Other People's Fall Break

We had the pleasure of Eric’s sisters Sami and Jena, along with husband Jonathan and fiancĂ© Brian (respectively), coming up and spending their fall break from Chattanooga with us here in Michigan. We absolutely loved it, and hope they will come again soon. Some highlights: Sami and Jonathan were locked outside at 5am and had to call Eric in bed to be let into the house. Jonathan and Brian ate Chinese Candied Crabs and washed it down with some iced coffee in a can. They all were taught how to dumple, and the result was a great meal topped off with some tasty red bean paste buns. Then, some obligatory Washtenaw Dairy ice cream followed by Jonathan and Brian performing their classic Stupid Human Trick acrobatics on a full stomach.

For those who don't know them personally, there is a less ridiculous picture of Sami and Jena posted here. Jonathan and Brian are kind of par for the course in the above shot.

Needless to say, the visit’s brevity was its only drawback. Laughter and love, my friends: Gifts of God.

Garden Bounty Totals

As any faithful reader of this blog knows (as I’m sure you are), we have spent the summer gettin’ jiggy with the soil (a phrase I stole from Thoreau). Our community garden plot has served us very well. Minor problems with stealth veggie theft in the night, resulting in no bell pepper production, but our bounty supersedes such evils of the world. This evening, clad in attire appropriate for a blistery Michigan October, we harvested the last of our garden, and here are our summer totals:

Green Beans: 52
Cukes: 20
Zucchini: 17
Regular Tomatoes: 39
Peas: 206 (pods, that is)
Basil (seen above): 91 ounces
Cherry tomatoes: 220

And the grand winner is our volunteer tomatoes, grown but not planted, harvesting where we did not sow a total of 342 tomatoes of varying shapes, sizes, and even colors (we had a fun yellow pear-shaped breed).

We’re already planning next year’s plot, which we hope will be twice the size. We are determined to add bell peppers, chili peppers, carrots, green onions, cilantro, garlic, romaine, and spinach to our haul. Stop by the house and we’ll be glad to share the tomatoes.


The Apple Triumph

Victory is ours at last. We've talked for several years about wanting to fully take advantage of the U-pick fruit season, but never accomplished it... until now. The Big Five are ours. We still have blueberries and raspberries in our freezer, as well as a whole mess of apples, to prove it. Shortly after returning to the US, we went out with our good friends the Rockes to an orchard, where we picked our half-bushel (seen in picture) as well as enjoyed the obligatory cider and super yummy doughnuts.

Rachel often laughs because I once told her that I didn't remember ever seeing apples actually growing on trees until coming up to Michigan several years ago. Lesson #1 learned from my time in apple country: I used to think there were only about 3 different apples: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith. Maybe I had heard of Braeburns. Oh no, my friends, there are countless varieties and strains of this luscious fruit. Lesson #2: Apples are generally divided into pie (or baking) apples and eating apples, with some special varieties being quite nice for both (such as the Idareds we got this time). The exception is the Red Delicious, which is a purely aesthetic fruit (Children, I plead with you, give your teacher a tastier variety!), fit for nothing except to be thrown outside into the darkness, to be trampled underfoot, where there is darkness and gnashing of teeth, like salt that has lost its saltiness, etc...

So gather your fruits while ye may. Here's a nice website for finding a U-pick farm near you, sent on to us by our good friend Deb.