Photos: Keeping the Harvest   23 comments

I still have two parts of the Reintroduction to write, but I’ve been a bit busy of late to knock them out. I’m preparing for a road trip down to California. I’ll be driving the car of one of my roommates from this summer down to her in Culver City, hanging out for a few days, then taking the train back to Portland and the bus back out here to the coast. I leave Friday and will follow the coast down. Since I’m working most of the day tomorrow, I don’t expect to have another post written until next week some time, most likely. And that’s assuming I get a chance to write while in California.

Interestingly, the next post in the Reintroduction is going to be about the social aspects of my life—the loneliness that has arisen at times due to the path I’ve chosen as well as the opportunities to meet new and fantastic people. The two women I’ll be visiting in California—whom I lived with this summer—will be an element of that post. The woman I’m currently seeing in Portland—another small reason I have yet to get up a new post—will also be mentioned in brief. I suppose it’s appropriate that my post on social realities and loneliness has been delayed by the prioritizing of friends and social interaction.

Anyway, since no new written post is imminent, I thought I could at least provide you all a few pretty pictures. In keeping with the theme of the last post, here are a few shots of my efforts to keep the harvest.

tomato jam

Tomato jam, made primarily from cherry tomatoes, getting ready to be canned. This is a mix of sweet and spicy, though much heavier on the sweet than the spicy. I made two batches—the first was even sweeter than the second. I prefer the second. It’s pretty fantastic on a grilled cheese sandwich. The recipe came from Food In Jars.



I made two batches of salsa with the many tomatoes coming out of the hoop house. I used a variety of different tomatoes—all different colors—as well as many kinds of peppers: sweet reds, green and purple bells, jalapenos and other hot peppers. The result was an incredibly colorful and vibrant salsa—at least, until it cooked down. It tasted pretty damn good, too. (As with the tomato jam, the second batch came out better than the first. I omitted a can of tomato paste from the second batch, which had made the first batch just a touch too sweet.)



This isn’t actually keeping the harvest so much as just the harvest. Romanesco is a brassica that essentially is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. The result is an incredible flower that grows in a fractal pattern. It’s also delicious when roasted, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It just came on in my garden and this is a shot of the first head harvested and eaten.



Posted October 24, 2012 by Joel Caris in Food, Photos

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23 responses to “Photos: Keeping the Harvest

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  1. If you have time – and sufficient $$ for a little extra fuel – and assuming you’re driving 101, take a right at Legget and jog on out to Hwy. 1; it’s a beautiful drive.

    In any case, have a good journey.

    • Hey Martin,

      I ran out of time for that journey. I went all the way in to Berkeley the first day and by the time I was hitting Legget, it was getting near dark. Didn’t want to add the time and figured I would miss most of the views, anyway. I’ll keep it in mind as a possibility for a future trip, though. I may end up back along that route in late March.

      I did take Highway 1 out of San Francisco down to Santa Cruz and through Big Sur, as well. So I did get some amazing views and scenery.

      • Ahh…. Big Sur. Near and dear to my heart since I first drove it back in the late 50’s when the ‘highway’ was even more narrow and twisty than now – and with virtually no shoulders. Been back many times. Did you by any chance stop in at Nepenthe?

        The part of 1 I pointed you to is unique in its own way – not as renowned as Big Sur, but even more mysterious. It’s referred to as “The Lost Coast”. Hope you are able to experience it next year.

        • Wow. That stretch of highway through Big Sur was plenty twisty and narrow for my tastes as it is. I wouldn’t want to imagine it any worse. (Perhaps it was like that stretch of old Route 66 just outside of Oatman that I drove earlier this year, which was ridiculously tight and twisty.)

          I did not stop in at Nepenthe. I just kept going through Big Sur, with this nagging sense I should have stopped and appreciated it a bit more, from a stand still. But I was in that mission sort of frame of mind that driving toward a destination can inspire.

          And now that you note that section of Hwy 1 is The Lost Coast, which I’ve heard of but know little about, I really want to go back. I’ll definitely try to get there next year, should the stars align.

          • Ah, Big Sur. Way back about 1970 after a night of hard partying in Santa Cruz (Southern Comfort and popcorn) I hit the road. I am not susceptible to motion sickness, but that road did me in. I finally had to pull my little VW to the side of the road. I lay down next to the car. It started to rain. I rolled under the bug to stay dry. But that road was sooo beautiful, I didn’t care.

