Jun 12, 2011

blackberry season

Right about now, your tomato vines need you to pick their first fruit so they will grow a dozen more. It is tempting to wait for the first red fruit, but foolish. A green tomato harvest is a must for a bountiful year. Do not succumb to red's seduction.

Instead, harvest a handful or two of the ripest blackberries you can find, toss them in oil with a chopped onion or leek, salt and a dose of dry spices. Cook to submission, then toss a layer of basil and other fresh herbs onto the pile and smother with green tomato chunks. Cook it down to a sauce. When the blackberry seeds are cooked, your sauce is done. They like it if you share your wine.

Serve the resulting sauce over pasta, fish, rice, tofu, tempeh, vegetables or meat, which you can toss into the pan if the sauce refuses to thicken. Happy green tomato season!

Jun 2, 2011

nest update

This morning the blue-headed vireos were vigorously defending their territory from a blue jay. Though it was much higher up in the trees than their nest, the pair was scolding and dive-bombing the jay, hoping to drive it off.

Unfortunately they may be protecting a young cowbird. The noise overhead roused a hungry nestling, just one, its eyes still closed. It seems too large already. Cowbird nestlings eject their nestmates, so seeing just one head is a bad sign. I checked the ground beneath the nest for evidence and found nothing, but such a morsel probably would have been found by a possum or raccoon on its nightly prowl. I fear my guests may be raising a chick that is not their own.