Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Quote du jour/Campbell Walker

Our grandson Campbell Walker spent the night at his cousin, Hazel Nina's house for the very first time last night. The two of them showed up at our door this morning and I was in my nightgown. Campbell said, "You look like a young girl!" How many 72-year-olds hear those words first thing in the morning?!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

July, with a touch of the first day of August

I can't believe I wrote so little in July. I meant to post about many things that are in my head!  

I have written a few times about one of my favorite songs, "You Go To My Head". It has that magic line "like a summer with a thousand Julys". The weather, the flowers, the ease of life - there is no other month in my year which offers so much pleasure, so much pure joy. 

Even in these times, July gave so much to brighten spirits. I could talk and talk but I'll just post some pictures of this past glorious month.

First up are the CSA flowers. I didn't sign up last year but this past Christmas Margaret gave me a present of the first six weeks of this season! What a joy they have been.

June 24

July 1

July 8

July 15 

July 22

July 29 

Such beauty! They take my breath away. 

We watch Gardeners World on Britbox faithfully each week, and we have learned so much over the past couple years. The most important thing is about pollinators. We've had flowers for all the years we've lived here, but mostly they have been daylilies. There have been a few others - iris, sedum, aquilegia, hollyhocks, but for the main summer season we have been awash in daylilies. They are wonderful and are themselves good for the bees, but we wanted to be a little bit more helpful to the butterflies and bees. Several plants were talked about on the show, and I ordered a few of them. We dug up a whole bed of just daylilies, and moved them to another area of the garden, and planted several new-to-us plants. They have been a grand success. Everything has grown and they have brought in scores of pollinators.

Achillea millefolium or yarrow. The yellow is Coronation Gold and the red, Paprika. 

Perennial hollyhocks. I hope they do indeed come back. They have thrived with just a bit of rust on the leaves. 

We planted Walker's Low catmint a few years ago in honor of Campbell Walker, our grandson, but we got another plant and put them both together because it is a real favorite of the bees. It was loaded with pollinators the whole month. The pink flower next to it is my beloved mallow that I've written about over the years. It has been gone a couple years but popped up this spring in force! Mallow is another favorite of pollinators.

We have two Monarda plants which are just beginning to blossom. It is also known are bee balm. This is a zone 3 variety so I'm hopeful it will come back again next year.

And then there is the Echinacea! It has been a butterfly airport! The other day there were eight at a time.

I just took this little movie of the action.

The daylilies have been in their glory with color after color just exploding throughout the month of July. They'll be around for a few weeks yet, I hope.

One of my favorite views because it shows the coming, the here, and the spent daylily. My daughter just told her daughter it is like life itself.

This one is Indy Charmer in honor of Indy Thomas, our grandson!

Little Fred, bought in honor of a man we both loved.

I'll stop. You get the idea. There are daylilies all over the place, in every direction you look. And when Margaret and Matthew moved into their house down the road ten (!!) years ago, we dug up bunches of them and planted them down there so they, too, are surrounded by these beautiful flowers.

And then there is the veg garden. More glorious than last year, its first year. I've written about the calendula coming back. 

I just went out and took some pictures so you could see it as it is right now!

The amazing, amazing tomatoes, bought locally and two were gifts. There is one nearer the house, too, and we've had four tomatoes from it. There is nothing in the world that tastes better to me!

Potatoes. They've been eaten a bit by the dreaded potato beetle, but I think the potatoes themselves will be great, and coming soon!

I bought some special red corn this year.

Cukes and peas are coming fast and furious!

A zucchini plant bought at the Farmers' Market.

Sorry everything looks so washed out in the photos. 1:36 pm with bright sun. You may notice the dryness. We've had to water more this summer, though we've been lucky to have some good rains in between.

The Farmers' Market has been the highlight of my weeks. I've bought vegetables and homemade ice cream and homemade pastries and Thai spring rolls. A veritable feast. This virus time has been a locally supportive time. Everybody is cheering everyone else on, and supporting all the farmers and cooks and artists. My instagram account is a happy place to visit every day, and the Market on Sunday mornings.

Ran into some old friends one day.

Pulling her mask down to pose for me!

We celebrated birthdays - Margaret's 38th and Indy's 5th in July. 

We've seen Margaret's family the whole time. We are kind of like one family in two houses. And now it's so good to be seeing the boys again! They kept themselves quarantined for a few months, and then we all began to get together again. We are quite safe here, and we are all careful. I still am nervous about tourist season, but local businesses are really good about masks and distancing, and we don't travel very many miles. None of us know what the fall will bring but I'm thankful that we can all be together again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Merrily down the stream

When the virus came along, our local movie theatre began to offer streaming movies. Part of the cost of the film went to the theatre.

