Friday, December 2, 2011

Dang! I forgot the Fava Beans!

Dang!  I forgot the Fava Beans!

You know how when you're setting up your seasonal plantings, you try to remember what really performed well in past years (if you are wise you have a garden journal of sorts to refer to) so that you're sure to get some of those plants started for this year's production?

Well, this fall I remembered the lettuce, the pak choi, the arugula, the beets and the onions/garlic bed... but... I forgot to plant the fava beans. 

I got some fava beans a few years ago from a gardening friend who claimed that these were beans you could grow through the winter here in Virginia Beach.  Skeptical?  Yep.  But I planted them.  And they came up in the fall and they struggled on in the colder months, with the occcasional blanket of an old sheet for truly nasty nights, even through the snows.

When warm weather arrived - way before I could put out anything more tender than bitter greens - I noticed the flowers on the fava beans.    The leaves grew larger and the early bees were ecstatic to have the white and deep purple flowers when they came out for a little nectar on warm afternoons.

And then it got cold again and they sort of wilted down and, to tell you the truth, I didn't really pay any mind to the whole project.

And then one day, I turned over the floppy plants in the bed -

no, I hadn't staked them worth a darn - it was winter all this time... I wasn't really paying attention....

And there were all these beans!!!!

I'm not talking measley little beans, either.

Big FAT fava pods.

And I still had no idea how to cook them.  I read all the recipes, which were very involved and included getting the beans out of the pod, pre-steaming, removing the inner "skin" of the beans... and THEN cooking the beans.  Whew!

I did it once, we weren't wowed and I gave the entire harvest to the chickens who most definitely were wowed.

Not another thought until I mentioned it last year to a couple of chef-type friends of mind.  "FRESH FAVA BEANS???" they cried in anguish.   Turns out I had tossed a very expensive, fresh gourmet treat to those chickens, one that is very hard for chefs to get here.  Upon duress - meaning they cried on me for an hour - I promised to plant more favas for them this year.

I forgot.  Oooooh, dear.  I wonder just how late it is in the fava's internal calendar. <sigh> I guess I can only hope they forgot... Just like I did.   Did anyone get favas in this fall?  The seeds are hard to find but Bill usually has them at the Grow Italian website.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Can You Find the Peacock?

Just came in from checking on the chickens and peacocks.  Bonus credit if you can find the peacock in the trees behind the chicken coop.  (Extra credit - the little roundish blob to his upper right is his mate, Q, already balled up against the cold of the evening.) 

See the contrails?  Well, admire this:

See that tiny bright crescent in the middle?  The moon!  Also this evening, up above the peacocks. Can you tell our farm is on a human flyway? It's not just the waterfowl winging through this time of year.

What's really amazing is the sound of geese moving so high up you can barely see them, following the same intuitive path that our navigation can only hope to emulate.

Oh, and you get more bonus credit if you'd like to guess in which direction the Charlotte airline hub is located.... <laughing>

Anyway, back out to finish closing up - couldn't resist a couple of photos though.