Mild December

December 8, 2012

It seems like the temperature has been about ten degrees above normal this year. On average Chicago gets around nine inches of snow in December, but we have not really seen any on the ground this year in our yard.  We did have rain last night and more is predicted over the next days.  This is helpful as the autumn has continued warm and dry after the summer drought.

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The sun rises about the time I go to work in the morning.  One morning as I went out to my car I saw this sunrise over the oak trees on our street.  Otherwise it is dark when I leave and dark when I return home, so I love the weekends when I can get out and enjoy the daylight.

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Raindrops on columbine.  I wandered around this morning to see what was still growing.

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Strawberry patch.  The old leaves turn color and new leaves are growing.

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I picked up the toad house and there was a hole in the ground about one inch across.  Something is definitely living under there, but what could it be?  I have seen toads in the nearby compost pile in the winter as well as mice.  It seems like a big hole for a snake.  If I were National Geographic I could put a little camera in there….

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The swiss chard continues to grow.  We have not eaten much of it this year.  I guess we have not really found a recipe we like and it seems a little strong for our salads.  Maybe the leaves don’t taste as good when they get old.

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For us, it’s all about the kale these days.  Dan has eaten almost all the curly kale so that the stalks look like something from Dr. Seuss.  We are working on the dinosaur kale now.

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Wherever a leaf has come off the kale stalk, a new small leaf is growing.  I suppose those can be eaten eventually, too.

Cooking:  Yesterday I made a leek, potato, and kale soup with vegetable broth.  Once it was cooked I put it in the blender.  I found the recipe online and thought it was really good.  Dan had to work today so he took some with him.

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8 Responses to “Mild December”

  1. djdfr said

    I have been putting some chard in green smoothies to change from the kale. Bananas, apples, and the greens, then with kale I put flaxseed and cinnamon, with chard I put hempseed and nutmeg. When we cook the chard, we almost always have it in a white sauce to which we may add cheese or shallots and curry.
    Our kale seems to be making side shoots also. I imagine they will be edible with a bit more time.

  2. Thanks for the tips. Dan’s not eating dairy, so the white sauce won’t work. But we can try throwing some in the smoothie.

  3. I love the pictures of your garden. The little tiny kale shoots are awesome! (I read that if you mulch it well with straw, it may produce all winter. Haven’t tried that yet, myself) I’ve never eaten swiss chard, but I remember my grandparents eating it like spinach. Not the salad kind, but cooking it up in a frying pan with garlic and butter. Maybe worth a try?

  4. Yes. I have to make more effort to cook with the swiss chard. I ate a lot of it last year….

  5. Marisa said

    I love the photos of your kale. It’s not something we get much here in South Africa, but I recently read about it’s benefits and have been trying to grow some in my garden. After sowing many seeds I only have one small plant so hopefully it will grow to look like yours!

  6. I did not start the kale from seed. I bought nine little plants in one plastic package at a nursery or big box store and threw them in the ground with some water. It was probably late April. I think the variety I bought was Winterbor Kale. At least 8 survived, if not 9, so I had a lot of kale, which turned out to be great. The dinosaur ( Lacinato) kale I also bought as a plant. I guess I am too impatient to start a lot of seeds outside and I don’t have a good systems for starting them indoors yet. I don’t know that much about kale, but the plants I have seen in other yards always looked smaller. I did not pick much until the plants had grown quite a bit.

  7. adamjlucas said

    Reblogged this on Adam S J Lucas.

  8. Amazing that you still have things growing this time of year!

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