14 July 2011

Dinner and a Movie

First and foremost, no, we aren't having rabbit! It seems the babies have flown the coup, or rather, hopped the warren. The evening after my last post, I saw Mrs. Rabbit scurry away as I opened the back door. Two of her children were just outside the safety of their nest. Cute as cute can be. They were each about the size of my fist with little bitty rabbit ears and beady little black eyes. Yesterday they were gone. The Rabbit family has relocated to a different rabbit neighborhood. I hope they keep in touch with a Christmas card or two!

Dinner tonight will be a lovely vegetarian dish that my sister found and served when we were visiting in London this spring. She was the one to think that arugula (rocket in the UK) would be so much nicer than green beans. The combination of sweet potatoes with peppery, bitter arugula, pasta, and feta cheese is awe inspiring!

Here, then is Sweet Potato and Feta Pasta a la Laurie:

2 sweet potatoes
1-2 bags, or a big bunch of arugula
1 lb round or short pasta of your choice
3-4 Tbsp good olive oil
a good handful of pine nuts (Darn conversions! The recipe calls for 50 grams.)
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz. feta cheese

Peel the sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Boil in salted water for about 5 mins, until just about tender. Drain. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water; drain., saving a little of the water. Return pasta to pot with a splash of the good olive oil. and 2 Tbsp of the cooking water. Quickly stir-fry the pine nuts in 1 Tbsp olive oil until golden. Place all of the cooked ingredients in a warmed serving bowl, crumble the feta cheese over the top, add a splash of olive oil and toss with arugula to slightly wilt before serving.

Pick a movie to watch while enjoying dinner, or if you're really (reel-y) lucky, try to stay awake for the midnight showing of the last episode of Harry Potter. I won't be there at midnight, but I'm excited to see the movie. Excited and sad. It doesn't seem possible that this is The End. When I read the last book, I knew I still had the movie in my future. As of midnight tonight, well...the book is closed.

"Goodnight, Harry."

11 July 2011

Mr. McGregor's Garden

We've had gardens big and bigger, and now we have a very small garden. This spring we purchased two 4"x4" raised bed forms. The perfect spot for them was in front of my studio window where I could watch the seedlings become large plants. (Massive plants! Take a gander at the zucchini leaves.) I bought plastic fencing to put around the upper edges to keep any little critters away from the tender seedlings. One planter has the zucchini, green beans and a tomato plant, the other had spinach, beets, and peas. This mini-garden also sits up against the patio - the very same patio that our two hunting dogs run across at least four times a day, when I take them outside.

I guess I didn't plan very well, since all the early plants were in one planter. Maybe I should have planted the early vegetables along with the slower ones to harvest some and save space for the others. On the other hand, it would have been nice to re-plant some quick-growing vegetables in the same planter after harvesting the early ones. This is where the story gets interesting.

Two weeks ago Dave went out to pick the last of the peas. I had planted them in circles around a "teepee" of wooden stakes. He was downstairs for several minutes and then called me to come down. There was something different in his voice. When I got outside, he was standing by the teepee, holding some old pea vines. "Take a look at this, " he said.

In the exact center of the teepee was a depression filled with dried grass, fur, and several fuzzy, squirming animals. The ears were small, yet too big for mice or rats. Baby rabbits! Mrs. Rabbit had managed to get through or over the fence and built a nursery in - the - very- center of my peas. Not a pea, or spinach leaf, or beet was ever nibbled. But here was her family. Raised beds, fencing, two hunting dogs (is it too late for a refund?) and still Mrs. Rabbit decided this was the perfect bunny spot.

Fast forward two weeks, and they're doing quite well, thank you. This may seem surprising to those of you who know that Dave has four geese, two ducks, two turkey tails, two deer, an arctic caribou, and a musk ox suspended on the walls of his "man cave", but even he decided that it would be bad form to eat his neighbors!

Since we cut away all the "walls" of their house, I've tied cut grasses and weeds to the teepee for a little protection. I've never seen Mrs. Rabbit, but her children are growing, so she must be there every night. I even used our Webber kettle cover as a sun block yesterday, as it was so hot and humid and I can't imagine how sweltering it must be for furry bunnies in the moist dirt, with grass covering them.

I suppose I should start designing clothes for the bunnies. Let's see, a sweater for Peter Rabbit, dresses for Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, and a jaunty jacket for cousin, Benjamin Bunny. Sock yarn would do well. It's washable!