Category Archives: Garden

A Good Day for a Cookout

DSC_5339 (1600x1060)Thighs are the best part of a chicken.  These are bone in and they still have their skins and are perfect for a bbq.  Cast iron works great on a grill, these beans will have a smokey flavor because of that chunk of hickory I have in the smokebox over one of the burners.DSC_5452 (1600x1060)Bonus Butterfly!  I just like the look of this one.  That’s a Yellow Swallowtail on purple cone flowers.

Suddenly, Cicadas!

DSC_5319 (1600x1060)Cicadas!  One of a myriad that appeared overnight.  They are kind of pretty, fresh out of their old skins.  This one is perched upon a coralbell Mrs J planted last fall after nurturing it all last summer in a container.  Not really looking forward to their singing 24/7, talk about the sounds of summer…DSC_5317 (1600x1060)Once we noticed and started looking we found the empties all over.  These things emerge on a cycle, I’m not sure if these are the 13 year or the 17 year models.DSC_5316 (1600x1060)

Random Wildlife – Hummingbird

DSC_5295 (1600x1060)This is a Ruby-throated hummer, notwithstanding the dusting of pollen on its throat from sipping nectar out of this Columbine.DSC_5297 (1600x1060)

Tidbits

DSC_5270 (1600x1060)The hummers finally showed up in some force.  There are enough of them around I have to keep an eye on the feeders lest they run dry.20150415_175837 (1600x1060)I’m always losing those info tabs that ID the plant so I hit upon the idea to take a picture of each one with my cell phone.  Might not be foolproof but it can’t hurt.DSC_5266 (1600x1060)Bea is fond of turning our pots into kitteh beds.  I have two small basil plants in this one and she managed not to crush either one.  Yay!DSC_0317 (1600x1060)I had Italian sausage leftover from the last pizza so I combined that with some ground beef in a meatloaf the other day.  Worked out pretty well!  This was an ad hoc recipe:  Milk, an egg, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, chopped onion, garlic, and salt/pepper – bake in a 325 oven for about an hour in a bread loaf pan.  The dressing is ketchup and Sweet Baby Ray’s.DSC_0321 (1600x1060)The best reason to make meatloaf is the prospect of using the leftovers in a sammich.  Mmm…DSC02274 (1600x1200)Thread needs more kitteh!  This is Sweet Pea, a 5 month old kitteh girl.DSC02278 (1600x1200)That was hard work!  Nap time…DSC_0313 (1600x1060)I’ve been perfecting my braising method for these baby back ribs.  I do these in a 300 degree oven in a covered foil pan, after applying a dry rub, for about 3 hours or so.  A cup of beef broth helps to keep them moist.  During the last 20 minutes I brush them with a BBQ sauce, crank up the heat, and leave them uncovered to set the glaze.  Still working on the rub recipe but is has ground coriander, black pepper, kosher salt, garlic and onion powders, brown sugar, and a few other things that look good at the time.

Tidbits

Wow, six days since the last post!  I am so lazy!  We have been busy in the kind of laid back style that meets our definition of lazy.  We installed a new yard hydrant near the back barn to replace one that wasn’t sited just right and was getting increasingly difficult to open and close. 20150416_130454 (Copy)The old hydrant was in the back, next to the mulch, we are bringing it closer to the front of the barn.  It was wetter than ideal but we managed to get the ditch dug and the hydrant hooked up and tested out.DSC_5243 (Copy) We were tardy getting a hummingbird feeder up although it hasn’t been exactly overrun since we got it going – we saw one the other day.  The “Eskimo” Viburnum is just now hitting its peak with tons of compound white blossoms, reminiscent of Hydrangias.  DSC_0283 (1600x1060)We’ve been working the grill pretty hard.  This sammich is from country style ribs that smoked for a few hours.  They got a dry rub and a taste of a BBQ sauce, then were chopped and reheated in a skillet atop the stove to get a nice little crisp going on the edges.  The potato salad is another batch of the loaded potato salad that has become our fave picnic style side dish.DSC02232 (1600x1200)This is an older female cat, 5 yo, an owner surrender.  Mrs J says she is starting to come around from the trauma of separation.  We have no info on why the previous owner dropped her off, could be any number of legitimate reasons, and it’s good that she wasn’t just turned out on her own.  We see that a lot.
DSC_5244 (Copy)I have a start on the herb garden.  From the bottom:  Basil, chives, parsley and another to feed to the caterpillars, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. DSC_5245 (Copy)In the back are two determinate variety tomatoes, iirc they are “Mountain Fresh”, one has been broken over and may need replacement although there is still a leaf left intact with the rest of the stem.  In the foreground are various peppers:  Sweet, hot, and ornamental.  I have sweet bananas, serranos, cayenne, and a sweet Italian red pepper, “Carmen”, that looks similar to the banana peppers in the little photo.  I started some fernleaf dill but it’s looking puny today.  Katie and Jack are keeping a lookout for squirrels and those geese that have found where Mrs J leaves the corn for the deer.DSC_5246 (Copy)I do the veggies and herbs, Mrs J keeps up the flowers.  She has the biggest job.  Our 2002 ATV started acting up, right in the beginning the season, so we opted for this shiny, new 2014 model.  I told the dealer guy to show me one that is as close to the old one as he had, and he came very close.  He was tickled at the low mileage on the old one – we don’t do trail rides, just haul stuff around the place, run to the mailbox, and visit the neighbors on occasion.DSC_0271 (1600x1060)We’ve been eating sammiches or dropping by the local Chinese buffet.  We hit the buffet yesterday at the perfect time, I think, everything was freshly cooked and waiting for the lunch crowd, which we beat.DSC02241 (1600x1200)I rarely put up a photo of a large dog, Mrs J works inside with kittens and puppies, but she took this one of a stray that a local police officer brought in.  He said he would rather St Francis had it that the folks at the county humane shelter down the road.  Mrs J says they are required by law to post photos of strays, she posted the photo to the shelter’s Facebook page to be shared around, hoping the owner will see it and step up.

