"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Full Moon A Coming

"Nothing that is can pause or stay; The moon will wax the moon will wane...Tomorrow be today."
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

View From the Top of the Hill (click on picture for larger view)

The moon is 99% full.  I love an evening with a full moon, it will shine on this patio right when it rises. 

I think it is  time for a springtime moonlight dinner on the Mexican patio.  Cilantro is growing in my garden, the Mexican Oregano I planted six years ago is always ready to pick.  Time to fire up the grill, make some salsa, and play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.  Sounds like a plan.

Grilled Chicken Breasts.  

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Mexican oregano

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

2 Chicken Breasts
Mix together and add Chicken Breasts (skin on and bone in).  Marinate 1 to 2 hours.  No more or the lemon will "cook" the chicken!  Grill over hot coals.  Shred and serve with hot corn tortillas and some homemade salsa.  Add sprigs of fresh Cilantro, some sliced Avocado and you have the best chicken taco this side of Mexico!


According to The Farmer's Almanac this month's moon is a Full Pink Moon.  This site has such interesting information.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Visitor, A Roadrunner on the Tomato Cage

I happened to look outside just in time to see a Roadrunner, perched on top of the tomato cage which stands about six feet tall.  I had to take the picture from about forty feet away, and my camera does not have great zoom ability, hopefully you can see him. 


The wood squares measure about 24 x 24 so you can see he is a big bird!

We see him just about every day but this is the first time I have seen him on the frame.  We have lots of birds nesting in the trees, I hope he stays away from the babies.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Giraffe In The Garden

I planted this Brazillian Plume Plant (justicia carnea) last fall.  It is doing quite well in this semi-shady area against the house.  It was beginning to need support and recently I found this wonderful walking stick at an estate sale, so decided to use that.  Now I have a Giraffe in the garden!  I can't wait until this plant blooms.  

Notice the artificial leaf on the walking stick hiding amongst the real leaves; I like to think it is helping the plant stay green.  I read somewhere that if you put red landscape fabric underneath your tomato plants that they will produce more tomatoes.  I will have to try that one day.

Here is a website that shows the magnificent blooms. www.californiagardens.com/Plant_Pages/justicia_carnea.htm

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grandma Called Them Geraniums!

Whether you call these hard working plants Pelargoniums or Geraniums, be sure to call them Beautiful!

Last year I joined the local Geranium Society.  For a few dollars a year I receive a wonderful newsletter and advance notice of all the sales and garden tours.  I have yet to make it to one of the meetings as the drive would take some time, but I did make it to one of the sales last year and this is my reward.  I planted most of these in the ground, a few in pots; I love to look out back from my kitchen window and see all their happy faces smiling back at me.

"You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers... a certain free margin, and even vagueness...perhaps ignorance, credulity helps your enjoyment of these things."
-Walt Whitman

The Bee heavy with pollen

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bearded Iris Bursting into Bloom

After yesterdays rains I took some photos of my Iris collection.  Just a few are blooming now with many more to come.  In the fall I divided up quite a few and have separated some of the colors.  I now have a large bed of purple variations that should be blooming in the next few weeks. 

I will share with you the ones visiting me now.

"If I were a Bee I would choose this one"

"A visitor from last summer

"He who shares the joy in what he's grown spreads joy abroad and doubles his own."

Monday, April 5, 2010

April Showers and The Tree Mallow

(Lavatera maritima)

"We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor"
-Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Farmer's Market, Fig Balsamic Vinegar and Baby Green Salad Seeds

Yesterday we went to a local Farmer's Market.  We purposely went to this market to visit the people who sell the olive oils and vinegars here and at this website http://www.caloliveoil.com/  

I had tried their Robbins Family Farm Ascolano Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a B. R. Cohn 15 yr old Balsamic Vinegar and loved both.  I wanted to see what other items I might like. 
What a successful day it was indeed!  We came home with four new items to try.
 I made a salad today using the best Balsamic Vinegar I have ever had.  It is B.R. Cohn Fig Balsamic Vinegar.  This vinegar has a sweet, earthy taste and pairs well with the spicy Mesclun and Arugula salad greens.

Mix together: 1 teaspoon of Fig Balsamic Vinegar and two teaspoons of Robbins Family Farm Ascolano olive oil, drizzle over gourmet baby greens that include spicy blend of mesclun lettuces.  I added my pickled eggs and some dried cranberry and pomegranate seeds.   Serve with a crusty old world bread to soak up the olive oil and vinegar left on the plate.  Oh my this was good...

I purchased my Mesclun and Arugula seeds from Botanical Interests Seeds.

I shop local Farmers Markets and companies that support sustainably grown products and also try to always use organic seeds in my garden.  

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pickled Egg Recipe in the Old Norge Canning Jar

I have all these wonderful eggs from Jason so today I made pickled eggs. 

Growing up on a turkey farm in Wisconsin we were never short on eggs. I am sure one of the reasons Mother made these eggs was because of the abundance we had.

It has always been a family tradition to have these eggs on Easter morning for breakfast.  I remember how excited I was as a child to wake up Easter morning, leaping from the bed trying to be the first one down the stairs to search for my Easter basket.  Sometimes it was in the old oven, sometimes under the sink or in the crawl space behind the stairway.  I don't remember all the hiding places now, but I do remember these EGGS! 

After finding our basket my Mother would bring out a canning jar filled to the brim with these eggs.  I remember the first sour bite of the egg, pungent from the spices and the cider vinegar she used.  I am sure that this is the reason I love the taste and smell of anything made with vinegar.

Here is my version:

Easter Morning Pickled Eggs with Tarragon and Fig Balsamic Vinegar

Hard boil 12 eggs, cool and peel.  Place the eggs in a sterilized canning jar.

In a small saucepan over moderate heat add:
1 cup Rice Wine Vinegar (you can use seasoned rice wine vinegar also)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Pickling Spices
2 slices Sweet Onion, rings separated and cut in half
5 Black Pepper Corns
1 tablespoon fresh Tarragon (if using dried Tarragon, use 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon of a good quality Balsamic Vinegar, I like to use a Fig Balsamic Vinegar from Olive California, this will help to make the eggs a nice rich brown color.

Simmer for a couple of minutes then pour over your eggs.  Make sure the spices that end up at the bottom of the saucepan go in the jar, too.  Cover tightly with a new lid and jar ring, cool and place in refrigerator. 

These should be made one week ahead, depending on how tangy you would like them.  I have eaten them after only 24 hours and they are very good.  Serve these with a teaspoon or so of the brine poured over the egg and a nice piece of toasted whole grain bread for your Easter Breakfast.

You may or may not need all of this brine, it all depends on the size of your eggs and the jar.  I used a wonderful old Norge one quart canning jar that my friend brought back from a trip she made to Norway.  The 12 chicken eggs fit perfectly and had more than enough room.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Violets in Bloom

Just a few beginning to bloom today.  I am hoping to have a dozen or so to place in ice cube trays for Easter Lemonade.  Light showers today, that should burst more into bloom.

Floral Ice Cubes:
Add water to the ice cube tray until only half full and place one flower in each cube. Freeze until firm. Then add water to the top and freeze again.  Freezing it in two stages will keep the flowers from floating to the top of the cube.

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the Violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it"  -Mark Twain

"I hope you have a beautiful day,thank you for visiting. "