Garden Vignettes

I just love these little flower vignettes when I am inspecting the garden. So many of them include surprises–that just increases the joy! The nasturtium are volunteers from last year.

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I planted the pale yellow petunia and the blue lobelia, but the deep magenta petunia was a volunteer hybrid too.

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More petunia volunteers next to the salvia.

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What’s wrong with this picture? That little volunteer pansy that survived, despite the heat and the crowded planting, and Noah’s pansy munching. Delightful!

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All the colors of nature go so well together!

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A new plant–gallardia. I like the solid yellow color of this one. Reminds me of cone flowers–maybe I’ll have better luck with them. You can see I got a few ground covers there. I’ve got a couple of places that aren’t so good for the flowers–I’m hoping the ground covers will take off.

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The volunteer morning glory. It is absolutely this brilliant in real life. Next to a white petunia that I actually planted, and a volunteer marigold.

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Here is a view of my green beans and one of the tomato plants. I am getting just enough vegetables to enjoy something for dinner almost every night.

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The honeysuckle is holding its own against the humongous cherry tomato plant!

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And the morning glory that I planted gives me a few pretty blooms every morning. This vine REALLY likes full sun. Next year it needs to go someplace else.

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And that’s what’s happening in the garden this week!

 

The One Thing No Country Home Should Ever Be Without

Can anyone guess?

Hydrogen peroxide!

Does everyone know why?

SKUNK!!!

Probably everyone knows this, but I still hear the occasional person mention tomato juice as a skunk odor removal. All tomato juice does is make such a mess that you might temporarily forget that your dog stinks.

And everyone knows that skunks only come out at night, right? So that is most likely when your dog will get sprayed by a skunk.

And who really wants to go out in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to look for hydrogen peroxide?

One of the first time one of my dogs got skunked was shortly after I moved here. I didn’t even have a fence. I had come home from a night shift, and it happened. I had to leave my dog outside, yelling at him “YOU STAY THERE” while I drove off in search of H2O2.

About 4:30 this morning, Bess let out an alarm bark. She considers herself the early warning system for Noah. Because sometimes he sleeps very soundly. Anyway, the next thing I knew, Noah barked, followed by that horrible rotting flesh smell….

I actually managed to kind of sleep until 6am, and then the search was on for hydrogen peroxide. Under the kitchen sink? Nope. How about the bathroom cabinet? Nope, but I did straighten up under there. Maybe. Just maybe there would be some out in the laundry dungeon. BINGO!!!! I was so glad to see that ancient bottle of H2O2.

Here’s the formula, in case you haven’t heard of it: 1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide (2 cups,) 2 Tbsp baking soda, and 1 Tbsp dish detergent (like Dawn.) Mix well, and wash the skunky parts of your dog with this. Try to let it sit on your dog for a few minutes, and then rinse very well. Don’t put any leftover solution in a closed container and save it. Evidently it will explode.

Anyway, we are now all clean and relatively smell-less. It was actually very fortunate that I had decided to give Noah a bath yesterday. It was easy to identify where he stunk and just wash those parts.

Have a sweet smelling weekend everyone!

The Relentlessness of Food

Lately I’ve grown a little weary of the endless counting/journaling/calculating/decision-making nature of the way I choose to eat and control my daily meals. Food–its just relentless! Its always there. You can’t live without it.

Even when you decided almost 10 years ago that a certain food item is not healthy and you don’t need to have three a week and in fact you very very seldom ever eat one (hamburgers,) ten years later they’re still there, and you find yourself still wanting one too often. Even the “good stuff”–whole, healthy non-processed foods–if there is too much in the house at one time, its easy to eat too much of that stuff too.

I know its a temporary feeling. I’m not on any type of slippery slope. I just wanted to put that out there–its relentless. It never ends. Its wearying.

The Closet

So J. the contractor was back last week! We went over all the plans for the new kitchen addition and the bathroom and laundry room re-do. J. was interested when he saw the “outdoor shower.” It was here when I first moved in, and it has been a great place for me to have hot and cold water to give the dogs baths over the years. I was like “NO, I DO NOT TAKE OUTDOOR SHOWERS!” And then he explained about the whole construction thing, and I was like “Oh, yes! I will be happy to take outdoor showers!” This is going to be quite an adventure.

