Snakes, a Recipe, & Aquaculture

Posted on February 28, 2014

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Our snake friend is back!

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We love having guys like this around since they help keep our pest population down. I came across the shed skin near the fence in our yard and meant to bring it in to show the kids, but it needed to dry and I managed to forget it outside and it got rained on and ended up ruined. Oh well. I think this is a mama snake because I had one slither right past me the other day near the herb bed out front and it was much smaller than this one. Baby snakes!

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I’m not by any means a snake person. I have a friend who has worked with king cobras and I have total respect for that, but don’t expect to ever see me voluntarily in the face or near the tail of a venomous snake. My respect for them means I don’t go anywhere near them. I only got close enough to this fella to photograph him, but even still, knowing he can’t kill me doesn’t mean I want to incur the wrath of even a small snake bite. We appreciate the pest control in the garden and knowing that our tiny ecosystem is healthy enough that all manner of creatures want to be around.

St. Pete has mulch again. We found our friend when we mulched our most inefficiently used corner of the yard where I’m sure she was living. We think she’ll make a fine new home in the mulch and enjoy all the cockroaches, palmetto bugs, and other insect life I’m sure the mulch will attract and harbor in the lower layers as it breaks down. More loads of mulch are on the agenda for the weekend, in addition to (hopefully) building a raised bed for the kids at work. Several of the teens have taken a keen interest in wild foraging – to the extent that they have been picking smilax tips on the way home from the bus stop to sautee up in the kitchen as their afternoon snack! We’d love to coordinate with a more educated wild-harvester in the area to get a legit plant walk going somewhere for them, since Nate has piqued their interest and we want to keep that going.

I brought up two sets of 5 gallon buckets set up as worm bins. We started with one, but it was full of scraps within an hour, and we had almost another buckets worth waiting on worms. We could have a killer compost pile with the scraps from 30 people, but I feel it’s wise to start small and show them we’ll keep it going and use what the worms give us from those.

I want to share a tatsoi recipe we used for a birthday recently. We grilled up 2 rabbits, onions, and made this recipe for tatsoi. I added in small red peppers (mild to sweet in their heat level) when sauteeing, and we didn’t have any cheese to go on top, so we ate it relatively plain, but I can see why cheese would be awesome on it.

Browned Butter Pasta with Tatsoi
serves 2 (we served 7, just had less tatsoi and more pasta in the mix)

Pasta, cooked al dente
1/2 stick unslated butter (used closer to 3/4 stick)
salt and pepper
2-3 bunches tatsoi (or other asian greens should work as well)
1/2 c. chopped sage (I mixed regular with purple)
fresh parm (we omitted)
lemon wedges (we omitted, recipe lists as optional)

When pasta is almost done, melt butter in skillet. Swirl in pan as it foams. When butter browns, toss in pasta and coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Add tatsoi and sage, cooking until greens are wilted, appx. 1-2 minutes. Plate and serve with parm and lemon (or not, in our case).

Currently reading Paradise Lot by Eric Toensmeier and it inspired us to put back in our pond (not in the duck coop this time) and try to grow some edibles in it – I already have Acorus calamus (Sweet Flag) that I grew from seed a while ago and was just living in a 5 gallon bucket and our water hyacinth from when we had the duck pond circulating, but we’d like to try lotus. Anybody know if there’s a difference taste-wise between Chinese Lotus and American Lotus? They’re both edible, but Eric T. talks about Chinese Lotus whereas Green Deane talks about the edibility of the American Lotus. Just a personal preference? Availability? If you know anything about this, hit me up!

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