Animals are important farm assets – here is the head of rat patrol, protecting a bucket full of cow peas.

And here is our fruit ambassador befriending an  avocado pit.

Mondays continue to be a day to focus on eating just what we have grown or foraged, but this has extended well into the rest of the week.  Every day most meals are substantially fueled by something from the land.  The basics are eggs, sweet potatoes, taro, fruit, and greens.  Every once in awhile something special is fruiting and ready, like asparagus or lychee or avocados or cucumbers.

When we have a surplus, I freeze, dry or can, so we almost always have plenty of bananas (frozen or dried), coconut milk, lilikoi and poha jam, frozen lilikoi, cane syrup, hot pepper, and cacao nibs.

Beans, especially the perennial lima bean, yard long bean, and purple bean, are the most reliable vegetable, being fairly disease-resistant and having the bonuses of providing protein and fixing nitrogen in the soil.  We are harvesting cow peas that we planted in June or July. They are fast-growing and so prolific that I feed the excess greens to the rabbits (although I should use as mulch for our poor constantly depleting soils.  But the bunnies love them so!).

Purple beans – seeds we recently got at the Honoka’a seed exchange. Maybe called Purple Wonder beans? Which they ARE! Delicious when young – these pods are to be saved for seed.

Cowpeas. We ordered these from a catalog to use as an N-fixing and edible quick groundcover to throw down when soil is bare, for chicken food as well as for us to eat.  They grew fast!  Tasty but they are small and you have to shell them except when very small. The chickens love them and can open them and eat them whole, and this is looking like a major crop for them.   We’ll see how well the next generation grows.

We finally have the wonderful wing bean! Ate one of these with dinner, and it was delicious (the bean seed and vegetable around it, but not the husk). We’re saving the rest for seed. I would have had to pick a much smaller one to eat the crunchy outside.

The most reliable leafy greens are the edible hibiscus and Okinawan spinach.  Chaya is still struggling along but finally we are getting some ones that are thriving; katuk has disease but is doing okay; moringa is also struggling, possibly because of the wet area it is planted in.

Mmm, freshly grated cacao nibs with coconut milk and cane syrup 🙂

Today I had a nice Monday treat of Kamaee Farm hot chocolate.   That little concoction charged me up for the morning!  There’s a nice activating amount of caffeine in there… theobromines… or something else, not a jittery charge but I did get very talkative.

We had the lucky combination of a big ripe avocado that fell from the tree yesterday and having harvested Bun Long taro in the garden.  Bun Long (also called Chinese taro) cooks much more quickly than other taro, as it is very low in oxalates*, making it ideal for chips.  It is beautiful with purple streaks in the corm.  The leaf, which is very tasty and tender, has a purple pico, the little spot on the leafblade where the leaf stem attaches. The stems are also purple.

The purple streaks in Bun Long taro make cool designs when cut crosswise for chips.

Here’s a picture of Bun Long growing in our garden. The plants don’t get very large, compared to some taro.

Bun Long in our garden.

A larger Bun Long corm. Also, a typical view of our counter. Lilikoi, avocadoes, a coconut, hot peppers, band-aids, antibiotic cream, papaya seeds.  I have three band-aids on my fingers at the moment.

The small corms were nice for making chips because it was easy to make thin slices (and safer for ma fingahs).

Here’s something I have learned about how to cut an avocado if you have concerns about how sanitary the skin is; for example, if you found it lying on the ground and are not sure who or what has crawled slimed or slithered over it.

To open an avocado without dragging whatever bacteria are on the outside, in, start by pushing off the stem remnant.  Insert your knife at the little spot where the stem was.

Poke your knife down until it hits the pit, then pull it with an upward cutting motion around the entire avocado, slicing it in half.

That’s it.  (Sorry i didn’t take a nice concluding photo showing it split open.  It really doesn’t look that different than any other cutting method, so I think you’ll do fine with these two photos.)

*This website seems to have good information about oxalate content in taro and how to reduce it.

http://taro.wikispaces.com/

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