Bill and the kids went crabbing and fishing yesterday while I was at work and while the crabbing was a flop, the fishing was most definitely not. They came home with a whole mess (technical term – “whole mess”) of good-sized skipjacks. They’d only brought two poles, because at first Julia wasn’t interested, but once the fish started biting, she was in. And two poles was plenty, because at one point they were bringing a fish in with every cast.
Bill and Alex filleted all the fish, and then Bill skinned all the fillets. He also made a stock with spines and tails. We ended up with 2 lbs, 10 oz fish, which is pretty cool. We froze the 2 pounds in ziploc bags (1 lb ea) along with some of the stock.
I breaded and fried the remaining 10 ounces, which we had as part of our dinner.
Speaking of freezing things, I kind of went nuts for a few weeks, cooking in bulk and freezing future meals, or portions of meals. As a result of that insanity plus fishing, clamming, crabbing, and Bill’s eight thousand veggie burgers, our freezers are rather packed and we need to start eating some of the stuff before we freeze anything more.
Fortunately we don’t need to freeze winter squash.
We picked some squash yesterday, and we’ve still got a bunch outside to collect. Here’s a picture of what we brought in:
Had to stand on a chair to get this. Sorry about the picture quality.
Anyway, we’ve got a nice variety going on here, there are a couple of Long Island Cheese Pumpkins (the two big ones), sometimes called Cinderella pumpkins, one Galeux d’eysines (the warty one near the top of the basket), some butternuts (underneath, in the basket), some butternut-black futsu hybrids (there’s one in front of the two cheese pumpkins , and some that I don’t really know what they are but they could also possibly be some sort of hybrids (the pear shaped ones, like the two behind the cheese pumpkins and in front of the basket). We’ve got more outside, like I said, including some Musque de Provence, which are also shaped like the cheese pumpkins, but are currently green-and-turning-orange.
The smaller of the two cheese pumpkins in the picture above weighs thirteen pounds. I’m guessing the bigger one is maybe fifteen or so. And at least three of the Musque are in that weight range as well. So while we probably don’t have as many as last year, what we lack in quantity we’ll make up for in weight.
And of course, I’m already thinking ahead to next year and what new variety I want to add to the mix.
I really want something blue. Maybe a hubbard….
But we’ll talk about the harvest part first.
I picked 3 purple tomatillos the other day. I feel like I’ve waited SO long for them to turn purple – I deserved to see how they looked on the inside, now that they’re properly purple (well, these three) on the outside.
And this is how they looked. Some purple, some green. I’m wondering if they’d become purpler on the inside as they age. I think they would, just because that one on the right, the most purplest of all, was more purple inside than the other two. But not by a lot, so who knows.
Anyway, since there were only three, and it was Taco Night (postponed from the previous night, which I’ll get to in a minute), I made a little bowl of fresh salsa using these, a bit of onion, a bit of jalapeno, and three White Tomasol (tomatoes). And some fresh cilantro. Everything but the onion came from the garden.
The jalapeno had this cute little curly thing sticking out of its skin. A curly jalapeno skin tag. Just thought I’d share.
Here’s the salsa:
Delicious and colorful!
We’re also picking tomatoes – mostly cherry tomatoes. Sadly, our larger tomatoes have lagged far behind. They’re starting to ripen now, but I’m not sure how many we’ll get before it’s too cold.
We grew beans this year – two kinds – the kind you eat now, and the kind you let dry out so you can use the dried little beans to make soup or baked beans or something.
And sometimes they blend into one variety, like when you totally neglect your red noodle beans and they get way too big to enjoy – too fibrous – so you dry them out instead. Not sure if we’ll cook them or just save the seeds for next year.
The other beans in the picture below (besides the fading red noodles) were grown for drying. We’ve been picking them as they dry, and we’ve got a jar in the cupboard where we collect the dried beans. Eventually we hope to have enough for a single batch of…something.
AND – I’ve saved the scariest vegetable for last -
ATTACK OF THE RUTABEGAS!
I’ve got today off, and I’d told Bill yesterday to pick any root vegetables he wanted me to roast today. We’ve got a few beets, some kohlrabi, and, now, THESE.
