Sunday, June 24, 2018

Life is a balancing act. . . . . . .

I wasn't going to post today.  
It's unbearably HOT!  
Already heading toward 96F high by noon, and another whole week of the same.
Our a/c upstairs is on the blink - just throwing hot air around. I grabbed a
 small portable fan from the potting shed and am running that. Of course it's
 really just assisting by swirling the hot air, unless one sits with it blowing directly
 on the face, as I'm doing now! Thankfully downstairs is cool - I should go down there!
We'll be leaving town soon and there's no way our HVAC guy will come before
 then - too many 'real emergencies' to deal with in this sweltering weather.
So, heading north is in the plan - please let there be cooler weather in
 New England and Canada. I'll let you know when we get there!

Today I have a ton of stuff to get done. 
Have already changed and laundered bed linen. Trip packing is almost completed.
 Quick run around with vac and floor mop later - don't like to leave a messy house!
 Granddaughter Jasmin coming for supper - big salad, small pasta (easy, quick
 penne with Gorgonzola made in one pot). Far too hot to eat in the gazebo but the
 dining room is cool and comfy.
Have to cut basil - it's tall and beautiful - and make pesto today. Will freeze and enjoy
 in July.  Must organize potted plants, such as herbs, and place them together at side
 of house so kind neighbor will slosh some water on them now and then if no
 rain - which looks doubtful around here!

Last evening we kicked back, Bob with a cold beer, me with a very chilled glass of
 French rosé (well OK to be honest, two glasses!) and watched 'The Greatest Showman'
 with gorgeous, multi-talented Hugh Jackman (something about those Aussie men!). 
Loved it. Who doesn't love childhood memories of the circus - but are also glad they
 are mostly now history and the animals are saved. 
The music was wonderful and the performers magnificent, including the trapeze
 and aerial stars.

This morning I noticed my own aerial star performing circus feats as it gobbled up
 the birds' suet. It was so hot even at 7 AM I didn't even bother to open the door
 and shoo it away - so all these pix were taken through the windows.

This guy preferred ground feeding on dropped sunflower seeds from the feeder 
in front of the cottage. A couple of seeds have even germinated and have
 a chance of growing if left alone.
The blackbird has been visiting for several days, drinking from the birdbath and
 trying to hang on the feeder and steal a few seeds - looks like it's found a friend.

Enjoy a restful Sunday!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Anticipation. . . . . . . . .

My tomato flowers are really quite pretty - and hopefully will provide us with 
some tasty fruit in the next couple of months.

We have a small tomato plot this year - plus one red bell pepper plant and a few 
butternut squash tucked in (seeds from last Autumn's squash). 
As we have travels which will take us away we can't plant much in case there's no rain.  

Today I'm tying up the tomatoes which are now so tall. I'm also fertilizing before
  regular watering. Non-stop garden chores at this time of year.
Tonight's salad will be welcome - and will include these scallions I grew alongside
 chives in a big pot - as the temperature reaches 90F yet again.

Sunscreen, sun hats and water required!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Celebrating Summer with sunflowers -

OK, you know where I'm going with this!  
Another post on the sunflower 'procession' along the low brick wall
 between my neighbor Bob's front garden and ours. 

Yesterday the first BIG bloom opened - in celebration of 
the Summer Solstice.
I was out there with my camera to get this first photo - I waited until late
afternoon when the sun was not so blindingly bright - and it almost took my
 breath away looking at all those new seeds forming. Nature never ceases to 
surprise and thrill.
I'll definitely be collecting seeds again this year in late Summer for planting
 next Spring. These beautiful blooms last a long time and bring so much
interest to the garden due to their height and brilliant color. 
The bees love them and we must do what we can to help bees.
Also, I know the birds and squirrels will be feasting well once the seeds dry.

Looks like this sunflower patch will be an ongoing annual happening in the
 garden, and it all started with one small packet of seeds tossed along the wall
a few years ago!

This was the budding flower on Wednesday - didn't take long to
 open fully by the following day.

Hoping to have perhaps 15 large tall blooms this Summer, plus a few
 shorter ones - you can just see one of those on the far right.
The tallest have now reached about 7 feet, and I have to stand on the
 low wall to get my closeups of their sunny faces.
 No field of sunflowers as in Provençe, but this is is an ideal spot for my 
mini garden tucked at the base of the wall. Today I fertilized them with
 Miracle-Gro. There's been no rain to speak of for several days, so I also
 watered everything this morning as it's still in the 90's.
My own Bob, and my neighbor Bob, both know to stay far away from them
 when mowing and weed whacking!

Do you grow sunflowers?

Have a wonderful weekend - they seem to come around 
so quickly lately.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Cool, healthy bowls for hot, humid days -


Who wants to turn their oven on these hot evenings?  
Not me that's for certain.  
I would prefer an easy to make, and eat, salad in a chilled bowl 
along with a glass of beautiful pale pink rosé.

Above, just a Caesar salad with additions - farm fresh boiled eggs, potatoes, 
radishes, finely chopped scallions. Homemade croutons and an extra
 crunchy slice of grilled bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic. 
I toss my croutons and sliced bread together the same skillet for ease.

Tip: If you shop at LIDI try the cheese rolls from the bakery.
Just one will serve two and give you enough croutons, plus two slices,
and they are delicious. They are also fabulous for panini 
sandwiches, light and crispy - cheese and tomato with 
some fresh torn basil is my favorite.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Oven roast your vegetables, chopped in 1" cubes, for about 30 minutes on a
 cooler day - preferably early morning when heat from the oven is tolerable.
I love eggplant, red and orange bell peppers, zucchini and red onion.
Boil and drain your pasta at the same time then bys evening when constructing
your bowl, everything will be cool, no heat required. 
If you would like to have the complete recipe go here to Sprouted Kitchen
where Sara has adapted Ina Garten's original Roasted Vegetable Orzo recipe - and
 of course I then tweaked my own version. You will love what Sara comes up with in
 her kitchen, and if you don't already follow her, you should!

Happy days in a cooler Summer kitchen. . . . . . yes, today is
the first day of Summer!

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