Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tuesday Night Ukulele Class

   I managed to make it to my Tuesday evening ukulele class this week.  Its always one of the highlights of my week. Now that the Live Aloha festival is over they are back into their regular routine, although with a few less participants. At least one of the regulars has gone to Hawaii for the winter.  That sounds a lot more fun than the usual snowbird migration to Arizona. Part of the time we spend working on a few new songs and part of the time we go around the circle and play whatever songs anyone wants to play.  So far my choices have been the old cousin camp standards like Pearly Shells or Pupu Hinu Hinu. It is a lot of fun to play Pearly Shells with people who can really belt out the Hawaiian lyrics. However, it will always be more fun to play and sing it with my grandkids.  I will just have to teach some of them how to sing it in Hawaiian. I've learned a few other songs I'd like to teach them as well, such as E Huli and Aloha Hawaii.

   The canning is winding down a bit.  I've done more than 50 pints of green beans and I'm up to 7 and  a half gallons of grape juice so far. The pole beans were very productive this year.  The squirrels started raiding my little patch of Painted Mountain flour corn in the front yard and I was forced to pull up all of the stalks and harvest the corn a little early.  I husked all of the corn and took it down to the bee store to let it finish drying there. I made a little "corn crib" which I have strategically placed in front of the heat vent.  It should be fully dried within a few weeks and ready for shelling.  The squirrels apparently haven't discovered the other corn patch yet so I will let that dry down in place until they do.

   The removal of the corn stalks allowed me to do a more accurate count of my winter squash. I have five Oregon Sweet Meat, sixteen Red Kuri, and about twenty of some kind of volunteer pumpkins that came up in my Reid's Yellow Dent  corn.  The twenty pumpkins are all from one plant. They are about the same color as a butternut squash with a smooth pumpkin shape. I'm hoping they have a nice  fine textured flesh. If they turn out to be stringy I will donate them to be carved into jack o lanterns at the Trunk or Treat activity. Usually smaller pumpkins aren't stringy so I'm hoping these will be useful for pies and such. I think I grew enough winter squash this year that we could have easily lived off them throughout the winter. The plan is to give a lot of them away, but we do intend to eat more winter squash this year.  I've found at least one squash soup recipe which Linda really likes and she loves pumpkin pie.  I just need to expand my repertoire of squash recipes a bit. Linda is not into plain old baked squash so I will need to exercise some creativity in the kitchen if we are going to make much of a dent in our supply of winter squash.
Red Kuri above and volunteer pumpkins below

Oregon Sweet Meat

     Ian, one of my bee store friends, saw my little corn crib at the store. As it turns out, he is also seriously into indian corn and suggested a few more varieties to try.   Ian was raving about a variety called Floriani Red Flint. As it turns out, it is now carried by Uprising Seeds (located in Bellingham, Washington), the same place where I bought the seed for the Painted Mountain flour corn I grew this year. I'm anxious to try Floriani as it is grown specifically for polenta. This is an heirloom variety from the Sugana Valley of the Italian Alps so it will probably work well in our maritime climate.


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