The picture doesn’t do them justice. They’re huge. And a few minutes ago I moved them – this basket and the peacock tailfeather leaves – from that counter to another spot in the kitchen, and they were HEAVY.
Julia was terrified.
So that’s the harvest part.
No – wait – one more picture. I just took this one – of the roots.
There. I’m done. Well, Bill picked a bowl of tomatillos, too, but they’re the green ones, so…eh. No picture.
Now for the blood.
I’ve got one incident, one story, and one STORY.
Incident first – yesterday Julia was rollerblading and she fell (she was long overdue), and got herself a huge raspberry on her thigh. She cried, Bill managed to bandage it up with what we had (nothing that big), and she was eager to show it to me by the time I got home from work last night. It’s a bit stiff today, but it’s not deep at all, and there’s no gravel or anything embedded in it.
Now, the story.
Friday night was supposed to be Taco Night. I made the salsa after work, and Julia and I went to the store to get a few more things while Bill went to watch the last part of Alex’s baseball practice. We’d probably eat around 7:30 or so, but that was okay, it was Friday and I was the only one who had to work in the morning.
Julia and I pulled into the driveway and I was surprised to see that Bill and Alex were already back. They’d just arrived a few minutes before us, and Bill had that somber look on his face that he gets when one of the kids has a scrape or cut or any sort of injury. Turns out Alex hurt his thumb. Well, no, first he got hit in the side of the knee, and that hurt, but some time after that, Alex was playing third and (shortish version) the kid running back to third (in a pickle between third and home) knew he wasn’t going to be safe anyway, so he didn’t slide. He ran straight into Alex. Alex had caught the ball thrown from home and had his glove hand up, ready to tag the other kid. The kid ran into his hand and bent Alex’s thumb waaaaaaaaay back. It must have hurt so much…
Alex put his glove back on and finished the inning.
He held back the tears til he and Bill were on their way home.
You know, because there’s no crying in baseball.
Anyway, I took a look and the whole thumb was pretty swollen. Bill kept looking at me with his funeral director face, and he’d hover there, asking “so what do you think?” every minute or two. Alex couldn’t bend his thumb at all, so – field trip! – off we went to the emergency room, to make sure it wasn’t broken.
Two hours later we were heading home. No break, according to the x-rays. Alex had a splint on and was told to ice it often and no baseball for a few days. And if it wasn’t better by Tuesday, we should see his regular doctor.
It’s funny, but Alex and I have a good time hanging out in the ER. We’ve been a couple of times over the past bunch of years. The other times were asthma issues. We talk. He’s nice to talk to. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s just nice to know that we have a good little mother/son relationship.
And he told me he was glad I was there with him. I think he said something like “Moms are more caring…” – not that Bill isn’t caring. I think Alex meant nurturing. Or something along those lines. I try to be calm and relaxed and keep an “everything’s going to be all right” tone. Bill’s is more of an “Oh my GOD! That looks like it HURTS!” kind of caring. So it’s best I do the ER trips. Plus I like medical stuff.
Anyway, that’s that story. Alex is on the DL for a bit, and we’re going to see the Dr today because his thumb is still pretty swollen and while I have a feeling it’s still just a sprain, I figure it’s best to be sure.
But basically, he’s fine.
And now, the STORY.
** A word of caution: If you don’t like to hear about blood, skip this one. **
Okay. So you know how Bill’s been on a crabbing mission lately? He’s brought home I don’t know how many crabs now, and we cook them up, eat what we want and freeze the rest for some future meal. Well, a few weeks ago or so, he and Alex went crabbing/skipjack fishing at one of their spots. They were using both chicken legs and skipjack carcasses for crab bait, I think, and the technique was to tie the bait to a piece of rope, toss it out into the water and let it sit there til a hungry crab scuttled near and started feasting. Then they’d gently, gently, ever-so-gently pull the rope (and feasting crab) closer and at just the right moment, blindly (the water in this spot is kind of murky) scoop down into the water with the net and hopefully catch the crab.
Got all that? Good.
