Summer’s Bounty

This summer I am taking advantage of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are available this time of year. I hope you are enjoying them as well!

A summer veggie bake–just tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and a bit of parmesan on top.

DSCN4361

Blackberries so ripe and sweet, even I did not need to add sweetener:)

DSCN4384

Green beans! Yes, I boil them, and add about a teaspoon of butter per serving. A very worthy addition.

DSCN4399

Peaches have arrived!

DSCN4397

And good tomatoes! I forgo the oil in a caprese salad–just the balsamic vinegar, some basil, and one ounce of fresh mozzarella. Costco came out with some little “singles” of the fresh mozzarella–just right for a single person like me!

DSCN4367

Also frequently seen this summer: cantaloupe, with and without cottage cheese, watermelon, broccoli salad, taco salad, and blueberries–usually baked into something or other, or made into my blueberry apple compote–perfect with yogurt and a bit of granola.

Another new product I found was some uncooked corn tortillas–good directions on cooking them, and so delicious–only 60 calories!

Dinner tonight: Canteloupe and cottage cheese, and one of my favorite stir-fry combos: zucchini, fresh corn, and onions. And am I the last one in the world to discover that fresh grown onions taste SO MUCH BETTER than store bought onions???

DSCN4427

DSCN4428

Honestly, I can get on board with minimizing sugar, eliminating processed foods, increasing protein. But when I bite into a perfect piece of fruit, I CANNOT fathom giving that up for the rest of my life like some people do. I just don’t get it. If you just don’t like fruit, that I get. But if you are giving it up because it “makes you gain weight,” that I don’t get. Its one of God’s greatest gifts to us.

That said, I did see a very funny Jim Gaffigan riff on fruit “who likes fruit?” And I remembered how, when I was very overweight, I didn’t eat fruit, because I needed more room for cookies…….

The Other Dog Days of Summer

Sophie pointed out to me that I had misrepresented the Dog Days of Summer. “imagine, if you will, the nerve of her doing a post and misabusing ourselves and then not even a mention of us, except in the most exculpatory and unflattering way possible.” (said in the high squeaky voice of a little dog who does like to put on airs.)

So here, then, is a photo essay on “the other dog days of summer.”

There’s something over there.

DSCN4426

When Chloe is excited (which is a majority of the time) she has to grab her bone for a chew.

DSCN4415

DSCN4423

Whaaaat??? Don’t you know the sun is in my eyes?

DSCN4424

There’s SOMETHING over there.

DSCN4418

Sophie caught chewing on a plant that USED to have pink blossoms.

DSCN4416

Really. There’s SOMETHING over there. Why don’t you believe me?

DSCN4419

All four girls got a bath today. Doing my best to stave off the dog days of summer:)

 

The Dog Days of Summer

This is the time when, for me, I just have to muscle through and keep taking care of the garden. There is not the huge reward of the springtime blooms. But the plants still need water, more than ever. I am looking forward to fall color from the Japanese Maples, so that is a motivating factor, and I’m babying along a few plants that will reward me with blooms next spring. I still buy a few plants at the nursery to motivate myself, and also to fill in some empty spots and add a bit more color to the garden.

Most of my flowering bushes are huge, and I’m letting them go for now, hoping for a big springtime show, and then I WILL PRUNE them. In the meantime, I keep reading up on the best ways to prune the various plants. MLG has been over, and has helped transplant a few plants, trying to find just the right spot for each of them.

Here’s the scene this week.

The phlox are really huge and tall this year. I cut back the rose of sharon after its first bloom, and it has continued to send out a few buds. I like that geranium that I put in the ground, so I will do that next year (usually I put them in pots.) And I like the salvia, but this year there wasn’t much of it that came back, so I will have to buy another little six-pack.

DSCN4400

Best buy this summer: a big $2.50 investment of a six pack of these zinnias. They grew like crazy, and have filled in the area behind the carnation patch.

DSCN4401

So I got another zinnia, a little bigger variety.

