By LYNNE IRONS
I am pleased to report on the success of my new vegetable garden. Now granted there were several dismal failures of individual crops but all in all it was great and worth the effort. I was thinking about the point of it all. Indulge me as I wax philosophical. I don’t think it matters if your garden is beautiful or productive — if you enjoy it. If it becomes a chore or guilt-producing it’s time to lay down your shovel.
Last beautiful Saturday my friend Marie and I planted garlic, dug potatoes and generally cleaned up the garden. It is amazing how much food is still available. The herbs are great. There is a ridiculous amount of parsley.
I painstakingly peeled a few celery roots (a.k.a. celeriac). Talk about a major pain in the neck. It was totally worth it, however. I cut it into cubes and sautéed with red and green cabbage in olive oil, red cooking wine and balsamic vinegar. It was fabulous as a vegetable; I can see adding sausage for a main dish. The celeriac is completely creamy when cooked, with a subtle celery flavor but without those pesky strings.
Some of the potatoes were, frankly, the size of soft balls. They were Green Mountain and Kennebec varieties. We had not harvested either one of these late-season types all summer as we had plenty of Irish cobblers, Early Reds and Yukon Golds. The Green Mountains are delicious — pure white and will keep all winter. I lay them out in a spare room on newspaper for a week or so to finish curing. Next year I will plant more as my granddaughter, Violet, loves them fried. She comes by that fondness naturally. My mother fixes my dad fried potatoes every day. He is a fan of all sorts of potatoes, being Irish. I remember his entire plate covered with mashed spuds with the other items piled on top. He still fits in his Navy uniform. Remarkable!
Lyn Weber phoned to say she has had good luck planting garlic as early as September. Good to know. I had trouble finding seed until last week when I found it at Vineyard Gardens. Lyn was kind to compliment my comments about wasting food. She says that while volunteering at the food pantry she can’t bear to throw away the expired items, so her chickens benefit.
The beech trees are magnificent this year. They seem to hold their leaves longer than most. I love the gold and green coloring. There is a nice stand of small ones on West Spring street right before the turn onto State Road. There is a little triangle there that used to have a batch of pine trees. Once, easily 20 years ago, I approached that triangle after dark and saw a fallen bicycle with what appeared to be a body. Imagine my alarm! It turned out to be a complete set of empty clothing next to a book entitled Confessions of an Invisible Man.
While we are still on the subject of beautiful trees, check out the maples at Beetlebung Corner in front of the Chilmark fire station.
Last Saturday night the whole town turned out for some serious rocking out to Johnny Hoy’s band at the Barnraisers’ Ball. If West Tisbury didn’t roll up at 10 p.m. we would still be dancing. I love the Agricultural Hall. We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful facility. This Sunday at 3 p.m. we will be meeting there for the monthly Homegrown group. All are welcome.
I love good political humor and the irony that goes with it. However the latest right-wing rally on our nation’s capitol steps may have gone over the top. They displayed a horrific photo of naked dead bodies found at Dachau in 1945 and compared it to President Obama’s healthcare plan. I’ve said this before: where are we? and how did we get into this handbasket? We seem to have lost our sense of the common good. Have mercy!