Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Sipping with friends!

A circle of wonderful friends.
Some only known virtually, so far.
Others already met in person. . . . . and even looking 
forward to meeting up again once travel is back on 
the books!
Thankful for all these years of blogging and the many
super people it has brought into my life.

Thankful for blogging friends who recommend good things which help 
us through the days and weeks making life even more pleasant.

Meike (Germany), on her wonderful blog From My Mental Library gave
 me a heads up recently on Fentiman's English Botanically Brewed
 'ROSE LEMONADE' which I was able to locate at our World Market 
store last weekend.  This is such a refreshing, and pretty,
drink for the hot weather. Meike suggested make a Rose Gin & Tonic
 with it. I just drank it straight up, secretly thinking ~ "This is just as good
as a fine French sparkling rosé wine!"
I would love to meet up with Meike if I get back to Germany some day.

I passed along this drink to another dear blog friend, Marilyn (Portland, 
Oregon) of Delights Of The Heart who is really suffering with the
 unimaginable heatwave in her area. She can use anything chilled
 to drink this week. She's already made popsicles and gazpacho!
 Marilyn, whom I've met - lucky me - is a tea specialist.
She knows a ton of stuff about tea that even I, a Brit, never knew!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Herbs - Pesto - Growing your Garden.

. . . . . . for late June.

I'm growing all these herbs - and they are doing well.

As it's so unbearably hot in many places across the country here right
now, I'm thinking a really 'green post' will be a little cooling!

First pots of Genovese basil are now being harvested for pesto.

Of course there should be garlic here also!!!!!  Lots of it.
Using walnuts this year - pine nuts are just so expensive.
I add a little lemon juice to keep the bright green color.

Good ingredients, as always, make good, healthy foods.
Extra virgin olive oil, real Parmigiana Reggiano cheese freshly grated, 
fresh nuts of your choice are a must.

These small square Ziploc storage containers are the perfect size for
 pesto - I share a lot and pack the freezer with the rest. 

Big pot of sage, smells so good.

Pots of thyme - regular and lemon.
The long leaves? My amaryllis bulbs over-summering - will repot for 
the house come early winter.

More pots of basil planted later, also more dill. . . . . .. 

. . . . . . because the flowers are tall and pretty. 

The current 'kitchen window' vase is of course filled with basil also!

Are you growing herbs?
Which is your favorite?
Mine has to be basil. . . . . . and hopefully there will soon be
locally grown tomatoes available to make fresh summer dishes.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Yesterday - in the shadows. . . . . .

Yesterday was one of those days - you know, those days when things just don't feel quite right. It could have been the weather, dull, dreary, dark, with threatening rain which didn't come until the afternoon, then drizzled for a while, then poured for a good half hour and watered the garden which of course was good. 
Yesterday I also received bad news from France where my brother was playing in a tennis tournament, reached the finals, and then badly injured a knee - has to wait almost a week for an MRI - and is hardly able to move with a lot of pain! 
Meanwhile, Bob went for his annual physical - it seems all is good despite his recent AFib diagnosis and having to take a blood thinner from hereon out.  He looks amazing and will turn 81 on July 5 - following the fireworks displays of July 4th which his mother always said were in honor of his impending arrival!!!  

I didn't do much of interest yesterday. . . . . . . but was happy when the postman delivered another long overdue UK Country Living magazine, this being the April issue! They are so late arriving due to shipping now by sea rather than air from England since COVID arrived. This is my favorite magazine and keeps me up to date with all I need to know about my far away home. Even after traveling the world there really is "no place like home."  I usually don't stop and literally put my feet up much during the day. . . . . .yesterday I did!

. . . . . .and today?  The sun is trying its best to come out this morning but it's obviously struggling. More showers later, then a five day spell of very hot, dry weather which will require time back in the garden to keep things in check.
Summer in the south is not easy to deal with but somehow we manage.  Would I like to live somewhere else? In all honesty, yes I would, but it's not going to happen this late in life. I used to dream of returning to an English village and living in a pretty 'chocolate-box cottage' ~ now and then a seaport town in New England calls ~ or, if we'd gone wild and moved to the French village some years back, I would at least be there to help my sister-in-law care for my brother.  As active as he is I'm betting he's currently a force to be reckoned with!