DSCN4403

And then I found a GIANT zinnia this week:)

DSCN4402

These gaillardia have done much better this year. Funny what a little water can do for a plant:)

DSCN4404

This is the stupidest rose bush. Can you see that huge long stem, going all the way up into the oak tree??? This is the kind of thing that makes me want to replace plants. I am thinking about replacing several of my roses. If you’re going to spend the time and effort to care for roses, I think they should be really nice roses, don’t you?

DSCN4405

Here’s the top of that rose, blooming up in the oak branches.

DSCN4406

I really like this hydrangea, but it does this every year. The branches don’t seem to be strong enough to support the big flower heads, and so they all bow down like this. I’m going to do some research to see what I can do to encourage stronger stems. Otherwise, I LOVE this hydrangea, and I really love that it blooms in August and looks so nice.

DSCN4407

I transplanted this liriope. I really like them, and I have several of them. This one is the only one that is blooming. Boo…

DSCN4408

I like this little pink vine, and the new marigolds seem to have taken hold.

DSCN4409

Here. This is what a lot of the garden looks like. Kind of sad and messy. Those purple penstemon just kind of fall over on the ground, and the other firecracker blooms are so rangy. Oh, but you know what? This is where I planted the cleome seeds that Lori sent me, and I THINK that one of them might be growing. Also, it looks like there is a healthy lupine growing, and so maybe that came from Lori in with the cleome seeds. I asked at the local nursery about cleome, and she said that they just aren’t available out here, but that she had other customers from the east coast that also inquired about them. Interesting, don’t you think?

DSCN4410

This double impatiens is so pretty, but this is what it always looks like. I think its just too hot for an impatien to be happy. If I move it further into the shade, it doesn’t bloom at all.

DSCN4411

Also, I think its called the dog days of summer because this is the time everything is so dry, and the dogs bring bits of the outdoors inside every time they come in and out…its a conundrum–do I clean, or do I water?

Re-Entry…Random Thoughts from a Trip

Re-entry…its hard sometimes. A day of travel just wipes you out. A little trip to Colorado seemed so easy–just a 2 1/2 hour flight, no lay-overs! But then you add on the drive to   the airport, the never-ending shuttles to get you here and there in the airport, long waits in line, and the three hour drive to your destination, and its a whole long day of travel. Nevertheless, I am home. And so happy to be here, even if I am too tired to look happy:)

Glad to be back to my routines, and somewhat anxious to return to those routines. But still too tired to jump right in. Had my own blueberry scone and coffee this morning, and then was hankering for a little more. I just so happened to be reading Biz’s blog, and found her recipe for banana-chocolate chip muffins, and thought I’d give them a try, with a few of my own variations, of course!

DSCN4368

While I waited for them to cool, I decided to drag in the suitcases and unpack. 10 minutes–done! Not as many clothes as I usually pack for a trip, and quilt stuff was limited to what I could fit in between clothes in two suitcases–thank you to Southwest for allowing two suitcases to be checked without any charge!

Bess supervises the unpacking

Bess supervises the unpacking

Zoey keeping track of me from her usual perch.

Zoey keeping track of me from her usual perch.

Sophie and Chloe in their place under the desk, happy I am home.

Sophie and Chloe in their place under the desk, happy I am home.

I will start my laundry soon, and get out there and start watering the garden, and then I will be ready to go to the gym, grocery store, and pick Noah up on the way home. Aaaaah, its good to be home.

The girl's babysitter did an excellent job of keeping the garden going while I was gone!

The girl’s babysitter did an excellent job of keeping the garden going while I was gone!

 

DSCN4372

Morning in the Garden

This morning the light seemed just right in the garden. I headed out with the camera, and found a lot more to share than I thought was there! Picture-heavy post, but not too much reading, so just scroll through and enjoy!

The big bag of oriental lilies I got at Costco did very well for their first year.

DSCN4299

DSCN4301

A secondary flush of foxgloves. Most of the big plants died, so I bought a six-pack of mixed foxgloves to replace them (they are in the bed below behind these foxgloves.) They are growing very well, so I am excited to see what colors I got next spring.

DSCN4318

Sophie cracks me up–she’s like a little kid walking along the wooden rails.

DSCN4319

Each hydrangea has a different bloom time. The blue ones are fading just as these white ones are starting.

