Hi, fall harvest season here like everywhere else in the northern hemisphere!
Just felt like sharing some of this years harvest and canning highlights and hues, mainly red hues.
I’ll start off with my brightest highlight: roasting and pickling peppers. We have peppers in the garden but due to the wet and cool spring and extremely hot summer ours are behind when it comes to changing color. In other words: they are still green. For this project I deeded reds, yellows and orange colors so I went to the market at the hight of the pepper harvest and got 5 kilos of peppers in all shades and sizes. Back at home I got a fire going and figured out how to burn wood to get charcoals for a 40 min. roasting session. Even thought we have so much wood we still mostly grill on store bought charcoals…….. now that just does not make any sense! Unless you don’t know how to ‘do it with wood’. Well, now we know!
Roasted the peppers on all sides for the skin to give and to give them that nice smoky flavor. Placed the peppers in a large bowl which I covered with a lid so the peppers could sit in their own steam for a while. (at least 20 min) Pulled off the skins and removed the heads and seeds and cut the peppers in thin strips. The pickling mix I made contained balsamico, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar and water. I added sliced garlic and chili peppers to each jar and sliced ginger to some. The cans were processed using the hot water bath method.
We finished the 1st jar in 1 week. Yum!!!!
I don’t think we have ever had as many different tomato varieties as we have this year nor as many plants. I am counting 8 varieties and 24 plants from the top of my head. Luck has it that it is also the worst years for growing tomatoes so far with tomatoes developing late and leaving us with a bumper crop of green tomatoes. But, we have been eating delicious tomatoes, be it since the second week of august (late!!) and have so far canned: soup, tomato sauce and salsa. More to can soon because we want to ‘do something’ with all those green tomatoes. Thinking of making green salsa and pickling green tomatoes. We are also doing the ‘upside down tomato plant’ trick which is a way for tomatoes to ripen on the plant when plant-growing or fruit-ripening conditions stop being favorable.
Favorites this year are the medium sized orange and small yellow tomatoes. Both very juicy and sweet!
Back to the peppers. I have to say something about the peppers since I would not do Steven’s (head gardener this year) work justice without mentioning his/the peppers.
Maybe I should say something to the peppers since many of them are still on the plants and still need to ripen…. Dear peppers, you sparkle in our garden, spice up our dishes and brighten up our mood. It would be o so good to see you all be kissed by the sun and blush with warmth. Then we can bring your warmth into our winter and decorate our house with strings of yellow, red and orange. Just looking at you will warm our hearts. ……
Something like that.
Two peppers jump out this year: the long skinny and crunchy Jimmy Nardelo’s and Cherry Chocolate’s.
More to follow about the pumpkin, gourd and quince harvest…..
If I had one sentence to describe what my residency at Moinhos do Dão has brought me it would be this one: ‘Moinhos do Dão has awakened my senses’
Fortunately I have a few more.
After two years of being graduated from art school, I was searching for some rest and peace, in the restless career I chose for. When at home (Amsterdam) I always feel like I’m running and doing nothing at the same time. I felt I needed some time away from my beloved people and city, that bring me a whole bunch of joy and distraction.
While here I created a daily routine for myself, it went like this:
(I occasionally took a shower, checked my e-mail and did the dishes too.)
What became most clear to me during my weeks at the Moinhos, is that I feel healthier when there are less decisions to make, that beauty is always around, and that nothing is ever the same. I walked the same path to the village every day, and every day, there would be something new to see, to smell, or feel.
Every day something else would attract me to its beauty. One day it would be a leaf, the other day a plastic bottle with a bright yellow top in front of a concrete wall, and another day it would be a smiling woman with crooked teeth.
Being here has showed me again that beauty is always around, and that it’s easier to find it when there is not too much distraction. I think that as an artist it is very important to remind myself, that in moments I don’t find inspiration, all I have to do is change my focus, take a closer look, or widen my view.
Moinhos do Dão October 30th 2016.
Still full of the power, love, generosity, humor, insights, honesty, adventure and courage that was shared and experienced during the ‘Vrouwen Power Week’ (Womans Power Week) here at Moinhos do Dão between September 21st and 28th.
How lucky we are to have guests that become friends that become collaborators! Thank you Mara and Janneke for making this special week happen and share the power and inspiration to do more!
The weeks program was totally built with what the various participants wanted to share and do during the week. We had: amazing food, introductions to ‘Human Dynamics’ and The Artist Way, Yoga in the morning, Emerging in Nature moments, massages, running sessions to the 12th century monastery nearby, a moderated conversation about what it takes to have guts and hikes among other things.
There will be more editions I am sure!
From left to right: Helga, Beatrijs, Mara, Iris, Janneke, Selma, Freya, Maaike & Mariette.
For the months of September and October of 2016, the MdD is hosting Emma Levie (website), a Dutch Visual Artist, as Artist in Residence.
Emma takes inspiration from her daily surroundings and transfers these into beautiful drawings and installations. The MdD and the Dão valley region will play a part in the reflection and creation of new works.
Below is a small selection of works found on Emma’s web site:
This year is something else! Last year it was just warm and dry between February and October. Now we are getting it all: sun, rain, wind, warm, cold. Really starting to sound like a ‘farmer’ talking about the weather all the time. That’s just what happens when living so integrated with nature. We are surely feeling the spring energy ramping up and we are trying to keep up with all the seasonal changes going on. Today (April 12th) we are bracing for a storm that’s on the way and might dump 6 cm of rain in 4 days……. fingers crossed!
In the last three weeks we unexpectedly had some great help from two volunteers Aline and Duarte who contacted us through HelpX. The collaboration with them was really fluid and fun and together we got so many things done it felt like they were here for much longer than 3 weeks!
Just to enjoy and remember all the work that was done:
– Woodchipping a LARGE quantity of piles of sticks we had been saving up.
– Garden path and bed building.
– Wood management.
– Clearing out basements.
– Dogbed sowing.
– Old apple crate cleaning and sanding.
– Seeding and planting.
– Clearing pieces of our new terrain on the other side of the Dão.
– Plastics and trash removal from ‘The Island’, left by the high river of early January.
– Mimosa removal.
WOW!!!!! Thanks Aline and Duarte!