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Opportunities and Adjustments

Fall is coming. I wore a jacket this morning when I headed up to the post office and to Jenny’s to get a few things. The tomato plants are dying off. The garden is pretty much over and done with, except for the garden salsa pepper plant that keeps on giving.

The farmer’s markets will wind down in the next 4-6 weeks. Most Community Supported Agriculture programs are coming to the end of the season.

It’s time for me to adjust what I get, in order to keep fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese coming into the house.

For those looking to find a source once the markets close down, I have found my two choices work well for us. They appeal to me because I can tailor them. Adjust the sizes.

Friends and Farms is year round seasonal. They have a few promotions going right now. Like a sample “Quick and Easy” basket, as well as the choice to buy a sample of any of their other options.

We have been getting the protein and dairy option, since I love my CSA with its “off the beaten path” weird veggies. I don’t want the same eight items rotated through the house. I like the diversity. But, protein and dairy gives us the right portions and allows us to get our veggies elsewhere.

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Local meats. Made here in Maryland. If you notice the absence of dairy, it’s because I don’t drink milk, so I chose the option of a “surprise me” vegetable as a substitute. We do get cheese once a month on this plan.

As for Lancaster Farm Fresh, they continue to refine their product to make it as flexible as they can. For fall, two vegetable share sizes. Options for meat, cheese, eggs, bread, chicken and fruit.

I like getting fresh fruit and vegetables before the holidays. Like our Thanksgiving basket.

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Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, potatoes. This was a medium share. Perfect for a couple that likes vegetables, or a family with little ones. Now, that nine pound squash? If I had children or grandchildren, it would have made a huge amount of baby food. As it was, I used it in a number of ways.

This fall, I am returning to a large basket, and adding cheese, bread and fruit.

Now that I know I can get chicken and other meats from Carroll Farm to Table when I need something, I don’t need the meat share from the CSA. Right now, the CSA and Friends and Farms keep us in just about the correct amount of protein to make 5-6 meals a week.

We have adjusted here though. We were getting more ground beef than I am used to cooking. I’ve been creative. I’ve been traditional. I made meat loaf. I made lasagna. I use the crock pot at least once a week. But, we still aren’t huge ground beef eaters, so I will be eliminating one source of that.

The freezer is full. The CSA and Friends and Farms adjusted for fall. I am ready for the change in seasons.

Topping The Tower

We had to do this today. I headed off to Kendall’s to find the biggest flag I could get.

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We both worked in DC in 2001. Him at L’Enfant Plaza. Me at the Navy Yard. Watching the smoke from the Pentagon. Not able to communicate because the phone lines were swamped. We got home hours apart, and wondered if things would ever be the same.

No planes in the skies, except for fighter jets scrambling over our homes, as we lived less than 25 miles from downtown DC.

We won’t ever forget. It was only fitting today to top the tower we built, with the biggest flag we could find.

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Getting there step by step. Foot by foot. Now, to add antennas, cables and finish the ground rods.

But today, just a simple gesture. Remembering our colleagues who lost their lives 14 years ago.


A Triple Header

This weekend. For birders, and those who want to learn about birds. At Mt. Pleasant on Saturday.

Mike Kerwin is leading three different walks to observe bird migrations. At 8 am, the Howard Bird Club two hour early morning walk looking for migrating birds.

At 10 am, a Conservancy sponsored Wonder Walk which is focusing on identifying hawks while looking for birds.

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Followed by an impromptu hang out and watch the hawks in action, as they are very active over the Conservancy property. This is an opportunity to do as much or as little as you wish.

The events are free. After 9 am, the Conservancy building is open for restroom facilities and water.

Mike is seen quite often at Centennial Lake, hanging out over on the southwest side, watching the birds of prey. He is a wealth of knowledge in identifying raptors.

Do you know the difference between a Cooper’s Hawk and a Sharp Shinned Hawk. Mike can show you.

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Come join us. At 8 am with the bird club, or 10 am with the Conservancy. Mike will love to have you there.

My Labor Day Tribute

To those who labor outside the box, so to speak. Not the union workers in the factories. But, the farmers.

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Who work 365 days a year with no overtime or benefits or sick days.

