Category Archives: Garden

Duck Watch: Day 5

Good news today, the Rouen (the brown one on the left) has finally started eating. And she really hasn’t stopped all morning. I was worried and was going to start dissolving the duck crumbles in their water. She wasn’t walking well…and would actually trip over the big rocks and just picked at food. My hope was it because she was so stressed. This morning it looks like she’s turned the corner. The Blue Swedish (on the right) has been watching over her, never far from her side.

We had some fun moments this morning – I sit out and drink coffee while the cats get their daily dose of backyard time every morning. Everyone is coexisting. Emma being the alpha animal in this crazy pack has checked them out and deemed them unworthy of concern.

I needed to water this morning and thanks to my Dad, I now have the best backyard sprinkler ever (for his 80th birthday this past week, he received an in-ground sprinkler system). I set it up, turned it on and the ducks were at the gate (I have them confined to the garden when the dogs are out) and making it known that they needed to be where the sprinkler was…these gals were clearly yard ducks. So I let them out and they booked it to the sprinkler. I have video I’ll share later, along with pool time. Figure it would make a good Monday distraction.

I was sitting with my phone – to time the water – and I had an idea. Whenever I fiddle with the ring tone, the cats come running. I assume they think I’m killing something and they want in on it. Ring phones aren’t necessarily melodic.  It took about three different tones and suddenly I had ducks at my feet, listening with rapt attention.

I am not only the goddess of water, I am now the music maker. Goof balls.




I’m the only one here that eats this stuff.  My last homemade batch ran out mid-winter so I bought a commercial brand.  The present batch is loosely based on this recipe.  I have several serranos in mine, both green and red, along with a few green jalapenos, some sport peppers, and various pickled cherry peppers.


Tomatoes!  So many!  The weather has been playing havoc with the yields, it may have slowed but it hasn’t stopped them.  Brings up the dilemma faced by most all tomato growers:  What to do with them all.Everyone loves the BLTs, what we have here is a TLT.  Tuna salad is a summer favorite of ours: Tuna, mayo, pickle relish, chopped celery, chopped egg, chopped green or red bell peppers, minced onion, and this one even has shredded cheddar.The classic summer salad of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.  I make a dressing of 2 parts water to 1 part rice vinegar, a splash of canola oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper.  If you like you can add a bit of granulated garlic and a dried herb or 2, basil and thyme or oregano.  It’s better the next day after an overnight in the fridge.Macaroni and tomatoes is one of those simple dishes that are so good you should make some right away.  Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute then transfer them into an ice water bath to take off the skins.  Chop them up and simmer them for a half hour in a pot in which you have softened some minced garlic in a little oil.  Garnish with fresh basil and eat hot or cold.Green beans boiled with potatoes in ham broth is another summer favorite.  We use cured chunks of ham or smoked ham hocks.  Boil the ham and a sliced sweet onion in chicken stock for a few hours then drop in the potatoes.  We used fingerlings for this but any small potato will serve, or just cut bigger potatoes into smaller pieces.  Give the potatoes a head start because they will take longer to cook through, then add the green beans.  Don’t be afraid to cook the beans for an hour or more.  Cornbread is the perfect side.I did the sous vide ribs thing again, worked great again.  We ate gratin potatoes and baked beans with them this time.  Mrs J declared this “a full meal deal”.The potatoes were easy enough:  I sliced these with my mandoline with the skins on, then arranged them in a casserole alternating layers with sliced onions.  Pour on a cheese sauce and bake, covered for 45 minutes or so, uncover for the last 10-15 so the top browns.  I made this one with cheddar.This is a dish full of chicken and rice enchiladas in a tomatillo sauce.  It doesn’t look like much but it was tasty.



Dawn Duel

Hot Stuff

Enough cayenne pepper to keep me in red pepper flakes for another year or two.  I was used to commercially packaged red pepper flakes and learned quickly that these will go much further than those comparatively bland offerings.  These are in the dehydrator pending de-stemming and processing.

Call 911!

Miss Bea has OD’d on the catnip!


Mrs J found this Regal Moth in her flower garden, it seemed to be some distress.  She left it in a little concealed nook and has since seen it a couple of times in different spots.I had an oops! moment last week – I left the butter dish atop the toaster oven and needed something to use up all that melted butter.  Pineapple upside down cake worked admirably.  It could have used a bit more oven time to caramelize the pineapple layer.  Inverting the cake onto a sheet of parchment paper was a stroke of genius, he said, patting himself on the back.More sous vide rib-eye.  I made a pan sauce in the cast iron skillet used to sear the steaks.  Deglazed it with white wine and then added the sealed bag liquids and the garlic butter left from the mix used for the bread.While I was searching the freezer for the rib steaks I came across a couple of strip steaks.  I knew them to be tough so I put them in the water bath with the rib-eyes and let them run overnight.  I sliced off a bit to sample in the morning and found it very tender.  Mrs J started chanting “cheesesteak!  cheesesteak!” And that’s the rest of the story.My cayenne peppers are nearing harvest, they’ll be dried and processed into red pepper flakes.The habaneros are starting to ripen.  They are just too hot to use up in the small amounts we can tolerate – I still have ground habs from two years ago.  They are pretty, though, and I’m sure I’ll want some growing next year, too.Naan pizzas!  These are just great for quick and tasty dinners.  These have olive oil and garlic, provolone, cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, deli sliced turkey, salami, shredded pizza blend cheese, and fresh grated Parmesan.I’ll bookend this post with moths.  Here’s a hummingbird moth browsing through the flowers on the catmint.

First Tomato!

Miss Bea Says Hi

…and Gabe tells a turtle that he is ONTO him: