Category Archives: Garden


A scene captured by one of the wildlife cameras.  Most of the time the results are pedestrian but now and again they are visually arresting.  Here, Katie is caught mid-stride during that magic minute at twilight.Here’s Gabe, caught on the same camera when there was a tad more ambient light.  Just enough to add a frosting to the grass and trees.Chili!  I cubed a flat iron steak for this recipe.  I’ve made it before with some success but this time I went too far with the cayenne and ancho chili powder.  Mrs J refused to eat it.  The next day I added a 28 oz can of tomato bits and a 15 oz can of tomato sauce to the leftovers and served it over elbow mac, only to have here opine that it was hotter thus than before.  Here it is marinating in a bowl along with a pound or so of my own garlic pepper sausage.I didn’t get a pic of the cherry tomatoes in my last post covering the patio garden, they are coming along well and have blossoms now.They always look so good early in the year!  The patio table acts as an overflow area.  I thinned the jalapenos and the serranos and couldn’t bring myself to let the runts dry out and die.  They struggle on in the small pots while they await planting, maybe in the bigger garden out back or into larger pots.  The cedar was rescued last year from under a deck where Mrs J grows a selection of hostas.  It turned brown over the winter and I thought it was gone but it greened back up this spring.  The larger brown pot has “sweet mint” in it.  Like all mints it will take over so I keep them segregated.



I have a few acres rented out to a local farmer.  He has bigger equipment that he uses on bottom land he farms but my small plots are hard to get to so he uses what he can get down a single lane gravel road.This is all the farming I care to do.  I found some flat leaf parsley, finally.  My herb bench is almost full but I still have an eye out for different stuff.Mrs J has been hard at it.  She has a lot more in different areas of the front garden.Breakfast for lunch!  Whoops!  Got some syrup on the bacon.  I guess I’ll just have to lick that off!Puppy!  This is one of a litter that a pregnant rescue just delivered.Bea takes a chance walking out over the back pond on a small downed tree.  I do note that she isn’t too far out on that limb.Haven’t had a cheeseburger for a while.  The slice of provolone was so big it melted into a puddle around the patty and started to scorch.  The sides are my usual baked beans, a loaded baked potato salad, and a vinegar slaw.  Every time I make slaw and have leftover red onion from some other use I decide to go ahead and put it in.  Every time I use red onions for slaw it bleeds purple and I wish I hadn’t done that.  The frugal in tension with the aesthetic.  Yeah, I’m a cheap-ass.Should be plenty of peppers to make another batch of my hot giardiniera.Here’s Ollie, laying out on Mrs J’s layout table.

Hummingbird Moth Pr0n


We’ve been busy browsing through the big box store parking lot displays for flowers and herbs.  The closest is Rural King, we always hit that one first because it is in the same frontage group as the Kroger store although we have occasionally been dismayed by their indifferent watering.  Lowe”s is head and shoulders better but it is several miles farther.

The two planters above are my cherry tomatoes, these are Bonnie’s Super Sweet 100s.The chives are growing from last year’s pot, the rest are new this year.  I’m having trouble finding flat leaf parsley.  I do have some growing that I found at Kroger in an in-store display of “grow your own herbs indoors”.  The rosemary is from that same display.  They are offered year-round in cute little pots and I transplanted those to get a head start.  Also on this bench are curly parsley, sage, oregano, thyme, dill, and basil.Mrs J has been busy, too.  She does the flowers – the herbs and veggies are my area.  Peppers of various sorts and tomatoes are the only veggies I care to tend – the Kroger garden is close enough for me.I have started with the mowing.  While going down an edge I spotted this snake in the dry leaves.  I can’t tell the head from the tail.  Literally. I’m no expert but I think it is getting ready to shed its skin.  It has the off-white sheen you see in shed skins but it obviously still has the snake in it.This bench has my peppers.  So far this year I have cayenne, serrano, two kinds of jalapeno, and habanero.On this third bench are a few I’m growing more for display than edibility.  Mrs J likes the tricolors, and there is one called Black Pearl that’s pretty.  I’m going to try a Thai pepper this year, and a hybrid called Dragon Cayenne.I have an ornamental peach tree that has had a hard go of it lately.  A wind storm last summer broke half of it off and of the remaining half, half died.  The late freeze hurt the buds that remained.Mrs J is just getting started,  She has a few perennials but she really goes for potted annuals.

