We returned from our second bike trip just before the first day of fall and had one more hot day at the beach.
Just after our trip we visited our Macedonian friends Vlatko and Philip Ognenovski and Vlatko's father Mishko, a retired agronomist who spent several months visiting Vlatko, a rheumatologist, before and after heart bypass surgery. We walked/biked to the local park and chatted. My Macedonian is pretty rusty as I have not spoken it much since 1980, but Mishko had some really interesting things to say about fruits and his work as a former commercial exterminator.
In late September and again in mid November we stocked up on food for the winter at the Jerusalem Market Mediterranean food store, where we bought the first fresh dates we had ever tasted . The store is run by the whole family. We bought pickled limes, zatar, cumin, dry fava beans, sesame candy, semisweet dried dates, yogurt, pomegranate syrup, a gallon of olive oil, green olives, aivar, etc. Nearby is a Chinese food store where we got dried shiitake mushrooms, dried jujubes, hawthorn leather, and frozen longans (similar to lichis). Not too far from my apartment are a Korean food store and an Indian food store and take-out place where we buy noodle flour and coconuts and sometimes fresh candy made from coconuts and milk and sugar. We have been buying gram (chickpea) flour there, which we can use instead of wheat flour and eggs for making pancakes, tempurah, and potato pancakes.
The fall farmers' market is really colorful. Here in early October are
Christina selling flowers,
Margaret selling vegetables,
Richard selling organic produce
We get our own fruit in various ways. We have a Seckel pear, with small sweet fruit which we dried in September, an apricot that used to bear fruit in July but 2 of the 3 trees died so we no longer have a pollinator, a plum tree that never bears fruit, two male persimmon trees, and a few juneberry bushes.
Jim and I each have two pawpaw trees. They are ripe in October. You can see the size relative to his hand. We pollinate them by hand with a paintbrush, biking back and forth between his yard and mine. We each got fruit on one tree.
We also pick apples by bike in mid October from our favorite tree in a parking lot south of town. They are beautiful apples , but rather full of brown spots. We found a few apples on two trees in the middle of a nearby 4-lane road, and also made applesauce from the windfall under a friend's tree. And we picked blueberries on our August bike trip. And froze market peaches. And tomato juice and lima beans, all sorts of greens, etc. Richard gives us potatoes, and we traded a computer for onions and squash.
We also buy direct from the truck through the local Blooming Prairie cooperative buying club run by Katherine and Garrik who live just around the corner. Those of us who do not have full-time jobs turn up to help unload the truck . You can see the yard full of boxes. We bought mostly 25 and 50 pound bags - wheat and rye flour, millet, garbanzos, raisins and almonds. Other people bought cases of soda, cookies, candy, granola bars, canned soup, butter, more butter, and other staples. (There is a new rumor that butter is good for you.) The truck arrives once very four weeks and this time was Nov. 22 after our first snow that stayed on the ground. Our 10 cases of grapefruits and oranges will arrive in early December, via the Western Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor, who use the profits for charity. We are also still picking mustard greens, kale and broccoli from the garden, a bit icy but edible, and swiss chard and kohlrabi from the house where Joel's sister planted them. They can take down to about 20 degrees F then they turn to glass.
October 9 was National Solar Energy Day, and our friends Christine and Chris organized a tour of a few local buildings with solar features. You can see them and a solar collector in Dexter. We also visited the Leslie Science Center ecological house with solar roof panels and composting his and hers toilets.
We were asked to participate in the tour, but our only solar feature is the front porches, which are still covered with plastic instead of glass. (We are working on framing them again now that it has started to snow). This year we put up sound channel on the exterior and stairwell walls. This is thin metal channel that prevents sound from going through the wall. In the photo is Ann Nesbitt, who showed up unexpectedly in early November. We had visited her family on a dairy farm during our first long bike trip around southern Michigan in 1991. She had kept our address. We will be putting two bikes together for her. We keep finding more bikes.
Here is downtown Ann Arbor across from the Wooden Spoon used book store during its closing sale. The red leaves on the wall are ivy that turns color in cold weather. The building next door is a fake castle where you could buy supplies to grow plants indoors hydroponically. Now it is an 'oxygen bar' where you can pay to breathe clean air.
Here is a lovely orchid grown by our friends Will and Ann Frey, who still volunteer at the Kiwanis Club. We still do repairs of stereo equipment for the electronics department there.
Jim posts this mystery photo. If you know what it is email us with the answer.
Keep an eye on this site in case we find anything else interesting to photograph before winter! Return to Sindi Keesan's Main Page