Category Archives: Garden


We put the finishing touches to the blueberry garden – drilled the ties with an auger bit and pinned them in place with rebar driven through the holes and into the ground.Roasting poblanos on the burner is not as elegant as a purpose built pepper roaster but it works well enough.  I used these in a batch of baked beans:Along with the roasted peppers there are several sweet onions.  I always start with Bush’s Original Recipe and add additional types, pintos and black beans in this one.They are a perfect side to go with nearly anything.  No two batches are ever identical but they all are so similar the differences are trivial.I wish I had run across some poblano seedlings but I won’t be short of garden peppers.  These are “Gypsy” peppers.They seem to be much like the familiar banana peppers.  They may be a banana X bell pepper cross.These are Anheims, they will turn red as they ripen but are most often used when still green.  I have a few bell peppers coming on, and the usual complement of hot peppers.Loaded chili dogs!  These have chopped onion and fresh jalapenos, and pickled jalapeno slices.


Sunday Update: Puppehs!

So these two:

Yesterday was Bixby’s 4th birthday. Celebration was laid-back. LOL Scout also had a milestone – she turned 7 months this week. The house reflects the puppy energy. I’m forever picking up toys and the windowsill now features Scout’s mark – she’s chewed a big chunk of it out. Luckily, it’s repairable. Puppies.

I’ve been busy – painting the living room, refinishing the martini bar – which looks lovely and I need to get some photos up of it.  And the gardens take up a bit of time. But unlike last spring and summer when I spent most of my time moving and re-imagining what I had inherited – this spring it has mostly been sprucing things up, keeping the weeks controlled and enjoying the blooms. I’ll take it.

I have been doing absolutely no cooking. I need to have another dinner party to motivate me – and there is one on the schedule so I’ll have to think of something fun. There’s a new grill coming, which means it will definitely be of the outdoor nature. Probably too soon for garden veggies. But a girl can dream.

I have promised the dogs a walk…so we are off. Happy father’s day to everyone!


This ended up being better than expected.  It’s a basic tomato and cucumber salad with a dill vinaigrette made with seasoned rice vinegar.  Mrs J snagged a bag of sweet Vidalia onions so I included those into the mix.  My handheld mandoline made short work of that English cuke.This hosta is pretty.  I took several garden shots per a request over at Balloon Juice in the Sunday morning garden chat.This is looking up at the patio herb and pepper garden.  The bare looking tree/shrub thing is a vitex that has to be severely pruned every year lest it take over.  It always was a late starter but I think it may dead.  I won’t miss it too much although the hummers and the bees sure liked it.Mrs J prefers garden kittehs to gnomes.  The feeling isn’t necessarily shared throughout the household.Post needs more sammich!  This is the last of a brisket I smoked earlier this year.  I reheated the slices in BBQ sauce.Another garden kitteh.  Mrs J is fond of those coconut fiber containers, saying she has good luck with them.I love to thin slice the mini peppers to brighten up a slaw.  We will make several in a row with the vinegar dressing, then shift to creamy for a couple of batches.

Cucumber Salad with Fresh Dill

I bought cucumbers yesterday thinking it was time for the tomato and cucumber salad I always make in the summer.  While putting groceries away when we got home I realized that I forget the tomatoes.  I was determined to use the cukes anyway and found this recipe that looked pretty good to me.

I used Vidalia onions, they aren’t as pretty as red onions but they taste better.  I used seasoned rice vinegar and since it has lots of salt and sugar didn’t add any extra to the recipe.  I have plenty of dill!