DSCN4347

DSCN4331

I bought some new plants to fill in empty spots. I loved the color of the leaves on this “Nine Bark.”

DSCN4325

This is not light shining through, it is the actual variegated color on the leaves.

DSCN4327

The double impatiens seems to be in just the right spot.

DSCN4332

And I just love all these flowers blooming over here.

DSCN4334

DSCN4335

The zinnias that I got to fill in are really doing well.

DSCN4336

DSCN4337

DSCN4338

LOL, I was taking so many pictures over here, Chloe just came and sat down and stared at me. “People are hungry, don’t you know?”

DSCN4340

The Belinda rose is doing very well. the stems seem a little weak to me, but it is the first year. I’m just glad its still alive:)

DSCN4342

A hollyhock I bought last spring.

DSCN4343

The ____ Peace rose. I didn’t notice the bug damage when I was taking the picture!

DSCN4344

The Abutilon. Have to stand on my head to take pictures of the blooms.

DSCN4345

The Phlox are so tall and beautiful.

DSCN4346

That little pink vine I got is doing very well.

DSCN4328

I got some more white marigolds to fill in here.

DSCN4349

The bee balm. Now its about 10 inches tall:)

DSCN4350

And the little rose from the two inch pot. I’m so glad it likes its place right by the front gate.

DSCN4351

Tiny perfection.

DSCN4352

And on with the week. I have taken my ninth early morning walk–well on my way to 21 for an established habit–yay! Today is a day of running in and out to give the whole garden a good soaking. And, I am prepping ten yards of fabric–finally gonna get out there and use my new dye studio.

 

 

Inspiration Near and Far

Inspiration Number 1: my own pain. When I came back from that trip at the beginning of June, and not just my knee, but my whole leg and various other body parts hurt so badly, I instinctively knew I needed to move more, not less. I have been more disciplined about exercise in the past month than I have ever been. I did all the things I thought would help with mobility and range of motion, and kept a very disciplined schedule every day. The only thing I didn’t do was walk as much. I did the bike, water jogging, swimming, and my P.T. exercises. As I started feeling better, along came–

Inspiration Number 2:  Its not new, but dang, she’s so consistent. Shelley has been getting up EARLY in the morning to run for a long time. I always get up early, but I don’t get dressed for quite a while:) One day I decided it wouldn’t hurt me to get dressed and get out for a walk before it got hot and before people started driving out the dusty dirt road to get to work. It was WONDERFUL! I’m happy to report that I have now taken 6 early morning walks. Working towards 21 to make it a permanent habit. And this morning, I took an extra long walk, because of–

Inspiration Number 3:  I had lunch with a friend to hear about her recent trip to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. She is about my age, in very good physical shape. But people, SHE WALKED 500 MILES IN 35 DAYS!! Between 11 and 19 miles each day. And partway through the walk she developed some serious back problems, but she kept going, just a bit slower.

She told me about two movies, and I have watched both of them in the past week. One is a documentary, and was very good. Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago followed six people on their journey. Almost everyone suffered some sort of pain or injury. That’s just a lot of wear and tear on the body. The other was a regular movie, called The Way. It was also very good, although none of the main characters suffered any kind of injury:)

This kind of thing has always inspired me. I read Walk Across America many years ago, and it made an impact on me back then. I know I will never walk across America, or walk the Camino de Santiago. But I can do better, with the inspiration of those who do.

The Camino inspired me in other ways. I wrote about it on The Other Blog.

A Special Dinner for One

I was feeling like I needed to treat myself. I was in the pool, doing an extra long workout, and thinking about all my options. Going out or eating at home? Home is always a better choice, calorie-wise. But could I make it special?

And here’s what I came up with! So fun, and SOOOO delicious. That’s a turkey burger on top of a bed of lettuce and tomatoes. What can I say? I like a bite of tomato with each bite of burger! And one small sweet potato, cut into fries and baked. And a strawberry shake–the best! Just a cup of frozen strawberries, mixed together with half a cup of yogurt and half a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze. Now that was a good deal–about 135 calories for that delicious shake!

DSCN4253