Planting and Cooking While Bandaged (Do Not Try This At Home!)

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A last bouquet of these dinner plate dahlias, my favorite, has graced the kitchen table this week. The blooms are spectacular, and this year I actually remembered to stake them before they got too tall.

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The lemon cucumbers were not as prolific as I had hoped they’d be, but the few we got were delectable. Next year, I’ll have to scope out a sunnier spot for them, which may be a challenge now that the next-door neighbor’s maple tree is three stories high and blocks the sun all summer until noon. In retrospect, it’s probably a minor miracle that we got any lemon cucumbers at all this year! I fantasize about sneaking over there in the middle of the night with a gigantic bottle of Round-Up, and “accidentally” spilling it all around the trunk of that tree… oops, my bad! But then, what makes them think it’s okay never to prune a tree that has at least a dozen large broken branches dangling over their own yard as well as mine?

Over the weekend, I had a helping hand from DH to replant the vegetable garden with cool-weather produce. He dug out the beds and raked in the bone meal and fertilizer. I, hand bandaged and be-gloved (is that even a word?) for protection, had the onerous task of sprinkling seeds into the ground and covering them up with a half-inch of soil, and of planting seedlings into shallow holes. To be fair, I really ought to say that DH had the helping hand from me, since he did all the heavy lifting. The only thing that hurt afterwards was my pride; not such a tough cookie after all, I had to go inside and ice my hand as soon as we were finished. Yeah, I guess I have a bit of a tendency to overdo it.

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Here’s what we planted: three kinds of lettuce, two kinds of chard, radishes and beets, sugar snap peas, and tuscan kale. Yum!

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Speaking of tuscan kale, we bought some at the farmer’s market over the weekend, along with savoy cabbage, leeks, and swiss chard. Back at home, I raided the cupboard for cannellini beans and stock, and turned all those luscious veggies into this Tuscan kale and bean soup, which should warm us happily on several winter nights (since the recipe made one and a half gallons!!!):

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