Fall arrived last week fast and furious, with a crazy storm that wreaked havoc on Anchorage’s trees (and our power) followed by 3 nights of hard frost a few days later. Like most Anchorage residents, Matt and I were caught off guard by the lack of power. Half-way through butchering a caribou, we needed power to grind the meat, saw the bones, turn the oven on, freeze the meat, and grind our coffee.
While Matt went out to find a generator, I wandered aimlessly around the house, finding out all the things I normally do do that involve power. The paper did not arrive, wireless internet was down, I couldn’t listen to the radio to get updates on the situation. I could not vacuum, nor do laundry, nor shower. I couldn’t mill up Graysen’s food or make toast. And all that food we had packed away in our freezers would only last two days at best. I dared not even open the fridge, not knowing when the power would come back. How did my life get so dependent on limitless power coming the wall? Me, who has travelled for months with only a backpack (and sometimes just a toothbrush) and lived on a sailboat?
Likewise, the frost hit me just as hard. I have been lulled into a false sense of security by the global warming trend and our localized trend of later and later frosts. Last year our first frost was on September 24th, almost 3 weeks later. Frost wasn’t even on my radar, much less the hard, killing frost we got. I could have put some row cover over my most fragile crops and saved them, giving us at least another week or two of precious green beans. Luckily, it seems most of the squash were ok, even though the plants were killed.
After I finished kicking myself for not watching the weather closely enough, I let myself enjoy the bright sunny fall day. I breathed deeply the cool, fresh air, the kind of air that energizes you and gives you new life. Matt and I set about the joyful task of harvesting what needed to come in. Piles of winter squash in the wheelbarrow, a small bowl of green beans, armloads of zucchini, some green tomatoes, and while the weather was still good, the potatoes.
These are the days that make a whole summer of gardening worth it. Not that I don’t enjoy the other times, but nothing compares to the satisfaction of putting your own food up for the winter. Especially when it is as easy as heaping squash into a wheelbarrow, and as satisfying as digging for buried potato treasures. When the day was done, we had 212 pounds of potatoes drying on tables in the garage, and 181 pounds of winter squash curing in our sunroom. Then I put a huge wad of thyme in the dehydrator, thanking the universe for the electricity that runs it, and went off to aroma heaven. It almost makes up for the early frost.
- 3 cup shredded zucchini
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup lightly packed shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 Tbs Olive oil, divided
- 1/4 rhubarb BBQ sauce
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1 cup brocoli florets, stems, and small leaves, chopped
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
Combine zucchini and salt in a colander and set aside for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil a 10 inch pizza pan. Lightly beat eggs in medium bowl, add mozzarella and thyme, one tablespoon olive oil, and flour. Squeeze excess moisture out of zucchini with your hands. Combine with egg mixture. Spread in pan, smoothing down and ensuring there are no holes. Bake for 20 minutes, brushing top with olive oil halfway through. Remove from oven, top with BBQ sauce, onion, bacon, broccoli and cheeses. Return to oven and bake 10-15 minutes until top is golden and bubbly.