Add to them, our first responders.

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And those who work outdoors year round. Like our roofers.

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Our tree trimmers.

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There are so many people who work days. nights, and weekends. This holiday doesn’t just honor the 9-5 crowd. It honors all of those who put in their hours and beyond, to make our lives a little easier.

Thanks to all of them.

Real Hams Don’t Use Cranes

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They build towers by hand. This has been a real education for me. Watching a master at work. The tower is now at 72 feet. How do you get those pieces up there?

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You send them up by pulley. This tower is erected in small pieces. Diagonals. Steps. Vertical supports. All sent up by hand. Placed and bolted in.

I have been really impressed to watch it. My husband has been ground crew. And engineer of guy wires.

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Slowly but surely the tower is going up.

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This is from 62 feet. The tower will go to 82 feet, then the mast will rise up to 97 feet with an antenna on the top. With our elevation of 630 feet out here where we live, and this tower, my better half will have no problem talking to hams on the other side of the world.

When it’s done, it will be awesome. Can’t believe we have been working towards this for over a year. Finally he is close to having a bucket list item checked off. One kick butt station. Now, we just have to get all those antennas and the cables done.

Thanks to W3LPL, a master at tower climbing and assembling.

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A Watched Fritter Never Browns

Eventually I do get around to making those recipes I intended. Like fritters with the tromboncini. Thankfully they keep well in the fridge for two days after grating them.

Life gets in the way of planning sometimes. Little things, like a root canal. Three days ago I was going to make fritters but an aging crown with a problem messed up my week.

As for the fritters, they all got done today.

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The best way to make these fritters is in cast iron. It retains the heat better and you can use less oil. This time I measured nothing. I did it all by sensing the consistency I wanted. The batter?

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Made with those two large troboncini, grated. That yielded a couple of pounds of shreds. I added flour until I liked the coverage. One heaping teaspoon of baking powder. Six small eggs. Four scallions. A sweet red pepper, diced. A shallot. Salt. Pepper. Thyme.

In other words, I used what I had and what I like. These fritters puff up nicely because of the baking powder. After browning, I put them on parchment paper in a 225 degree oven to finish their centers without burning them.

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I made different sizes. Some to use as appetizers and some to use as a side dish with dinner. Most of them went into a container in layered parchment, to be frozen. All winter long I can enjoy these just by pulling out a layer or two and reheating them.

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Now, it’s off to the garden tomorrow to see if there are a few more to harvest. All that is left in my garden are herbs, tromboncini, one pepper plant, and a half dozen struggling tomato plants. This summer here with the latest lack of rain had pretty much devastated the water loving plants.

This weekend I will do a tally of what succeeded and what failed in this very weird summer. At least those tromboncini did well.


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An abundance. A very large amount. A very heavy CSA basket.

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It is obvious that this is the height of harvest for our supplying farmers. When they said eggplant, they meant two. When they said mixed cherry tomatoes, there were two boxes. When they said red cabbage, there were two of them also.

As for the rest of the stuff, we are again blessed with watermelons. For I think the fourth week in a row, twice we had yellow seedless, once a monster regular and once a smaller seeded variety. And at least a half dozen cantaloupes this summer. Even our newsletter called this the summer of the watermelons. The weather cooperated in making them large and juicy.

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Have you had the pleasure of tasting a yellow seedless melon? They are simply awesome.

As for what we are doing with this bounty. How about baked casserole?

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Layered eggplant, yellow squash, onions, red pepper, tomato and goat cheese. Covered in a light vinaigrette and oregano. Baked for an hour until absolutely delicious. Served over this.

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I heated a few naan after sprinkling with za’atar and scallions. Roasted chicken legs and boiled some corn. What a wonderful Sunday night dinner. Nothing like fresh vegetables a few days out of the ground. If you haven’t been taking advantage of the many farmers markets, you should. Or, if you are blessed with a CSA that gives you fresher than grocery store produce, you know what I mean.

Now, tomorrow, I need to make fritters from the latest tromboncini I got from my garden.

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Zucchini on steroids. The Italian heirloom is still producing in my garden.

Anything interesting growing in your garden?


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