So this one day Bill and Alex went crabbing and fishing. I think they were fishing near a marina…off a dock. I think they came home with a little of both – 5-7 crabs and about the same number of skipjacks. Or I could be off on the number of fish. I don’t remember – sometimes it blurs together. That part isn’t important to the STORY anyway.
Anyway, during this whole adventure, Bill needed to jump into the shallow water, I think to go after a crab that had eluded his net. He doesn’t like it when they refuse to be caught.
The water, as I said, was pretty shallow there, but the mucky muddy sandy surface below was very soft and mushy, and when he jumped in, wearing his flip flops, his feet sank down deep. When he took a step, he lost his footwear.
That was unfortunate, but he also had to walk in the muck, which was littered with rocks and bits of shell and probably broken glass. He found a large rock he could stand on, and had Alex fetch his junky sneakers from the truck. He’d already felt some cuts to his feet and he didn’t want to risk any more. Somehow, balancing on the rock, he got his sneakers on, and crabbing continued.
When he got home, he showed me the catch, but, more importantly, he showed me the life-threatening injuries he’d sustained.
There was a nasty cut on one heel, and on the other foot, a cut right on top of his big toe. I told him to clean them both and put some Neosporin on. And I went back to whatever cooking I was doing at the time.
We were both busy for a while, he pulling things from the garden and putting together his crab boil seasonings, me…cooking something. I don’t remember. But we were both in the kitchen. And both walking around barefoot – the norm for me; rather unusual for Bill.
Anyway, he said he noticed the floor seemed wet, but figured it was water from the various food-related goings-on.
Until he looked down.
And saw the puddles – of blood.
Yes, blood. He gently brought it to my attention by shrieking.
His toe, which he’d slathered in antibiotic ointment, was…leaking. I figure the cut wasn’t able to scab over because of the ointment…so it had been spilling blood as Bill walked around the kitchen.
I looked down at his toe and yep, blood was pouring down on each side, kind of like a gentle volcano.
And then blood SPURTED out of his toe. Yes, SPURTED. Right out. In a graceful red arc.
And I shouted “Cool!” as my husband expressed more concern and shrieking. Okay, not shrieking. More like “Aaaah!” In a terrified tone of voice.
And my first impulse, as I watched the intermittent Monty Python sketch-like spurting of the blood from my beloved husband’s toe, was “I need to get my camera!”
Yes. I thought it was cool, and I wanted to take a picture of it.
These thoughts, combined with my husband’s pale, horrified expression, triggered wave after wave of, yes, laughter.
Just for the record, I didn’t grab my camera, so there are no images of the event. (I also, all in the space of a nanosecond, realized I’d have to take a series of pictures in order to (hopefully) get a decent mid-spurt shot, and that such callous behavior might not do my marriage any favors.)
I did, however, spend minutes and minutes just now to create a life-like artistic rendering of the spurting. Julia was my technical critic and she gave the picture its title.
Here you go:
Okay, his heel isn’t that pointy. But otherwise, it’s pretty accurate.
Now, lest you think I am completely heartless, I did tell Bill to sit down, I applied pressure, elevated the wound, cleaned it up and bandaged the toe. No amputation necessary. He looked nauseous at one point, so I urged him to look away.
I couldn’t help the fact that I kept laughing the whole time.
I tried to stop, really I did, but…well, I’d never seen anything like it before. Bill was the one who made the Monty Python reference. It just looked so…fake.
I think I was still giggling when we cleaned up the puddles.
Bill has recovered from his injuries and should finish up toe rehab in another week.
We grew green tomatillos last year, and this year we’ve also got a purple tomatillo plant! At first the fruit was green, which led to confusion and speculation that the seeds got mixed up or something, but we waited, and they started turning purple!
So excited to make purple salsa when we get enough of them!
A couple of days ago Bill and the kids and Bill’s friend and one of his kids went crabbing. Gone are the days when crabs were the occasional bonus goodies brought home in addition to the major prey – the clams, the bluefish.
Now, we are The People Who Hunt the Savory Beautiful Dancers of the Sea. Well, of the Bay. And I haven’t even been hunting for them myself. (Because of course I am The Woman Who Tends the Hearth) (okay, enough with that silliness….)