Okay, Gentle Reader, we have reached that part in the summer where all the past oversights and (possible) errors in judgment have come back to haunt one, with a terrible vengeance. For example:
Oversight: I never did get that bed of beets weeded and mulched.
Terrible Vengeance: Where are the beets? Didn’t I plant beets here?
Oversight: I didn’t haul a load of (quite necessary to keep the weeds down) wood chips to mulch the flower beds around the house, until (gulp!) yesterday.
Terrible Vengeance:What happened to those flowers I planted? (wading through the weeds, poking, searching, weeping softly)
Oversight: I didn’t realize that the tomato plants in the hoop house would grow twice as big as the ones planted outside–with no signs of stopping! Fully twice as big, horizontally and vertically! Wait until you see, Gentle Reader (I’ll post pictures next week, humbling as it will be for me).
Terrible Vengeance: Gulp. And Yikes! And Whooooaaaaa baby . . .
Basically, this is my garden motto from here on out:
What lesson do I re-learn at this point every summer? Here it is: when you are an enthusiastic (read: you plant too much, every stinkin’ summer, without. fail.) gardener, you should weigh your choices carefully. Because once every plant that you’ve ebulliently planted is thriving and growing and producing fruit and so forth, you won’t have time (much, anyway) to re-plant beds that you are beginning to regret. There may be just enough time to pull the large bed of purple broccoli, for example, that all went to seed while you were in St. Louis visiting your adorable grandson for three days, but probably not enough time to replant and mulch and baby a bed of new carrots, for example, instead.
There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many warm days. This is not rocket science.
Even as I write this, I’m gritting my teeth and thinking . . . I’m going to go pull up all that gone-to-seed purple broccoli and toss it to the chickens–they will love it!!–and I’m gonna plant carrots today in that space, dadgummit! And I probably will. But anyway. Actually, it’s time to start working on my fall garden, anyway. (More about that next week.)
So . . weeds are a problem here, because of a perfect weed-growing environment: cooler temps for summer (so far) and more than usual rainfall too, for summertime. And the constant and cheerful busyness of everybody at our place. There’s just not time to pull all those weeds. 🙁 But I’m not gonna complain. I’m just gonna keep pulling weeds when I can, and eating lovely stuff out of the garden. Try to stop me! 😉
Plus. We’re going to start working on our firewood supply today. At the end of a typical winter, we usually have–oh, a cord or maybe half a cord of firewood left over, but this year–after an unusually cold winter, and pretty lightweight, paperesque, supply of firewood–we don’t have a stick left, which means we need to take the putting up of firewood plenty seriously this year. I don’t fancy being pathetically chilly all winter long. I don’t know how much we usually put up (I know you’re gonna ask): I would guess 5 or 6 cords. That’s a lot of firewood to cut and split and haul and toss (we don’t stack, though someday I aspire to have firewood stacked as lovely as my mum’s firewood stacks). (Another post for another day).
So. It’s Friday, so that means I’m going to toss another favorite kitchen thing your way, before I go start firewood-tossing. Three weeks in a row, Gentle Reader! Boom!
So here is it: these are an inelegant yet quite necessary part of our collection of favorite baking tools: cooling racks. If you do any baking at all, you know what happens when you leave your bread or your muffins or even your cookies on the pan to cool: they will get soggy bottoms. And nobody likes a soggy bottom, am I right? I think that would make a dandy click-to-tweet, don’t you? Let’s make it so:
Baked goods really need to have good air circulation as they are cooling. You can buy these racks quite inexpensively at many places, online or otherwise. You can buy tiered cooling racks, too, with two or three tiers all hooked together, but these have never interested me, as we bake on a rather (cough) large scale. You can buy them on Amazon.com, of course . . .
Or you can pick them up at your local thrift store, probably. That’s what I like to do. When I see them (usually they cost no more than a quarter or two) I snatch ’em up, baby. So I have quite a collection, and we cover a small table with them every week for our farmer’s market baking day. I love the irregular shapes and sizes.
Here’s a close-up of the sweet peas. I’ve got the most gorgeous stand of sweet peas in my hoop house. You just wouldn’t believe them! And they smell so (wait for it) sweet.
My mum has a favorite cooling rack, too. It’s very old, and round, and a bit decorative, and she lost it for a time. She mourned that little round cooling rack, because it was the perfect shape and size to put a standard sized pie on. And it was old. She called me, oh, about twelve times every day–for weeks–to ask me: Did I leave that little round rack at your place . . . ? “No, Mom . . . ” I’d answer, again. And again. “I don’t have your cute little vintage pie rack. Better that you check with Anne, or Mollie.”
Well. I think my mom had finally given up the search for her vintage pie rack, and she was down to asking me only about five times every day, if I was hiding it someplace in my home, when I was visiting an old friend (who is also the friend of my mom) and as I was leaving, he said “Oh! Wait! I have something that belongs to your mother!” (Wait for it . . . ) And, would you believe it, he pulled out that little vintage pie rack. I gasped, and relief and joy flooded over me. Although I was going to miss all those ‘phone calls from my mom every day, I knew how happy she would be to have that little rack back.
I’m pretty sure he really wondered at why I was so ecstatic to see that little round rack. Evidently my mom had given him and his wife a hot pecan pie, months before, when they had stopped at her house for a visit, at just the right moment (when the pies were being pulled out of the oven!) and she had sent the pie home with him, on her favorite rack. Because (wait for it) every baker knows that baked goods need to be on racks when they are cooling. To avoid the soggy bottom thing, of course.
And you may be wondering how many times I can work the phrase “soggy bottom” into this post, aren’t you? 😉
Pretty cool how these things go so neatly full circle, isn’t it??
Thanks for reading, Gentle Readers. I love ya, I do! 🙂
OH, by the way, I’m linking this post up with The Prairie Homestead’s Barn Hop. C’mon over!
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