02 October 2008

basil harvest

This is the only plant that was prolific enough in our garden for me to actually store some, and not just eat as it got ripe. I wasn't expecting to do any food-preservation at all, but the herbs were so healthy I couldn't just let them all go to waste.

First I saved some plants in pots. I don't know how long they'll last thru the winter once daylight gets shorter, but there's nothing better than fresh basil on pizza!

Here is the pile of cut basil plants. Isa helped pick off the leaves, and collected all the bugs we found in a jar (inchworms, tiny spiders, beetles, stink bugs). She went off to play after about twenty minutes- it took me two hours to get all the good leaves picked.

Four containers piled with fresh leaves, and a white box with all the discarded parts on the other side. I spent six hours processing the basil- next year I won't plant so much!

Final product- after a big mess with the blender. We ate some the same night in a chicken and pasta dish. A had some on a turkey sandwich today. I'm surprised how well it turned out! Very tasty. A batch makes about 2 pints and I got 8 1/2 batches. Gave 2 pints to our neighbor, stuck 2 in the fridge and froze the rest. (The ice-cube tray is for when you need a small bit for flavoring, just drop one in the soup or sauce. I haven't tried about it yet but it sounded like a good idea. And I ran out of empty jars to fill anyway.)

01 October 2008


Several weeks ago I noticed something was eating my carrot tops down to the ground. It was a bunch of caterpillars. I brought them inside and Isa wanted to keep them, so every time we ate carrots from the garden, gave them the tops. They ate fast. In a few days made cocoons on some sticks we had in "the bug house". Ended up with seven cocoons. I wasn't sure anything would happen. But this morning Isa came running to me: "Mommy, Mommy, A BUTTERFLY HATCHED!" She was so excited. We took some pictures, and then she put her hand down in the jar, let the butterfly crawl onto her hand, and lifted it out. It drifted over to our fence for a moment before flying away. It was so beautiful. I think it's a swallowtail.

Do you remember the praying mantids we had in her bug house? Months ago I released them back into the garden. I've seen one again recently- it's now longer than my hand, bright green. It hangs out in the jumble of zucchini stems- one of the few things left in our garden. It left an egg-case in a tomato plant, but I think that might have got destroyed in our tropical rainstorm when Hannah passed by us. Once I tried to pick it up to show Isa and it pinched my thumb hard! I want to find it again and take a photo, but this time I'll see if I can get it to crawl onto a stick for its portrait.