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Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

This week in the kitchen: Summer rice, Beet root-beet green salad with scalloped potatoes, and plum jam

In Hand-made life, photos on August 2, 2012 at 20:11

Summer rice: Sauteed yellow summer squash, fennel ( bulb and fronds), fresh garlic, and onion, on brown rice.

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Brought to you by our garden (and chickens): Fried egg, scalloped potatoes with fresh thyme, and a beet root, beet green, red cabbage salad with plum jam and kombucha ‘vinaigrette’ (everything but salt, pepper, and soy milk used on the potatoes was grown on our lovely urban farm)

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Plum jam

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On rats, and plum trees.

In garden, Hand-made life, photos on August 2, 2012 at 20:05

The day we moved into this rental house there was a rat in the yard running about in the daylight like there had never been anything in the yard to ever scare it. We secured the chicken coop as soon as possible as we were not silly enough to believe that the rats wouldn’t quickly figure out how to get in. We had many rounds of trappings. If we noticed signs of them trying to dig under our rat-proof coop we baited a trap with peanut butter set it nearby and disposed of the dead rat in the morning. In the early days this was about 3-4 rats a week. Eventually we would notice something off, put out a trap catch one rat then there would be a few weeks of no sightings or signs. We knew the rats were still around but they didn’t bother us (or the chickens and garden) and we didn’t bother them. I thought we had an understanding.

Then we noticed we had a fruit tree. We first assumed it was a cherry tree but then as the “cherries” began to grow much larger than a cherry should be we realized that they were in fact plums. We were very excited at first. I started to plan all the things i would make with our plums…Chicken Farm plum jam, Chicken Farm plum wine, Chicken Farm plum pie..Chicken Farm plum cake… Then Ben brought it to my attention that the plum tree was no closer to the ground than 15 feet, and that low part of the tree was over an unstable sloping area. Most of the tree sits a good 40 feet up so,basically there was no way we would be collecting all of those plums. We would be lucky to get 1/8th of them. The plums i saw just outside, the unopenable, second story window started to mock me. Slowly the ground began to become littered with half eaten half rotten fruits. The birds sang as they ate. Eventually i convinced Ben to go to the very tippy top of the ladder to get as many plums as he could reach. (See, he is 6 foot tall and thin and i’m not. Logically he should climb the ladder.) He managed to grab about 16 lbs of plums. There would at least be Chicken Farm plum jam!

The excitement of jam did not last very long. As more and more plums dropped to the ground, more russeling in the bushes, more rats in the yard.I grabbed as many plums from the ground that i saw, and could reach that were not already mush. I gave these to the chickens, but it wasn’t enough. The rats had been feasting. And in their new found food haven they had become ballsy indeed. They started to come out again during the day time roaming about like they owned the place. They live under the back porch. They live in the bushes, they live everywhere. We put out plenty of traps but apparently no one wants to eat peanut butter when you can get drunk off half rotten plums.
Sometimes i sit outside on our bench, hose set on jet in hand. I wait until they are nibbling on a plum and then BAM! I like to think that im making them associate fright and pain with plums, but really i know even if i manage to get one to stop there are millions in waiting.