“Saving the Season” at Surfas today 8/22/09…at least 80 people showed up…standing room only. The attendees aged 8 to 80 were curious, engaged and enthusiastically asked really good, concise questions. When someone loves what they do, it really is magnetic and Kevin really loves jamming and canning. In addition to the great peach jam we made today, he brought along some pickled beans and cucumbers. Um Yum… Gotta get those recipes So far, I’ve just done the sweet thing, but after tasting these savory treats; I think I might just try my hand at something new and spicy.

Although I certainly will savor the sweet flavors of the last Summer peaches. I will have O’Henry’s next week and plan to make up and stock up on some Peach jam to brighten up those dreary winter days, implementing some new things that I learned from Kevin…like patience waiting for the mixture to reduce and removing the foam instead of remixing it in. I am inspired to research the alchemy of sugar and fruit….to find out what releases what and what is that foam. My instinct says that the addition of sugar helps release the fruit’s sweetness…but the foam? I’ll keep you posted.

John and Lavender were amazing, navigating the madness with grace, confidence and agility. Thank you. And thanks to Kristin for watching over the stand from 12 – 2.

Keep on jamming. I look forward to hearing from fellow jammers with recipes and tips.

It was a red letter day at the Farm…Roberto tilled in beautiful organic compost in preparation for Autumn planting. I’ll be putting in a cover crop of fava beans, they are a nitrogen fixer, in preparation for a winter planting of additional Blenheim Apricots and Fuyu persimmon trees. I will try to seed and harvest one crop of Kobacha and delicata squash before the rains prevail.

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My intention was to leave around  11 a.m., after trimming  the unruly artemesia and heavily pruning a very robust ,nasty, thorny  lime tree.   Always think THORNLESS when planting citrus.  I really wasn’t sure if this tree would make it when I planted it and by gosh it is so happy, but wow is it vicious.  I thought about removing it, but I am just trimming it into a balinese dancer…

Oh, back to the plan about leaving early; well the  irrigation pump had another idea and this little 1/4″ tube connected by brass fittings decided to pop a leak. I was very intimidated by it and first tried tying a rag and taping it.  Ha ha ha. So off to the hardware store to get a mending clamp…spent five dollars jimmy rigging something and sure enough it didn’t work…The reason I was intimidated by a real repair is that I have never primed the pump before and was trying to avoid having to shut it down.  Back to the hardware store to buy the real parts,…after I took it apart to reveal the real parts. Knee deep in mud, upside down using a big wrench and little fingers… I can’t believe it….I did it.  I even primed the pump…after several different variations of attempts. But now I have water again and can leave knowing that the pump can be turned on while I’m away.    I guess timing is everything, …because this repair would not have been possible if Josh,before he headed out for a mountain bike  adventure, had not  installed a turn off valve to the water intake to the pump just last week.   Without that turn off valve, I would have been up one dry creek.  Whew.

Yesterday, I had some fading peaches; so I decided to make a quick little jam. I really like using brown sugar.  Skinned, depitted, sliced the peaches, added brown sugar and left to a very slow simmer…Oops not slow enough…it overcooked, it even burned a little tiny bit…So I immediately removed any crispy edges, transferred all to new container.   Surprisingly, it is actually quite tasty, definitely edgy.  The brown sugar made it carmel-like. So as a treat for my pump repair, and seeing as it is about 100 degrees outside,  I am sitting down to a bowl of vanilla ice cream and carmel peach sauce.  Refreshing on a hot day like this, when just sweet ,can be too much.

Thanks to Aranga for getting this blog and the BeeGreen Website up and going!

The blessed shut off valve that Josh installed

The blessed shut off valve that Josh installed

The pesky little tube that sprang a leak

The pesky little tube that sprang a leak

There will be water

There will be water

One Fuyu Persimmon

One Fuyu Persimmon

Farm to School Program, East L.A. May09

Farm to School Program, East L.A. May09

Elberta PeachesP1020119

Three little Black Arkansas apples

Three little Black Arkansas apples

I prefer Mulberry jam to door jam.  I just thought it practical to turn the doors so they would open out instead of in…but alas there’s a lock kerfuffle. Locksmith on his way!

There are these quite unusual, scarrob – like transluscent, flourescent beatle esque creatures sucking the life and the juice out of the white kadota figs.I am o.k. with sharing, especially since these beautiful creatures which only show up once a year.  This year they seem to be enjoying the mulberries also.

This last week tried my hand at mulberry syrup, pre-scarrob.  It is looking very rich and I am thinking this syrup will be a fine addition for  an array of holiday recipes. Glazing, stuffing, pudding, cakes. yeowe!  I’ll be keeping it in the cupboard until then.

My friend Kevin West and I are going to do a jamming presentation at Surfas on August 22.  12 – 1:30 p.m.  Be there or be square.  It will be a hands on event, with each participant taking home  a jar filled with a sweet or savory treat of their own making.

We are thinking peaches for sweet and tomatoes and basil and a few california pepperberries for savory.  The details will be published on Surfas website next week.

I have never made bread. nope, not even once.  So yesterday I bought some live yeast from Surfas and my plan is to give it a try tonight.   First I have to sit down with a few books and find a recipe that is for a novice.  I’d really like to try a sourdough with crispy crust.  I’ll keep you posted.

On Tuesday night I engaged in my evening ritual, watching day turn to night, veil of the sun setting to reveal the starlit sky. But it seemed as though there was a mist…only four or five stars.
Perplexing. The next day I mentioned it to a friend and they told me about the total solar eclipse. Voila.
It has been insanely hot…so hot, even the birds are not singing. I have been soaking the roots around the Mulberry tree in hopes that this beautiful tree has enough moisture to produce the plump
persian berries to which I have become so addicted. Today I looked at each little berry, and I brewed up a jambath and canned those not quite plump enough. Tasty. I only used one cup of sugar for four cups of Persian Mulberries. After cooking down on a very low heat, I gently stir, keeping the integrity of the berry intact, I remove the berries, cook the juice til it thickens and then re-introduce the berries, bring to a boil and then fill jars. After cleaning edges, I put on the caps carefully and submerge them in water bath for 15 minutes.