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Beer In The Barn

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Last year’s new addition to Wine in the Garden. Jailbreak Brewery is doing the beer this year.

The happening annual event out at Mt. Pleasant Howard County Conservancy. A private nonprofit that holds one major fund raiser to raise money for all the educational events for local residents. My favorite place to hang out in Howard County.

Tomorrow? You will probably find me hanging out in front of these fine caterers.

Hunt Valley is bringing “Blood Orange Vodka Chili Meatballs”. They should go great with Jailbreak Brewery’s beers.

Highland Inn is doing “Shrimp and Grits”.

The Spice Rack is making “Carrot Coconut Chilled Soup” and “Bourbon Shrimp Skewers”.

Elkridge Furnace Inn – Cous Cous Salad with house cured lamb and house made harissa sauce.

As for the fund raising, that silent auction always has great items. I’m not going to reveal my favorite suppliers. Let’s just say I go home with a number of great treasures. Well used and the company support is appreciated by me, and by all the other staff, board members and volunteers who give to this amazing place.

Twenty five years old this year. A treasure in Howard County. Come raise a wine glass or beer mug with hundreds of other people who enjoy what HCC does.

Besides, the gardens are lovely this time of year. You can pay at the door.

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Catching Up Again

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On the local food scene. In our home, it is presently dominated by our two summer food sources. A Community Supported Agriculture large share of vegetables. And a protein and dairy bag from Friends and Farms.

Supplemented by trips to the Glenwood Farmers Market. And, stopping at Jenny’s Market to round out the fruit.

Occasionally I have to hit Harris Teeter for things like tonic water for those gin and tonics. Aranciata for those Lemon Basil drinks. Tea bags to make iced tea.

The garden also contributes. With greens and spring onions.

As for the CSA. We had another week of greens overload. Not a bad thing, as we eat salads at lunch and dinner. This week at least it was all really good stuff.

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Leaf lettuces. Spring mix. Romaine. Spinach. Two bunches of scallions. Green garlic. Two kinds of mushrooms. And, strawberries.

There will be no problem in using up all these goodies. Caesar salads. Greens with fruit and cheese. Greek salad. All sorts of possibilities. I am even thinking of pesto with some of my chive blossom stems and the spring garlic.

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We are crossing our fingers that we get garlic scapes next week. To replenish my pesto supplies in the freezer.

As for the proteins.

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Our meat share gave us ground beef. I am thinking of hamburgers on the grill. We already had the spare ribs for dinner tonight. Slathered in Rhubarb BBQ sauce. The drumsticks I will grill also.

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That BBQ sauce? I found a recipe here. But then I didn’t follow it. I used the ingredients, but not in the quantities. I used frozen berries from last year. I used mostly rhubarb. My suggestion when you get an idea like this. Use whatever suits your taste. I used more mustard. Less molasses. Didn’t use the cloves. Bottom line. Trust your taste and be adventurous.

Who needs bottled sauces when it is relatively simple to simmer up a sauce that is fresh, bold, tasty and versatile.

Memorial Day

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We were somewhat busy today but I still took some time to remember what this “holiday” really means. Besides the start of summer, the pools opening, those retail sales, and BBQ parties at the beach or wherever.

We tend to stay home this weekend. Always have. We know we are lucky our dads came home after WWII. They both served in the South Pacific 70 years ago.

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Came home, met our mothers. Got married. My husband and I were both first born children. Early baby boomers. We lived through the Cold War. Hid under our desks during air raid practices. Watched the protests during the Vietnam War. Lost many class mates to that war.

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My retirement flag. Sits there to remind me how fortunate we are. To live in freedom. That others fought and died to achieve, and maintain.

Thanks to all who gave their lives so we could live in freedom.

Strawberry Season

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Larriland opens Monday.

It isn’t officially strawberry season in my world until they open those fields for picking. Yes, there are other locations near us where you can pick strawberries, but Larriland is my favorite.

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Rows and rows of berries.

There are other choices for those in central Maryland. Gorman opened a few days ago. Butler’s is opening tomorrow for limited picking. They expect to have greater amounts ripe by Thursday. Lewis Orchards opened today. Many of us know Lewis from the farmer’s markets.

I couldn’t find any information on TLV’s web site. I know they grow strawberries for the market and pick-your-own.

When we stopped at Baugher’s in Westminster yesterday, they expect to open their fields soon, like Tuesday.

