Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Off-the-Grid Vegetables

This post comes to you courtesy of the magic redwood grove wi-fi of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur, California. My lovely Zoe and I took off on a coastal sojourn to be among the mists, cliff sides, creeks, and cypresses, to witness "the face of creation as God intended it," as Mr. Miller once raptured. We've been tucked away at a yurt village and campsite called Treebones, a former lumber mill perched on hills overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific south of Big Sur. Besides their yurts, which have given rise to endlessly indulgent travel writer word play ("Flirting With Yurts," "Get a Yurt!," "Yearning for Yurts?," "Yurts: what goes around comes around . . . and around"), Treebones's other sophisticated hippie attraction is its off-the-grid status--qualified by its own water supply, three septic fields, clean energy fueled by two propane-burning turbines whose exhaust heats the pool, hot tub, and floors, plus an on-site fire suppression system (don't ask me how this works but a sign in the bathroom explains this all). On top of this, much of our dinner last night came from their organic garden perched over the sea, pictured above.

The usual fall/winter suspects abound in the Treebones garden: sprawls of squash, brassica rows in various states of growth (kales, chards, broccolis), lettuces, carrots, pockets of nasturtium.

Here is some exciting purple basil that Zoe imagined making deep purple pesto from:

And a spiky, slightly bitter green that looks to me like mizuna, though maybe a more astute Weird Veg reader can properly identify this for me (the wwoofer in the garden couldn't confirm my guess):

Perhaps the most dramatic members of this garden community were the matured brussels sprout stalks, like tiny trees or giant broccoli, depending on your starting perspective. These were stripped bare of their brussels-adorned branches and mostly there to dazzle visitors with their strange, pale green glory. Their tops look like collard greens, but the garden worker said they were too tough for people to like and mainly fed to horses. I didn't have a chance to ask the horses what they thought.

As we left the garden, this bird on wire saluted us in farewell. Hummingbirds seem to be the official spirit animal of the California Wild Coast. They've been buzzing their iridescent bodies onto fence posts and succulent stems, between the branches of persimmon trees, all the while kissing flowers and each other brazenly before our delighted faces.

I began this post at the Henry Miller library but had to break off while we moved on to dinner--we had planned on the famous Nepenthe but decided instead to huddle in the candlelight under the low Norwegian ceilings at the cozier, woodsier restaurant at Deetjen's. And now I bid you goodnight as we adjourn from the fireside at the Treebones lodge and retire to our humble tent on the cliffside. Let us all dream of waterfalls and tender artichokes and awake to waffles in the morning.

1 comment:

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