Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Michigan Vacation and Garden Fresh Produce

I have been so busy lately that I have not had any time to even log on to my blog, let alone update it.  But hopefully that will be changing now.  I am waking up earlier, going to my first and second jobs earlier and thus getting out earlier.  I am usually home now by 6 pm, versus 8 pm, so I have more time to do things in the evening and have more time to spend with the Hubby!  I also bought a mini laptop a couple weeks ago to bring on a business trip to the Florida Keys (more on that later) and now take it on the subway with me on my long commute so I can do something more than sleeping and staring at the passing subway tunnel! 

So onto the story: In the beginning of September I went on vacation with the Hubby to visit my family in Michigan and had an amazing time!  I was pretty surprised by how beautiful everything seemed and how much I missed my family and how not as beautiful NY seemed when I was away from it.  The pace of life was about 100 times slower that nyc, so I was actually able to enjoy my days and not feel as if they went by in 15 minutes, as they do here.  I'm just amazed at how being away from home has made me appreciate it so much more.

The first day back I went to get my hair cut and visit my grandparents in a super tiny city called Rapid City, about a 45 minute drive away from my parent's house.  While there my Grandma Allen insisted on showing me her garden.  She was very proud of it - and she should be: at 81, she is out there almost everyday picking berries, weeding the garden and picking and preserving (canning, juicing and freezing) the bounty that comes from her garden all by herself.  She only has help with turning the soil over periodically.  While Hubby and I were out there ooing and aahhing over all the fresh berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc., my uncle came out and was explaining to us how to determine which items were the freshest, which items were on their way, etc.  I have never had so much fun eating sandy raw green beans, green tomatoes and uncooked Jerusalem artichokes.  Seriously loads of fun!  I took pictures of pretty much everything, which you can enjoy below.  I ate almost everything I took a picture of (except the watermelons - they weren't quite ready & the yellow squash - really funky eaten raw!).  Everything is organic by the way and everyone in my family (including my parents) practices composting, which I love.

Tiny Strawberries so full of flavor

Golden Raspberries

Watermelon, not quite ready

Tomatoes - wish they were ready!

Hubby didn't have any trouble eating the green tomatoes!
They actually were really tasty and super juicy.

Summer squash - almost ready


Blueberry Bushes - wish I had those in my garden!
(not that I actually have one - in my dreams I do!) 

Elderberries - so tiny and sour.  Yuck!  But as jelly - out of this world!

All the blueberries we picked - in my mom's shirt of course!

The strawberries we picked & the tiny artichoke - they will be
ready in the spring but we couldn't resist trying it early.

Corn - not ready yet.

Burpless cucumbers - we ate them just like that- without even slicing them!

Grapes!  Grandma makes her own grape juice.  So good!

We then meandered on over to my Grandpa Bill & Grandma Rosie's who also have a huuuugggeee organic garden, including broccoli, corn, cherry  and heirloom tomatoes - we ate so many things raw again there as we helped picked the ripe fruits. 

Super tasty Broccoli

Grandpa's Corn was ready.

As a treat, Rosie made us a nice lunch that was so simple, but ridiculously delicious - everything straight from her garden or kitchen: homemade bread, homemade vinegar and onions (a raw pickle favorite!), homemade dill pickles, fresh onions (so sweet!) from the garden, fresh tomatoes from the garden and fried summer squash, also fresh from the garden.  Most of us ate everything separately, but not my Hubby.  I don't think I have ever told anyone about his propensity for making funky sandwiches out of combinations that really do not and should not work or be eaten together.  My Grandpa was staring at him open mouthed, watching him pack down like 6 sandwiches filled with dill pickles, vinegar and onions, fresh onions, fried squash and tomatoes all in one.  I thought it was pretty unpleasant, but I'm used to it.  Here is a picture of the simple, garden-fresh lunch (I didn't include a pic of Hubby's "creation" because it really wasn't pretty :)

My plate - fried summer squash, dill pickles, vinegar & onion
 cucumbers, fresh corn & Rosie's fresh bread.  So Tasty!

Hours later we returned home, hung out with my Mum's rescue cats (another story about them later) and passed out at 10 pm.  Really 10 pm.  In all fairness, we had worked the entire day before, come home, rushed to the airport, flew to Michigan and ended up at my parents at 2 am!

I will be posting more of my stay in Michigan with more pics of the trip.  I even had a vegan baking session with my 11 year old niece Toria.  She wants to be a pastry chef and made some amazing treats with her Auntie Koko.  God was it good to be back!



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