Just to whet your appetite, a few links to old posts where I used those luscious berries for meals, and for preserving.

Venison with berries, anyone?
Last year at Larriland, including making strawberry margaritas.
And, a link to my post about Kirsten’s strawberry salsa.

Seriously, you have to go pick strawberries, somewhere. This week. Do it. You won’t regret it.

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Last Child in the Meadow

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I think not. To take a page from the famous Richard Louv book, Last Child in the Woods, helping children connect with nature brings immense satisfaction.

Like this week. Bioblitz Belmont. Four days with seventh graders from Ellicott Mills and Thomas Viaduct middle schools. You know, those middle schoolers who aren’t impressed with things adults do or like. WRONG!!!

What a fun time we had.

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Today wasn’t as nice out as yesterday, but we still had a great, albeit wet time, wading through meadows in deep grass looking for insects, plants, animal tracks, trees and grasses. We use iNaturalist to catalogue what we found. Yes, it rained today but who cared.

We also had visits with our local nature center residents like our owl.

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And, Maize, our corn snake. I didn’t get a pic of Maize, but the students loved being able to see and touch him.

It doesn’t get much better than this.

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Uploading and editing their citizen scientist observations. Any resident nature experts are welcome to set up an account, log into the Belmont Bioblitz project and help them identify what they observed.

#grow100

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The 100 square foot garden challenge. Over on the University of Maryland Grow It Eat It page.

I was asked last year if I would participate this year. With my big garden, I had to think about how to carve out 100 square feet and show what I am growing in that contained area.

I think I have it all configured, and I will be blogging about what you can do in only 100 square feet.

Like grow potatoes.

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In six sq ft in a container in my backyard.

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You start with this. Put them about one foot deep in a bucket or trash can (with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage). Keep adding soil as they grow. Dump them out when you are ready to harvest (once the foliage starts to die back). I put in about half a dozen potato pieces. Some are fingerlings. A couple are Yukon gold. I use CSA potatoes because they aren’t treated and they will sprout.

Then there’s the lettuce.

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I bought a six plant market pack of butterhead lettuce. Put it inside a bunny fence. I have harvested six heads of lettuce, and they keep regenerating if you cut them just above the soil. Don’t pull them out. I should get at least another half dozen heads of lettuce. This circle is another six square feet.

Only twelve feet used.

I then marked off a 5×6 section of my community garden. Put in tromboncini, Thelma Sanders pumpkin and a handful of tomato plants. A couple of San Marzano. Supersweet 100s. Cherry. A nice mix.

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It doesn’t look like much yet, but it should give me lots of salad tomatoes and some canning tomatoes. The tromboncini are a heirloom squash. Just wait til you see what they produce.

I marked off a 3×15 foot section with cucumbers, zucchini, leeks, onions and arugula.

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This is part of it, and then I went perpendicular for 3 feet by 3 feet to bring in the shallots and my lone pepper plant.

All together I am up to 96 square feet. I have a two by two option left, so I added the herbs.

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Some sage, thyme, chives and dill are bunched up there. I already made chive blossom vinegar using a cup of chive blossoms and 12 ounces of white wine vinegar.

I will keep track of what this 100 square feet produces.

So far, the lettuce, onions and herbs are being harvested. I did find my first zucchini blossom today.

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Here’s to fresh vegetables in a small amount of real estate.

Updating the Farms Page

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Another of my resource pages just updated. Click on the link below my header to see what’s new.

Lots of changes in the area. New CSAs. Closed farm stands. Additions to current CSAs.

The new farm is Wheeler. I saw them at the Glenwood Market Saturday. They were selling mostly greens at the time.

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Gorman has closed their farm stand, to focus on their CSA.

Larriland says they will open sometime after May 25th.

Breezy Willow is now making pickles. I tried the new Farm Boy Pickles bought at Glenwood, and made by Jason Caulder. The sweet horseradish version this week. I will be going back, as they are simply awesome.

I was also out at the Breezy Willow farm stand Saturday to pick up soap, as I was running low. Had to grab some Trickling Springs Salted Caramel Ice Cream while I was there.

Farm stands are opening left and right. It is the beginning of the season and the farms are gearing up.

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Can’t wait for the beginning of strawberry season. Larriland, I will be there opening day. I just finished the last of my stash from the freezer.

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