Thursday, June 28, 2018

Oh deer!

Just as we readied to leave for the airport early on Tuesday, this sweet Ms. Deer
 arrived in the garden. She was heading for the sunflowers!
"Please don't chew them" I yelled out - and then she moved toward the fig tree.  
Luckily Bob was able to clap his hands very loudly and she eventually ran off to
 the wooded area on the far side of the cul-de-sac!

Speaking of which. . . . . . .my neighbor just informed me that they are 
digging up the street in front of our houses and apparently resurfacing 
both our patch of street and the entire cul-de-sac!  
Hopefully it will look quite spiffy when we return and the low dip on the street,
 right behind Ms. Deer, which takes so long to thaw when we have ice
 and snow in winter, will no longer be a problem.

In Bangor, Maine tonight. Rain all day, driving somewhat rough, but hoping for a 
sunny day tomorrow as we plan to visit Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island,
and I hope to get some photos to share with you.

Summer's first pesto. . . . . . . . .

For a real taste of summer, out comes the food processor (I love my
 small version which is easier to lift) and fresh pesto is made often.
It's so easy, especially when you grow your own basil and 
have several pots sitting outside the kitchen door.

They seem to make pesto from just about anything these days!
Mine is traditional Italian pesto made with basil, garlic, walnuts or pine nuts,
grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, a good quality extra virgin olive oil,
black pepper, and perhaps a pinch of salt at the end after taste testing.

This was my first batch made last Sunday before leaving on the trip north. 
That evening we enjoyed a little on grilled bread along with penne Gorgonzola, 
the remainder is in the freezer for when we get home. By then I should have
 plenty more basil ready to cut so I'll be making more for summer meals.

Do you grow herbs?
How about making pesto? 
You can't wrong having some on hand for veggies, pasta,
 tomato sandwiches, or adding more oil and dipping grilled bread etc.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . . Crunchy

I'm traveling this week, and next, but was able to work on this for today's
 SCRIBBLE PICNIC theme before leaving town.  
Next week is the Independence Day Holiday and Michael is giving us a week off.

I started baking my own breakfast - or anytime - biscuits after having a
 fabulous crunchy crusted one in New Orleans last November.  
I love crunchy foods and although I've had some pretty good southern biscuits
 over the years, they've always been soft on the outside rather than crispy
 and crunchy. 
I found a great recipe and have decided this is the biscuit for me!
I bake a batch every couple of weeks and freeze them - defrost, a couple of
 minutes in the toaster, and they are just like fresh from the oven.

Here's the link to Michael's SCRIBBLE PICNIC where I'm hoping to see
more friends sharing something with a little crunch.
I'm on the road and hope to enjoy a real picnic along the way, perhaps
 somewhere in the countryside or at the coast!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Re-post from 2014 Blog Tour. . . . . . . .


As I was traveling most of today I thought perhaps it would be a good time
 to re-post this old post from July 2014.  Not a lot has changed
other than I'm four years older, not much wiser, and have traveled
to some more wonderful places in that space of time.
Several newer bloggers have asked me questions about myself, so
 this is a way to show them a little more of my life and the history
of the 'English girl who emigrated to America', so very long ago!

Click here to see Blog Tour 2014

It's all about. . . . . . . . . 

 Happy Summertime travels to you.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Here's looking at you. . . . . . . . .

"Leaving on a jet plane". . . . . . . . . . tomorrow!

A good sign in the garden. . . . . .bees!

Thankful to see at least some of the sunflowers in bloom before heading north
to New England, and perhaps a quick jaunt over the border to Canada.
These golden beauties seem to be thriving in the heatwave with a daily drink
 from the garden hose. Hopefully, despite many days without TLC, they will
 manage to keep going and growing, and there will be some rain now
 and then.

Sunflower friends!

Lovely Carolina Blue skies!  

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 in 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 by 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!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . Plump

Our Scribble Picnic theme for today is PLUMP!  
 I realized, while preparing garlic for my Indian Red Lentil Dal last
 week, how important it is to keep fresh, plump garlic bulbs
 on hand. I really love garlic and use it a lot in my kitchen.

Photo edited to a sketch, colors added with pencils.

Last evening I grilled bread and rubbed it well with olive oil and garlic.
A bit of delicious crunch along with a main meal Cesar salad, plus hard boiled
 farm eggs, a few freshly boiled and sliced red-skin potatoes, and a couple of 
Greek anchovies mashed up and added to the dressing.
Hey, it reached 102F on the way home from some errands in mid-afternoon,
and the heat index was 113F. . . . . . . no way was I going to turn on the oven!

Throw on your cool sundress or shorts and sashay over HERE to
 Michael's blog where, hopefully, other members of our group will be
 sharing their take on the theme 'plump' - who knows what you might find! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Heating up. . . . . . Daylilies and Sunflowers

Right now Bob is out watering. He beat me to the hoses at 6:45 am and is almost
done so I'm not even getting into gardening clothes - thank you Bob, I've saved
 coffee for you! I'll most likely have to do my share this evening - the heat index 
for today is 105 degrees - it will be a scorcher and people with breathing 
problems, such as my neighbor with COPD, need to stay inside with their a/c 
running full blast!

Even the cherub family looks hot this morning.

The daylilies love this weather. In all honesty, I'm not thrilled by orange flowers, 
however these double blooms (which I really don't recall planting) are quite lovely
 next to the blue hydrangea.

My sunflowers are dong well despite lower leaves, and a few buds, being
a nighttime snack for some creature passing through the garden - deer most 
likely. They have certainly grown by leaps and bounds these past couple of weeks
 and are now setting their spectacular buds.
These are all growing from the seeds I collected from last year's flower heads -
I feel like they are my 'children' and am so proud of them.

One of several of the sunflowers already in bud.  I think they are so 
amazing at every stage of growth, especially the strength and 
height, of the straight, strong stems readying to support the heavy 
 golden flower heads.

Hope your day is cooler than mine!