Monday, January 26, 2015

5 Very Important Lessons in Country Living

I scraped my knee climbing a tree in my backyard this weekend. I think it's been about 30 years since the last time I made a statement like that. What was I doing hoisting my booty up a tree? Trying to prune it. "How to properly prune a fruit tree" was just one of several lessons I learned over the weekend...

Lesson 1: Pruning fruit trees is surprisingly relaxing.
Before I decided to scale the trunk of one of the apple trees, Mr. W gave me a quick tutorial on how to properly trim up the bare branches. He borrowed a book from our neighbor—and of course then had to invest in his own book so that we could become expert pruners.

Much like weeding, I found the pruning process totally meditative and wonderful. Being outside in the warm January sun, inspecting every little branch for overlap and dead wood was a really nice way to start a Saturday. And when I climbed the apple tree to reach the really tall branches, it kind of woke up a sleeping little kid inside me. It was so fun, I decided to climb one of our pink peppercorn trees too.

Lesson 2: Trying to remove deer/bird netting from fruit trees is the worst thing ever. 
Sometime over the spring or summer, Mr. W decided to drape netting over some of the trees to prevent deer and birds from nibbling on our fruit. Fantastic idea.

Until we had to take it off to prune the trees.

If the Tazmanian Devil spun fishing line around a teenage girl with five wads of gum in her hair, it would have been easier to untangle than that stupid deer netting... NEVER AGAIN.

Lesson 3: Homegrown fruit and veggies should be inspected very carefully before consumption.
We've been trying to grow purple cauliflower in our sideyard garden and although it's been looking a little spindly, we decided to cut it and roast it to eat with a little mushroom risotto Friday night. It was so pretty in the bowl after I washed it, I decided to post a picture of it on Instagram.

It tasted so good. And then Mr. W picked up the pan we had used to roast it.

And he discovered a caterpillar wormy thing baked onto the pan.


More horrifying: Wondering whether there were other worms actually baked directly onto the cauliflower that we ate.

I just threw up in my mouth.

Lesson 4: Chickens should not be left alone for prolonged periods.
I didn't learn this lesson over the weekend, but I thought I'd share it anyway. Typically when we let the chickens free range in the yard, we either stay there with them or check on them continually.

I discovered why this is a good practice when I turned my back the other day and then turned around to see Samantha (my favorite girl) dangling upside-down from one of our planter boxes with her toenail stuck in a crack along the edge of it.

She had been walking around on the planter and when she went to hop off of it, apparently her toenail had other plans.

I panicked and raced to her rescue, ready to forge a chicken cast out of Elmer's glue and paper towels and rig up some tiny crutches for her. But fortunately she was okay.

So that's reason #1 for babysitting the chickens. Reason #2 is that those little buggars mow down all our veggies when we're not watching...

Lesson 5: Meyer lemon sauce might be the yummiest pasta topper ever.
When Mr. W and I were on our honeymoon, we fell in love with a lemon pasta dish we had in Capri. Mr. W, being the industrious kitchen mad scientist he is, figured out how to sort of recreate it with the Meyer lemons from our backyard.

And it is so delicious. Especially with homemade pasta. And a little white wine (I think we had Consilience Roussanne with it on Saturday).

Here's a very unscientific recap of the recipe:
4-5 handfuls of pasta
about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
about 2 Tbs Meyer lemon zest (or, the zest of 2 Meyer lemons)
the juice of half a Meyer lemon
about 5-7 chopped basil leaves
about 2 Tbs olive oil
Boil pasta and reserve some of the pasta water (a few Tbsps). Mix together lemon sauce ingredients. Mix cooked pasta with sauce and heat slightly in a pan, adding pasta water to thin it slightly. Serve with even more Parmesan on top. Buon appetito!


  1. Shall I pop some in the mail for you? :)

  2. Your chickens are adorable! Would love a chicken pet...


Well, whatdya think?