The Season for Flowers

Four o'clocks and gladiolas

Four o’clocks and gladiolas

It seems like only a few weeks ago I was waiting for it to be warm enough to go camping.  Now I’m waiting for it to be cool enough again!

The last of the white gladiolas

The last of the white gladiolas

In the meantime, I’m enjoying low-key summer puttering with flowers and a few veggies.

Something wiped out my tomatoes.  I didn’t plant resistant varieties and they didn’t fare well.  So I’m planting more tomorrow. I sure am glad we have such a long growing season!

pink gladiolas

Pink gladiolas

Also I had read that bell peppers will occasionally have a genetic flashback and produce hot peppers.  What are the odds of both of my container peppers doing the same thing?  They are too fiery to eat, so I’m planning to dehydrate some tomorrow for sparing use in dishes that need a little added kick.

I also want to get a fall vegetable garden going soon.  I sure do miss my home-grown lettuce! It had all bolted when we got back from our trip to Modoc.

Dianthus

Dianthus

 

 

Earth Boxes, Wild Strawberries & Baby Fig Trees

Wild strawberries are just about through fruiting for the year.

Wild strawberries are just about through fruiting for the year.

The invasive, tasteless Indian strawberries seem to fruit all season.  Their job seems to be to take over the wild strawberries' habitat, and they are doing a good job of it, unfortunately.

The invasive, tasteless Indian strawberries seem to fruit all season. Their job seems to be to take over the wild strawberries’ habitat, and they are doing a good job of it, unfortunately.

The rain has been so dependable that I haven’t had to water anything yet this year.  Both the things I planted and the wild things I didn’t are thriving.

We have been eating salad from our Earth Boxes for several days.  All of the lettuces are going strong.  I did have to pull up the radicchio because it bolted and turned too bitter.  It certainly was beautiful, though.

The patio tomatoes are fruiting, and the bell peppers have little peppers on them.

I planted cilantro and marigolds in two empty Earth Boxes.  I also have green clumping onions planted in one.

I have put off doing anything with the square foot gardens because my heart is just not into it.

Lettuce

Lettuce

Life is in a holding pattern until our next trip, it seems.  🙂

Little Gem lettuce starting to head.

Little Gem lettuce starting to head.

Baby romaine

Baby romaine

Patio tomatoes in Earth Box

Patio tomatoes in Earth Box

Baby  bell peppers

Baby bell peppers

 

The cold spring killed the fig trees, but new shoots are coming up from the base of the trees.

The cold spring killed the fig trees, but new shoots are coming up.

 

 

 

From Garden to Kitchen

Today's harvest

The toy garden continues to delight me.

I have thought that maybe it’s providential that the camper is out of commission for a while.  If it were up and running, I wouldn’t have planted my late little vegetable beds and would have missed out on the primal sense of accomplishment that growing one’s own food provides.

Today I weeded and tied up sagging tomato branches.  I also encountered one of the heartbreaking displays of nature’s balancing act.

Tomato hornworm with parasitic wasp cocoons

I noticed that one of my tomato branches showed telltale signs of the presence of a tomato hornworm.  Then I found the worm — covered with the cocoons of a parasitic wasp which effectively turns the caterpillar into an eating machine on their behalf until they devour their host.

But back in the kitchen, all I felt was the joy of cooking good fresh food.  I had originally planned to do a traditional meat and veggie dinner, but as I looked at all of the fresh garden goodies, I changed my mind.

Vegetarian feast fresh from the garden

My neighbor had given me several ears of corn from her garden.  So I steamed it, scraped the kernals off the cobs, and made real creamed corn — with butter, cream, and lots of pepper.

I had several yard long beans in the refrigerator, so I combined them with the ones I picked today, steamed them for 3 minutes, then battered and deep fried them for a special treat.  (This turned out to be a very high fat dinner!)

I wanted to make eggplant parmesan, but didn’t have the right cheeses, so I dipped slices in egg, then in a bread crumb-parmesan mixture with oregano, celery seed and thyme, fried them, covered them with buttered bread crumbs, then topped it with freshly grated parmesan–and served it topped with fresh diced tomato.

Goodness to come

Last of all, I sliced little pickling cucumbers from the garden and added a dash of ranch dressing.  We love pickling cucumbers because they are so much crisper than salad cucumbers, and they are just the right size.

Life is wonderful–even though we are temporarily without a camper.

Candlelight and Music

I’m making great progress on cleaning and organizing the house.  Almost have my craft/camping/junk room in perfect order.

Today I fertilized one of my square foot gardens, then planted tomatoes and peppers (with buried eggshells to prevent blossom end rot).  The plants are big enough and our season is so long, we should have all the tomatoes and bell peppers we can use.  I need to plant some cilantro and one other type of pepper still so I can make fresh salsa.

After that I put rosemary/garlic chicken on the grill along with some yellow crookneck squash halves.  And then the thunderstorm hit.  It was ferocious.

Ron went out in the storm to take the food off the grill, while I waited inside with a towel and a dry shirt for him.  But dinner was superb… worth fighting the storm for!

Then the lightning fireworks started in earnest!  Sunny raced to the window, barking to scare the thunder away.  And then the power went out.

So…. I lit candles, got out my ukulele, started playing with fingerpicking patterns, and simply got lost in the beautiful ambiance of candlelight and music.

So nice to be able to entertain and enjoy myself even in the dark of a power outage!

At last the electricity came back on.  By then, it was welcome because the candles were making it hot inside, and the air conditioning felt heavenly!

I figure another couple of days working on the house, a day or two on the yard, then it will be time to start work on the camper.  I’m in no hurry now.  Just thoroughly enjoying having projects to do!

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