  2. Hi Joel,

    I hear you, man. It is difficult taking any path that is off the beaten track and a supportive partner makes life a whole lot easier and nicer. I wish you well in your endeavours in Portland and California!

    You know, years back I lived in an 1890’s terrace house in the inner city and it strangely had this single upstairs bedroom (yeah, one room – like a tower sort of). To cut a long story short, back in the 1950’s the previous owners had 4 kids and they divided this small room (5m x 5m or 16.4ft x 16.4ft) into 3 cubicles so that the kids each got their own space (I think one of the kids was in a different part of the house – maybe).

    Life is kind of like that, don’t you think? What we think we need is generally 10 times what we actually need. It is unfortunate for me that I’ve seen real poverty in the 3rd world and it was enough for me to know that the 3 kids in that room/tower had it pretty good. The photos show me that you have access to real food and the skills to use it and that is pure gold!

    Hey, the salsa looks awesome too.

    Have a nice drive.

    PS: I met Joel Salatin from the US based Polyface farms yesterday. He was doing a talk and demonstration at a farm only a few kilometres from here. A very inspirational dude.


    • Joe Salatin is quite the dude. I’ve read all his books and seen him in several DVDs. He’s the go-to guy for all things grass fed without a lot of government interference.

    • Hey Chris,

      Yes indeed, we need far less space than we think. When I lived in my 12′ diameter yurt, I was quite content. Granted, I had access to a separate kitchen, but that could have been rigged up with some simple kitchen utilities inside and, if desired, a larger outdoor kitchen area. On the farm last year, similarly, there was an 8′ x 12′ cabin, and it was similarly a lovely space. I think one can live quite comfortably in ~100 sq. ft. when it’s coupled with outdoors access. And yeah, real food and good work is far more important to a good life than a large living space.

      Love what I’ve seen, heard and read of Salatin. I’d really like to see him talk one of these days. He seems like quite a character and inspirational for sure.

  3. Romanesco? That is one beautiful plant…and that is some good looking eats.

  4. I’m an old dude who’s kind of a recluse / hermit. So I’ve thought and read a lot about loneliness. I used to be pretty upset and sad that I was lonely and alone. Then, somewhere along the way I embraced loneliness, and it became solitude. “Loneliness is a desert. Solitude is a garden.” Don’t know where I ran across that, but it helped. Like most of those old platitudes that drive you crazy, they drive you crazy because they’re true.

    So, now I’m an old retired guy and live out in the boonies. I go for days without seeing or speaking to another person. I go to town once a week. Sometimes, I can stretch it to two weeks. I don’t think I’ve every been happier.

    I’ve always attributed my misanthrope to too many years of working with the public 🙂 .

    • I like that platitude, Lew. To be honest, I’ve spent most of my life not dating or having a partner, even taking out childhood. I prefer having a partner, I’d say, but I’m perfectly capable of going without. In fact, it’s really interesting to see the differences in ones life under the two scenarios. Of course, failing a partner, I still need friends and other community members, but romantic love is not the be-all, end-all, nice as it is.

      I also worked with the public for a number of years, and it could indeed inspire misanthropy (particularly since my working with the public was via retail.) Thankfully, I got out of that work before it ruined me completely to other people.

      Glad the solitude works well for you! I’ve definitely found it very satisfying at many times in my life.

      • An odd experience. When I was at my lowest, fretting about being single (boo-hoo!) I heard a very distinctive voice. I don’t know. Left brain talking to right brain? Or, vice versa? It said, “Why is it so important, right now?” And, it wasn’t. I’ve never felt as bereft, since.

  5. Hey Lew,

    Good on ya! The public can be a bit tiring at the coal-face. The boonies are quite a pleasant place to be, it sometimes shocks me at how busy the city is as you can quickly forget. Hope those goats are doing well and that you made mountains of blackberry jam too.

    • I moved from Portland, Oregon to a small town in 1981. I didn’t go back to visit Portland for about 8 months, or so. I drove downtown to meet a friend. Parked, stepped out on the sidewalk and wondered “why are all these people running?” They weren’t. I had just s-l-o-w-e-d way down. I also found all the neon and advertising signs really … oppressive. So now that I’ve moved out to the boonies, I find that small town just as oppressive and hurried as I found the big city.

