Monday, July 13, 2020

Recipe Basics and plenty of Dill. . . . . . . .

Plentiful fresh dill at the ready outside the front door!
Quite a pungent herb so use sparingly - good in soups, yogurt dressings, salads, 
especially potato salads, Havarti cheese, and of course of salmon.

My few tomato plants have not produced much this this year, however I may
 get a few Roma later - already earmarked for a nice Caprese salad - and
my generous neighbor is sharing plenty of cherry tomatoes now they are 
ripening daily in the heat and sunshine.

A basic recipe in most kitchens (especially if you've fed children!) no matter where
you cook, is of course Macaroni and Cheese. I made this dish over the weekend.

My version actually uses penne rigate, a similar short hollow pasta, but somehow
 the cheese(s) sauce clings to it much better than smooth macaroni elbows.  
Note I say cheeses, because this recipe uses not only a tasty mature English
 Cheddar, but also nutty Swiss Gruyere, and classic Italian Parmigiana Reggiano.
It's a British recipe but with strong European overtones!
It's delicious - and known as 'fit for the Queen.'
No royalty sitting at our table, in fact nobody but us these days sadly.

Hoping your week ahead will have happy moments.
We're staying busy working in the back garden still!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Heads Up! NEW Blogger changes?

I fear NEW Blogger is fooling with us again!

Where did the three little dots go (over on the right by the 'Table' square)? 
The drop down included the option to center one's text, photos etc.
It has now disappeared!

- BUT -

Actually . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . uploading photos has reverted to the original way and hopefully will stay
because it's so much better, easier and faster.

- AND -

Thankfully . . . . . . 
. . . . . . the little un-named thingamabob next to SAVE has disappeared - it was
 for changing your post to HTML and really scary if you accidentally clicked on it!

Anyone else seeing these changes today? 

Sweatshirt from ZARA . . . . . for colder days of course!

Garden Snippets - July brings tomatoes. . . .

The heat and humidity of July in the southeast has us mopping our brow, the 
mosquitoes are swarming, and the garden gets harder to care for.

Removed all the back garden odds and ends so the guys could get rid of ivy,
vinca, and hundreds of acorns which had already started putting out leaves
 saying, "look at me, I'm another huge oak tree in your garden's future!" 
Didn't want them tripping over elves, angels and stone chickens!

I mentioned they were fading fast last week, and now although this bloom is pretty,
 they are mostly turning brown from the heat and looking sad!

The Japanese maple has angel wing seeds - they are lovely. . . . . . 

. . . . . . and once again the Magnolia liliiflora is blooming.
Second time around this year - first before the leaves even opened, 
now with plenty of leaves to shield flowers from the sun.

Roses aren't doing too well - I think they enjoy sunshine, not constant heat day after day.

A candle of HOPE - for the front porch.

Pale beauty.

"The dill is as high as an elephant's eye"

Summer supper - Heirloom Tomato Galette - turned out well and so 
easy to make.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Summer gardening, birds, lizards and cooking.

This post is a mixed bag if ever there was one.

Well, the July festivities are over and life is settling back into the new normal.
With some sunny spells, high temperatures and humidity, plus rainy days 
imminent, I think summer is really here.  But there's nowhere to go if, like us, 
one is trying to do the right thing and stay at home, except for going out
 to purchase necessities.
The porch is nice late afternoon. . . . . . . .with a chilled glass in hand and the
portable fan cooling. . . . . . . .

. . . . . . and we now have a resident little green gecko.

The hydrangeas are fading fast, some even crisping up, so I've started
 cutting a few, before they turn brown, for drying indoors. 

Morning glories are really this bluest blue!

This little sweetie is a baby Mockingbird. I felt terrible when I realized 
I was accidentally giving him a shower with the garden hose one morning!
He just stood on the azalea bush under the fig tree totally silent so perhaps 
actually enjoyed it - it was a hot day - I heard his parents in the tree
sounding quite annoyed.
He remained there for at least half an hour whilst drying off, never made a
 sound or changed his expression!

The new pink mophead hydrangea bought this year is still in its pot.
Blooms are fading to a lovely cream shade even though I've kept it 
under the fig tree in shade since the 90F days arrived.
Come fall it will be planted out, most likely in the back garden.

My lacecap hydrangea is blooming and doing really well this year.
It has grown large and is now enjoying not only my garden but my neighbor's
 (the other Bob!) side of the split rail fence. Fortunately he doesn't mind one bit!
The acer is huge, far too big and spreading now - I've been cutting it 
back because it was covering the hydrangea, it will need a good pruning
at the right time. 

