Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving, brave vegetables, and our buddy the Barred Owl

First off, Thanksgiving! Mike and I had a gathering out at our house of a few friends for the day, and I must share. First, Mike carving the (locally raised, 17 lbs, bought the day it was slaughtered by the man who raised it) turkey:

Here's what the serving table looked like:

Back row: mushroom gravy, salad, okra and tomatoes (did you know? one of my earliest memories is of eating this dish when I was about three years old. obviously, an old favorite)
Middle row: a Polish rice-based stuffing by the elder Vidovics, chestnut-cranberry stuffing, cranberry sauce by Jared
Front row: turkey gravy, stuffing from inside the bird, turkey
Flanked by sour cream and scallion mashed taters on the left chair and mashed sweet potatoes (with orange juice and pineapple) by Jared on the right chair.

I should have taken a photo of the dessert spread, but I didn't, so I'll just describe it:
-Seminole pumpkin pie from scratch
-Apple sour cream pie (made by Jared's mom)
-Godiva chocolate chip cookies (by Andrew)
-fresh whipped cream to top it all off

This was the first time I'd ever made pumpkin pie from anything other than a can, and oh am I glad I did. I used local organically grown seminole pumpkins, bought from the man who grew them - steamed them, mashed them, and mixed them with spices and cream, poured into a handmade crust. Topped with fresh whipped cream, and I couldn't have wished for anything more, except that I had two more kinds of dessert that I absolutely had to indulge in!

Phew. So, Thanksgiving was an enjoyable, tiring, fulfilling affair, and I'm so glad that some friends wanted to come out to the cabin for it. It's always great to have people out, and it doesn't happen enough.

This morning I went on a walk down our dirt roads to walk off some of the post-food-coma-stupor:

Then I took some photos of some of our plants in the garden. Our garden got started late, because the first incarnation of it got completely flooded back in September. Also, we don't have any spots that get full sun for more than a few hours each day, so mostly these plants get dappled sun most of the time, so it's all an experiment to see how they do. That's why I call them brave in the title of this post.


Look at how huuuuge the seminole pumkin leaves are!

These pumpkins are growing so. fast. Every time I look into the garden they're covering more area.

Look at all the lil buds starting! All four of our sprawling pumpkin plants have buds all along the stalks. Hopefully they can grow before it get too cold for them :-\

And finally, our neighborhood barred owl. This guy was trying to catch a squirrel in a palm tree outside our cabin, but without success. In his defense, it was broad daylight, and owls don't see very well during the day. Mike and I sat watching him and taking photos for about half an hour.

That's all for now. I'll try to post some more things soon. Hope everyone had a fantastic and delicious Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Project: Blog

For those of you who don't know, I live in a 2 story wood cabin on the Myakka River, east of Sarasota, with my boyfriend, Mike. We live on 5 acres of river-bounded oak canopy. It. Is. Beautiful. We live in a little-populated area; most of the people who own the plots around us don't come out there very often. Only a few others live on our stretch of the river all the time. Most use their properties as holiday hunting/vacation spots.

Since I've been living in the cabin, over the last four months, there have been many things that I've wanted to share with many people of my acquaintance. Unfortunately, most of those people no longer, or never did live in Sarasota, and so keeping in touch takes a bit more effort. So I've decided to start this blog, and post about the things I'm doing that I am excited about and would like to share, but that are perhaps not so earth shattering as to elicit a phone call to everyone I know and love in the world. I am on my lunch break at work right now, so I don't have all my photos on hand to upload, but I will soon post again, with a general update on my activities of the last 4 months.

Here's what you have to look forward to: photos and descriptions of vegetable gardens, my first canning experiment, many exciting encounters with wildlife, the cabin surrounded by the swollen, flooded river, additions and improvements to the cabin, and more.

And that's just what's ALREADY HAPPENED! Now that I have this blog setup, I hope to publish photos and stories of my adventures in living out in the woods regularly, to keep any of you who is interested and inclined to check up on me. Please subscribe to my blog if you are one of those people! This will encourage me to actually keep up with the project.

Thanks for reading, and check back soon!