The Weekend Accounting

Carole's ToT consists of sharing 10 Things We Did This Weekend. The request couldn't have come after a better weekend as our weekend was full!

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Saturday graced us with perfect fall weather, which was just what we wanted for the annual Harvest Fair at the SOUL Garden.  Along with the monthly work day, preparations were made for an unknown number of guests. Tables were decorated, a fire pit filled with kindling, and bails of hay were placed to create seating around it. Weknew participants would want to stay warm by sitting near the warmth of a fire.

The weekend not only was full, but it created in me a feeling of gratitude, as I felt the bounty at my fingertips.

This weekend I watched as little folk decorated pumpkins and...

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I visited with our citiy fire fighters and paramedics (before they were called away on an emergency).

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I went on a hay ride and as we rode by a haunted cabin, we were frightened by zombies!

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I learned from Dr. Dread that his horn is called a euphonium.

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I kept the fire going when the temperatures started to fall as the sun went down.

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I watched the sunset and took multiple pictures of the changing sky.

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Smith wanted me to see the amazing black widow spider his buddy created out of a electric cart of some sort. I'm not often afraid of spiders, but this one would rise up and try to bite!

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We also met a couple of celebrity folk, Wonder Woman and Fred & Wilma!  15518621035_a6d9eafc1e_z

We sat around the fire long after dark and listened to 8 year old zombie stream of conscious 'scary' stories.

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Sunday the day was much colder, and started with a sprinkle of rain. We braved the chill and went to the local farmer's market. The squashes and pumpkins, and other veggies for fall harvest, filled the booths. By afternoon the sky was clearing and the sun was out to warm the air. 

The best part of the weekend was spending it with Smith. It has been a month of Sunday's since we had two weekend days together. Who knows when we'll be that lucky again.


Fire it Up

Carole's asking about our favorite side dishes for ToT and as I think about what we like, I can sum it up rather quickly. Grilled veggies! We love grilling and we grill everything we can. We love veggies most of all! You never need dirty the kitchen nor heat up the house at this time of year.

1. Potatoes - foil wrapped or straight on the grill, tossed with olive oil and za'atar.

Round zuc

2. Zucchini - cut into strips, or as we do with our new favorite, round zucchini*, cut into wedges, tossed with a dot of oil and Aleppo pepper.

3. Carrots - whole or cut into halves, depending on size, spritzed with a bit of oil, with a little salt, pepper and cumin.

4. Eggplant - cut into half inch slices, spritz with oil, grill and serve with a yummy sauce. I love this one. My tip for you is to buy small, young eggplant, as they will be not be bitter.

5. Sweet potato - slowly roasted with a nice spicy chipotle sauce.

6. Onions - Cut near the top of the onion but not all the way through. Slip a pat of butter under the "cap" of the onion. Wrap the onion in foil and grill near not coals for 30 minutes (more for a large onion - time depends of size of onion).

7.Tomatoes - Not everyone likes a roasted tomatoes, but roasting brings out their sweetness. Search the internet for a recipe you like (I've tried several), but you can always brush with olive oil, before roasting, and sprinkle with fresh basil when you serve.

Garlic harvest

8. Garlic - Cut a full head of garlic in half, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Wrap in tin foil and grill for 30 minutes, or until cloves are soft. It's delicious on anything and everything.

9. Green beans - cut vine end from the bean. Toss the beans with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Thyme is very good one green beans, but try other fresh herbs you may have on hand.

10.Grilled fruit - Watermelon and pineapple are great to serve with dinner, but peaches and nectarines are wonderful for dessert. Slice and serve with ice cream or whipped cream. I don't bother with sugar, but your sweet tooth my beg to differ. 

*This is the worst year in the garden in 5 years. We have squash bugs, which are the bane of any gardener. My heart just sinks when I think of it. We've been squishing bugs between our figures and plucking eggs from under the leaves, but with nearly 50 gardens, the bugs have a huge supply of fodder. Sadly, we will have few, if any squash of any sort this year.

 


What's Up?

I have been WATCHING the peregrine falcon box atop a building in downtown SLC. The DWR has a camera set up and I've watched the little ones from eggs to fledge! Two flew out of the box on Monday within an hour of each other. It was quite a wonder to watch. One lone bird is in the box and it will probably fledge today, a couple of days behind its siblings. I will be watching closely to see when it takes the jump. 

I told you about my obsession with READING Faulkner, but I had to pick a lighter book, as I can't always listen to a story that is dense with description. I picked The Shifting Fog, but have been unimpressed. When I can sit and read I'll start Hunting and Gathering (recommended by Kym).

You know my main KNITTING focus has been TTL Mystery Shawl, but I am also putting in time on Merle (when if I can).

For the most part I have been LISTENING TO books, but once I half gave up on Shifting Fog I turned to podcasts for my entertainment. I'm fond of This American Life and Select Shorts, but also, love The Alton Browncast and Book Riot (recommended by Mary).

Beeandstrawberry
This photo has nothing to do with this post, but I thought it worth sharing.

