First fruits have arrived.
As I have complained already, the vegetable garden is more or less… a failure, this year. The combination of ill weather and the new septic system have conspired against the whole idea of production. Down in the garden, we have a couple of hard, green Early Girl tomatoes on the vine, about 3 infant zucchini (imagine if you can, a summer when the zucchini are scarce!), and the stubs of bean plants left behind by the rabbits. It’s not looking good for subsistence gardening. It’s fortunate we have markets.
But, unexpectedly, my stop-gap garden, the one in pots at the studio door, is doing quite well.
The cucumbers are looking good, the Swiss chard is coming on, we’ve had lettuce and radishes, and here are the eggplants. Eggplants have to be one of the loveliest of vegetable garden plants. They’re fit to be ornamentals.
Even in the best of seasons, it’s a challenge to mature full-sized eggplants here. But we can grow the smaller, short-season variety Ichiban,
and we had our first rewards this week. If we want a Moussaka, I go to the market for big, black-skinned eggplants. The little Ichibans are terrific for stir-fry dinners, though. Never mind all that business about peeling, salting to leach the bitterness, rinsing, squeezing out, and patting dry. Just slice these little guys into dollars (well, quarter-dollars maybe, given their size), and toss them into the mix. You want them to be thoroughly cooked, but they really require nothing more special than the other ingredients in the pan.
Now, isn’t that pretty? It was nice on the palate, too!
But wait! There’s more!
We have new eggs, too. Real eggs, not vegetable ones. The young Barred Plymouth Rock hens have started to lay. (The Ameraucanas seem to be a little slower to mature.)
When a hen first lays eggs, they come out quite small, as befits her young anatomy.
Soon enough, they will size up.
…That may be a small exaggeration of scale.
The view below shows a first egg and one from a hen who has been laying for merely a week.
Thank you, ladies.
So, odd season that it is, we won’t go hungry out here. But it looks like slim pickin’s overall. This is the kind of year in which, in earlier times, farmers starved.