September 15, 2021
We managed to finish harvesting all our wheat last week, with hired help.
That help came in the form of another farming family: mom, dad, and oldest daughter all pitched in.
There were a couple young sons riding along, absorbing the strong work ethic. They operated a combine alongside ours, drove the grain cart (transferring the grain from the combine to the semis), and drove said semis (depositing the grain into our bins) to and from the fields.
They were a valuable addition, so besides the monetary compensation they earned, I fed them a large noon meal each day.
I love having a reason to try new recipes. I especially love having people willing to consume the results. The following recipes received rave reviews. Save them for next summer when the ingredients are again plentiful.
• 4 large ears of corn
• 1 C halved grape tomatoes
• 1 C diced English cucumber
• 1/3 C diced red onion
• 2/3 C crumbled feta cheese
• 3 Tbl fresh chopped parsley
• 2 Tbl fresh minced basil
• 1/4 C EVOO
• 1 1/2 Tbl red wine vinegar
• 1 Tbl lemon juice
• 1 1/2 Tbl honey
• 1/2 tsp minced garlic
• 1/2 tsp EACH salt & pepper
Boil corn 2-3 minutes, then plunge ears into ice water to stop it cooking. Drain well, cut from cobs. Add the rest in a large bowl. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together, then drizzle over the salad. Toss well. (This keeps quite well in the fridge for several days. I used sun gold and red cherry tomatoes.)
• 6 stalks Swiss chard, chopped with stems
• 1 small shallot, minced
• 1 small tart apple, chopped
• 1/4 C sunflower seeds, toasted
• 1/2 C feta cheese
• 1/4 C EVOO
• 2 Tbl cider vinegar
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Optional: hard-boiled egg, shrimp, or chicken
Cut chard stems1/8-1/4” thick. Chiffonade leaves, mix with stems. Toss apple with lemon juice, then drain, reserving juice for dressing. Add apples and seeds to chard. Crumble in the feta. Whisk together the dressing, then toss with salad. Add optional ingredients atop salad, if desired.
You can substitute spinach or beet tops for the chard. I didn’t. I also skipped the stems, but added more leaves. The skin was left on the apple. I sliced a hard-boiled egg, but no meat as I was using this as a side dish to oven-baked pork chops.
When not cooking and hauling the meals, with attendant plates and weapons of destruction (utensils), to whichever field was being worked that day (cold foods in a cooler, hot pots wrapped in beach towels to retain warmth), and after doing the dishes, then resting up, I was working in my garden.
The weeds have really taken off between the rows after the infusion of fresh rainwater. The onions are hanging in mesh potato bags in that back bedroom/pantry. I have most of one row of potatoes dug. A large bag of carrots is in the fridge for easy snacking. There’s a pile of ripe tomatoes on the counter. Sauce-making commences this afternoon.
The live trap, nestled between rows of corn, remains uninhabited, for which I’m grateful. The deer are again leaping the fence and nibbling the leaves off the sunflowers. I haven’t seen other damage from them, just hoof prints.
Speaking of corn, I’m not feeling the need to freeze any, yet I planted the usual amount. (Once vacuum-sealed, the corn keeps more than one year without damage or appreciable loss of flavor. Lack of air in the packages prevents frost from forming.) I have found that when you let corn remain on the stalks a long time, the ears push up through the tip of the husks, attracting flies and box elder bugs. I haven’t yet had any really overripe corn, but have had to chop those bug-attacked ends off the ears.
I’m slowly clearing detritus from the garden. Spent corn stalks get pulled and tossed on the refuse pile. The potato vines as well as the pea plants are also hauled off. I know they’d be good tilled back into the soil, but right now they’re just fodder for those nasty box elder bugs, which I’d rather not encourage. Slow and steady gets the work done.