Rainy Sunday Ramblings

After a huge downpour yesterday afternoon that continued through the evening, today's weather forecast looks like a repeat of yesterday. Good, good, good...my plants look so much better after water from the sky than water from my garden hose! The basil is flourishing, the tomatoes are growing, and the weeds...WOW. I need to find a little time in my day to pull some of those! I gazed through magazines last night...old Country Home issues...pulling out pages to put in my inspiration file. A few new ideas culled, and a few recipes to add to the rotation. Reminder: do not make the cold Southwestern Corn soup from Everyday Food again, now matter how delicious it looks. It rates a 10 for presentation, but a low 3 for taste.


Garden Planning...very early for 2008

Yesterday at work I found a really gorgeous book entitled Pots in the Garden: Expert Design and Planting Techniques by Ray Rogers. He had a wonderful picture of Oxalis deppei a/k/a Iron Cross Clover. The photo shows a huge pot of this in tandem with a pot of lobelia. I did a search for the oxalis, and found a garden shop that sells 50 bulbs for $12.00/ with 15% off if ordered by July 1. Sounds like a bargain. I can envision a border of potted oxalis around the perimeter of my fence...alas, it will have to wait until next year. Too late to plant for this year.


Fairy Gardens

One of the special events in our Summer reading Program at the library was a Fairy Garden project in the children's room. Mulberry Jean's, a Newburgh shop featuring all matter of fairy garden materials put on the program. Everyone brought in a pot of soil, and they handed out a fairy garden kit. They were all so different...and very cute! The photo shown is from a google search for Fairy Gardens. More labor intensive, but very, very cool!


Serene Sunday

My little "field" of lavender...soothing and gently scenting the air. A little tinkering in the garden, a little light housekeeping, and then...a book, a large iced tea, and a chair under the umbrella. Music wafting through the air. Sounds heavenly.
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Lazy Daisy Saturday

What a lazy day...so hot...temps hovering around 96. I truly thought I'd expire after getting groceries carried into the house. The livingroom was a cool oasis...Mango Smoothie in hand, I recovered. No gardening today, so I thought I'd share a photo of Marguerite Daisies taken a few days ago.
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Fancy Pantry

Lemon Curd
A cousin to jams and jellies, this versatile preserve has an elegant simplicity that'll please your palate.
Written by Christina Simone

5 large eggs
1¾ cups sugar
1¼ cups lemon juice, about 4 large lemons
¼ cup lemon zest, about 3 lemons
1¼ cups unsalted butter (2½ sticks), cut into small pieces
Whisk all the ingredients, except the butter, together in a large heat-proof bowl. Stir in the butter and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (creating a double boiler). Maintain a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Occasionally stir with a whisk and be certain to scrape down the side of the bowl, using a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens and reaches 160°F--45 to 60 minutes. Strain the lemon curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir occasionally to cool completely. To cool quickly, set the bowl of curd over an ice bath and cold water and stir occasionally. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Serving suggestions: Try any of these for an easy treat; fill a tart shell with cold lemon curd and sprinkle with fresh berries. For breakfast, spread lemon curd on scones, toast, or warm muffins. Make a light lemon cream by folding ½ cup whipped cream into ½ cup lemon curd and serve atop fruit or cake. Makes 2 1/2 cups

This recipe is from the Country Living website http://www.countryliving.com/
Lemon curd--although a rather odd name for a wonderful treat--is such a refreshing summertime pantry food. Handy to have on had for quick desserts, and as an alternative to jam on toast. Try it...

Fabulous Friday

Early morning...fixed a breakfast tray to take out to the garden...Sumatra Black Satin coffee prepared in a French Press, yogurt with fresh strawberries and blueberries, and a mini bagel. Dining by the roses with birds chirping...priceless!
A bit of re-arranging is in order. That awkward area above my kitchen cabinets...moved two empty wine crates up there. Cookbooks now reside in them, with some vintagey items sitting on top. Moved the plate rack that I was going to paint up there and now have the Fiestaware displayed in the rack. A wine rack...holding two lovely bottles of 'two-buck Chuck' Merlot and Shiraz. A new view, and a little color splash for the ho-hum renter's kitchen.
After mopping the floor (where does all of this dirt come from?), I've moved a small kitchen bar set to the center of the room. Next "TO DO": clear out the refrigerator and make a grocery list for shopping at Sam's Club tomorrow morning.
Got my hands on a little electrical "thing" for the sunporch. It screws into the light socket and provides 2 electrical outlets AND a socket for a lightbulb. That solves my ~~no electricity on the porch~~problem.


Dream Cottage

This is my dream cottage...something small, cute, and maintainable. I saw these first in Cottage Living; the house is called a Katrina Cottage--quick to build cottages to replace the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The layout is simple and clean; with the addition of a little deck or sunporch it would be perfect.

My Dream Garden

If only I had a real backyard...one that I could actually have a garden in...surrounded by a white picket fence. I first became enamoured of this style while reading a Susan Branch cookbook...her drawings are so sweet...

I've pulled out all of my old gardening magazines...Country Living Gardener, Country Home Gardening, and the summery issues of my favorite magazine, Victoria. Ideas abound...I'll keep dreaming.


The (sort of) Outdoor Living Room

More work on the back yard area. Totally gutted the sunporch, hauling out the daybed, a table, lots of miscellaneous stuff, and trash. Fixed the matchstick blinds, moved out the baker's rack and bistro set...ready for coffee tomorrow morning. The view from the sunporch is amazing...all of my plantings and garden junque. Wonderful.


Sunday Morning

Big rain last night...just enough so I didn't have to water my new plantings. I'll post pictures in a few days, as soon as the plants acclimate...

Bruschetta for dinner last night with fresh cuttings of basil. Yum!

Today's Agenda: scatter a few seeds...nasturtiums, more basil (can you ever have enough??), maybe a zinnia or two. I filled all of my pots with new soil before I dumped the remainder into the last whiskey half barrel. Ready to go...


Better Late Than Never...

"Springtime" planting...hmmm...almost summer. This morning I finally got the tomatoes in the ground, the basil in the barrels, and a few annuals scattered around the tiny backyard garden. With a little rain and a few more days, they will look so much better. The two pots of basil planted a week or so ago have really taken off; time for a little harvest.