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Tidbits

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.

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This Week In Photos

Evening Harvest

Last night’s harvest. I processed the batch in the blue colander today. I’ll do the rest tomorrow and start the jelly. I should have plenty.  I think I’ll give away the rest of the harvest.

Green door

No recipe exchange this week. Been very busy. Today I bought a door. I love our local salvage yard, got a great deal. I may be sacrificing a bit of energy efficiency with the window, but the living room needed the light. It is an upgrade from the plain wood door to insulated steel, so there is that. I need to touch it up a bit and then paint it before it’s installed.

The animals are settling in. Jake is back to his favorite spot:

Don't touch my bunny

Zander is always up for a belly rub:

Belly rubs

And looking for a game of laser light:

Who's a good kitty

He and Bixby play it together and I need to get video, but it’s tough to capture the action. Speaking of the Beast:

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He happily has his own couch (for now). We’ll see what happens when I find the new sectional. But for now, he’s comfy. LOL

The yard is coming along. I had a surprise gladiola hiding in the chard that made a smashing debut yesterday:

Glad for Glads

The window box outside my office that has been host to butterflies, bees and a hummingbird:

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That’s it for tonight. I hope you have a great holiday weekend.  – TaMara

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Figs!

DSC02956 (1600x1200)Mrs J’s SIL gave us a pair of rooted  fig cuttings last fall.  To survive in our zone they have to be cut back every year and mulched in.  She over wintered these in the basement and planted them in our new garden this spring…20160506_141144(1600x1200)…where the deer or some other critter browsed the leaves.  Cages and chicken wire to the rescue!20160817_102914(1600x1200)They’ve been liking the rain and the heat this summer.  They are making a lot of figs.  We aren’t too sure when they usually ripen or even, for that matter, how to tell when they are ripe.20160817_102931(1600x1200)There seem to be a lot of them coming on so I suppose we will find out.  All I know is that when the sis-in-law brought us the cuttings last October she also brought a bowl of ripe figs.

Tidbits

20160724_094031(1600x1200)I think ten is the sweet spot when baking the King Arthur bun recipe, not too big, not too small.20160724_120430(1600x1200)Just the right size!20160724_174648(1600x1200)Made some tuna salad today, we’ve been giving that bread slicing gadget a workout.  Tuna salad on toast is another good way to use the tomatoes we have coming on strong.  Probably going to boil down some more juice soon.20160724_174830(1600x1200)We are starting to grow fond of leaf lettuce on sammiches, it doesn’t have the same crunch as iceberg but it does lay nice and flat and uniform.20160723_123019(1600x1200)Gabe goes from 90 miles per hour to naptime in about 6 seconds flat.20160721_103040(1600x1200)I have a better photo of the eggs in that nest I first posted about a week ago.  We tried to get a video of the little bird flying from the nest but failed to get anything useful.  I did get a little better look at the bird but just confirmed that it was a wee brown birdie.  It might be a house finch but a tip from a commenter over at Balloon Juice pointed me toward the Chipping Sparrow – the wings of our bird are darker than the belly.20160722_131315(1600x1200)Here’s another cold cuts and cheese sammich with a few sides.DSC_2799 (1600x1200)I’ll wrap with a picture from the archive.  I’m tickled by the balancing act this dragonfly is putting on, and I think the colors are pretty.

This Week In Moving News…

Bixby Cooling off

I’m in charge of watering the yard at the new house, since the seller has moved out of state. Bixby is clearly enjoying it. I keep discovering all kinds of fun things while I’m wandering around the yard. Sweet, golden raspberries, concord grapes, a tomatillo, rhubarb…the list goes on.

The world is rushing at me, mostly with really good stuff, and I’m struggling to keep up. I suspect it will be that way until mid-July. I am also finding myself inundated by kind, unexpected deeds that have buoyed me at a time when it would be so easy to become cynical and disillusioned with the world. The house is almost a done deed, too, so I’m feeling hopeful.

I will try and have some July 4th ideas later in the week. But no promises.

I have one last hurdle and then I’ll feel comfortable saying the house is mine. Just don’t want to jinx it – though packing has started, the moving crew and truck are reserved and closing time is set.  But anyone who has gone through this knows there will be a flurry of paperwork between now and two minutes before close. I guarantee you there will be a celebratory post the moment keys are in my hands.

Until then…..



