Bejeweled with Icicles
Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 3
Week 8: February 25, 2023
I pulled out my seed tin and garden planner on Sunday – and was rewarded with another snowstorm, complete with an extravagant display of icicles!
Before last week’s snow melted away completely, another storm storm arrived.
There was approximately 26 inches (66 cm) of snow in the garden, closer to 30 (76 cm) in the front yard.
The garden lies under there somewhere!
Chocolate Box Cottage was extravagantly adorned in icicles.
So please pardon me while I go dig a path to the animals and bring in extra firewood. I’ll be putting a pot of stew on the wood stove to simmer until Sam comes home from work.
Since Samuel operates a road grader / snow plow he is working long hours. I clear the essential paths several times a day and when he comes home at dark…we clear them again! Together. Working together is a blessing.
Keeping on top of our stored food is an important aspect of maintaining an efficient and economical pantry.
Last year’s harvest of Amarylla tomatillos was generous. Thankfully, they store well. I started with the idea of making beef stew, then decided to add tomatillos, dried tomatoes, and Mexican spices. The carrots, potatoes, garlic, tomatillos, and herbs came from our garden and the broth was made from our own beef bones.
I love that thrifty feeling of pulling a delicious and nourishing meal together from all or nearly all ingredients produced on our homestead or here locally.
Sam cut these branches of white fir from the lower portion of our Christmas tree when he was fitting it into the tree stand. I set them on my hutch to serve as decor and air dry. The needles are crispy, perfect for processing. I filled a quart jar with them; they will be used to make Enchanted Forest Chai mix. (Platter is Poppy Trail by Metlox)
Fruit Tree shopping
During the aforementioned break in the weather, when we thought the snow was melting for good, Sam and I drove into town to look for more fruit trees to add to our homestead. We visited Shooting Star Nursery and Four Seasons Nursery.
When we moved to Chocolate Box Cottage we found a dozen apple trees, over a dozen plums, a pear or two, fig, and almond trees on the property, along with raspberries, wild and tame blackberries, and grapes. That first year, 2018, we planted peaches, cherries, another fig, and an Italian plum from Bay Laurel Nursery. Between the sheep and flooding, we lost a few trees.
This is a good time to invest in fruit bearing trees, bushes, vines, and perennial food plants. Planted well and taken care of, they will quickly pay for themselves. Extra produce can be preserved and shared.
This year’s additions to Chocolate Box Cottage:
- Bing cherry – classic sweet cherry, Sam’s fave
- Sweetheart cherry – excellent flavor, ripens mid-August
- Montmorency cherry – a tart cherry for pie filling and dehydrating
- Tilton apricot – heart-shaped fruit with a pretty red blush, very sweet
- Puget Gold apricot – disease resistant; popular in the PNW
- Panache Tiger fig – green and yellow striped fruit with strawberry red filling
- Fuyu Jiro persimmon – nonastringent variety
- Indian Free peach – naturally resistant to peach leaf curl; red and white marbled flesh
- Liz’s Late nectarine – blooms and ripens late; taste test winner; freestone
- Robert Livermore walnut – an unusual walnut with red-skinned nutmeat
- Crimson Red rhubarb – old-time variety with good red coloring
I saw two of my favorite people in one day! I took a pot of clam chowder to Mom and Rolly’s for lunch, then ran into a very dear long-time friend, Johnnie Kyzer, at our favorite local grocery store! It was such a treat to see her. Johnnie and I worked together offering cooking demonstrations and teaching hands-on cooking classes at food pantries, churches, schools, growers markets, and community events through ACCESS, the local community action agency for five years. We taught over 100 classes together, which does not count the cooking demo’s.
Farewell from Pearl
Pearl has a nap basket in the soffit above the kitchen cupboards. When she’s not napping, she likes to sit between canisters and survey the kitchen.
Thank you for visiting Chocolate Box Cottage!
See you next week…
Michele and Samuel