Speaking Of Gardening

Brought these in just before the snow this week. My yard is full of bulbs and can’t wait for them to bloom.

A Little Garden News

Spring is happening and I couldn’t be happier. If you all remember I moved to my new house in July. When I first looked at it, it was mid-May and it was a whirlwind time. So it should come as no surprise that my spring garden holds many unknown treats for me. I’ve been enjoying each and every one  (yes, even the daylilies that will soon be removed). Here are few shots from this week:

First butterfly

Lots of bulbs, most of the greens are up, can’t wait to see what types and colors I have.

The strawberries appear to have survived the dogs. I have the bed fenced off, but Bixby seems to think that means it’s his own private playpen. Sigh.

Bleeding hearts that I will move to the rock garden as the weather warms up and I don’t risk losing it.

A few good days of rain (thank fully the snow stayed west and south) and my lilacs are ready to pop. There are over a dozen in my tiny yard and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I’m plotting out the vegetable garden, but that’s a good month away….


Bitsy is a fan of boxes but she deemed this one too small.It’s really too soon for B(E)LTs but I was in a hurry and they make quick lunches.  I made do with a Kroger tomato.  They can leave the vine on, connecting a half dozen tomatoes, and call them vine ripened but that doesn’t lean for a minute that they taste good.We have puppies too!  A trio of picnic side salads.  A bog standard potato salad on the left, a copy-cat slaw on the right, and a mish mash of a bean salad in the middle.  My usual recipe calls for chick peas but I was out of them and subbed in great northern and black beans.  I though it needed more color so I sent Mrs J to the freezer for corn.  She said it  was white corn but it might do, so we tossed those in as well.  It didn’t hurt it.Beans!  I made a double batch because I figure we are heading into peak container garden planting season and they would go well with the other stuff. Kittehs!  A brand new batch.A sloppy dog, now with extra slop.


20170223_111706-1600x1200Breakfast pr0n!  Not what we had for breakfast, actually.  More a breakfast for lunch.  I don’t eat breakfast and Mrs J contents herself with a bagel but we both love waffles.  The bacon is thin sliced porchetta.20170224_092427-1600x1200I didn’t dump all the patio herbs, I wanted to see if they would come back in the spring.  The chives are doing great but the sage next to it still looks dead.  The bare twigs at the far right are rosemary that I am still hoping will show new growth but nothing yet.20170224_092346-1600x1200The front gardens are just barely showing some color – the scilla can be counted on for a touch of early blue.  The day lilies are greening, as are the daffodils and sedum.dsc_2191-1600x1200More meatballs!  I made several, there are two left.  Not enough for a proper sammich but I guess I can do a couple of meatball sliders.20170223_115130-1600x1200These were out for a last rise before baking.  I busied myself about making that breakfast-for-lunch while they were out and they really puffed up before I could get them into the oven.dsc_5597-1600x1200Here’s Ollie, watching me compose this post.  He’s already made himself at home.  He is fitting in rather well with no apparent animosities developing with any of the other cats.dsc03901-1600x1200One of the shelter cats.  The eyes in the original picture were highlighted by a stray beam that prompted me to play that up with a few tweaks.

Spring Gardening Continued…

When we last left the side garden it looked like this (click here).


Above you can see I’ve started to add rocks. I did a few a day…


And this is how far I’ve gotten this week:


Next I’m going to plot out where the plants will be and create little areas for them and I’ll fill the rest in with rocks…of which I still have plenty.

Stay tuned…


A Little Unexpected Help


I was cleaning up more of the yard today and found this little unexpected guy. I think he will live in my window box for the foreseeable future.