And oh, what wonders we've seen.

Once Were Brothers - about the band called, well, The Band. Did any of you buy Music From Big Pink? The film was just great. It was narrated by Robbie Robertson with lots of old film and footage. Excellent even if you weren't into the music then.

The Booksellers - about the antiquarian book biz in New York City. Absolutely fascinating. These are passionate folks.

Up From the Streets - about New Orleans music. Perfectly wonderful.

Sometimes Always Never - I think Bill Nighy may just be my favorite actor ever. This is a quiet, moving film that we loved.

Never Too Late - wonderful film about older men and a woman having "happy endings". One of my other favorite actors is in it - Dennis Waterman from The Sweeney, On The Up, New Tricks. He was born the day before I was.

Next up is Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things. So looking forward to this.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Death By Chocolate Cookies

I've had this recipe for ages, and decided to finally make these cookies.

Instead of Baker's chocolate, I used

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Melt half a 12-ounce package of chocolate chips. Set aside the other half.
Stir until melted and smooth.

Stir in:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add and stir well:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Then stir in the half package of chocolate chips.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 12-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and feel set to the touch.
Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute and then transfer to cooling rack.

The recipe said it makes 1 1/2 dozen. Mine made 11 cookies. Perfect to split with
our daughter and her family.

They were some of the best cookies I've ever had. Really. They are a little bit like brownies in cookie form!

Making my first contribution to Weekend Cooking since the new "ownership".

Monday, July 6, 2020

An unexpected gift of flowers

Last year I bought six flats of calendula plants, and planted them in our new vegetable garden. I thought it would be nice to have flowers and vegetables growing together.

and a few weeks later

I loved them and made bouquets all summer.

I wrote a note in my calendar to buy them again.

On May 30 this year, we wondered what was that ring of green?

We wanted to leave it because it didn't seem like any weed we had ever seen.

A month later, we saw it was a calendula patch!

I looked it up and calendulas are self-seeding! We considered thinning the patch but then thought we would let them grow as they would.

And what a success they have been!

Today's pictures

So, now I'm wondering will this happen again next year?!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Quote du jour/Albert Einstein

A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the constant pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.
Albert Einstein

Posted today on instagram by Bhaskar Goswami whose yoga classes I do on youtube. You may find them here. I also mentioned him in another posting here.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Farm and Garden Report - July 2, and a quote du jour from Keats

Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.

This is a snippet from John Keats' poem called I Stood Tip-Toe Upon A Little Hill.

I've read that he was the first to call Lathyrus odoratus by the name sweet peas. 

In the morning, still in my nightgown, putting on my rubber boots and going out to the garden to pick sweet peas makes me feel like a queen. We've had spotty luck with growing them so this year I bought plants from White Flower Farm. They are doing wonderfully. I've picked bouquet after bouquet. 

And here they are in the garden - in the support, though I think we went overboard. They aren't going to grow that tall!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Never Have I Ever - on Netflix

You probably know that mostly (almost always) I watch British television, and that my love for it started when I was a young one, with Forsyte Saga and Family At War and Peter Wimsey and on and on. And that love has never dimmed. But I have watched American TV and enjoyed it. Grey’s for a while, Bones - every episode, Rizzoli & Isles, Grace and Frankie, and others. I watched the first season of This Is Us, but honestly I couldn't stay with a show in which Milo Ventimiglia dies? Really?

When I first read of a new series created by Mindy Kaling about an Indian American teen in California, I thought, no I knew, it would be for me. And it is. I love Never Have I Ever. It is one of the best teen shows I’ve ever seen. In fact, the only other one close to it would be My So-Called Life

The title is part of the name of each episode. Never Have I Ever … felt super Indian; been a big, fat liar; pissed off everyone I know. The shows are excellent, and I don’t say that too often. Devi is a fifteen-year-old living in the San Fernando Valley, wanting the things we all want as teens - to be popular, to have a boyfriend, to fit in. She is a really smart kid, with two close girlfriends. But to most of the school she is only known as the girl whose father died, and who became paralyzed for a time. The writing is warm and witty. The characters are real people for whom the viewer truly cares. There is a brilliant touch of a narration by John McEnroe. And best of all, for me, there is a big multi-cultural cast. It makes me so happy to see all colors and persuasions of people in a television show. I love this show, as did my almost thirty-eight-year-old daughter. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The first season (and I hope there will be more) is on Netflix.

There is an excellent review of the show you may read here.