Friday, August 24, 2007

The Garden Pests, Pie, & Summery Dishes!

Well, first a garden update. I have a small portion of my front yard dedicated to my veggie patch... nothing too fancy. I have a butternut squash, a giant pumpkin, an eggplant, some basils, some lettuce, some chards, and 5 varieties of tomatoes. Let me just edit that to say that I HAD a giant pumpkin plant. It was THRIVING! Taking over the whole yard! Full of blossoms! Sneaking its fancy little tendrils onto every other plant! Climbing up the apricot tree, for goodness sake!

So, what happened? Gophers happened! I have noticed that many of us out here in bloggy land struggle with garden pests - potato bugs, deer,more deer, squirrels... well - we've got gophers. Oh boy, do we have gophers. Just yesterday I removed 4 plants that had been eaten by gophers. It is a bit irritating because those sneaky little gophers only eat the roots... and leave all the rest of the plant to slowly wither and die. It is also irritating because they are furry and cute and I am not able to kill them. Musty says I should just think of it as my "small mammal garden" - in which case I have achieved great success.

So, the gophers ate out the root of my amazing and glorious giant pumpkin plant. I had 2 large - and growing - pumpkins and one small one. When I saw that the plant was no more, my aunt L suggested that I keep them on the vine for a while so that they could continue to suck the last bits of life out them. It seemed like a good idea. I decided yesterday to finally pick them off the dead vines and put them in our cold garage in hopes that they'll last til Halloween. But, what happened!? Look at this:

That sneaky gopher! Dug up through the ground INTO MY PUMPKIN! ate out the middle... and all made it look like my lovely pumpkin was still intact. Well, at least SOMEONE got a little beta carotene. :) This is the hole in the ground that I found when I picked that pumpkin up off its spot.

Here's what I did harvest yesterday... and there's more to come. The tomatoes are just starting, since I was late in planting them. Yesterday I picked some eggplants, some cherry tomatoes (Yum!), and some basil blossoms for my veggie broth. Aren't those eggplants pretty?

When we were up at the guitar conference last weekend, I noticed a giant blackberry patch in the parking lot... FULL of berries! You know I couldn't resist! So, after we were all packed up on Sunday evening, I spent about 20 minutes picking out in the parking lot, and quickly got about 7 cups of delcious, sweet, ripe blackberries. Of course I made a pie... ahhhhh it was delicious!

It's good that I made this lovely dessert too, because our unpredictably weird oven appears to be on its very last legs now. That is a problem, because a new oven will mean a kitchen remodel, because of the old, funky nature of our kitchen... which means the whole thing is complicated and pricey. Ugh!

Here are two delightful summery dishes - last night's "Summer Risotto with Corn, Leeks, and Tomatoes" (from "Modern Vegetarian Kitchen") & tonight's "Roasted Corn Soup" (from "Voluptuous Vegan"). Amazing how similar they look - although actually the flavors were quite different. I especially loved this soup - it's got fresh pureed corn, roasted corn, scallions, red pepper, poblano chile, tomatoes... very tasty!

By the way, I am waiting for my friend Sara to get back from her vacation, and then I will get you all that recipe for the roasted banana ice cream! I haven't forgotten you. :)

And thanks everyone for oohing and ahhing over cute little Snoopy - we think he's cute too! :)


  1. LOL at your sneaky gopher! He's a clever one...

  2. OMG, what a smart gopher! Even though you get made as hell, you have to admire his sneakiness.
    We don't have a gopher problem here in Nova Scotia, but I sure can sympathize. I'm jealous of your eggplant, though- I tried to grow it for the first time this summer and I never got anything but blossoms. ~sigh~

  3. Haha, that's a smart gopher! I wish my cat was smart like that, she could eat her way into peoples flats and we wouldn't ahve to buy her food.. umm maybe not.

    And that eggplant looks so good. I love eggplant in any form or dish!

  4. Anonymous5:21 AM

    that is a very smart gopher!!

    very pretty eggplants! also the tomatoes looks very good too.

  5. I'm so sorry about your pumpkin and your gopher problem- you know I feel your pain over here! But your garden bounty still looks fabulous.

    And... you found a blueberry bush in a *parking lot*???! I am so in awe! That is really cool!

  6. Anonymous8:07 AM

    That gopher struck the gold mine! Amazing how much damage a cute furry animal can do to a garden. Here it's a groundhog that dug under the fence around our garden and devoured most of our zucchini plant in one sitting. Fortunately a reinforced fence has held up and the zucchini seems to be coming back.

  7. Oh, that's kind of disappointing about the pumpkin mishap... but kind of cute too. And coming from someone who adores pumpkins as much as I do, that's saying something!

    Your risotto and your soup look great. Ah, I can't wait until soup weather begins!

    Best of luck with your oven/kitchen!

  8. Blackberries in a parking lot? Why don't I ever find things like that?!?!

  9. What a little stinker! Ya gotta give him credit for ingenuity though...

    Our cat sits in the garden for hours with her tail twitching... I just know she's daring the little buggers to come out of their holes... so far no gopher damage though, so maybe it's a good thing the guardian cat is there!

  10. Anonymous12:24 PM

    I'm sorry to hear about your gophers eating the pumpkins. What sneaky fellas. We have moles. They dig up huge tunnels and then when you step on the grass your feet sink. I'm afraid one of these days I'm going to twist my ankle.

    I like Musty's outlook. Small Mammal Garden. Mine right now could appropriately be called Small Insect Garden.

    Maybe the blackberry bush was Mother Nature's gift to you for taking the pumpkin. :)

    The pie looks amazing. Oh, what I would do for a sinful slice.

  11. I love your small mammal garden. Sneaky little gophers but honestly, I'm impressed- aren't you?

    The risotto & the soup look divine.


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