Garden-Destroying August Hail Storms

New England weather is notoriously unpredictable (If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute, as they say) because of days like last Thursday, August 7, when giant hail fell from the sky around 4pm over a 10-mile (ish) area of the Seacoast that included my garden.

When I pulled into my driveway after work, I had to pinch myself to make sure I hadn’t gone through a time warp.

Hail (3)  Hail (2)  Hail (4)

My dog Madison, a Husky, was psyched. Winter had arrived 4 months early and it was glorious. I, however, immediately ran to the backyard, remembering only one thing – years ago when a freak summer hail storm hit and ruined cars in sale lots all over the Seacoast. If hail could dent the hood of a car, what would it do to my garden?!?

                 Yogurt Chicken (4)      photo

 THIS IS WHAT IT DOES.

It not only dents your tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash and kale (which, let’s face it, is pretty indestructible) but it makes all those fresh green tomatoes drop to the ground in peril just days before they would realize their red, ripened potential.

Sad.

Yogurt Chicken (2)

 

So I’ve got a bunch of these green tomatoes now, which I’ve bagged and frozen. This post is basically to lament the loss of my tomato plant and get sympathy, as well as warn you that there are some green tomato recipes on the horizon! Fried green tomatoes anyone?!

Five Days of Farmer’s Market Meals

The summer farmer’s market is like a once-a-week holiday to me.

ecd185e2-7891-4055-b731-c3632f5076c5

It’s one of my top favorite days along with Halloween and my birthday. I start preparing days ahead of time – mentally mapping out my weekend schedule to make sure I can get there in time to get eggs before they’re sold out, and secretly planning to “forget” to eat breakfast so I can order the made-on-the-spot egg, sausage and cheese croissant sandwich from one of the local farms.

The first time I ever went to our farmer’s market, about 6 or 7 years ago, I was drastically underprepared. I had ridden my bike there, and ended up riding home clutching to my handlebars a plastic bag containing my sole purchase – a carton of fresh eggs. I tried so hard to avoid all the bumps in the road.

Now I have a large and in charge straw bag that fits an almost embarrassing amount of veggies and other market goodies. Sometimes I accidentally hit people with it because my turning radius is so much wider than normal.

Straw Bag

It’s quite the adventure.

However, the real adventure begins at home in my kitchen, surrounded by mostly green, leafy foods that have more uses than I can wrap my brain around.

So, I decided I would turn it into a fun blog topic! For the next five days, I’m going to be posting recipes I’ve made from items purchased at our local farmer’s market! Other ingredients will be involved, but main ingredients and inspiration for the meal comes from the market.

Hope you enjoy the short journey and I hope this inspires some new ideas too! And let me know of any unique summer farmer’s market veggies you’ve discovered and used!

10553377_788058897892996_7616799741100874942_n

Credit: Seacoast Grower’s Association

 

In Honor of 30

I do this too, so I’m not being critical, but I love how people ask if you feel differently after you have a birthday. I turned 30 in October, which everyone has informed me is a “big number” (still 2 digits though, people), and the first question I got was if I felt any different. Well, I literally didn’t. The transition from 29 to 30 was seamless and involved just as much alcohol as any other night that I’ve found an excuse to go out. I had a great time with my friends and was reminded that dancing like a crazy person while others look on in amazement (not awe – that’s something different) is an activity I am committed to for the rest of my life along with other, lesser essentials like eating and sleeping.

So I don’t feel different. I feel happy, really. And proud. I’ve lived for 30 years and haven’t managed to significantly ruin anything, which is a pretty long track record considering my relationship with red sauces and light colored clothing. I do, however, have a gnawing sensation similar to teenage angst about the passage of time and fleeting memories and all that, which (in short) led to the birth of this blog. I am a writer after all. What kind of writer doesn’t even keep a journal? David Sedaris, who is hands down one of my all-time favorite authors, writes in his latest book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls about how he carries around a notebook at all times to record for inspiration things he sees and hears – sometimes at the expense of enjoying his own life. I’m not really at that level, and also never seem to have a pen handy, but this seems like a good start.

So here’s to being 30, and continuing to do everything I did when I was 29. Because, you  know. That was basically yesterday.

.885810_10100844198426491_698744500_o