Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Thanks to Italian kitchens. . . . . . . . . . .

No, not from my kitchen this time!
Sometimes you just want someone else to prep, cook and clean up, don't you?

A recent hot evening drew us out of the house. Our a/c was still on the
 blink upstairs and it was Hades in reverse with the temp. reading 90F.
 So, a quick drive over to Midtown where we allowed Mia Francesca's
 chefs to cook for us, and the great staff wait on us.
Loved every moment, and even came home with enough of my
 Pizza Napoletano for another day!

Bob of course had a chance to eat meat which he rarely gets at home!  
Must admit the bowl of spaghetti and meatballs looked fabulous. . . . . .he said
 it was, and gobbled the whole plateful. Fortunately we don't eat lunch!

Photos via iPhone

Monday, July 16, 2018

Not all is perfection. . . . . . . . .

 . . . . . . . in the summertime garden!

Still have some sunflowers blooming, mostly the smaller ones - this spray
 of flowers is actually on one main stem and is beautiful. . . . . . and still
intact today!

Deer enjoyed a late night dinner out on Saturday!  
Sunday morning brought a few choice words from me when I found they had
 attacked the sunflowers and left a trail of petals, seeds and broken heads 
around the front garden! You can see how thick and tough those large stems are,
  however something chewed right through them to get the flower heads to fall to
 the ground, where 'it' (or perhaps 'they') had a real feast.

I stuck the larger heads into the bench seat. . . . . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . . and noticed this young male cardinal enjoying breakfast today!

Note: only one of the two heads remaining - wonder if the deer returned in the 
night and dragged the other one away.

On another subject, the squirrels are busy and hungry in the heat and I saw this little
one yesterday scuffling around for seeds under the bird feeder. Couldn't get a good photo, 
but noticed it has a deformed left front paw - it's there but turned backward. The little one
 still manages to dig, eat, and jumped up on the birdbath for water, thankfully.

FYI:  The green leaves are also sunflowers - growing naturally from the seeds
 dropped by birds!

Another member of the family who enjoy our garden looks really healthy
and loves the suet feeder.  We try to use mostly non-melt suet cakes at this 
time of year - the regular ones are so messy to deal with in this intense heat.

As for this year's fig crop, not sure what's happening. Hundreds of little 
green fruits fell to the ground while we were up north, perhaps from lack
of water. Now they seem to be hanging on and perhaps there will be
some to pick later. . . . . . . but none are ripe yet.

As for chores such as weeding, sometimes a weed comes up in just the perfect place. 
Another thing to ponder upon for lack of anything more pressing in the heat of the
midday sun! 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer Saturday. . . . . . . . . . .

Early this morning was perfect with almost cool temperatures. 
Now and then a tiny breeze rustled the outdoor flag but wasn't enough
 to play the wind chimes. 
Almost zero humidity is so special here in the south during the
 summertime and this morning we were gifted.
We enjoyed our coffee on the front porch, reading the newspaper, knowing 
how it will get hot later and we will be inside keeping busy until the evening.

I need to bake blueberry muffins - Bob bought far too many - and I'll
perhaps make a veggie pizza and cook on the grill as the sun goes down.
We do plan a quick shop at our local LIDL to pick up the veggies as I
also want to make that wonderful oven-roasted ratatouille recipe this 
weekend. I shared it with you last year and will do so again later.
Tiny new potatoes are hopefully still available as I love the looks of 
this easy peasy dish - from UK Country Living.

We don't have one of these!  Lucky you if you do.
I took this photo at our hotel recently and think it looks so cool!!!

Have a great time this weekend whatever you are doing.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The history of 'the Picnic'. . . . . . . .

'Picnic'. A word shrouded in mystery.
'Picnic' has also changed in meaning over the years.

Originally it was a group feast to which each member brought along a share
 of the food and drink. . . . . and it's doubtful they were held outdoors. 

Although the association of outdoor eating and the picnic is not yet 200 years old, 
records of meals eaten outside go back centuries. In those days al fresco eating
 wasn't necessarily organized with pleasure in mind. The majority of cases were
 travelers wending their way over rough roads and dirt tracks, carrying provisions
 with them, and there was no choice but to eat out in all types of weather!

I've yet to get my picnic basket out of storage this Summer.
The intense heat, and many house and garden chores requiring attention before we
 left on the trip north, left no time for preparing a portable meal. Time for languishing on
 a grassy country spot in sensible temperatures just never arrived.

Looking through this little treasure of a book, once again I'm feeling up for planning
 a real picnic. . . . . . . if not this coming week, perhaps the next when hopefully it will
 cool off a bit.  Driving out into the countryside will be more enjoyable, spreading a 
tablecloth on the grass less buggy, and popping open a nice chilled rosé while nibbling 
tasty morsels, a Summertime adventure.

Are you planning to picnic this Summer?
Do you have a special place you return to. . . . . . . . or just drive
 through the countryside until you find 'the perfect spot?'

Of course one can also plan a kind of makeshift 'picnic' at home if traveling is not possible.
We often eat al fresco no matter the weather by sitting in the gazebo in the back garden!
There are no sweeping vistas, rippling streams, ponds, lakes or rivers. . . . . . 
. . . . . just bird baths, and a little tinkling fountain. 
Massive old trees overhead, with patches of blue sky just visible here and there, 
offer cooling shade.
The overhead fan turns silently, stirring the humid southern air.
Now and then a breeze sweeps through and rustles the tablecloth, lifts a napkin. 
 The birds sing loudly, take a bath then preen on a branch.

Yes, come to think of it, perhaps the home picnic is one of the most enjoyable.
This weekend will be very hot, I think I'll get the basket out and pack a picnic
to enjoy right here.

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