Harvest Monday February 5, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. First let me again say thanks to Michelle (From Seed To Table) for hosting HM last month. I really appreciate getting a break, as once again she has been kind enough step in and serve as temporary host. And now, on to my meager winter harvest! The brutal cold weather in January zapped much of what I had growing in the cold frames and greenhouse. Only the hardiest plants survived, and even the kale looked a bit sad after the temps finally warmed up and things thawed a bit. But there were edible leaves, and I made a cutting to go in a batch of Minestra Maritata soup I cooked up last week. The name of this Italian soup refers to the ‘marriage’ of meat and greens, and can be made with many combinations of ingredients.

kale from greenhouse

kale from greenhouse

I made the soup using our Instant Pot. We’ve been using that and the microwave to cook all our meals lately, since the stove is no longer in the kitchen. I made turkey meatballs for the soup, one of the last things I cooked on the stove before it was moved out of the kitchen for our makeover project. I also added in the last of the fall cabbage which had been hanging out in the refrigerator.

Minestra Maritata

Minestra Maritata

Even as the plants are struggling outside in the cold, I have new seedlings coming up to renew the never ending cycle. So far I have started cool weather crops like lettuce, kale, arugula and mizuna. I’ve got them growing in the basement under fluorescent lights, and they are ready for thinning.

lettuce seedlings

lettuce seedlings

The kitchen remodeling project is moving along nicely, though noisily. The ceramic tile floor is gone, as are most of the countertops, and the new and improved cabinets are back. They hung the new microwave on Friday, which was a joy since for over a month we had been trudging all the way out to the cold garage to use it there. We’ve been having fun with meal prep, since the frig is in the dining room and cabinet contents are still all over the house. We’re hoping to have the countertops and flooring installed this week, with the backsplash to come last after they take some final measurements to ensure a good fit under the cabinets. Hopefully then we can begin putting things back to the new normal.

a work in progress

a work in progress

I’ll close with a video I made recently of four Eastern Bluebirds at the suet feeder. These four have been hanging around all winter, and I believe it is an adult pair and two yearlings, though I can’t say for sure. It is definitely two males and two females and the males are more brightly colored than the females, though none are as colorful as they will be come spring. The quality isn’t great, but not too bad considering I was shooting from the inside through a window. Here’s a link to the video in case it doesn’t show up: https://youtu.be/p11VJPdouTg.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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13 Responses to Harvest Monday February 5, 2018

  1. House improvements always create upheaval. One room being worked on seems to affect the whole house. Exciting and annoying in equal measures but worth it in the end.

    • Dave says:

      The layout of our house makes it especially bad since the kitchen is in the middle, and they are also replacing the flooring in the hallways on either side of the kitchen. So we can’t avoid walking though the work area, which is tricky since the sub-flooring is uneven. That should be better in a few days when they get the new flooring put down.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Hi Dave; Just to let you know that I’m still here, “lurking”. I had a big loss of interest in garden blogging last year, and dropped out of posting to Harvest Monday, but I’m hoping that my enthusiasm will return with the improving weather, so that I’ll be able to make a contribution again.

    • Dave says:

      We’ve missed you on HMs Mark, and certainly understand the need to take a break from blogging. I hope you get your ‘mojo’ back soon!

  3. Michelle says:

    You are suffering through brutal cold weather and we are guiltily enjoying warm sunny weather. I would gladly trade some of our warmth for some of your precipitation, I’m assuming you are getting snow and not just cold.

    Soup looks good as do all those lovely little seedlings. The dismantled kitchen is a familiar sight. The good thing about having gone through that in the summer is that I could easily escape the noise and dust by spending time in the garden or on the trail.

    I loved the Bluebird video. It amazes me that they can tolerate the cold, the suet feeders do help I’m sure.

    • Dave says:

      We’ve had almost 4 inches of precip so far in 2018, so I would gladly send you some of that for a few degrees of warmth! We have been spoiled here by several years of mild winters, so this is really just a return to the old norms.

      The bluebirds don’t really migrate in winter, they just move around looking for food. The suet feeders have helped keep them here. They don’t use them as gracefully as the woodpeckers do, since they are normally ground feeders, but they have learned!

  4. “You are suffering through brutal cold weather and we are guiltily enjoying warm sunny weather.” — Exactly what Michelle said! I’ll trade you 30° of my temp in exchange for a couple inches of rain. I figure I could probably tolerate a fewww days in the 50s… but just a few XD

    I’ll never stop loving photos of seedlings in plug trays — you’re absolutely right, it’s the never ending cycle of planting. I love that about a garden. There are always things that can be started under lights, or seeds that can be ordered, or garden plans that can be sketched up regardless of the weather or the state of the garden. When life gets tough, I’ve found there’s nothing quite as therapeutic as starting a few seeds.

    PS – you should do a funny cooking tutorial in your makeshift, spread across-the-house kitchen. I’ll do one in my clown car kitchen in return XD

    • Dave says:

      It will really be fun cooking today since they just removed the last of the countertops. I’d need some kind of a GoPro type device for a video since there would be a lot of walking action in mine!

      And you are so right about the therapeutic benefits of starting seeds. It sure perks me up on a cold winter day!

  5. Jane Strong says:

    Thanks for the continuing updates on the use of the Instant Pot. Turkey meatballs sound like a great contribution to any soup and you could make a whole bunch at once and freeze them to use when needed,

  6. Good look on the remodel. Remodeling is always a pain but you’ll forget it easily once it is done!
    I should really consider grow lights, those little seedlings look really happy!

  7. Any harvests are welcome in the winter!
    I love the video of the bluebirds, it looks pretty good quality to me. We’ve been regularly having a song thrush visit our back garden in the last few days which has been a real treat.
    I haven’t started sowing any seeds yet – peppers and toms start mid- to end of Feb, which actually isn’t far away, eep.

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