Category Archives: slow food

Here are some quick pics I shot in the backyard over the weekend. It’s pretty clear to see Spring is just around the corner. (ALWAYS REMEMBER TO CLICK THE PIC FOR FULL DETAILS.)

Looking straight out back.

Click the pic to see Molly at the top branch of the birch tree. Molly always flies to me / that place on the tree when I come in to the back yard.

Ah, the “Sun Man” next to the Ghiardelli Chocolate pot… that’s Daphne in the background.

Daphne from behind…

Daphne silhouetted by the, um, purple bush-thing.

Pear tree in blossom next to the other purple bush-thing.

Apparently the bees are away and resting while I air out the house. New bees get ordered today.

Artichoke plant we just can’t seem to kill.

First cherry blossom of the year. (Click for close-up)

2nd Plum tree, halfway through blossom, now with leaves showing.

I’ll add more later, just wanted to get these up.

Want on the jam and jelly list?

Returning home from work yesterday, Joanne mentioned to me that we may see a few additional hits on TwoBigCats from co-workers who may want to sign up for our jam and jelly (Goodies 🙂 list.

Let me say that, of course, if you’re a friend of TBC reading this and you’d like to receive some Goodies over the Holiday Season, please send an email and we’ll make sure you receive some, too… we make the Goodies for others and consume a remarkably small amount, ourselves.

If you’d like to be on the list, you can send us an email at twobigcats at gmail dot com, please include your name for verification purposes. Naturally, we do not charge for the goodies and ask only that you return the jars to us when you’ve emptied them – making 50+ cases of goodies each year the way we (that’d be the royal we, I guess, since I’m the go-fer these days), we buy an awful lot of jars that (we’re thinking) end up being thrown out instead of re-used again in our process.

More posts coming soon.

Auntie Granny Joannie cans again!!

As I prepared to write this post, I heard Sis’ voice (as she did every week when we spoke on the phone) say, “How’s Auntie Granny Joannie doing?”

Last night I would have answered her, “It’s Fall, so she’s been making jams / jellies / goodies for the holidays. Doing too much, but I can’t stop her so I help when I can and let her do what she will.” (Although jam / jelly making was a Joanne and Hal production in the early years, these days I’m simply the gofer: I go fer the fruit, clean and prep the fruit, buy the supplies and make sure they’re within her reach, then I get the heck out of the way and let her do her thing.)

Yesterday, Joanne made 73 jars of Pomegranate Jelly for holiday packages. Then she created and printed the labels. She’ll affix the labels over the next few days, I’m sure. Last week it was about the same amount of Pear / Apple Fruitney.

And when she was finished making Pomegranate Jelly, she sat down and carved on her latest wood carving project for a few hours.

Holiday goodie packs are shaping up pretty nice this year, thanks to Auntie Granny Joannie!

Thanks to Hector & Elsa, Springfield Al and Incline Mike

I stopped by Hector and Elsa’s to confirm it’s ok to filch, er, harvest, their pomegranates this year and managed to catch them just as they were backing out of their driveway.

What’s the first thing Hector says to me? “Hold on, I have something for you.”

He pulled back in his driveway, walked up to the front of his garage and brought me 3 cases of brand new jars he’d gotten on sale from BigLots. When I offered to pay for them, he said, “If you pay me for them, I can’t accept any jelly or goodies.”

Since that’s a line I’ve used, myself, over the years, what could I say, except, “Thanks very much.”

And after posting my request for assistance last week, Springfield Al and Incline Mike both offered to help with harvesting and pressing of the pomegranates… something we’ll begin doing later this week.

And speaking of pomegranates, Joanne and I harvested our tree this weekend… not nearly as many in years past, but enough to make a case or two. Hector and Elsa’s tree is full, though not as full as years past, either. We (all) attribute the lower production to the heavy storms that blew through in the Spring when the blossoms were in full bloom. But, it is what it is so we’ll make whatever we can and distribute accordingly.

And speaking of making goodies, this past week Joanne made ~5 cases of fig and 2 (or 3?) of pear / apple fruitney… it’s uh-mazingly decadent and will go very well on toast, waffles, as “chutney” with pork / other select meats and even over vanilla cream… 1 spoonful is like eating an apple / pear pie – raisins (2 kinds), apples, pears, cinamon, almonds, walnuts, a touch of brown sugar and… voila, die, Jenny Craig diet!

(sugar / diet watchers note: Joanne began to experiment with low sugar pectin last year and the results were so good that she only makes low sugar goodies these days… much, much better flavor and for sugar watchers.)

Until next time, thanks for visiting, be well and don’t forget to write when you get work.


Lettuce harvest time…

Watering the Phantom Pergola Pharm last night, I couldn’t help but notice some of the lettuce plants (discussed here) were looking a little full around the edges. In fact, some of them were so full and heavy they were drooping to the ground.

Time to harvest, I suppose.

This morning I dressed in my Pharming clothes (shorts, t-shirt, bare feet) and headed out with a large bowl and pair of The Missus’ scissors in hand. (Speaking of scissors, please don’t tell her I use her scissors to harvest vegetables… she’s a little sensitive about my misuse of her sharp-pointy tools and accuses me of trying to emulate Edward Scissorhands.)

