Monday, August 21, 2017

Finding color in the garden or don't look for red tomatoes.

This has been, by far, the most odd (in a negative way) gardening season yet.  I have tons of green tomatoes and have, to date, harvested 12 grape tomatoes and two regular tomatoes.  I was lucky to get two quarts of beans.  My peppers are struggling.  BUT, for the first time - ever - I have multiple eggplant coming along.  Of the row of Swiss chard I planted, I have one spindly plant, while a volunteer from last year is huge.  The kale is fine.  The cukes are better than last year, but that's not saying much, as I only got one cuke last year.

So, I enjoy color wherever I can find it.

Volunteer cosmos by the squash

More cosmos - the picture doesn't
do it justice - it is deep, bright orange.

The only one of three dinner
plate dahlias that came up.

I had a great day with my BFF Sylvia, who was visiting from Maine.  Friday was solid rain, but we managed to enjoy the art museum and a great Thai lunch.  She is my go-to person for all things that need an artistic hand/eye.  She is one of the few people I know (actually, the ONLY person I know) who can look at a space and visualize objects within it - all beautifully balanced.  She should have been an interior designer.  Once I get my act together, I will show you the results of her creative influence. 

There are no photographs of the museum trip because, rain.  We got over an inch.  I tried a new recipe for dinner and it is going on the "make again, make often" list.  I found it in the latest issue of Living - Za'tar Roasted Chicken, Potatoes and Greens (or something along those lines).  It's a simple, one-dish recipe and if you don't have Za'tar, but you do have sumac trees, you can make your own!  I am so fond of this seasoning that I am going to do just that.

Saturday morning was about errands done quickly because I had a long list to tackle.  Besides weeding, I had to assemble my new grill (the old one lasted over six years and it was the low-end model!  The guy at Home Depot was impressed...), cleaned off the deck, washed water buckets, put out the mineral block for the llama and sheep (and managed to escape with my life), then I made granola bars, cottage cheese, yogurt, and froze blueberries.  Saturday was also the day that Bertie left for his new home.  It was bittersweet and, although I am now able to breathe easier, we do miss him.  He is in very good hands and his mom reported back that he accompanied her to the farmers market, where she sells her beef every Sunday.  He was a smash hit, with much patting and kissing of his head and lots of attention.  She keeps him on a leash so that there will be no incidents, as many people bring their dogs to the market.  Lovey, meanwhile, has reverted to her anxious state and I am doing my best to reassure her.  We've had to resort to cocooning her in her blanket, much physical contact and I have to go outside with her every time she needs to go out.  Poor lamb. 

To help us both through the transition, I made inside out cheeseburgers (Cynthia's Randall ground beef with a filling of garlic scape pesto and mozz) done to a turn on the new grill and a pile of sweet potato swirly fries, roasted in the oven!  We managed to get through the night...

Ready to pop in the oven - I love my spiralizer!
While weeding my little heart out, I looked at the front of the house and was reminded - for the umpteenth time - that I needed to wash it.  I rate washing the front and sides of my house right up there with latrine cleaning on an industrial level.  However, I pulled on my BGPs, got my environmentally-approved cleaner, a bucket, sponge and scrub brush and had at it.  Unfortunately, I was unable to use a power-washer because a) my vinyl siding is ancient and would be blasted off the house and b) my water source is at the far end and around the corner and would not reach.  So it was good old elbow grease that got it (mostly) done.

Quite a contrast.
I was able to get about 2/3 of the front of the house cleaned and will finish the front next weekend, weather permitting.  While I was grubbing around in the front, I weeded the heck out of the overgrown flower bed.  My original idea, after wrestling out the Barberry bushes, was to split my hostas and spread them along the left bed.  This hasn't happened - no surprise.  I am hoping to do it before the weather turns.

The only break I took on Sunday was to pay a short visit to a group of women who are knitters, spinners, dyers and basket weavers.  The town just south of me was having a big hoopla to celebrate their 150th anniversary and this group of fiber artists were set up at one of the oldest farms in the area.
Dying, spinning, knitting and basket-weaving going on.

I adore miniature donkeys.  Another
big attraction at this farm.

