I went to the wholesale farmers market in Mount Vernon Thursday morning -- just being around all those sweet raspberries made me feel pretty good.
Farmers grow raspberries and sell them, and if they can sell them for enough money, then they can keep on farming. It is not the custom of farmers to brag on making money. That would be tempting fate. Even to admit they had a good year might bring on a plague of locusts or a punishing drought, so mainly you hear the bad news and "it could be worse."
Ray deVries farms near Mount Vernon. He's a major producer of leeks and beets and other vegetables. He has proposed a national Day With No Eating for all Americans. Ray said that most Americans could get by with skipping a few meals and that would give him a day off from farming.
On Ray's farm they don't work on Sundays, or on Thanksgiving or Christmas right now, but an extra day off would be appreciated, he said
I told him I would launch his proposal to the Frog Hospital readers and ask them "Who wants to skip a day of eating?"
Steamed Greens. Molly, my housemate, said I ought to wash out the pot with soap after steaming vegetables because it leaves a taste if I don't. She noticed this because I didn't wash out the pot with soap -- and then she made tapioca pudding, but the taste of the greens was still in it.
I told her I saw her point and I would use soap on the pot, whereas in the past I had merely rinsed it out.
It was probably the collard greens that caused the problem. They have a particularly strong scent. I grow collard greens and I give them to some friends who moved here from southern states. I call it my Feed a Cracker program. Everybody needs good greens, especially the people who have been eating them all their lives.
I also give my collard greens to genteel southerners of good breeding and refined education -- just in case they read this and think I was referring to them as Crackers.
And I share my collard greens with a family that comes from Harlem, which is located on an island at the mouth of the Hudson River. The island is known as Manhattan, the city is called New York, and my New York family loves their collard greens too.
"Feed a Cajun" is a new addition to the program. Our resident Cajun in LaConner lives on his boat at the marina.
They all get their greens. Greens are what makes America strong and free.
The lighter greens -- chard, kale, and beet greens -- are just as good and just as good for you.
In a garden, the greens produce the most food, over the longest period of time, for the least effort.
Mid-summer is a good time to think about planting a fall crop of greens. Start them now, and they will keep producing until Thanksgiving.
Housecleaning. I cleaned a trashed-out rental property this week and I discovered that housecleaning pays as well as gardening, but it's only half as hard. Heck, it's easy compared to landscaping. And you can do it in bad weather too.
I've done a lot of work on my hands and knees in the garden, so dusting off the baseboards is not too much trouble. Cleaning windows -- a breeze. Scouring the oven and scrubbing the tub -- no problem. Garages, basements, and attics -- that would be my pleasure. If you have work for me, give me a ring.
So, one way or another, Frog Hospital continues through the summer of 2010 and looks forward to an always uncertain future.
Birthday. Today is my birthday. I was born on June 25, 1946, in Evanston, Illinois. I want to thank my mother because she did all the work.
Subscriptions and Signed Copies of the Book. It used to be that you sent in $25 and did not get much more than my appreciation, but now you get a signed copy of the Frog Hospital book. This book is a treasure that will still be worth reading ten years from now.
Send a check for $25 to Fred Owens, Box 1292, LaConner, WA 98257. Or go to the Frog Hospital blog and pay with PayPal.
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LaConner WA 98257