Thursday, July 2, 2015

Coil Pots

Students are working on coil pots again this week in pottery class.

The other day I made curry shrimp with white paddy pan squash. I added some fire roasted red pepper for color but they seem to be hidden from views. I just used a bottled curry powder and mixed in a little sour cream. Very quick and easy to make. Meanwhile it's raining cats and dogs outside. I'm glad I picked a few tomatoes from the garden before all this rain. I'll have to show you those later. I'll let them ripen up on the counter for a few days. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Crane Creek Vineyards

Most folks think California is the only state in the America growing wine grapes. Think again. Georgia also has farms growing wine grapes and the other day we took a short trip to visit one. Not far from our home nestled in the north Georgia mountains is Crane Creek Vineyards three miles from the town of Young Harris.

We had a tasting of several of their wines. We now have two favorites. The first was the white called Traminette a cross between a French American Hybrid and a German gewurtztraminer.

Our other favorite was the Mountain Harvest Red composed of the single variety of chambourcin.

Sadly they were out of their other red varieties. If  you're out and about this weekend on Friday night there's a free concert at the winery featuring the band Bulletproof. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mining, Digger and Sweat Bees

This is the smallest bee I've ever seen. I took a photo and came in the house to see what kind of bee it was. I learned it's a mining, digger or sweat bee. This photo is a close up of the bee on a cone flower. The bee is less than 1/2 an inch long. These bees are not aggressive and rarely sting. Their stinger is so small it can barely penetrate human skin.
These small bees are important pollinators of fruit trees and alfalfa. These types of bees dig a hole in the ground and lay their egg on a pollen clump. It takes the mother bee 6 to 7 trips to get enough pollen for one egg. When the mother bee carries the pollen to the nest it weighs half her body weight. These bees nest in lawns or sides of hills. They are only active for 4 to 6 weeks and then dormant till the next year. Some of these bees are nocturnal. Here is a link to a resource for plants for these types of bees.

Please don't use pesticide on your lawn because we need our native bees for pollination. In fact if you can avoid all pesticides you'll be doing yourself a favor. We need all of our bees for pollination, without pollination we won't have many of our fruits and vegetables. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Calypso Beans

Regular trips to the farmer's market here in the Blairsville in the Georgia mountains has led me on a quest to learn more about beans of the world. Beans are some of the oldest cultivated plants. Since the beginning of time beans have sustained many cultures. A farmer friend was selling some calypso beans, originally from the Caribbean, so I purchased a few. Holding these beans I feel a kinship with another culture.

Apparently the calypso bean is another bean which when cooked looses it's sharp contrasting color. I won't be able to test this theory since I plan to plant these beans. While researching the calypso bean I found an heirloom bean company which carries many other beans and also many varieties of lentils and peas.

I slipped away from the pottery booth leaving Gary in charge to see what produce I might try this week. I got more purple beans and also half white runner beans, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant and patty pan squash.

This time I cooked the purple beans with slivers of carrots, chopped tomatoes, and white and dark balsamic vinegar's. More and more I find myself leaning toward a more vegetarian diet. I can't seem to get enough fresh produce. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.