Thursday, August 7, 2008

happiness is... montana air conditioning and eggplants

It's stormy outside.

Really, crashing-loud, wind-pounding stormy.    

It hasn't started raining, but I know it's going to come.  Those clouds were too full not to drop something tonight.  Happiness is a little bit of rain in the summer to cool things off.  

Late tonight, after sweating profusely throughout the day thinking I was way, way too young to be having hot flashes, I realized I'd left several windows open all day long.  
Having grown up in the South, I'd known only one way to escape the heat: air conditioning.  When I first moved out west to California, the town I lived in had swamp coolers - another fabulous idea.  Here in Montana, we've got windows.

Okay, okay.  Some people do have air conditioning.  We've got Starbucks and a movie theater and a Target, etc.  Yes, we're civilized.  But I really like the way a lot of people round here keep their homes cool.

You open the windows at night.  You close them in the morning.  It's that simple, and it's pretty effective.  And it uses NO energy.  Cause aren't we all supposed to be cutting back?  (Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting anyone try this in Alabama.  Or any other humid state.  Just here.  Where it actually works.)

Normally, it works well, but if you forget to close them in the morning, it's a big bummer.  The heat builds up like a sauna and you end up changing shirts on the hour and thinking you're afflicted with some condition that will never go away and leave you cool and dry.  Because every other morning you remember to close all the windows.  Not just some.

End of story.  I'll get on with the precious eggplants because I've mused on my perspiration for much too long. 

Yes, I say "precious" although "petite" might be a better word.

 Or "puny."  

Or "producing-no-fruit."
But I'm going to use "precious" because these babies came from seed, survived the aphids, and until the summer's over, they give me hope that I'll have lots of eggplant.

I'm good with denial.  Happiness is thinking my eggplants will be bountiful.

If that hope starts to slip, I can slide on over to the Handyman's raised beds.  Happiness is also having a Handyman.

Absolute sun all day, fresh eko-compost, and a little bit of water and, "Voila!" (I give him no credit.  Just because he's an ecologist does not mean he can make everything grow.  Or maybe it does, but I don't want him to get the "big-head," as my momma would say.)

They're gorgeous. 

I'd steal them if I didn't already know that he doesn't like eggplants and I'll get them anyway.  [insert evil laugh here].


Daisy said...

This email was too good not to share. My mom should be writing this blog... not me!

"Yep, your Mama did blanching, both boiling and steaming. I would recommend that you continue reading about blanching and do it with your vegetables, etc. You are working so hard, it is a shame not to do the steps to make your foods taste good, longer.

Mark the ones that you do not blanch and eat/use those first, as blanching helps prolong the "life" of the food that is frozen, as well as, protect against undesirable flavors in the foods. Unblanched items should be used withing 3-4 months after freezing. If blanched you could use them up to 12 months. Any good, comprehensive cookbook discusses blanching and the action of the enzymes, etc. Review will be helpful with all this good produce that you are bringing in.

Turning in. Sleepy.
Love and hugs, Mom"

the larsons said...

We do the open-window method most of the time here in the mountains. It would work even better if we didn't live in a sort of A-frame that has one room with a wall of windows. The back rooms and the basement stay cool all day.

If you find a good mousaka recipe for your eggplants, I'd love to have it. That and eggplant parmesan are really the only ways I can say I LOVE eggplant. -e.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog off of the Tiny Farm Blog, I think. I've read back on your blog and now I'm not sure how I got here, but I think that is right. Anyway I enjoy your posts and will be back to check and see how things are going. Can't believe all the pesto that you made! That is a lot and you have inspired me to try. We have some lovely basil but surely not as much as you have!

JGH said...

Having grown up in Florida and now living in the northeast, I can so relate to your a/c comments. I've got to cultivate that instinct to open the windows, especially since the electric bill last month was UNGODLY.

Good luck with the eggplant - we harvested some in October last year!

Anonymous said...

Okay maybe I'm lame but I think those eggplants growing are adorable! I had never seen them come out of their blossom...very nice handi-work there.

Rowena said...

This year was the first for me at growing eggplant from seed. You say aphids?!? Well I must have some garden fairy godmother watching over me because the aphids only infested the peach tree and nothing else. Or maybe because aphids do not really care for bitter thai tiger eggplants. Hmmmm.....

I will say once again, the strawberry bread is wonderful! I had to use a cup of wholewheat flour since I didn't have enough all-purpose, but the flavor was still great. I'm gonna eat another slice like right now!

Heather said...

Well, I must admit, I haven't blanched zukes or squash before I've frozen them either from time to time. I wish that we could leave our windows open more here, but we won't be able to for a few more months. The baby eggplant looks good; I've got another one coming in as well - yea! But my squash and zukes have dwindled :(

Kathy said...

We love to leave the windows open at night, too, but on those nights where it never drops below 70 it really doesn't accomplish much. Then we wish a/c was an optionl

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Iowa Victory Gardener said...

hi Daisy,
I just turned our A/C off for the first time in weeks and opened up the house. The dew points have finally gone down to the point we can do that. I'm not looking forward to last month's electric bill, because July was just brutal here for us.

Nice pics of the eggplant, and IMO, they're all yours! Never have been able to develop a taste for that stuff!