When I was done, 9 of them were looking an awful lot like the newly-inducted recruits I mentioned in the I am a dumb-ass post back in July – but they’ll grow a new crop in – all the way over (3′, I believe) to the Cherokee Purple Heritage Tomato and grabbed our first from this new (to us) plant.

It’s looking like salad night @ our place tonight.

Lettuce alone…

A couple of months ago we decided to put in a couple of tomato and lettuce plants.

Now, “a couple” usually means “two”… and in the case of our tomato plants, that was appropriate: we bought and planted two tomato plants – one roma and one ace. easy peasy.

But when it came to buying lettuce, as a form of insurance (against doody-thumb disease, I suppose), we thought “the more the better”. So we bought, um, a couple of flats. If I recall correctly, we ended up with 11 or 12 plants in the ground.

Good so far, right?
Well, this first bunch you’re seeing ^^^ did pretty well right from the start. (They’re currently looking a little scraggly because the two on the right have been harvested a bit already. Yep, you heard me – harvested – I’ve got the farmer-lingo down pat.)

And this bunch in the center of the lettuce corral ^^^ did pretty well, too… except for the ones that died from over / under watering. (If you look closely, you’ll notice some of the corrals have two plants growing in them.)

And finally we come to the right-wingers – the corrals on the right-hand side of the lettuce farm. They’re doing pretty good, considering we let them bake in the hot sun without shade material for two weeks as part of our How much direct sunlight and heat can leafy green lettuce take before it dies? test-period. Turns out this particular type of lettuce wilts in the direct sunlight of the Phantom Pergola Pharm. Finally realizing we were killing the little buggers, we put up screen and watered them back to health.

Now, looking at these pictures you may find yourself wondering Exactly how many lettuce plants does it take to provide salad lettuce to twice-weekly dinnertime salad eaters? Good question – and one that I now know the answer to: It takes one – maybe two – leafy green lettuce plants to provide enough lettuce to twice-weekly salad eaters.

A couple of years ago when Incline Mike and Mimi were frequent guests @ our house, I’d often buy rib eye steaks for dinner. I come from the more is better school of steak-eaters, so the steaks I bought started at 1 lb. When he would see the steaks being prepared, Mike would say, So how many people are you going to feed with those steaks? (sarcasm dripping from his tongue)

Now, when I look at the lettuce growing out in the Phantom Pergola area, I keep hearing Mike say, So, how many people are you going to feed with all that lettuce?

Oh, the neighborhood 🙂

My message to you: If you want some Campbell Farmer lettuce, stop by the house and pick yourself a salad.

Life, huh?

Yesterday was quite a day around here.

Bike ride in to town early in the morning – nice, cool weather. Coffee, catch up on the 2.5 pages of local news in the Merc. Ride back home to shoot film (er, pixels) of ‘Liv harvesting tomatoes… we’ll get those up soon. Joanne and ‘Liv carving, burning and adding color to Chloe’s (‘Liv’s sister) birthday present – nicely researched, selected and applied to wood by ‘Liv and Joanne. I headed off to lunch with a friend / former co-worker that I met 14 years ago next month; he’s 39 now (he was such a gnarly puppy when we met), married with two children, busy career… sorting through life’s challenges and priorities, as we all do.

And so it was with great fear and trepidation that we took Delilah to meet her oncologist @ 1:45 yesterday afternoon. Wonderful place, all bright’n’shiny, very professional in appearance and operation… it was as professional and nice as a facility for humans – perhaps more.

Initial exam of Dee by a vet’s assistant, followed by our 1st meeting with the Vet. We found her oncologist to be warm, friendly and open. We confirmed Dee’s medical history (she had read her files from Kirkwood Animal Hospital and spoken with Dr. Ueno) and she gave us the basics on Dee’s situation: The biopsy revealed Dee’s cancer to be a slow-growth variety – if it hadn’t already spread to another place and they were able to remove the cancerous area, Dee would have a 90% chance of complete recovery / no further cancer. To determine the extent of her situation, Dee needed to have a chest xray… so, off they went.

Dee was returned to us in 5 minutes. Great news! Treatment options for the existing cancer are radiation and surgery, but with the location of Dee’s cancer, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to get all of the cancer with surgery and radiation is 16 days of daily visits and a pretty miserable recovery.

Or amputation of the leg.

The doc tells us that cats do remarkably well with 3 legs; we’re encouraged by this and through our relationship with Claire (Mike and Mimi’s pack member), we know 3 legs are better than no legs… and no pack member. We ask about the recovery period – how painful, how long? Dee stays in the hospital 1-2 days after surgery so they can monitor her pain around-the-clock and from there, she’ll need to adjust and find her way. How soon should we have it done? The next couple of weeks or seriously risk spreading of the cancer.

So there we are. We’ll make arrangements early in the week and begin the process of everyone moving forward.

Challenges and priorities, we’ve all got ’em and have to deal with them, yeah?

As always, thanks for visiting, be well and don’t forget to write when you get work 🙂

btw – no small btw, either – we say thanks to each of you for your heartfelt inquiries and good wishes for Dee, they are much appreciated.