Friday, June 25, 2021

More news from the front porch -

How unexpected and exciting!
Yesterday when watering I discovered a rarely seen garden visitor of 
mammoth proportions for its species. A glorious hawk moth - sometimes
 called the 'hummingbird moth' because it's about the same size - sleeping
 under the shade of the morning glory leaves which I'm training
up the porch rails. Note how it clings with its outstretched legs.
It doesn't bite or sting, but apparently when it flies it buzzes.
Its wingspan would be about 4 inches - this is no tiny moth such as
the devils who search through our closets for our cashmere sweaters!
What a beauty!

Pandorus Sphinx Moth : Eumorpha pandorus

Hawk moths are fast fliers and nocturnal. The Pandorus Sphinx Moth
 sports a camouflage pattern of army green color with earthy undertones. 
The rotund abdomen has a dark green band followed by a bright white band
 just after the head and thorax area. The rest of the abdomen is a lighter 
shade of muted green. The head and thorax are mostly cream colored with
 dark green stripe running down the middle.  Thorax sides are dark green. 
Wings are narrow and aerodynamic, unlike the wide feathery wings seen
 in many other moths. 

Nature went all out when painting this beauty.

The Pandorus Sphinx Moth drinks nectar from various flowers
 so it is most likely to be found in gardens, vineyards, near rivers, or
 in meadows. It can also be found near forest edges or blending in with
 the foliage inside woodlands. This species is attracted to lights at night
 and is active from spring through fall. It enjoys warmer climates and is
 best viewed at dusk or dawn, when it is most active.

This is what they love - moonflowers and morning glories. 
I have both growing up the porch with a few morning glory blooms
already, but the moonflowers will come later - this photo above was
 from another summer.

The moth remained all day and I was excited to share it with granddaughter
 Jasmin who came to supper - we grilled out and dined in the gazebo as it
 was a perfect evening. 
Later, after dark, when saying goodbye to Jasmin, and watching that 
awesome rising of the last super moon of this year, the 'Strawberry Moon', 
I noticed the moth had left on its search for supper. . . . . and it's not here
 this morning. 
Sadly, their lifespan is a brief 30 days or so. I'm now searching
 for their fat green caterpillars - maybe they'll be around later when
 the moonflowers bloom!

Any surprise visitors to your garden lately?
Have a fabulous weekend wherever you are.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Refreshing the front porch -

Yesterday I went shopping. 
No, not grocery shopping which seems to be what I've done mostly since
 the pandemic started. This was real 'go with a girl friend' shopping to a
 store well known here in the USA, HOMEGOODS!  
We had a ball - the type of fun one can only have with
 a true friend of many, many years.  A friend whom you know so well
 and are so comfortable with, you can share all and anything, laugh,
 giggle, shed a tear, and on looking back you've done it all and more in
 thirty five plus years. . . . . . that's how I feel when with Loretta. 
She has been an awesome friend in so many ways and I love her dearly.

Our small house has a small front porch. It's nothing spectacular but it is
 a place to enjoy the outdoors. Bob and I sit out there a lot, especially in
 the late afternoon at this time of year - usually with a drink, sometimes
 a snack, and something to read. People stop to visit now and then. 
With distancing of the past months we have felt safe entertaining
 one or two at a time with a cup of tea or glass of wine in the open air.

We do a lot of waving and have short chats with passersby - usually the 
younger neighbors who pull off their earbuds and pocket their phones
for a few minutes which is appreciated. The cul-de-sac stays busy 
enough with turning delivery vehicles, dog walkers, a few younger
 children on trikes, and some runners usually in the cooler air of

So did I buy anything?
Just this all cotton, woven in Turkey, casual mat. I like the pattern and
 blue and white colors, and think it just brightens up the concrete floor
 of the porch for these summer afternoons. It's machine washable
 if necessary, however I think I'd probably just hose it off and let it
 dry in the sun. It's a bit hefty and might finish off my aging
 washing machine!

Have a feeling the hydrangeas may require a major pruning soon - or we'll be 
invisible on the porch - or rather too secluded and will miss all the action 
in the street. . . . . . .or perhaps be forgotten about, lol!