I caught Ollie posing with Garden Cat, seems he was jealous of Ginger Boy getting all the pretty kitty accolades.I’m sure he was also interested in the occasional hummer.  Things are slow on the humminbird front.  I fear that the numbers may be down again this year.  They always enter a lull in feeder activity at this time, anyway.The first pepper!  Yay!  Lots of blossoms and little pepper nubs on the other plants, too.  This one is an Anaheim.We finally spotted a bird with a peanut.  Because of the way the camera is programmed we rarely see such.  The peanuts just disappear from one picture to the next, as if by magic.I took a notion to bread and fry  boneless, skinless, chicken thighs.  Soak them in buttermilk, dredge in flour, and then rest them until the flour has soaked up all the buttermilk.  It didn’t take long to fry them in 350° canola oil.  The red potatoes were boiled with the skins on, and then mashed with sour cream and butter.  The tomatoes are in a vinaigrette with crumbled feta.Post needz moar Homer kitteh! Also moar Gabe!  Homer likes dogs and disdains other cats.  The other cats in the household return the same.We have a lot of canned tomato soup from last year.  Fortunate, because we love tomato soup.  Especially with grilled cheese.  This year we have a few tomato plants out back, mostly for BLT sammiches but there may be enough to can some.I set up the grill for the holiday, just hamburgers today.  We needed some buns so I baked a few.I’ve been putting together some odds and ends of the green striped china.  The round plates are “new old stock”, as are those cute little bowls.  I have some more stuff ordered from an Etsy shop, and Ebay has provided a lot of it.  They’re vintage pieces made for the classic diners and restaurants from the ’50s.  The green stripes are a pattern known as “Niagara” We grilled some sweet corn, I dusted these buttered ears with grated Parmesan, the kind that sells in the plastic shaker canisters.  It is a nod to the classic Mexican elote.  It was pretty good but nothing like the real thing.


Worm Sign!

First caterpillars of the season.  I don’t know how they seem to appear out of nowhere.

Spring Garden Surprises

I know I’ve been MIA again. Work and the gardening, puppy craziness and Bixby getting (very) sick took up much of the last few weeks.  Bixby is on the mend – he had a bacterial infection in his small intestine, which the vet thinks may have bloomed because of the amount of emotional upheaval he has had  the last few months.

I will get you pictures of him and Scout – who is 6 months old and I can’t believe I haven’t had time to do her 6 month photos yet. I inherited the “lady” above and this was the first year I’ve managed to get her “hair”. I think she’s cute.

My garden is a constant surprise this spring. When I moved in, the entire yard, front and back, was like an English cottage garden gone wild. It needed to be tamed and the backyard needed to be dog (hey and now duck!) friendly. So I set about getting rid of the invasives and moving the plants I wanted to keep.

The result was, last year, not a lot of blooming. But this year, now that everyone has room to breathe and grow, wow! I go out front every morning just to see what will surprise me today.

The backyard is now mostly grass, but the grapevine is bursting with baby grapes. I have bird netting ready to go to keep the squirrels and birds out and hopefully I’ll get a great harvest.

The wisteria vine is magnificent, but still has never bloomed. I believe it’s well over five years old, so if anyone has any suggestions for getting them to bloom, I’d love to hear them.

I’m loving iris season and I inherited a botanical garden’s worth (and culled them heavily, but still they are everywhere).

And this beautiful columbine, I have two of these :

I haven’t even mentioned the dozen lilacs bushes I inherited. They are my favorite and the fact my property is surrounded by almost every variety and color is only a bonus for me. I don’t mind trimming them after the blooms are finished.

I’m heading out, even though it’s drizzling, to plant lettuces and spinach. The rest of the veggie garden is flourishing. We’ve had almost daily afternoon rains for the past week or so.

I’ll get those puppeh photos next. Until then…

Another Take

I did another take on the tomato soup and grilled cheese we had for lunch the other day.  Maybe a little too “artsy”?  I made pickle spears from slim cukes last year and included sliced sweet onion.  They ended up a bit too sweet but still nice and crunchy. My patio parsley is robust enough to pick some for garnishing.

Veggie Garden and Flowers

I’m heading out to plant peppers. I already have the tomatoes and potatoes in:

The tomatoes are well protected from the chill (we’ve had snow and frost since I planted them):

I don’t quite have enough water walls for the peppers, but 2-liter bottles and gallon milk cartons will work as well, just not as photogenic. I also have hoops so I can cover all the beds as needed. I have a bunch of veggie seeds, too, but I’m not in the mood to plant this weekend. Got a full schedule already, so I’ll do that this week sometime – pretty easy when the beds are all nicely prepped.

I have been enjoying the hard work of the previous owner. This is just the early showing of tulips, they became more showy as the weeks went on.

The rock garden is looking terrific:

This was a few weeks ago – a lot of late spring flowers are just about ready to bloom, so I’ll update next week.

I can’t wait to show off the roses in the rose garden. I moved 19 roses, mostly from the backyard (to save them from the dogs) into the front garden bed. Seventeen survived and are thriving – probably because I’ve given them space and fresh soil. They were in a mass of planting originally  – so much so that as I was removing a lot of the invasive plants, I was finding roses completely hidden and dwarfed.

Okay, off to do gardening chores…




Mrs J’s garden is full of ripe columbines this morning.