2014 in the Sonnystone Gardens

Just a picture post…  I thought that would be easier, but I find I’m unable to edit what pictures I add to such a large gallery…  I’ve tried 3 times to no avail.  So there’s another lesson:  sometimes you don’t get a do-over.

But sometimes, you do…  I’ve got plans for 2015…

end of the edibles…

My edible garden is nearly empty…

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It’s due to turn cold this week-end, so I’ve harvested the last of the bell peppers and green beans.

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I still have a couple of planters-full of my beloved basil…

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Other than some Sugar Snap Peas climbing up the trellises, that’s a wrap for the 2014 veggie-growing season.

I love Autumn;  it’s very nearly my favorite season, but I hate to pick favorites.  We’ve had a spell of too-hot days, and  I’m ready for the cool and seeing what Jack Frost can do with the foliage;  already my blueberry bushes are foreshadowing the coming palette, picking up the gold and orange of the hardy marigolds:

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Since this is my first fall with the screen-porch, I’m verry excited to get the pumpkins, mums, pansies, and scarecrows arranged this week-end.   Till then…

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Therapy

Ooph, lately I’ve felt as if I were hurtling through space at around 67,000 mph, rotating at greater than 1000 mph, while trying desperately to STOP!!!   We have enacted a complete news blackout…avoiding the TV, naturally, but even the radio and computer keep flashing headlines about…you know, all the stuff that upsets me so much.

As a nurse, I always ask, “How can I help?”.  Sometimes the answer is, “You can’t do a flipping thing about it”.  In the instance of such civil unrest, international wars, and the general bigoted stupidity of my fellow earthlings, I know that my red cape is powerless;  so I breathe in, breath out a kyrie…and harvest basil.

I grow tons of basil, you may have noticed.  Yesterday I harvested 10 plants for pesto, filling the porch with the smell of its sweetness and giving my brain a break from thinking.

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I’ll make Pesto JoJo with this batch…recipe can be found here.  I have 8 more plants left for fresh use—especially my beloved basil, mozarella, and tomato sandwiches—until frost.

Peace, kiddos.  Try to love one another.

The growing…

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Well, that seems like the fastest season ever—my grandkids came and went like a storm…a good one that drops rain just where it’s needed and leaves a rainbow on its way out…  The first evening they were here, back on July 8, I helped them plant a couple rows of zinnias.  We pretty much dropped the whole package in a little trench and the seedlings were up within a week.  They seem to be on hold now, and I’ll thin them out soon, but I have the faith to see them as blooming reminders of our creative powers, at any age.

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Out on the newly-screened front porch, we had a clear view of the bees and birds as they perched on the coneflower and daisies.  It was a good time to learn how important those players are in the botany of desire—and the essential lesson that bees are not aggressive, stinging, bad guys, but rather just the opposite.

I’m headed back to school next week—Next Week!!   There are a few holes in the garden that I’ll fill in with beans, peas, and spinach, but most of the work now is being done in the kitchen…tomato salads, pesto, and grilled peppers and squash…

The tomatoes are prolific right now, so I’m currently dedicated to eating them, but slicing and/or eating them like apples isn’t quite enough to keep up with the abundance.

Here’s a recipe I fixed yesterday, gone today…  It’s from an old article from 8/4/00 titled, “Too Many Tomatoes?  Make Salsa!”

The Mediterranean:  Chopped tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and Capers, with red wine vinaigrette.

I will be making this little gem today:

Greek Salsa:  Chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, black olives, feta cheese, with red wine vinaigrette.

The red wine vinaigrette is simply half red wine vinegar, half canola oil (or olive if you like), garlic, oregano, basil, or other fresh-snipped herbs, pepper and mix.

Try this one, too:

Corny Bean Salsa:  chopped tomatoes, corn kernels, black beans, minced Jalapeno peppers with cilantro-lime dressing.

The delicious dressing is made by mixing up a half-cup lime juice, half-cup canola oil, and mixing in granulated sugar, garlic, and chopped cilantro to taste…

Mmm….

 

Chive Jive

I always feel kind of bad when I see people buy chive at the garden center.  I have to stop myself from offering a clump or two of my own to get some started.  Starting is all you have to do with this onion-family member–plant it anywhere and it will not only return every year, it will expand its girth to manymany times,  so divide it about every 3-4 years.   It’s among the first green to jump up in the spring and flowers earlier than any edible in my garden.    I grow two kinds:  a common and garlic.  The purple flowers of the common are such a welcome sight at the end of winter.  The garlic waits to show its white lacy blooms until mid-late summer and really is garlicky-good.

I’m growing them in containers this year, placed at the edge of the green beans and onions…

Both the green foliage and the flowers are tasty.  I harvest the flowers and put them in white vinegar, steep the concoction for a couple of weeks and then use it for vinaigrette.  Cut back as much as you want, the stems will grow back happily.

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Here’s an easy recipe…

Chive Dip a la Sonnystone

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup cream cheese

2/3 cup chopped chive

1 tbs. lemon juice

salt & pepper

Mix it all up, put it in the fridge for a while and dip it out with carrots, cucumbers, bell pepper, etc. etc.

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mmm, yummy…

What’s the story, morning glory?

Wow, It’s been ages since I shared my garden pictures with you.  We’ve harvested the annuals and shlepped around the perennials, mostly bedding them down for the winter so we can re-imagine where they will grow next year.  We bought trees for the front of the house and cleaned up some scrubby-looking stuff out at the street.  It’s been steady, but nothing too terribly picturesque.  These will give you a glimpse…

The lavender hedge did pretty well, don’t you think?

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We’ve started to gather up pumpkins from our local growers, decorating the front porch and preparing for the upcoming Spook Walk II…

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I’m cheered on every morning by the “saved” morning glory that I planted in August…very much appreciated as the days grow shorter and cooler…

I  love Autumn!