I've been on the Alabama Chanin web site nearly every day THINKING ABOUT which kit I want to buy. They have an option to choose your own style and color and they'll put together a DIY kit to your specifications. I'm more than happy to let them stencil for me as my one attempt met with abject failure. I just need decide which style and take the jump.

The one thing I've been CELEBRATING is summer! The long days and warm temperatures feel like heaven.

We are PLANNING on go to the Utah Arts Festival tonight. I enjoy seeing the many artisans and exhibitors and would really like to see the performance art troupe Australia's Strange Fruit.

Mainly, I'm ITCHING TO finish the Mystery Shawl and get on with other projects. When I started the shawl I didn't intend for it to be my main knitting, but that's not the way it worked out. Hopefully, the shawl will be finished not long after clue 5 is released.

It's summer! My main options for DRINKING consists of three things...water, iced tea, and white wine. In that order, but not in equal quantities.

I know this has been on every list I've made but I am still NEEDING TO clean out my pantry. The project needs to start with the big closet pantry in the basement which houses some of my extra kitchen "stuffs". Truthfully, I don't need anything in the larger pantry, as I rarely even go into it. We store a few food items, but it's packed with old baking pans and serving dishes (from Smith's mom). Decisions need to be made.

I've been good about ORGANIZING my bedroom closets and drawers, but I haven't tackled my jewelry drawer or my sweater cupboard. They both need a thorough going through and cleaning. There are many items I don't want to part with and which I wear often, but, in reality, I could get rid of 80% of the things I've been hoarding.

Peashoots

Our cooking has been INSPIRED BY the garden as we've been able to harvest peas, beets, kale, carrots, (one lone zucchini) and onions. The garlic will soon be pulled but it needs some time to dry before it has much flavor. We're looking forward to a summer of good, fresh eating.

DELIGHTED BY the fact that Smith has the rare pleasure of a Sunday off! The plan is to make sure all chores are taken care of on Saturday so we can enjoy a quiet morning together. Even better news is he has July 4th off. How many times have I been a Holiday loner?

What's been on your mind lately? Anything you'd like to share?


Movie-less

We rarely go to movies and, in fact, the last time we were in a theater was Christmas Day. We have cable and access to the big movie streaming company, but we only use it to watch a few TV shows, sans commercials. The DVR is full and once in awhile we watch something we've recorded, but rarely do we watch a movie. During the summer months we're out of doors and, if I'm home alone, I never turn on the TV. You could say, I'm not a fan. I am a media dud.

The two movies I have watched over and over again are "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Bull Durham". Other than that....

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Instead, I give you a picture of one of our at home dinners over the weekend, grilled chicken and garlic scapes. The scapes in our garden were pecfect for harvest and, if you don't know what I'm talking about, they are a finite delicacy, a bonus that grows from the hardneck garlic. Smith said all the garlic should be ready to harvest later this month. It's our fourth year for growing it and we've become big fans of our own garlic. 

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On of the gardeners threw a wildflower mix into a unused garden plot and we now have a riot of color to greet us as we enter the garden. You can also see our raspberry bushes in the background. 

Even though I have no list of Ten, I hope you'll share your favorite movie. What do you watch again and again? 


Walking the Dog

Smith has been working long hours at the big box DIY store helping out the DIYers while I am DYIing things at home. Moxie, who has improved enormously,has been accompanying me on my walks. He keeps his nose to the ground, as I keep mine on the sky and the top branches of the trees where the goldfinches coo and sing. It makes my walk all the better if I can see a glint of gold amongst the leaves.

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The other morning as Moxie and I left for our walk, I noticed the sprinklers had left a trail of diamonds on a low tree branch. Claudia's picture came to mind and I ran back in the house for my camera. Moxie was not amused, as he only goes forward.

Birdnestfind
Later in the day, while walking Moxie again (condo dogs need constant walking), I could see a brown wad of sticks sitting on the lawn. As a approached, it revealed itself to be a birds nest. It fit in the palm of my hand and the tiny nests bottom had worn away. It is made of leaf stems held together with down and what looks like dryer lint. I think it blew from a tree with a gust of wind, as we've had a windy spring.

I dropped Moxie back at the house, as he isn't quite up to the mile long walk to and from the garden. The garden is teaming with ladybugs, bees, and robins. The robins make sure to get all the delicate young seedlings they can (although they really do little damage in a garden this size). The bees drink from the water gathered in the leaves of the lettuce and the lady bugs are in full love mode throughout the garden.

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We have an overabundance of lettuce in many varieties. My favorite is the Okayama butter lettuce, but we also have red sails, and romaine. Smith is in charge when it comes to planting and tending the garden, although I try to help when I can. I'm better at harvesting, my ulterior motive being food to eat!

Beetgreens
Having a nutrious lunch was my reason for thinning the beets. Smith had planted the seeds too thickly and, since he's not one to bother, I took charge.  I had a huge handful of greens and decided to save them for dinner when we could share the bounty. Beet greens are one of natures delicacies and we love them sauteed in olive oil with a little garlic and lemon zest.

