A bountiful time of year

It’s wet outside, cold and raining again. Robert reminds me it’s often this kind of weather the beginning of September. Quite a few farmers got a start at combining last week – the dust was flying in barley fields, some peas were harvested and even some wheat. It will be awhile now ’til anyone gets rolling again.

Brian Hnatko's peas didn't make it into the grain bin this year. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Brian Hnatko's peas didn't make it into the grain bin this year. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

The first combines I saw in the field were threshing almost empty pea straw. A few days before, a hail storm pounded most of Brian Hnatko’s probable 50 bushel/acre pea crop onto the ground. That’s pretty discouraging. There seems to be more than the usual amount of hail storms going around the area this year. On Thursday night friends had to take shelter on their way to town – golf ball size hail damaged some house siding and wrought havoc with most mature grain fields.

For a short time each year the garden produces a prolific supply of vegetables. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

For a short time each year the garden produces a prolific supply of vegetables. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

I sent Robert’s Swiss cousin Lisbeth out for salad. She came back with a colander overflowing with the beauty and bounty of the garden – dark red beets, bright orange and yellow (yes!) carrots, green snowpeas, red onions, herbs and lettuce. It was the makings of a salad fit for a king.

Such a bountiful time of year – and so short. I want to cram each day to the full. Maybe that’s why we get the urge to can and freeze all this surplus – so as to extend summer into our long winter nights, when we open a jar of Saskatoon sauce or make a blueberry pie.

Yesterday Robert accompanied me out to the bush to pick blueberries and cranberries. Robert’s not a berry picker, but I wasn’t going alone – it’s bear country. We drove to the sand hills and then took the quad out on the trails. Crown land, it’s mostly swamp and low hills covered with blueberry and cranberry bushes, and in some places, berries. Crimson cranberries on glossy green foliage remind me of Christmas. That’s what the berries are for – wild Cranberry sauce for friends for Christmas, from Robert and Marianne Stamm (he did pick some too!).

Not just the garden - the bush also supplies us with its bounty. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Not just the garden - the bush also supplies us with its bounty. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Lisbeth’s garden Salad: (sometimes I add feta cheese, or nuts…)

lettuce leaves – whatever is available, preferably a mix. Top with:

Thinly sliced carrots

sliced red onions

Snowpeas cut into bite size pieces

Finely chopped zucchini and/or cucumbers

Sliced tomatoes

Coarsely grated beets (add to salad just before serving)

Top it all with fresh chopped herbs – parsley, chives, dill and edible flowers – calendula, nasturtium, pansey.

Serve with her special Jann dressing: (Makes about 1.5 litres)

400 ml vinegar (cidar, balsamic, herb – a mix is great)

2 onions, mid size

2 tbs. salad seasoning such as Aromat, can use seasoning salt, with Dash, etc.

2 heaped tbs. mustard

4 tbs. honey

Herbs as desired (oregano, parsley, paprika, pepper, etc)

600-700 ml oil – Lisbeth uses a mix of olive oil, nut oils, canola oil, etc

Mix for a few minutes in electric mixer. She adds a raw egg just before it’s finished.

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