from Master Gardener class. Jason started picking too when he came home after combining and we picked in the moonlight with headlamps. We will continue picking and getting things ready for this evening–the frost warning starts at 9 p.m. Although we still have more to do, it seems like not as much as Jason got last year. He says he had about 14 buckets.

picking 10-31-14

He also found a very large praying mantis the other day. We hope he will find cover while it’s cold–there should be enough mulch. Then then weather is supposed to warm up a bit again.

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Finally, here are some potatoes that Jason made the other night. I was at work so he took a picture because they looked so could. I was at work with Clif bars. Later envious.

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Sourdough starter and broiled potatoes

I like carbs–it’s one of my big indulgences, but I try to keep it to ones that are in their natural state.

Jason has made sourdough starter for a while, but this starter was my first attempt. So far it has worked really well. I did use instructions from Sandor Ellix Katz, the guru of fermentation, but the starter itself did not need any store-bought products. We’ve made both bread loaves in the oven and also skillet bread on the range using this starter and both have turned out well.

sourdough starter

We also got a bunch of green pimiento peppers from Jason’s dad. Last night we had broiled potatoes, onion, and pimiento peppers. When I was in high school, I used to like the veggie skillet dishes you could get at pancake-house restaurants and this dish reminded me of it. Yum.

Broiled potatoes

The Dangers of Attachment

On Saturday, Jason and I attended the Hungry Ghost retreat at Southwind Sangha in Wichita. It was a nice group and good to meet other Soto Zen people, although it feels quite different from my own White Plum lineage.

Southwind Sangha room

We decided to indulge our own hunger after at an Indian buffet in Wichita called “Passage to India.” The restaurant staff was very accommodating and they were quite busy (this picture doesn’t do it justice).

Indian restaurant Wichita

Finally, to cap-off an indulgent weekend, we watched King Kong. We were reminded of the dangers of attachment. It can be very sad.

King Kong and Jessica Lange

Kettle corn and sickle mower

It was my turn to bring a snack for Master Gardener class and I decided to bring kettle corn. I had not tried this particular recipe before, which seemed too simple to be very good but which turned out awesome. Jason was super helpful in the process.

Jason kettle corn

My arms did get very tired shaking the kettle and he rescued me.  The reason his arms are blurry in this picture is because they’re moving so fast.

Jason kettle corn 2

We did get a nice snack afterward.

kettle corn

On another note, I will soon be the proud owner of a Troy Bilt sickle bar mower after we won at an online auction today.

Troy Bilt sickle mower

Jason had planned to cut weeds with the Gravely but it’s too heavy for me to get around and the Troy Bilt looked at bit easier.  So now we have his and hers weeding sickle mowers. I don’t imagine we will use them in tandem.

Acorn bread with hedge-ball seeds

Jason and I have been experimenting with foraged foods.  The squirrels must be right because we picked a bunch of acorns, then ground them and made a flatbread.  It looks strange but has quite a good taste–it might be nice to use a regular wheat flour then use the acorn flour for seasoning.

Acorns Acorn bread

We also have some hedge trees (Osage Orange trees) at the sides of the driveway.  Jason normally collects the hedge balls and will sell them on E-Bay as some people use them as spider repellents.

Hedge balls

He recently found out that the seeds inside are edible, so he ran over the balls with the tractor and then extracted the seeds.  They got soaked and then roasted.  I was a little leery to try eating something that smells like bug repellent but they seem to be okay.

Hedge ball seeds

Fox Squirrel

We have been collecting nuts and seeds for planting next year.  The plan was to stratify them in the fridge so that they would be ready to plant in the spring.  Here are some black walnuts that we collected.

Black walnuts

I have not eaten black walnuts before recently.  They have a more medicinal taste than English walnuts.  It seems that the trees are heartier, so I guess that you can grow the black walnut tree and then graft English walnuts onto it since they are the preferred crop.

Someone seems to be circumventing our plans, though.  I have seen a thick reddish tail run across the yard several times over the past two days.

Fox squirrel