Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Updates for my trip, The Garden and Studio

I'm back!. Here are the updates for my trip, the Garden and Studio:

I had a wonderful time in Maine. I didn't do much creatively. A few photos, a bit of journaling. I'm looking at the whole week as an “Artist's Date” (see Julia Cameron's Artist's Way book).

The photo above is sun set on our pond.

I went to the Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine. I had a great time. If you're ever in Maine I can't say enough about going there. There was a wonderful lecture on no digging gardening, which is something I started a few years back now. The speaker was right on about both the positive and negative issues of gardening this way.

So far though: the only negatives were slugs the first couple years; which as she pointed out, were followed by frogs, toads and snakes to eat the slugs. Emphasizing that working with and trusting the ecosystem works out in the end. Those first couple years of using this method, I had a million slugs; all testing my resolve for working co-creatively. But it's balancing out again out there.

I also, for the first time, went to the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. It was one of the best I've been through; and I've been through a lot of gardens in my life. The children's garden alone is worth the trip. Check it out even if you have no kids but if you do I'd say it's a must to go.

Garden update:
Before I left I harvested a ton of tomatoes. Froze some and will be freezing more as they ripen on the shelves. (another use for the growing shelves I made last Winter). Also froze at least 6 meals of green beans and hope to get a few more. I got three Acorn Squash (Burgess of course :) ). Not a huge harvest, like last years Butternut but it will do.

(picked up some fresh crab meat and Maine shrimp whilst I was there; froze them, packed them in ice and they are waiting to be made into cakes, chowder, stir fry and tempura)

It's time to start cleaning up the beds and getting them ready for Winter's sleep. As well as get the soil in the greenhouse ready for winter. While I was at the above mentioned fair I got seeds from the High Mowing Farm and Fedco booths. Lettuce, greens and carrots. I need to plant them this week.

The carrots I harvested a couple weeks ago are still being eaten and I have never had such sweet yummy carrots. I've had them almost every night I've cooked since harvest and I'm not sick of them yet. I even took some to Maine, with some beans and had them with my crab cakes (recipe below).

Studio update:
I've decided to go easy on myself this week in terms of an Art Challenge. As long as I do something creative then I'm on track. Yesterday I worked on both a canvas as well as three of the paper mache prints. The latter I'm trying out “rusting”. Painting with iron paint and using a rusting compound once it's dry. I saw Darlene Olivia McElroy use it in her Fiber Paste You Tube video and thought it might work great on the prints. I'll report back here when I'm done. They have to dry 24 hours between coats of paint then another 24 hours before you can put the rust on; so 48 hours total.

I finished the Artist's Way book/workshop while I was there. I have to say it was very enlightening and liberating. Not just for my artistic life but it also trickled into all the other aspects of life. I can't recommend this book enough to help kick start a creative life; not just for artistic types either. Creativity is a part of all of our lives and letting it free can only enhance our lives and lifestyles.

Next week I'll do a full Challenge; maybe canvases again. I really had a great time with those. Actually, I've had a great time with all of them. :)

And here is Tephyr's Crab Cake recipe:
(all ingredients are assumed organic; do your best)

one pound of crab meat
¾ to 1 cup crunched up crackers (saltine types are best as they absorb some moisture). Use a heavy bottomed glass or mug to crunch them in a bowl. Don't worry about some chunks.
1 egg; beaten well.
Salt and pepper,
Paprika if you like (hot to taste) Try ½ teaspoon at first. (you can sprinkle it on top at serving if you want too)
Panko bread crumbs (you'll need more or less a cup; probably more. Pour it on a plate and put to the side)

mix the first 4/5 ingredients well.
Form into patties about 2” across and 1/2 to ¾ inches thick.
You should get about 8 cakes from a pound.

Place the patties gently into the panko, gently press. Gently flip over and press again. Get as much of the bread crumbs to stick as you can but some will fall off again. Whilst you are doing this try and keep the patties together; they'll try to fall apart a bit.

Either broil until brown on one side and flip gently (5 – 10 minutes: keep an eye on them).
Or pan fry them in a small amount of oil; flipping gently.

Broiling them works well but they tend to be a bit dry.

Mix a couple tablespoons of lime or lemon juice into a cup of mayonnaise and serve on the side of the Crab Cakes. Lemon or Lime wedges work too.

You can double or divide in half.

This evolved from just making them and reading different recipes over the years.

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