Anyway, the main reason he came over was to install the closet that he made. He mentioned that he had some nice pine, and I said I liked pine. I didn’t mention that I like NATURAL pine. Oh well. First contractor mis-communication. He stained it nicely. Other than that, I LOVE it. I never had open shelving before, so I was very unsure of that. Now I understand. It is like legalizing leaving your clothes out! I had him build the pull out drawers because I was so unsure of the open shelving. I’m sure they’ll come in handy for something or other. I also like the cubes I had him build. They are just the right size for the Ikea baskets. I really liked them when I got that set for the studio. They are a very nice way to contain and hide things.

The open shelving and the slanted shoe rack–ooh, I love the slanted shoe rack too. Notice how every single shoe I have left is completely flat. Yesterday I tried to wear a pair of sandals with a one inch heel, and my knee hurt too much. They are in the thrift store pile now. : (

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The hanging rod. Oops, my drawing was not exactly to scale. I have a few things that are longer than the space I allowed. I might ask him about fixing that later.

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The best part about all this construction? Its forced me to clean things thoroughly. And at least for a while, I am determined to NOT mess the spaces up. So nothing goes in the closet without a good reason for it to be there!

Early Morning in the Garden

This is the shade garden. You can see where we moved the smaller Japanese Maple out and I replaced it with a pot of coleus and a fast growing hanging plant.

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My oldest lace-leaf Japanese Maple is doing very well this year.

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I went outside the fence to get this pic–I like the fringed daisies with the blue delphinium (they are a type of delphinium–not as showy as the big ones, but they have a beautiful blue color.)

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Volunteer sunflower. And the great plant hunter there in the background.

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A close-up of the honeysuckle. I’m so happy that this vine is doing well this year. Last year it got over-whelmed by the tomato forest and the deer.DSCN1679

I like these little vignettes of volunteer petunias. Oh, and see that lantern there? I got a set of 8 of those from Costco, and at night I look out my bedroom window and it looks like a fairyland out there!
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The phlox plant (thanks for the I.D.!) is doing extremely well. Now what? Am I supposed to divide it next spring? Oh, you can see a good view of the dog room there. The latest thing I talked to J. the contractor about is using my old window air conditioner to install in their room. Oh brother. What I won’t do for those dogs. But practically speaking, then I don’t have to worry about leaving them out there when I travel and we are having a heat wave.

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My “pesky” lantana is doing very well. One reader (I think from Australia) mentioned that they were considered a pest plant over there. I can understand that. But here they die every winter, so they are just an annual. And I love them. I have three of them this year. Oh, and that is my little basil forest in the back there.

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St. Francis and the front of the shade garden. There is another variety of lantana.

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So we moved a couple of the Japanese maples, and now there is a whole curved row of them. It looks better in person.

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This is the time of year that I get weary of the endless watering. I told MLG “no more gardens for now!” Our next project is just a little stone work, and then we are going to talk about putting in a drip watering system.

And that’s what’s happening in the garden right now. I have harvested 5 cherry tomatoes, 4 green beans, and a few zucchini (a miracle considering Sophie demolished an entire zucchini plant single-handedly.) I’m hopeful to be enjoying a few more fresh vegetables in the near future!

The Summer of Ceviche

 

DSCN1650I think this will be my favorite dinner this summer!

  1. No stove cooking.
  2. Minimal prep time.
  3. Low cal light dish that tastes luxurious.
  4. Recipe makes 3 servings–three dinners ready to go!

Here’s all the ingredients you need to gather. Thaw the pre-cooked salad shrimp and microwave the corn ahead of time. Then just chop and combine.

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I don’t need to belabor the point. I think I’ve talked about this recipe enough on this blog. But its worth repeating–DELICIOUS!! I love it so much I just eat a bowl of it by itself. That does it for me. But if you wanted to, you could make yourself some tortilla chips to go with.