 

Tidbits

20160402_114125 (1600x1060)We’re just getting around to potting our patio garden.  Bitsy will wait for more foliage to appear so as to have better bedding.  In the meantime she makes do with the plain boards of the plant bench.20160403_150316_HDR (1600x1060)More photo fun, playing with the Nik software plugins for Photoshop.  This is a wild plum tree.20160403_170507 (1600x1060)Sammich prOn!  Mrs J really likes the crinkle cut fries so I bought a giant sized bag of them the other day.  They do crisp up nicely.20160402_113420_HDR (1600x1060)More absurdly vibrant colors!  The saturation slider goes to 11!  Am I having too much photo fun?  This is the view one has when turning into our driveway from the Township road.  The small rise effectively shields us from casual view, our house is behind the pine trees visible at the vanishing point.20160402_195012 (1600x1060)More banana blueberry bread.  This stuff is so good we buy bananas just to let them get over-ripe.  I’ll close this out with another calico kitteh:DSC03246 (1600x1060)

Tidbits

20160312_144026[1] (1600x1060)My bun-fu is improving!  It helped that I went with 12 instead of 16 like the last batch.  I went with a different forming method after watching a few Youtubes to get a better idea of how to proceed.  I rolled the dough flat in a roughly 6″ x 4″ rectangle, and then folded it like I was folding a letter to go into an envelope – top third down, bottom third up and over that.  Pinch the seam and ends and lay them on the tray with a bout a 1/2″ gap between so they rise to touch.DSC_5444 (1600x1060)We grew mint is this pot last year, and left it out all winter.  It lasted a long time before the cold weather burnt everything above dirt level.  We noticed new growth so I gave it a haircut the other day.  Mint is tough, we had mint growing wild in Mrs J’s flower garden and it took several years to eradicate.  Last year she told me to plant that nursery seedling as far away from her dirt as I could.20160315_092451 (1600x1060)Kimchi!  There is a Chinese buffet that we hit whenever we are close during meal time that has kimchi on their line.  I usually get some, I like it a lot.  I’ve made it before and had good luck but I made so much it was really getting sour before I could eat it all.  Mrs J refused to help.  This is one head of Napa cabbage, plus the carrots, daikon radish, and the rest.  I adapted this recipe.20160316_132316 (1600x1060)I left it overnight, covered, in the big bowl on a counter to give the fermentation a start and then put it all in this gallon jar to finish in the fridge in the basement.

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Primary day in Illinois last Tuesday, this is the little township meeting hall where we cast our votes.  One nice thing about living out in the boonies, there is hardly ever a line.

PICT5658 (1600x1060)Random wildlife!  This is a young buck that has dropped one of its antlers.  They are shed every year but it’s rare to find them in the woods – they are quickly gnawed down by little woodland critters.PICT5692 (1600x1060)One more – at first glance I thought that the bird standing behind the deer was a crow but a second look showed it to be a hawk:PICT5692I’m no expert on bird ID but I think this may be a juvenile red shouldered hawk.  I don’t know for sure why it is standing there at the pond but we often see wood ducks right there, either in the water or ashore looking for the corn Mrs J leaves down there.

Random Wildlife

20151015_095424 (1600x1060)I spotted a Daddy Longlegs picking its way over the Vitex this morning, early.  I had no idea what they did for food, thinking it may be hunting one of the bees that was busy just up the way.20151015_095522 (1600x1060)

It answered my unvoiced question, lowering itself to a flower and sipping nectar.

Grilled Lemon Salmon with Corn Pepper Relish

This is a great recipe and you can cook it on the grill or indoors in the oven.  Add baked potatoes or rice and fresh greens from the garden for a nice summer meal.  Serves 4.

Grilled Lemon Salmon:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 – 6 oz skinless salmon fillets

zip-lock bag

Add ingredients to bag and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.  Grill on a clean, oiled grill or use a well oiled grilling pan, or broil in oven in a heavy skillet or broiler.  Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily.  Serve with relish.

Corn Pepper Relish:

  • 1 cup cooked corn (or canned, drained)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ green pepper chopped
  • ½ red pepper chopped
  • ½ yellow pepper chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic

bowl

Combine all ingredients and let marinate while salmon cooks.  You can use the remaining peppers in a salad for your next dinner.



 

Random Wildlife – Praying Mantis

DSC_5418 (1600x1060)This is the largest one I’ve seen this year. It’s four inches from head to folded wing tip.  It has a good reach with those long arms.DSC_5414 (1600x1060)He was harder to spot than this photo makes it seem, the brown blended in well.