It’s Sunday evening with a light drizzle. The fair is over, the president has left, and the upcoming school schedule has arrived. Hard to believe that summer for us here on the Vineyard is basically over regardless of the calendar. Both sadness and relief!
I am only beginning to get ripe tomatoes — annoying! Some critter takes a bite out of each one as it ripens. It is difficult to keep a sense of humor.
Only my beets and carrots are really rocking. Hopefully I planted enough carrots to last all winter. I honestly do not remember having all the zucchini I would like. Everyone jokes about having a glut of them — not me — I pick them so small and often and rarely have enough to share. They are wonderful frozen. I saute them with onion and olive oil, hit them with the hand-held blender and package the puree into yogurt containers. It can be tossed into soups. stews and sauces mid winter. I never have liked the texture of frozen squash if it is not pureed. It is also a clever disguise for children who are psychologically allergic to vegetables.
I love the down-Island Cronig’s parking lot. The plantings are well-tended and nicely planned for maximum effect. The hydrangea, black-eyed Susan and Joe Pye weed at the entrance really makes a statement. An added plus . . . every parking spot offers up some shade not to mention rain protection for loading groceries if parked under the solar panels. Good job!
Once again, I must criticize the buddleia. The butterfly bush does attract them and bees like crazy and is quite lovely behind a perennial border. However, it needs constant deadheading. I do not think I’m overreacting to say it needs the dead flowers clipped weekly. I, for one, simply would never find the time for that task in my own yard. I can barely wash my dishes for Pete’s sake!
Anyway, buddleia reseeds all over the place and if not cut severely in the spring, goes all woody and unkempt. Santana is one cultivar I can tolerate. It has yellow variegated leaves and very dark purple blooms. It is a slow grower so behaves itself better than most of the other varieties.
I have quite a lot of dill. I cram tons of the washed heads into a few bottles of apple cider vinegar to preserve it for winter. A splash of summer on a winter salad is always a hit in our family.
Oh! It’s time to freeze some basil. I do not have time to make and freeze pesto but chopping the basil into olive oil and freezing will give the base for pesto making in January. By the way, when washing basil it must be completely dry or it will turn black. A quick blanch of a nano second in boiling water will keep the vibrant green color in the freezer. Sometimes I put the blanched, drained leaves into freezer bags. When taking them from the freezer a simple crush of the frozen leaves can be immediately tossed into spaghetti sauce.
Last Thursday evening I attended a small meet and greet at the home of Linda DeWitt and Robert Green. We were privileged to hear Don Berwick, Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts. He offered up real common sense solutions for our health care system. I was really impressed with him.
I wouldn’t set foot in Walmart. I hate, for example, that it killed my hometown. Many of the great little mom and pop stores had to close their doors as they were unable to compete with the Bentonville behemoth. The Republicans in Congress keep griping about food stamp recipients. Here’s an idea — make Walmart and it’s ilk pay a living wage to people so they can afford their own food. A 2009 survey in Ohio found more than 15,000 Walmart workers received Medicaid and almost 13,000 were on food stamps. (McDonald’s employees came in second in each category.) These workers, the so-called takers and moochers, have to rely on food stamps to feed their children even though they work. Morally, I cannot afford to save at Walmart!