Thursday, August 26, 2010

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, MOOSE!

That's a recipe for moose stew. Just in case you are having better luck hunting than we are.
I jest.
Actually, that seems to be what is in our garden. I can't recall if I mentioned the humble potato patch. The story goes like this: Never ask you husband to accompany you to the garden store in spring. He might be overwhelmed with all the choices of possible potato crops and decide you need to plant 15 pounds of seed potato.
For non-gardener types, that's a LOT of potatoes. I think I planted 60-70 potato plants. Considering that each potato plant yields 2-6 potatoes, I would say that I would be doing MY part, should we end up in another potato famine. Since that does not seem overwhelmingly likely, I am turning to readers for help.
Please, for the love of all that is good, post potato recipes in the comments. I welcome any and all recipes, though I would prefer not to eat potato soup from now until next year's harvest.
And anyone that knows ways to preserve or store potatoes, speak up. I have so many potatoes that I don't even think I will be able to give them away. (As a side note: family should cautiously open Christmas gifts this year. You all like potatoes, right?? Yup. You can thank me later.)

Meanwhile, a moose has been holding me hostage. It started with J, who decided to cut down a large number of trees on the property. (This decision was in response to several complaints from a wife about not being able to see wildlife lurking in the woods, as well as requests for more farmland. All of my good garden space was taken up by yukons, reds, and bake kings. Ahem.)
I digress.
J proceded to cut down the forest. I can officially see the wildlife lurking about. Um, the wildlife is also wildly attracted to those delectable birch, willow, and cottonwood leaves that were JUST out if reach on those trees. Cutting down the forest essentially the same as opening a Golden Corral in your backyard for the moose, only without the $9 cover charge. A huge cow moose has been grazing for a few days. While this provides lovely photo ops, it also prohibits being able to turn little girls loose to rIde bikes, play in the yard, or even the ability to allow the farmer to let chickens in or out in a timely manner. Apparently, the moose's favorite dining times coincide with exactly when Ricky Bobby likes to be let out, and about the same time as te hens like to be locked back in.
She is a good size moose, and several times a day I lament the fact that we don't live in a hunting area, and that you can't just go shooting a cow moose. (Restrictions apply). It would make hunting season so easy. And so OVER. And it would be a nice addition to the potatoes. Alas, I must relinquish my husband to the woods for yet another week, to try his luck.
This is why it is called "hunting" and not "shooting".

In other news, the chickens are frustrating me. I want eggs. The older hens are going through a molt. I am rationing the precious eggs. I refuse to buy them. I have chickens. It would be insane to buy eggs, right? The young hens seem to be more interested in downing bag upon bag of organic feed, with no thought to how they plan to repay the debt. I am starting to notice decent sized drumsticks on them all.

The rest of the farm is slowing down. Other than harvesting potaotes and allowing Beans and Nugget to raid what's left of the snap pea vines, there is little left growing. Some ailing carrots, some beets and lettuce (all bolting and destined for the chicken coop), a handful more onions, and some ailing pumpkin vines that have flowered but have little interest in forming actual pumpkins (so it seems). The greenhouse holds a few more tomatoes trying to ripen, a cucumber or two, and a handful more carrots, but it is not likely to produce much more.
I've come to terms with a token nod from the garden this year. Fir our first year breaking ground, and managing the garden among toddlers, well...
At least there is the potatoes.
Next year holds better planning, and better soil. I hope.
There is a more permanent chill in the air. The woodstove seems to be in operation at least once a day for a short fire to knock the chill off. The last couple days have not even crept above 60. The next few weeks will be spent dismantling the garden... Harvesting what's left, somehow preserving it, then tilling in all that lovely byproduct of chicken farming.
And stacking wood. Lots and lots of stacking wood.

A cool breeze stirs up outside. I sip an Earl Grey tea and watch the moose taunt Ricky Bobby. I can hear him
clucking his disapproval at her mere precense in the garden. I chuckle and wonder if she would eat some of the potaotes for
me. The wood fire crackles. The house smells like autumn. I decide to pull a chair close to the door so
I can knit as I watch the moose eat what's left of the forest. I hope she moves on before dark, so I can get the birds back
in the coop.

I look forward to potato recipes from y'all! Extra "points" if they are gluten free, but Nugget has recovered from the dairy allergy, so we gladly welcome cheesey, milky deliciousness with our potatoes! And if your recipe contains gluten, don't panic. Post it anyway. I'm good at adapting, at least in the kitchen. Any superb recipes we try will ge reprinted here with appropriate credit and honorable
mention on the blog! That goes for preserving tips as well.

Until Next Time,
Happy Moose Trails!