Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Fruits

We are happily harvesting the first plums and apricots off of our trees. It's been a crazy and drama-filled couple of weeks. In the past fourteen days we have:
Been to Tucson and back to get a dream car from Grandpa (Grace and Jamey; a 76 vw bug)
Discovered that there is no way we can register the car in California, even after hours on the phone and internet, exploring all possible scenarios (Jamey) and mourned the loss (all of us)
Been beaned in the arm for the first time in a baseball game (Jason - approx. speed 80 mph)
Had wisdom teeth removed (Grace) and subsequently watched 7 movies
Been to LA and back in a day to get a part for the old station wagon (Jamey)
Gotten 2 squirrels, 3 mice, and 1 big fat ground squirrel in the ongoing war against critters (Gretchen and Jamey and Max the dog)
Been in yet another fight with the black mystery feline (Sadie the cat)
Alas, died (Jemima the chicken. Rest in peace.)
The garden and orchard provide a few moments of escape from 'life', but to really get away, we are heading for our favorite spot in Big Sur tomorrow for a couple of days. If you have never been, you should google it and just look at the pictures. Amazing. Keep an eye out for Sand Dollar State Beach and Plasket Creek Campground.....that's where we will be!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Greek Festival

Jamey and I went to the San Luis Obispo Greek Festival downtown on Sunday. It is put on by the only Greek Orthodox church in the county, whose sweet pastor called us once to invite us to their Easter service because our last name is Pappas. I felt a little guilty explaining to him that we actually attend a different church, and that I'm not even Greek. We saw families with yiayias (grandmas). We watched about 10 little children do some Greek dancing, then some grownups try as well. We counted the times we heard non-Greek people yell, "Opa!!" There were booths selling gyros, souvlaki, and "Got Ouzo?" t-shirts. And then we came to the Greek pastry booth, which had an amazing selection of every kind of treat that can be made from phyllo. Jamey was searching for something his Greek grandma made when he was little....and we found something very close, pictured above. They are called loukoumathes and they are quite delicious - kind of like donut holes. The whole family liked them and I'm personally hoping they never ask me to make them, because I've discovered that most Greek dishes are very time-consuming and involved, and I myself am quite lazy. One time I actually made kourabiethes (small almond cookies shaped just so and rolled in powdered sugar). Never again. You can buy the things in town at the Mediterranean restaurant and market! We will just consider these little gems a once-a-year treat. If you ever have the chance to go to a Greek festival, you should do it. Go hungry, and be ready to tap your feet to the music.

This Is Not My Zucchini Plant

It is that time of year again - our garden is in and most things are growing. It looks like once again we will have a bumper crop of pumpkins, butternut squash, anaheim peppers and cantaloupe, some romaine lettuce, tomatillos and tomatoes, and a few runty ears of corn. That's not counting the oodles of apricots, plums, and peaches that we are trying to keep our old adversaries the squirrels away from (note: Grace ran down her first squirrel in the road yesterday. They simply cannot be avoided. I don't want her to try to veer away from them and accidentally hit a tree or mailbox, so I told her I will give her a dollar every time she hits one. Am I a bad mother?).
And of course, that neighborhood favorite, the zucchini (see the blog entry from June 18, 2008). This year I am going to do my best to keep track of how many zucchinis we get off the plant. We will be eating the first 4 tonight, probably grilled, since we are having our first heat wave this weekend and I don't want to use the stove or oven.
I found this picture on the internet of the world's biggest zucchini plant, and doesn't it just put us all in our places! Here we were in Garden Farms thinking we cornered the market on growing large zucchinis. Wow. I guess that shows us!
Zucchini season means that our neighborhood farmer's market is starting up soon. I wish you could all come to that - it's a cultural experience for all! All kinds of goodies will start showing up - but no zucchini....everyone knows better than that!