It’s dark and blustery today as we scan the skies for the storm that’s supposed to be heading our way. I’m taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to get outside and plant and harvest, putting the last of my winter garden in.
I dug four plots and planted sugar snap peas and regular peas, yellow beetroot and red and white striped beetroot, and a whole lot of purple carrots. I always need purple carrots for medieval events since the orange variety wasn’t in existence in the 12th century, so I plant heaps to make sure I have enough. Everything is tucked in the ground, watered in well, with a light mulch to protect them in case this storm is worse than anticipated.
Then I harvested. I love how big, leafy plants can hide so many delicious things! Heaps and heaps of eggplants in all sorts of shapes and colours, adorable patty pan squashes, and even a few tomatoes. Seeing them all piled together makes me so happy.
My radishes are going berserk, so today I half-filled a basket and will roast them for dinner with olive oil, salt, and fresh thyme. Normally I roast the green tops too – but these days I save them for our piglets knowing that any good thing they ingest will become even better bacon, ham, and sausage down the road.
Last but not least, I harvested chilies, or peppers, which is what I grew up calling them. There are banana peppers and chipotle peppers, poblanos and regular red chilies. I’m excited to roast the poblanos, smoke the chipotles, and turn all those banana peppers into a sweet chili sauce.
In between harvesting and planting I take breaks to rest and read and take notes. I’m adding a few new medieval medicines to my repertoire this year, and am having fun deciding which ones to make. I’ll definitely be making some tinctures, and a few concoctions with valerian root and arrow root. I will definitely NOT be making these two I discovered while researching medieval Netherlands:
Healing Froth: Soap the skull of a person who dies violently, mix the froth with two spoons full of human blood, a little lard, linseed oil, and some cinnamon. Drink.
Ward off Fever: Fill a nutshell with spider heads and wear on a string around your neck to keep fevers at bay.
While those medieval folks had plenty of fantastic remedies that did and do work, these horrors are not among them. Shudder.