      Well, the two goats I had for the summer have gone back to their owner. But, last week I farm-sat a week for some friends. Chickens, cats, 5 spoiled lap dogs and 4 goats. 2 on the bottle. The man or woman who invents a goat feeder / waterer that can’t be tipped over and is easy to clean out ought to make a mint. It was a good experience for me. My dog and cat I ran home every two days to take care of. Chickens, with a little planning, can go two days. Goats, no. I was thinking of a goat, year after next, but now I’m having second (and third) thoughts. We’ll see.

      Put up lots of blackberry jam, but next year, hopefully, strawberry and raspberry. The blackberry is pretty seedy for my poor old teeth. Blackberry jelly is a possibility.

      • Glad to hear the farm-sitting went well enough, or at least for you to call it a good experience rather than a nightmarish hell week. Heh. I still love the idea of goats, but they do seem to be a bit needy, no? We’ve had one hanging around the farm here for a bit and while I enjoy him, he definitely seems constantly in need of something, even though I don’t generally know what it is.

        I’m also aiming to get strawberry jam made next year. The other farm owners I work for like to make half and half strawberry and blackberry jam. That sounds mighty intriguing, too—I’ll have to give it at try next year.

        • I started farm sitting on Friday morning. By Tuesday, I was … “I’ll never do this again.” By Wednesday, it was “sure, I’d do this again.” My early negative feelings were do to my own character defects. Hating to feel stupid, even if there’s no one else around to witness it. Everything from where’s the extra dry feed for the barn cats to figuring out the DVD remote. By Wednesday, I’d worked that all out. I did tell my friends that I thought 8 days was about my limit. Beyond that, it would be “Goat spills his feed again? Eat it off the floor or starve!” Yippy little lap dogs escape their outside pen for the second time in one day? Coyote food!” 🙂 .

  6. Hey Lew,
    Yeah, chickens are pretty easy although I reckon they take about 1 day per week of my time, every week – I’m using all of their manure on the fruit trees though and I have to keep an eye on them when they are free ranging because of the: wedge tail eagles; powerful owls; boo-book owls; dogs; foxes; cats etc. roaming through the forest here. It’s a pretty tough life for a chook and they make a good snack.
    It is interesting what you are saying about goats. My neighbour has them too and they seem like a bit of hard work and require some serious fencing. Maybe pigs might with moveable electric fences maybe easier? Dunno, really. Joel Salatin made it look easy though? The pigs looked up at me with a very intelligent gleam in their eyes!
    Yeah blackberries can have some concrete like pips in them. Raspberries only fruit on second year canes so it might be easier to start now, plus they transplant better when bare rooted. I picked up about 50+ freebies recently, although I won’t get any fruit till next summer.
    Had my first strawberry of the season today and am thinking about fencing them with bird netting to keep the dogs, birds and wombats out. Everything loves strawberries.

    • Hey Chris,

      I like pigs, as well, and love the intelligence in their eyes. On the other hand, they can be quite smelly and mucky (though obviously your penning techniques will influence this greatly.) They also can be very hard to butcher, if you’re going to do that sort of thing. That’s what I’ve heard, anyway—I can’t say I’ve done it myself. A friend of mine once killed two pigs and he said it turned into such a horrific experience that he rarely ever eats pork now. He refuses to kill pigs again and subscribes to the idea that if he wouldn’t kill it himself, he shouldn’t eat it. Of course, I’m sure a bit of education and practice could make that process much easier.

      Pork is so tasty and pigs such a good animal to have around to turn compost and other waste into meat, it’s mighty tempting to take them on if you have some land, I would think.

      Watch those pigs, though. That gleam in their eye might be hunger.

      • Some years back a friend of mine decided to raise a pig for slaughter and when the time came he asked me if I’d help – said he’d give me some chops and roast. So, having never dispatched anything larger than the few chickens and rabbits I helped my Dad with when I was a kid I said “sure”, thinking, “hell of a deal”.

        Well, I can vouch for what your friend said – it was a horrific experience – and I didn’t take away any of the meat, nor did I eat pork for several years afterward – not even bacon.

  7. Pingback: The Long Game | Of The Hands

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