Do you have a front porch?
Do your neighbors stop to chat?
What would you enjoy drinking on the porch on a
 hot summer afternoon?
A nice French rosé is chilled and waiting!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Linen and straw . . . . . . .

Have you gone shopping for your summertime wardrobe this year?
I haven't been in a clothing store for ages but did purchase a couple of
items online from J.Jill - linen pants and a really nice very lightweight
 linen duster coat which will be a great summer travel piece. We have
 planned our annual trip to New England for later in July, having
 missed going last year. Travel time will be here soon, I'm excited.

It's odd that I have no real desire to shop for clothing as I usually do
 with the arrival of a new season. In all honesty I just haven't been
 excited by what is offered this year.

I went through my wardrobe pre-spring, donating a lot of clothes that
I just was tired of, or knew I wouldn't wear. Travel plans were still 
undecided - will we go, can we go etc. at that time.
My favorite Summer clothes seem to be pieces I've had for a while,
 some which I've liked for a very long while and can't give up yet!  

I enjoy the basics for hot, humid days here in the southeast............cotton
 or linen tee shirts, loose linen tops, a couple of longer linen skirts - have
 you noticed skirts are so much cooler than pants in summer - and
 loose-fitting linen pants cropped above the ankle. I now only own one
 pair of shorts - they are longer, to the knee - veins are not pretty on older
 people so remain hidden where possible!

Linen spray brings out the best in freshly laundered bed and bath linens. 
I have to admit that although I really don't mind wrinkles in my linen
 clothing, nothing is more special than resting my head on a smooth
 linen pillow case, and drying my face with an antique linen hand towel, 
both ironed to perfection!

But then there's straw!
Definitely not smooth, but beautifully textured and natural, 
a must have for summer.

Bags, hats, even touches on sandals. . . . . . all look good in straw.

Summer accessories crafted from straw are always fun.
With the hot sunny days ahead I often enjoy a woven sun hat.
It used to protect my color when a red head, but even now
 as a member of the silver-haired club I'll continue to wear one
when out and about, and in the garden. . . . . hopefully those
 wide brims may help to keep the other kind of wrinkles away!

Today I'm remembering fathers everywhere. 
Mine was one of the best . . . . . . your dad too!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

When you grow a garden.............

This past week you would have found me in the garden every day.  
Not sitting a lot, mostly working, but now and then taking a quick
break and making time for a little dreaming.
The weather held with plenty of sunshine, quite hot and no rain.
The felling of the three large trees along with stump grinding and
pruning of smaller trees, left a lot of areas requiring clean up, 
tidying and mulching. 
Today will be really hot, 95F and all I plan to do outside is some
watering on the plants in pots - mostly herbs - as the next several
days show rain off and on which the garden really needs.

How special it is to have flowers one has grown and can then
cut and arrange to enjoy inside. The hydrangeas are starting to 
fade fast from so much sunshine, their beautiful cobalt blues turning to
dusty shades of pink, grey, green, lavender . . . . . . pale but still lovely.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Monday again and it's Flag Day!


Last week never stopped or slowed down despite rain and workmen.
Neither did we!
Tree felling consisted of removing three trees, two more very tall oaks - one
 hit by lightning and dying, one smothered in ivy which had been cut at the
 base but also looking near death's door!  The third, a smaller hickory, was
 growing into a large oak and blocking the sun. We need to keep that area
 drier. . . . . . and hopefully this will enable us to add more grass around the
 potting shed and deck areas.

Between feeding (baking muffins and cookies) and watering the tree crew of
five for two days - which BTW included a lovely young woman - I picked the
 tasty Genovese basil and made the first batch of seasonal pesto. 

There were other firsts, dahlias opening - a glowing Grandpa Ott
 morning glory. . . . . . . .

. . . . . .. and Ms. Deer, beautiful and gentle but enjoying siphoning off the
 bird seed three days in a row, so the feeder is now remaining empty in
 hopes she'll move on to another garden!

The rains have left and we are due to have a dry, sunny, and quite hot week.
Still working outside and, as I write, Bob is mowing the grass. I'm off to clean
the sawdust covered windows in back of the cottage.
Life is busy at this time of year. . . . . . actually any time of year
 around here.