Natural events: orchard edition, July 2017

Featured this month:

  • Harvesting
  • July weather
  • What are the big problems in the orchard?
  • Mammals
  • Woodpeckers
  • Japanese Beetles on:
    • Perennials
    • Annuals
    • Wild plants
  • June quiz answer
  • A few orchard insects

Harvesting this month: One of our goals is to get a steady stream of fruit from our plantings, and that didn’t quite happen in July. Blueberries normally produce in July, but they were done in June this year. Peaches produce in July; our blossoms were killed by frost, but we did acquire some from another source. Blackberries came on eventually, but yields were disappointing, in part because of damage by Japanese beetles. We ate some nice William’s Pride Apples (left photo), along with a number of slightly messed up apples (mostly William’s Pride and Initial) that dropped off the trees for one reason or another. Towards the end of the month, we had a few small bunches of grapes; the variety is Bluebell, and it has been the most vigorous of four vines that we planted a few years ago. The bunches may look a little pathetic, but given the Japanese Beetle pressure each year since they’ve been planted, along with the young age of the vines, we’re pretty excited to get anything at all. And they are really, really tasty.

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Natural events: orchard edition, June 2017

Featured this month:

  • Early June optimism
  • Late June reality
  • Japanese Beetle feeding behavior
  • Japanese Beetles over the years
  • June weather
  • Stalk Borer
  • Quiz

Early June optimism: Fruit crops were looking pretty good in early June. The blueberries began ripening ridiculously early. We actually managed to eat a handful of cherries off of our sour cherry tree, which was remarkable since we didn’t put up bird netting (on account of the cherry quantity being too low to bother). One of our young grape vines was setting nice clusters, and the blackberries were heavily blooming and setting fruit.

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Cooking with kid: Goat loin steak

[Note: This post presents a meal from about a year ago as part of the Cooking with Kid series. My goal was to cook a whole goat kid piece by piece and “to reasonably document and blog about the process in a somewhat timely fashion.” I’m still finishing up the last few posts, but my geological perspective allows me to consider this “somewhat timely”, and this dish is seasonally appropriate.]

cook_kid_steak

Steak is a rarity in our house, because most of the time we prefer meat as a condiment to vegetables. Steak pushes the veggies into condiment status, so with meat taking on the lead role, it needs to be prepared just right. As an ex-vegetarian, I consider steak to be the most intimidating meal that I’ve tried to prepare as a part of this Cooking with Kid series, in which I cook all parts of a goat. The difference between perfection and chewy awfulness is a matter of perhaps a few moments coupled with inexperienced judgment. A rubbery result would be a very unfortunate outcome for the fanciest remaining cut of Crystal: one of the loins.

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Cooking with kid: Schnitzel

[Note: This post presents a meal from about a year ago as part of the Cooking with Kid series. My goal was to cook a whole goat kid piece by piece and “to reasonably document and blog about the process in a somewhat timely fashion.” I’m still finishing up the last few posts, but my geological perspective allows me to consider this “somewhat timely”, and this dish is seasonally appropriate.]

I didn’t have an exact plan when I pulled a “piece of saddle–deboned, 11 oz” out of the freezer. The saddle is from the hips/pelvis, an intermediate quality cut, not as high end as tenderloin or loin but way nicer than neck or sides. As one of the few remaining pieces from the goat kid Crystal, I wanted to check off a few more cooking techniques and at the same time produce a delectable result. I settled on schnitzel, as it would let me pound meat for tenderization, bread it, and shallow-fat fry it.

Schnitzel with lamb's quarters and oyster mushrooms

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Cooking with kid: Ribs

Even during my vegetarian years, I salivated at the thought of ribs. I didn’t really think about the kind of animal when I thought about ribs, but there’s a good chance I was thinking about pork or beef ribs. There’s a fundamental difference between pigs, cows, and goats. The fat of the former two tastes great. Goat fat? Not so tasty. And the trick with ribs is that they’re loaded with fat. That abundance of not-so-scrumptious fat can be dealt with using an ideal method for goat-rib cooking. Unfortunately, this blog post will not reveal the details of that method.

Now, I have eaten really amazing goat ribs, prepared by someone else. The method reportedly involved a spice rub and a long, slow cook in a smoker. I’m guessing a lot of the fat had a chance to ooze out, leaving great-tasting goat meat behind. Maybe I should try that approach sometime. But that’s not what I did in this case.

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