Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Foraging with Fred

October 9, 2007

A mushroom I mean chestnut basket
He’d warned me already we were five days too early, and the mushrooms we kept smelling were underground and still spores.

No mushrooms, but lots of chestnuts, but no mushrooms
So we changed our tack and switched focus to chestnuts, foraging two half-loaded baskets between us, out of the mouths of boars.

(Who are real pigs by the way.)

debra at 1:17 | Comments (4) | post to

The neglected autumnal
kitchen garden

October 5, 2007

biomass kitchen garden
Prolific biomass obscuring the cabane

After 6 months of neglect, I returned to the Occitanian kitchen garden to find that in my absence it had produced 400 cubic metres of exuberant biomass. In the upper garden the cabane was completely obscured by a thicket of weeds and I’m not even emotionally prepared to share any images of the lower garden. Suffice it to say, there is a field of pretty yellow flowers, some 3 metres high and each one connected to a feisty topinambour which is just a sexy word for Jerusalem Artichoke and which I have the luxury of calling the bane of my existence.

dahlia in the kitchen garden
Found some dahlias in the tangle

But a nice thing about competitive local weeds is that they also compete with eachother. When I finally found the path in the upper garden and started yanking out 2 metre tall weeds, I discovered that there weren’t all that many. Within 2 hours I had worked through the entire garden and found my intentional planting exactly where I had left it with a few surprises to boot. The dahlias had survived and were thriving under the canopy. My artichokes, whose hearts I had missed by maintaining bass-ackwards urban priorities this summer, were all there. And the wild and stolen fraises de bois had carpeted their new location.

found zucchini pig
A zucchini resembling a nestling sleepy piglet

At the base of the dahlia near the red currant bushes there had grown a little piglet of zucchini. Odd, I hadn’t planted any. Must’ve dropped a seed at some point, the plant had long rotted away. I even found a melon grown under the same accidental circumstances and last year’s shiso plants had self-seeded vigourously. I now consider red kale a perrenial.

black hole sunflowers
Blackhole sunflowers not exactly washing away the rain

The work was strenuous but satisfying and I caught a buzz off the aroma of bergamot, which I kept brushing up against and trampling in the canals. Hard not to become emotional, about my absence from the garden this summer, about my un-neighbourly permaculture. My neighbours Jean-Louis and El Gouche arrived and rubbed their eyes in disbelief at my presence. I dropped my shears, burst into tears and ran over for bear hugs ear-smacking kisses. Why do I ever ever leave here?

Kristi makes a bouquet with the flower harvest
Mama turning the tangle into an autumnal bouquet

debra at 16:52 | Comments (4) | post to

« Previous Page |

culiblog is a registered trademark of Debra Solomon since 1995. Bla bla bla, sue yer ass. The content in this weblog is the intellectual property of the author and is licensed under a Creative Commons Deed (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5).