Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tastes in November

“I thought I had an appetite for destruction. Turns out all I wanted was a club sandwich.
Homer Simpson

I’m mostly inside these days, my obsession with the doll house once again activated by the cooler weather. I managed to get lights into the wisteria chandelier I’m making.

The purple beads themselves were acquired years ago - woven into a bonsai-sized tree with a twisted gold wire stem that looked pretty tacky. I got it at a festival in Pomona, and knew I was going to deconstruct the tree and use the branches for the chandelier. I wound several strings of white lights around the branches with floral tape. Here’s the first floor. Notice the inlay in the floor of the dining room at rear beneath the wisteria arch.

It’s November but it’s still summer here. This is the time of year when I usually decide there is no such thing as winter and I can garden comfortably year-round. Then, it gets cold and rainy and stays that way until March. It does cool down enough in the evenings that we've already had a fire and heard the furnace kick on in the early morning hours.

When I did get outside, I planted some recent acquisitions – this being the time of year to plant natives and drought-tolerant plants. In deadheading and cleaning up, I ended up with enough cut things to make a lovely arrangement at the side of the pond (below). I put the copper canyon daisy and my tiny pomegranate tree that was a volunteer in the Veggie Garden.

I got a ton of starts at the nursery yesterday for the Veggie Garden: snow peas, red cabbage, yellow cauliflower, more broccoli. I have to buy beet seeds, but found some golden ones to plant next to the red. Got some asparagus in six-pack starts, deciding against buying the bare root ones. We need things in the veggie garden that will last more than one season, so why not make room for the asparagus and see what they do, even if it takes them a few years to get going.

I found some lovely red lettuce and some spinach. We have some radicchio in the ground, but the outer leaves taste bitter and I’m not ready to pull out the entire plant to eat the heart until I get something to replace it – hence the lettuce and spinach. Spinach is my classic example of how something that tastes lovely raw in a salad (especially with bacon and a dressing made from bacon grease and cream curdled in the microwave and tossed warm). You can wilt it and it’s still edible, but if you cook it and eat your spinach like Popeye did, it gives you that squishy feeling when you swallow that my sister K used to say about eating canned peas: “It makes my head wiggle”. That was when she was a kid. She probably doesn’t say that these days.

I also got some shallots, and chard, but passed on the collard greens. I’ll only grow what I like to eat and cooking greens seems somehow sacrilegious. While I’ll stoop to growing chard, it seems to be taking things too far to cook collard greens or kale. Once, I went to a KFC in the hood in Oakland and they had a side called “mean greens” which sounded more appetizing than their international orange mac and cheesoid product.

The greens turned out to be cooked collard greens with some nasty hot sauce. It was like the cook decided if you were going to eat something with a texture like cardboard only slimy, you might as well spice it up with enough Tabasco sauce and salt to preserve an Egyptian mummy. Why not just eat boiled cardboard seasoned with ground up mummy powder? I’d rather eat grass: which I actually do every morning when I juice some wheat grass and drink a shot. Tastes awful but goes down quicker than Homer Simpson can eat a club sandwich.


chaiselongue said...

Sounds like you've got some work to do with all that planting. Have you got artichokes? They spread from year to year, die down and disappear in summer when it's dry and reappear miraculously with the first rain of the autumn.

walk2write said...

Now you're making me hungry. I was going to skip breakfast to make room for the feast later on, but I might not make it that far. That dollhouse is spectacular! I will admit that I've developed a certain fondness for cooked collard greens--my own anyway. Can't stand the stuff you get in restaurants, though.

colleen said...

I love the seasons we have here, and it has been very mild lately but, oh, I do envy your opportunities for gardening in November.

日月神教-向左使 said...