After a few weeks on our new farm things are finally beginning to shape up. While I wouldn’t exactly call our household organized, most things are unpacked from boxes and put away in some fashion. I’m amazed because at first the task of setting up our new household while simultaneously caring for a toddler seemed insurmountable. Home ownership comes with its fair share of responsibility, and we certainly hit the ground running. At first it seemed like something new needed fixing or replacing every day, including the one-year-old hot water heater, the beaver system that drains the basement, a light fixture, the old dishwasher, and an ancient microwave that we ripped from the wall. To top it off Frank has been mowing nearly every evening to catch up with the overgrown grass, which was knee-high when we arrived.
Luckily we’ve had lots of help from family members. Frank’s mom stayed to help us unpack for almost a whole week after we moved in. My mom and my aunt have been invaluable as well. Not only were they here waiting to help unload when we arrived, but they came with a car full of produce, potted vegetables and herbs, and ready-to-eat meals! In fact, my aunt already had gloves on and was already pulling weeds from the perennial gardens before we pulled up. She tackled the beds in no-time, discovering some beautiful ornamentals in a sea of weeds.
On her second visit to the farm my mom brought even more plants for us. When you’re accustomed to growing your own garden, it’s difficult to suddenly find yourself with no access fresh herbs, vegetables or greens without getting in the car and driving to town. The potted plants she brought have been a lifesaver, providing us with a ready supply of fresh peppers, little yellow tomatoes, kale, basil, thyme, and chives.
One thing we haven’t been lacking is fruit. Shortly after our arrival the pears on our giant pear tree began to ripen and started hitting the ground below with an audible thud. Most of the windfalls have ended up in a giant compost heap, and it’s been all we could do to keep on top of the usable fruits. We’ve used almost every conceivable type of preservation, including frozen pear chunks, frozen pear juice, canned pear sauce, canned pear chunks in pear juice, and many, many batches of dehydrated pear rings. The pears are finally starting to slow down, but now it’s time to start preserving apples and grapes!
After all this hard work we need to slow down and relax. We’re beginning to feel the faintest promise of autumn on the evening breeze, but the days can still be hot. I love this time of year, and I like to cool down and savor the freshness in the air by sitting on the porch with a chilled drink in my hand.
Melons are abundant at the farmer’s market right now, and this Watermelon Gin Slush is a great way to use up some of that extra watermelon. You could even share this recipe with the whole family by leaving the gin out until the end. I invented this drink as a way to use a slightly overripe watermelon with a grainy, mealy texture. The melon tasted sweet and I hated to throw the whole thing in the compost, so we decided to cut it up and freeze it for later. This turned out to be the perfect way to use a melon that wasn’t so enjoyable to eat fresh.
Watermelon Gin Slush
- About 4 cups frozen watermelon chunks
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 shots of gin (3 ounces)
- Splash of cold water as needed to blend
- 1 teaspoon sugar for rims of glasses
- Mint or basil sprig for garnish
- Cut a watermelon into chunks and spread out onto a baking sheet, leaving some space between chunks. Freeze overnight. Use a spatula to remove the frozen chunks. For long-term storage, transfer to an airtight freezer container.
- Add watermelon chunks, lime juice, and gin to a blender jar. Blend until just smooth and slushy, adding water as needed to assist blending but taking care not to over-blend or water down the mixture.
- Pour sugar onto a small plate. Use a small amount of water to moisten the rims of two margarita glasses. Dip the rims into the sugar, turning until evenly coated.
- Fill glasses with the slush mixture and garnish with an herb sprig. Serve immediately.