Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lazy Summer Afternoon

Is there anything better than whiling away the afternoon sitting on a pillow in the summer sun, watching people work? Oh, am I disgruntled? Not really. At 16 1/2, she deserves it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm Going Through a Red Phase

Have you noticed? Every annual I have bought this year has been blood red. I wish you could see these Zinnias. They are deep saturated red. Like a hankie after a nosebleed. Mmm, maybe too gross. How about freshly washed fire engine red? Or the puddle-of-ketchup-next-to-your-fries red. I can't remember the last time I saw pure red Zinnias.

It started with the Red Petunias matched with red verbena and white petunias in the face planter. I didn't pick the white, they came already planted together.

I thought to mix this Verbena to go with the red Zinnias, but I sorta like it alone on the pedestal.

The splash of color certainly brightens up the yard.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Curried Black-eyed Peas

2 cans of black-eyed peas (or you can use 1 cup of dried peas, soaking, boiling etc)
1/2 c unsalted chicken stock
2 bunches of scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp wine vinegar (red or white)
1/2 Tbsp honey
1 1/4 tsp curry powder
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet red pepper, seeded, de-ribbed and slivered

Rinse and drain the peas.

Heat the stock in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and partially cover the skillet. Cook the scallions, stirring often, until almost all the liquid has evaporated (8-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the skillet to a large bowl.

In a different bowl, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, honey, curry powder and some pepper. Whisk in the oil and set the dressing aside.

Add the peas and red pepper to the scallions in the bowl. Pour the dressing over all and toss the salad well. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Delicious and easy. This recipe was given to me by Marion Greenup.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Variegated Willow

Everyone who comes to my house comments on the Japanese Variegated Willow by the driveway. It is light, airy and enormous. Hardy to zone 4, it is in full sun and being on the mountain slope has excellent drainage. The plant tag said it would be 8' by 5' at maturity. Well, let me tell you, it is at least 8 feet high and way more that 5 wide. It is fast growing, to the point that I whack at it (OK, heavily prune) in mid summer every year. Added bonus? The deer won't touch it.

The foliage is mottled green and white with a blush of pink on the new leaves. Bear in mind that it is deciduous so it will be bare in winter. But it does provide winter interest. It is truly spectacular and would work well as a privacy screen. In fact I have often considered taking out the ancient Forsythia hedge by the road and replacing it with a row of these. I think it would look awesome. But I also think it would take a lot of work and I'm too lazy to put in the effort.

Think you might want to try one? You can't go wrong with this, but buy a good pruner at the same time. You are going to need it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

1st Day of Summer

The French door stands open. A finger of flavor lurks just outside, beckoning, teasing. Stepping out onto the deck, I inhale the sweet summer scent of tomatoes and basil and meat sweeten with milk. La Nonna, who lives beyond the living screen, has been stirring sauce for hours; long enough that the aroma wafts through the neighborhood. Even the children stop their games to sniff the air before bouncing their basketballs again in the street. The tinkle of glasses and the rumbling bass drum of laughter filters through the hedge. Her boys must have come for Sunday dinner. I wander nonchalantly, hands behind my back, to examine the flowers in the backyard, stopping to peer through the thin spots in the evergreens. Long tables are set with white cloths, thick red crockery and small vases of Evening Primrose. Her family sits on folding lawn chairs; glasses of red wine in hand, nibbling on olives and slivers of cheese. The aroma tickles again, carried on the breeze. La Nonna stands at her backdoor looking out with a summer Sunday smile. I wander back to the house intent on thawing out some pesto for my own Sunday supper.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stone made Flesh

Meow. Meow. Meow. Come quick!

I strolled over to see what the fuss was about. I peered through the screen. Nothing in the trees. No bears in the yard. No bird in the bushes. I shrugged and went back to making chicken Tikka Masala.

Oscar was insistent. Meow. Meow. Meow. Ever since the waterheater sprang a leak and the cats came to get me; I pay attention if they continue to carry on.

Meow. Meow. Meow. I washed my hands. "Ok. Ok."

I walked back over to the door. "What?" I looked through the screen. I didn't see anything but when I opened the door, something moved. I just caught the motion out of the corner of my eye. I stood on the side porch trying to figure out what I had seen. When one of the gray rocks moved and it was stone made flesh.

He sure is cute until he starts to eat everything in sight. I came back in, picked up the cat, kissed the top of his head in thanks and walked to the notepad on the fridge to write FOX URINE on the shopping list.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Come take a Walk with Me

It has been raining on and off (mostly on) for 2 weeks. Today the sun is peeking out, so I dashed out to get some weeding done since it is going to rain again for the next 3 days at least. sigh. C'mon. Let's take a walk around the house to see what we can find.

You know I live on a mountain in the woods, right. This is a photo of the back yard, looking up the mountain. All of the tall shrubby stuff at the top of the yard, is native Mountain Laurel.

And the short shrubby stuff is low bush Blueberry. These are the tiny native variety. Alas, native things eat them too, I have never seen any ripe.

Listen, can you hear the lilting song of the House Wren, the chatter of the Robins and the burr of the Chipping Sparrow? Sounds like everyone is happy to see the sun. This year a pair of Wrens have take residence in the Wren House that Uncle Mel built. They flit around too much for me to get a photo of them, but I'll keep trying.

When I was stalking the Wren, a flash of orange caught my eye. I don't know what they are, but they look kinda of snacky to me.

Let's check the fern bed since we are up here. Japanese Painted Ferns are one of my favorites. I'll do a post on all of the ferns later. I started collecting them since the deer won't touch them.

And speaking of collecting and the deer not eating; I also LOVE Allium. But it's in the front of the house out by the street. Let me show you.

There are lots and lots of flower beds at my house, I promise I won't make you look at them all or at least save some for another time. One last shot of a perennial Foxglove. Hardy to zone 4 and the deer won't touch it. Digitalis, don't ya know.

What's happening in your yard?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Love at First Sight

I fell in love at the nursery today and had to bring him home. I know, I know, I said no more terracotta planters. But how could I resist that face?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beard Tongue

If you are looking for a hardy perennial, look for farther. Penstemon 'Husker Red' is hardy to zone 3 and self sows like there is no tomorrow (I'm in a microclimate at zone 4). It has woody stems and grows to about 2, maybe 3 feet. The leaves are a beautiful dark burgundy. It likes dry soil and does best in full sun. It will grow in rock walls, between the cracks of the sidewalk and out by the road. She is very much a fertile myrtle (pardon the crossover). In fact, if I would give you some if I could. Thanks West, for adopting some of her babies.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Granville Smith Robertson
Born 19 May 1826
Married 2nd wife Elizabeth J. Bell 15 Mar, 1855
Died 2 Mar 1913

Granville, who preferred GS, was a farmer in Jackson Township, Union County, Ohio. He and Granny Bell had 7 children: Eva, Issac N, Jesse B, John H, Samuel S, Joseph S, and Robert R. He came to Ohio with his family in 1837. They settled in Ross County.
I have learned a lot about him recently. It is amazing how interconnected folks were back then.