Summer Solstice

The summer solstice was yesterday evening, around 7:00. I had just finished up the milking dishes and shade was finally spreading over the hillside, so Bird and I went for a stroll. We stopped to smell the flowers:
In the Garden...

And in the Wild
 We walked through the garden.
Stop to Smell the Garlic
 We checked on all the critters up the hill, who seemed to be bearing the heat well.
Not Broiled Chickens
Veronica and Vervain
Bird Is Very Patient
Finally, we came home and surveyed the fruits (and vegetables) of the day's labor: two pounds of  garlic scapes and a jar of asparagus pickled, eight quarts of strawberries preserved, and two nice cabbages fermenting into kimchee. Canning was not the smartest way to spend the hottest day of the year, but I think it was worth it. And it seemed a fitting way to kick off the summer.
Pickles and Preserves #1
 Happy first day of summer, everyone!
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Wednesday is Kale Day

Suddenly, it is summer in the garden. Almost all the beds are planted, and we have been harvesting radishes, spring garlic, lettuce, spinach, and other greens for weeks now. The spinach is amazing, but a close runner up is dinosaur kale, a new crop for me this year. Unfortunately, Farmer Fin got burned out on kale a couple of years ago, so it has become sort of a guilty pleasure for me, to be enjoyed on the days that he is in Manhattan.

Last night's dinner was so good, I have to share: leftover polenta and dino kale steamed in white wine with sauteed garlic scapes (just coming up this week; time to get out my canner and get to pickling). I made the polenta earlier in the week as a way to use up the remaining jars of tomato sauce in the pantry.  

I use the recipe in Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything, with the minimum amount of water. Basically you boil 4 cups of water, add a cup of polenta in a slow stream, whisking vigorously, reduce the heat to low, whisk every minute for five minutes, then switch to a wooden spoon and stir pretty much constantly for 15 or 20 minutes. When it's cooked I stir in lots of good butter from Cowbella in Jefferson, NY. Spread some sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese (mozz from the store, cheddar and parm from the basement), and broil it for a few minutes. For the kale, I chop a few scapes and cook them for a few minutes in olive oil, then add the kale and some (lousy) white wine that was left in the fridge. I think I could eat this every day. I recommend it for you kale fans out there. 
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