Friday, September 30, 2016

Driving Miss Ava

A couple of weeks back I had reason to go to Hidden Springs Farm on an errand. My camera came along for the ride and was heard to whisper "why do we always go out at the peak of bright sun? That is not a good recipe for fine images." Well camera, ya gotta do what ya gotta do when the opportunity is there.
There are great surprises at each turn when you walk the farm.
Is this the Hidden Spring? Perhaps not because it is not exactly hidden but it was rather picturesque.
We spent a few moments with the animals.
We ambled up the hill towards the mobile chicken house.
We admired the simple rustic appeal of this old bird house
and the cleverness of the crafter who made this miniature version of the farm house.
The pool let us stop to reflect.
Can you tell an artist lives here?
There's lots to see and explore if you slow down and keep your eyes open.
Thank you to Laura of 
we had a great amble round and enjoyed our visit.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tomato Season

Tomatoes; it's what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a delicious few weeks when we can pick fresh from the vine and carry them into the kitchen.
In my garden this year I planted, Supersweet 100 (the smallest of these), Chocolate Cherry (on the left in the colander) and Persimmon (the larger yellow one). I also planted San Marzo which are not in this photo.
 From simple slices to have on the breakfast toast...
 as ingredients for the lunchtime sandwich (quick aside here, the prettier looking ones in the above photo are heirloom tomatoes from our CSA farm share while the sliced one is the San Marzo variety)
or for a riff on Pasta Primavera for dinner, the season, in my garden at least, peaked the last week of August.
The Persimmon were labelled as a medium size fruit. H'mm, that one on the scales is 1 lb 2 1/2 oz and that is not the only one I had at this size. Those San Marzos are a bit of a disappointment as there is not much flesh inside them. But it is always fun to try new varieties.
 That multi-color heirloom tomato looked even prettier when sliced on the plate and complimented with the cut chocolate cherry and the one supersweet 100 (which actually wasn't all that sweet altho it was prolific and the vine is enormous - thank goodness I planted just the one plant!)
Now I don't want you to think all is sweetness and light in the tomato patch. Just when I was thinking I had escaped early blight and bugs I had the unhappy surprise of finding the tomato hornworm on one of the San Marzo plants. I dispatched with great haste the first three I found and this one? I left it there because the wasps had already taken care of it for me.
Ingredients for homemade pizza night.
 Going into the oven with a base of sliced fresh tomatoes rather than a tomato sauce,
 and coming out of the oven. Pepperoni and mushroom got added during the cooking time.
The tomato season is co-incident with the peach season. Ordinarily I buy just enough peaches to eat them cut as fresh fruit for, yes, breakfast, lunch or dinner. But a couple of Sundays ago when at the farmers market they had 20lb boxes of slightly blemished fruit at a bargain price. Chef G decided he'd like to try canning them.
 I'm not sure he realized how much work it would be as it grew into a two day effort.
 A peach sunset...
and the real thing. It all looks delicious.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summer Sun on the Farms

Labor Day, yesterday, is oft referred to as the end of summer so I offer up these photos from late August as a way to remember small trips in the summer of 2016.
 My own garden is somewhat bedraggled after the heat of this August. But a happy surprise while on a roadtrip to various quilt shops was finding Burnside Farms on route 15 in Haymarket. In August they have glorious fields of sunflowers. On the blistering hot day it was I had to make quick choices of what to admire and photograph because I could not tolerate the heat too long.
 Unlike some sunflowers farm fields these ones are sown with a wide variety of types of sunflowers so you get a wonderful patchwork of yellows. You can wander at will and choose to pick the sunflowers to take home with you. I decided to pick with my camera.
 It was crowded with families on this particular Saturday and all seemed to be enjoying their day out.
I will have to remember this place because they also have tulip and daffodil fields in the spring time.
 Moving over to route 7 in Vienna is Potomac Vegetable Farms. Surrounded by subdivisions of homes PVF has hung on to their traditional farm style with many retired pieces of equipment to attract the camera of the curious viewer. They did not have rows of sunflowers but a few plants pop up here and there.
 I really must research what this flower is as I also have a few in my own garden (the latter arrived as volunteers from places unknown). Aha, it is the wild version of ageratum. PVF also sells pick your own flowers but by this time of the season grasses and wildflowers are sharing space in the carefully planted rows.
 This whimsical piece of garden decor caught my attention and brought a smile.
 In the open sheds a few old timers remain.
 I seriously doubt that there will be any speed limits broken by these two!
 The textures and weathered colors took my eye for this one.
 Again, it is the color that attracts me - the purple of those bean flowers playing happily with the green of the old shed.
 Another of the random sunflower plants among the rows of flowers.
 Ah, zinnias, always a happy flower.
And to close out we had a spectacular sunset cloud display on September 3.