Tidbits

DSC_4986 (1600x1060)Homer has been an outside kitty lately because of his ongoing battle with Toby.  He does come in everyday to spend time but gets ousted if he acts up.  I think he may be mellowing a bit – the cuddle on the sofa with Bitsy was rare enough that I thought a photo was warranted.DSC_9402 (1600x1060)I picked all the remaining jalapenos so Mrs J could take the pot away and dump the old potting soil.  I sliced and froze these.DSC_9390 (1600x1060)A couple of tacos with guac and sour cream and a few of the last peppers.  I think these were ground beef cooked in a mole made from dried ancho peppers.  More of that sauce is on top, covering the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheddar.DSC01113 (1600x1200)Here are those pups from the other day that were smiling for the camera.  Mrs J says they are terrier poodle crosses.DSC01086 (1600x1200)They are really rocking their little doggie sweaters.DSC01106 (1600x1200)I think she said they were eight weeks old and would be released for adoption pretty soon.  I bet they go fast.DSC_9429 (1600x1060)Here’s a sammich I made the other day.  I had a chunk of hot coppa in the freezer that I thawed and sliced thin.  It also has traditional ham, a slice of roast pork, provolone, and various veggies in a vinaigrette made with dijon and balsamic vinegar.DSC_9416 (1600x1060)This looks like spaghetti and meatballs but the meat is just sliced link Italian sausage.  The sauce was from this year’s tomatoes and has a lot of Parmesan in it.  Good stuff.DSC_9431 (1600x1060)It’s been ages since I made bread in my machine.  This loaf really puffed up when it baked, I thought it might raise the lid before it quit growing.  The soup is a basic chicken noodle made with wide egg noodles and various veggies.  I always add too many noodles to the pot.

Tidbits

DSC00724 (1600x1200)I was startled the other day when my smart phone went nuts with a loud warbling alarm that I was sure I hadn’t set.  I scrambled over to it and found that it was relaying a tornado warning from the National Weather Service.  We dodged the tornado but did get some big wind, we had some trees damaged and lost power when several power poles up the road a ways were knocked down.20141013_162909[1] (1600x1060)The electric company crews were quickly on scene and had the power back in just a few hours.  Good thing the damage was localized and not widespread – they must of had 10 utility vehicles out for these few poles.DSC00783 (1600x1060)Here’s a kitty for you, part of a new litter at St Francis.  Kitteh has four siblings:DSC00774 (1600x1200) Mrs J says kitteh momma is a real gem!DSC_9273 (1600x1060)These are Cubano style sammys, pastrami instead of ham, provolone, roast pork, yellow mustard and pickles.  It was done up in a small grill press.DSC_4909 (1600x1060)Here’s Homer!  He’s sad because the garden is getting a little long in the tooth.DSC_9269 (1600x1060)A basic burger on a poppy seed roll.  I still have a jalapeno growing on the patio but Mrs J has her sights set on it and I won’t be able to hold her off much longer.  You just can’t beat a fresh jalapeno.  The sides are from the store deli counter, a German potato salad and a slaw they had labeled as a summer salad.  I recognized it a a dish we tried to replicate a while back.  It’s good.DSC00737 (1600x1060)Here’s another kitteh.  He’s not one from the litter above.  Mrs J says they have a lot of cats and kittens at the shelter and they are running out of room.  (hint hint)

Sammich Pr0n – Sloppy Joe with Cheese

DSC_9261 (1600x1060)Nothing beats sloppy joes for easy eating.  Mrs J said to pick the peppers from the patio containers because she was cleaning up and wanted to get rid of the way past their prime plantings.  I roasted and chopped a few of the Anaheims and a couple of poblanos and added them to onions and a can of tomato bits and added all that to browned ground beef.  It looked enough like the chili we have been eating all week that I stayed away from chili seasonings and went with Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce and catsup. The cheese is about the last of the shredded cheddar and jack, I started with a big bag and used it all week long.

Cat on a Hot Pepper Bush

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Stuffed Peppers

DSC_9123 (1600x1060)So then, what to stuff these babies with was the question.  There are many more recipes out there than I had peppers for so I stuck close to the basic recipe of tomatoes + meat + rice, after toying with one that featured an egg baked on the top.  Maybe sometime…DSC_9133 (1600x1060)

I made two versions today, one with sauteed grape tomatoes and pancetta and the other with crumbled Italian sausage and roasted grape tomatoes.  Don’t ask which is which in the photo, though if pressed I would say the pancetta variant is in the foreground.  Both recipes combined the meat plus tomato with brown rice and shredded mozzarella.  They baked at 400 for about 25 minutes, more shredded mozzarella added to the top during the last few minutes.DSC_9135 (1600x1060)I didn’t parboil the peppers, hoping they would turn out soft enough.  I think they were just right.  I cut the first pepper right down the middle but that resulted in a pair of pepper platters rather than two bowls so I ended up cutting about a third off of the remaining peppers and using the two thirds left for filling and baking.  I opened a jar of my famous Awesome Sauce to pour into the bottom of the casserole.  It was pretty thick and was looking to dry out and burn so I splashed a little water in there when the cheese topping went on.  Both versions were tasty.  Mrs J couldn’t pick a favorite, liking them both equally.

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