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The potato plants are growing quickly and, as soon as Smith mounds the base with dirt, they grow another 6". If the plants are any indication, we'll have a bumper-crop of potatoes this year.

Everything in the garden looks healthy and green. We never know what the garden year holds, but this year, so far, it all looks fine.


A Garden Update

Monday started with blue skies, but shortly after lunch the skies clouded over and we had yet.more.rain. We were not amused. Even the veggies would like more sun and the bees would like dry pollen to take back to the hive. Tuesday the weather improved and so did our moods. The rest of the week looks sunny. You can count me as one who is extremely happy about the warmth.

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From our home garden boxes we've harvested salad greens the last couple of weeks, but the wet weather has driven them to bolt early. We have a fresh crop planted, but it will be a few more weeks before home grown salad graces our plates.

Alans garden plot

The community garden is coming along slowly, as we were (overly) worried about frost and didn't plant. Our neighbor decided he was in too big a rush and planted everything he thought might survive. He now has a head start on everyone else in the garden! If only ours looked that good.

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It looks as if the asparagus was hard hit by frost this winter and, to top it off, the same precipitation that halted our greens is quickly turning the few asparagus into fronds. We were lucky enough to snag a few early spears for Saturday's dinner.

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The robins have been intrepid, eating seeds, worms, and tiny new seedlings. We don't begrudge them the few morsals they take, as they hop from garden to garden, spot to spot and never stay for long. I love watching them as they watch me.


Oh My

The garden goodies are winding down, as the tomatoes seem to be stuck in limbo. The recent rains have confused them. The vibrant green fruit refuses to turn red, but if it does the tomato has end rot.

Fabulousshishitos

Instead we're harvesting peppers, what will surely be the last of them. This is our most recent batch of shishito peppers, the not hot, not too sweet, totally tasty, treat. I followed this recipe from Food 52 and was blown away with the deliciousness. We'll grow more of these delights next summer.


Over the Weekend

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-Time in the garden was spent harvesting everything we could from the waning plants

-Lessening daylight is shutting down the plants desire to reproduce, but many still have plenty of life left in them

-Smith has started putting sections of the garden to bed for the winter and readying others for a planting of garlic and spinach

-Multiple freezers bags were filled with Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce

-Our own peppers, onions, and garlic are added to the sauce, each bag an ode to summer's deliciousness

-We came to regreted our decision to not go for a hike, as impending storms fell apart right before our eyes

-Sushi for lunch, while visiting with a friend, is one of life's great joys

-Flexiblity was the word of the weekend, as plans can change for any number of reasons

-We'd had our mouths all set for fish tacos, but without regret, ended up with Vietnam's spring rolls

-A change usually works out to be better than what was planned

-A friend dropped by with fresh Utah peaches and ended up staying for drinks and dinner

-The whole of the weekend was a beautiful way to say good-bye to summer

How was your holiday weekend?


Freshness Abounds

Garlicabounds

Harvest has begun. Last fall Smith planted gloves of garlic from the bulbs he'd saved from our overabundant 2012 crop. As usual, when June rolls around the lower leaves start to brown, which means it's time! Over the last couple of weeks he has carefully harvested the bulbs and tied them into bunches to dry. At this point the garlic has a nice fresh taste and tang.

Savorysavoy

The beautiful savoy cabbage from our first foray into cabbage growing. I prefer this to any other cabbage, as it is not as tough as regular green or red cabbage, and it has a naturally sweet flavor, yet retain its tartness. Half of this head was used to make a simple slaw, but yesterday I found this recipe.  I wonder how quickly I can get my hands on some sumac. We have two more heads, but Smith has started a few more plants, as cabbage is a great fall crop.

Mostexcellentonion

The first of the onions are ready to harvest, but leeks and cipollinis (small, sweet, globe shaped and golden) will take a little longer.

Firsttomatoes

This week I made opal basil, almond, dairy free pesto. It  was very, very delicious. I wish the tomatoes were farther along, but I'm hopeful the basil plants will produce until then. I'll freeze a few batches, just in case.

This is the time of year we can shop our garden instead of the grocery store. I love it.


It Doesn't Like Me

Today's ToT doesn't appeal to me as I only scream (in pain) if I eat ice cream. You may feel sorry for my life of no dairy, no gluten, but I've embraced this lifestyle.  It keeps me  feeling great and one must do what works best. Therefore, we shall talk about other yummy things.

Firstbroccoli

The garden gave us our first crop of deliciously fresh broccoli. Broccoli from the garden has a different flavor than grocery store broccoli. Crisp and crunchy, green and sweet, we're looking forward to more.

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At the moment we have an overabundance of lettuce and I've been looking for ways to dress up the flavors of the usual salad. Fresh, sweet lettuce is a great base to highlight many other flavors and I'm having fun with various combinations of fruits and other vegetables.

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The garden season is just getting started and we have much more good eating in our future.

How does your garden grow?