All that gardening means a good appetite at the end of the day!
I've been making pesto a couple of times a week so have started new 
pots of basil as I'm going to be running out of fresh leaves to pick soon.

A simple but delicious summer meal is angel hair pasta swimming
  in fresh pesto, with lightly grilled cherry tomatoes and shrimps.
A grind of black pepper and some fresh basil leaves chopped
and scattered. . . . . . perfect.

Hope your week is going well.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

An auspicious birthday for Bob!

Maybe I should revisit this past hobby - folding pages of vintage books!
These days I only turn pages of books, magazines, grocery flyers etc.

This Independence Day holiday weekend is being spent here at home and
 today is Bob's birthday.
This is a very special Birthday for Bob, his 80th!  Yes, he doesn't
look anywhere near that, and he definitely doesn't act that age.
Most important - and we are so thankful - he is healthy.  He still has so much
 energy and moves like a much younger man. . . . . . and of course he talks a lot, 
about a lot of interesting things, because of his Irish genes!
He is not rocking on the porch yet.
He often amazes me and I wonder if I will always be able to keep up with him.
I could write a book about our long life together, but it would take so many pages
to cram it all in, so many pages to turn. So just take my word for it. . . . . he's 
going to be one awesome octogenarian.
Love you Bob.

Tuesday: Just a quick edit here.
Bob thanks all you lovely friends for your great birthday wishes.
I thank you too for remembering my special guy. You are the best!

Bob on his 80th with 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Out of the blue. . . . . . .Independence Day

Sleeping-in a bit later than usual - and why not if your body tells you it requires
 more rest - did mean I almost missed the Morning glories in all their glory!
They open early then in the heat of the late morning start to curl up again,
so you have to be quick with a camera! Two colors opening now - I think
I sowed mixed seeds so there will be surprises.

As nice as it is to be at home to celebrate Independence Day, we are usually
somewhere else. Most often in early July we head north to New England, first
 to visit Bob's home in New Hampshire to celebrate his birthday on July 5th,
then we do a lot of driving around Vermont, Maine, and usually a stop in
 Massachusetts where we also lived before moving south.  Although we 
no longer have family there we do have wonderful friends. We'll miss
seeing them this year now that travel is out of the question

All of New England is beautiful - and if you've ever been there I know
you will agree.

The Lady of the Sea - New Hampshire Marine Memorial
Designed by Alice E. Cosgrove : 1909-1971

A memorial dedicated to all New Hampshire service persons
lost at sea due to warfare.
Hampton Beach, New Hampshire 

We have put out our flag and will light these stars on the front porch
  as dusk settles in.

God Bless and every day.

Have a wonderful holiday.  Celebrate in style!


Friday, July 3, 2020

From the cottage -

Today is going to hit 93F here - definitely not a day to be dashing about trying
 to catch balls. Life is a game where we are always juggling balls in the air, 
even a pandemic hasn't put a stop to that.  

Everyday things continue to crop up around the cottage and garden.
Things wear out, break down, leak, drip, grind to a halt, die.
In the garden, so beautiful a month ago, blooms now fade, some die,
others droop, drop, fall over, give up. . . .and then the creepy crawlies move
 in to suck, chew, kill. So we drag hoses, deadhead, spray with soapy water,
add a splash of fertilizer, trim back, cut down. Cross fingers a lot.

Are you staying busy with all those chores, keeping the balls moving through
the air. . . . .or are they falling to the ground as mine seem to be doing in the
heat?  Right now I'm heading out into the garden again, watering the pots 
already drying out. Still grateful for the garden. Still loving the birds.
The figs are plumping up and there will be lots of picking ahead 
late summer. The back garden will continue to get a facelift - when the
mosquitoes are fewer, hopefully.  

The holiday weekend apparently starts tonight, although we heard 
fireworks in the neighborhood last evening.  
The celebration will be different this year.
Enjoy all you can during these troubled times - keep those balls bouncing!
 God bless America!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Never say die. . . . . .

The beauty of peonies never really ends.  
They are lovely even when their petals fall.

Yesterday I had to toss the last of the peonies purchased at
 LIDL during a weekly grocery run.
Ten buds for $15.00 = 3 amazing weeks of beauty!
Fresh flowers don't come any better than that.
They were spectacular and their fragrance lasted until the end.
Sarah Bernhardt beauties brightened so many days.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Canada Day greetings -

To all my wonderful, much-loved Canadian friends, (and perhaps distant family
whom I've never had the luck to meet - my maternal grandfather was Canadian
 by birth), greetings on this special day.
Enjoy the holiday - stay safe - and I hope to be back in your beautiful country
 some day soon.