Even though the mid-day sun is bright and warm here in the Sierra Foothills, the hint of fall is present in the nighttime air. As we lay under the stars to fall asleep in our summer outdoor bed, we all snuggle in a little deeper under the covers. We cherish sleeping outdoors in the month of August, for it is the month that the Perseid Meteor shower comes to dazzle us. We are already spotting their bright streaks across the dark sky. This year the peak of this Perseid shower will be around the 12th of August. Lucky for us, the Moon will still be relatively dark during the peak, which will make for prime viewing under the sparkling night sky. The moon is nearly dark, as it wanes for just a few more days. Just the other night as the children were drifting off, Maizie saw a shooting star, and said that the night sky “looked like a piece of black satin fabric with white cornmeal sprinkled all over it.” What a lovely way to describe this beautiful sparkling mystery that is above us each night.
Today I was thinking about one of my closest ancestors; my grandmother, Emily Waienhawi Peters White would have been 99 years old today. Her Mohawk name “Waienhawi” means “she who carries fruit.” Here is one of my most treasured pictures of my “Doda” (Mohawk for grandmother).
Today I am grateful to be one woman in her lineage, for she had so many gifts she shared with me; her love of knitting, her sharp wit, her amazing pie crust recipe and the small wooden rolling pin I still use to make pies, her laughter, her love of stories and history, and her deep commitment to family and her Mohawk culture. I feel her loving presence often as I go about my daily work, and I know that she is a subtle but powerful presence behind me. I am so glad that I am a result of her love. I will share with you one of my most treasured quotes;
The comfort I receive knowing that I am the result of the love of thousands helps see me through times when I am tired, sad, and overwhelmed. I am just one thread of a beautiful woven tapestry of strong women that spans the ages. When I read these words, it renews my commitment to continue to be a vessel for this ancient love.
This week on the farm, we are harvesting more and more tomatoes each day. Soon I will be firing up the canning pot to make my winter stock of salsa and ketchup. We love our salsa and green chile sauce, which spices up our meals when the weather gets cool.
Above is a rainbow assortment of tomatoes; Cherokee Chocolate, Lemon Roma, Crimson Sprinter,Indigo Apple, Sungold OP, and Pink Berkeley Tie Dye.
These are a lovely variety of roma tomato that I got from a lovely seed steward named Doug Beaty, who I met when I was teaching Seed School in Missoula Montana this past winter. The variety is called “Northern Ruby,” and is amazingly productive for a small early season tomato. The plants only grew 2-3 feet tall, but are loaded with dense flavorful little fruits.
We found this awesome tomato in our “Sacha’s Altai” harvest. We think it looks just like a little chick! So cute!
There are abundant beans coming in. The other night the children and picked close to 20 pounds of snap beans. Our first succession of beans that we are harvesting are “Provider” and ” Yellow Brittle Wax.”
Our favorite way to preserve the beans is to make a crock of “Briny Beans.” These are a lacto-fermented dilly bean, similar to saurkraut. The mild crunchy flavor of the beans makes for delightful pickles that are full of probiotics that help bring us good digestive health. We begin by trimming the stem end of the beans ( I never trim the tail blossom end of the bean off, it is not tough and its not worth the work to cut it off.)
We load them into our ceramic crock on top of several handfuls of fresh dill and pickling spices; dill seed, celery seed, black peppercorns, crushed red chile and many cloves of fresh garlic.
As we add the trimmed beans, I begin to add a salt brine on top of the beans. For every half gallon of water, I add 1/3 cup salt, preferably high quality sea salt. In this crock which is a 4 gallon size, I was able to fit 12 pounds of beans. I add enough brine to submerge all the beans, and then put a clean plate on top to weigh the beans under the brine.
Then you leave the crock to ferment for 1-2 weeks. The hotter the weather, the faster they will ferment. I sample them often over the week to make sure I get them at their most flavorful sour taste. Then I pack them into quart jars and store in the back of my fridge, so we can enjoy them into the fall. The pickled beans are a delightful treat with all sorts of meals. You can use this same brine recipe to pickle all sorts of vegetables. You can get creative and make a mixed vegetable crock, with carrots, radish, beans, peppers and squash. The possibilities are limitless!
I am doing an write up about the history of multiplier onions, but I have not had the time to finish before posting tonight. I will work on it this week, and post next time. This week was full, as I had the pleasure of spending my mornings teaching Fiber Arts at the local children’s Art Camp. I will leave you with a few pictures from our time at camp, as we dyed beautiful colorful silk scarves and did some sewing. What a joy it is to spend time with these wise little ones.
This week I hope that you will have the joy, creativity and playfulness of a child. Children are amazing examples of living from our heart center. Many blessings to you this week!!