So, I forgot to take a rice field photo for March, but really March looked a lot like February. You didn’t miss much.
Now it’s pretty exciting because the rains have started. It’s not raining everyday and never all day, but just enough to get a some water into this field. People are starting to plant corn in their upland fields.
I didn’t know how easy it was to grow black beans. I just thought they were the sort of thing that you have to buy. Well, it is easier to buy them because then you don’t have to spend time shelling them. Plus, it would take a lot of land to grow the amount of beans we eat. Still though, growing our own is kind of fun and it’s amazing to pop open the pod and see dried black beans, looking just like beans from a bag. Actually these beans are better quality than the beans we usually get because they’re so fresh. Also, growing beans improves the quality of soil in your garden. Continue reading
James is trying to grow a different variety of passion fruit in the garden. Up here in the mountains, we have a small variety that tastes great, but doesn’t make a lot of juice. This is the larger variety of passion fruit, which grows in Vientiane.
So far, our vine has produced less than 10 fruits and some flowers that might turn into fruit. Aren’t the flowers crazy beautiful?! We hope our passion fruit vines will give us lots of passion fruit juice!
Posted in garden, produce
Tagged drink, flower, garden, juice, Laos, passion fruit, rainy season, tart, variety, vegan, vegetarian
Canning tomatoes reminds me of a small dark room in my grandparents’ basement. It had 2 walls lined with shelves that were full of canned things. I think I remember pickled okra, sweet pickles, dill pickles, tomatoes, and peppers (there was probably more too). My Grandma also had a deep freezer in that room. She grew lots of tomatoes and probably had to can them to deal with the quantity. We’ve tried twice to grow tomatoes here, but it hasn’t worked, so I canned some tomatoes from the market. In the dry season, it’s too dry and cold for tomatoes and in the rainy season, it’s too wet and buggy! This time I only canned 2 kilos, but next time I would can more to be more efficient with the water and energy used in processing the jars.
Once again, I went to the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for directions on canning. I used this recipe: Whole or Halved Tomatoes. I don’t know why the recipe specifies that the lemon juice should be bottled. Maybe it has something to do with regulating acidity. I don’t have bottled lemon juice, only juice from lemons, so I used vinegar instead to be on the safe side.
Posted in Canning, garden, produce, vegan, vegetarian
Tagged canning, food, garden, grandma, rainy season, recipe, tomato, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian
James has been doing a lot of work in the garden over the past month and the results are starting to show. It’s the end of the rainy season, so it’s a great time to start planting vegetables that would have drowned if you planted them 2 months ago (like lettuce, cilantro, dark leafy greens, green onions . . .)
So far the most exciting part of our garden is the okra – “tua lek” in Lao. It’s kind of funny that there’s a word for it in Lao because most people have never seen it or heard of it.
Posted in Cats, garden, Lao culture, produce
Tagged basil, garden, guandules, lime, luffa, okra, pigeon peas, rainy season, vegetable
Okay, it seems I jumped the gun yesterday . . . it isn’t the rainy season yet. James told me this soon after I posted yesterday, and it was confirmed when I asked a friend of ours who has been living in SE asia for 30 years. He said in Thailand, they call this “the mango rains” – something about the mango trees needing a little rain at this time of year. So during February and March, it might rain occaisionally, but it’s not really the rainy season. How silly of me! I guess I’m still learning since I’ve only been here for the start of 1 rainy season!
Yay! It’s the beginning of the rainy season! The rainy season in Laos isn’t very predictable and it’s not going to rain non-stop now that it’s started. But I’m pretty sure that today is the day because it has rained about 2 or 3 hours already. 2 nights ago there was a short drizzle and there was a light rain about 3 weeks ago. Before that it had been months since it rained!
The reason I’m glad it’s raining is that it’s been so dry, dusty, and smoggy recently. On my bike rides I’ve barely been able to see the hills around the city and my throat has been sore from all the stuff in the air. People burn their fields before the rainy season to get rid of weeds, and the smoke has made the sky so dreary! I’m looking forward to beautiful mountains and clear air tomorrow.
Also, we started a vegetable garden about a month ago and some of it is doing quite well! I hope to post some pictures of it soon.