Angling for a head-scratch.
I made yet another new dish last night, but was too pooped to drag out the camera.  It was Mediterranean Zucchini Noodles and it was GOOD!  As  you can tell, I am all about the spiralizer this summer.  The dish was a snap - spiralize your zucchini into spaghetti size, then throw chopped fresh tomatoes (thank you, Marianne), garlic, sundried tomatoes, capers, chopped ripe olives, oregano, and a slurp of EVOO into a pan.  Pour it over your zoodles, add slivered fresh basil and some crumbled feta cheese and delicioso! 


Rain said...

Hi Susan! :) Washing the house huh? Not high on my wish list, that's for sure! At least I can say "we're still renting" so it doesn't seem so bad lol...The spiralizer makes a nice shape! I'm sorry you're sad about Bertie...poor little Lovey. All will be well soon I hope. xx

The flowers are pretty. We have lots of wild flowers growing, at least that is constant despite the weather! I have lots of green tomatoes too with no red to be seen. I actually saw a few cukes starting to grow, yahoo! If we have our typical hot September, there may be a chance I'll get more! And I saw a few pumpkins forming!!!

Susan said...

Let's hope the season stretches out so that we can reap the benefits of our hard work! You have some amazing wildflowers near you - we tend to have flowering weeds.

Theresa Y said...

My tomatoes are green too. Lots of them, just green. Harvested 3 eggplant, 1 cuke (all 3 plants have now bit the dust), 3 beautiful butternut squash. It truly has been a weird growing season here too!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Maybe we could combine our two gardens and come out with something approximating decent this year. My cukes are producing like there's no tomorrow (let's hope they don't have some superior knowledge), we've had one ripe cherry tomato which was tough (skin was anyway), and nearly all my flowers have been paltry in production of blooms. :o(

I envy the way you are always gung ho to try new recipes. I tend to stick with the same old, same old.

I'm betting it was great to have your visit with Sylvia. Tell her I miss her blogging.

House washing, eh? Why do you think I picked a dark green color for ours last time around?

Maybe Lovey would like a miniature donkey as a playmate? Or should I not encourage you . . .

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

I've debated buying a spiralizer, how much are they? Easy to clean? Sounds good! We pressure washed our house this spring, I don't envy you!

Kristina said...

Your recipes sound wonderful. We too have a white siding house, but Hubby typically hauls out the pressure washer to do it. He's been detained by work lately, so it's not getting done. My cukes did great, but had to let them go while I was sick (sadly). I hope to get enough to can relish one more time. Our tomatoes are not doing well either.

Ed said...

We have tomatoes coming out of the ears. I just got done caning four five-gallon buckets worth and that was after my mom canned probably twice that amount. We still have ripe ones on the vine but neither of us can look at them anymore. If you were closer, I would say stop by and get all you want until yours ripen.

Susan said...

Hasn't it? I never, every have been able to grow eggplant. This year? All five plants are flourishing. Beans? Nada. Zukes? Ditto.

Susan said...

Oooh. A miniature donkey.... Nope. I am being strong in the livestock area, at least. No more additions. This has probably been one of the most disappointing gardening years I have had. I am hoping that all the weird, quirky stuff is now over and we can get on with normal gardens. Right.

Susan said...

They range from a simple, hand-held model that is very inexpensive, to a crank kind that is still reasonable (IMHO). I started with the hand-held (which came with its own little cleaning brush) but have recently purchased a stand model that will let me spiralize larger vegetables. I love it.

Susan said...

Well, that's frustrating - but I'd rather be in your position! Mine are starting to ripen - of course, ALL will be ripe at the same time - and now the forecast is for fall-like weather for the next 5+ days. You can make this stuff up.

Goatldi said...

We have no garden, no really , no garden. A 10 day weird , bizarre hotter the H-E-L-L came through about two weeks after winter (making her third or fourth curtain call) came through for the last time. During that time when everything that was in bloom bloomed more and bingo dead all dead.

Yes that is my story and I am sticking to it. Lost a ton of potential cukes, radishes , peas and was left with four volunteer potato plants that not much later the gophers discovered. It was ugly you know.

Fun blog keep on keeping on!

Leigh said...

Can I borrow some of your energy? You're getting an amazing amount of things done! I love the color in your garden. Always so cheerful.

Susan said...

Well, that's a sad state of affairs. The only thing I can muster up any happiness about is that I have eggplants! My mantra for gardening is, "There's always next year." I have to work on a new one! Thank you!

Susan said...

Hi, Leigh! I find my energy level is high from 4A to about 2P, and then it's all downhill. I love that I can finally comment on your blog!!!