Sunday, May 31, 2015

Before and After

This is the lower garden in the beginning of May.
Here it is yesterday.
Looks a little bit different, eh?
The strawberry patch a month ago.

Bird heaven yesterday.  I think I picked 3 berries before they got to it.
The stairs on May 2nd.

The same shot on May 29th.  The pond pump is broken and Teddy is looking for her creek. 
The water is low in all the ponds until we get it running again.  The PVC pipe cracked from the cold weather last winter.  The pond people said they never see that happen.

I planted an Eastern Redbud tree a few days ago.  I am so excited to see this next Spring. These trees grow wild in the mountains here and they are just beautiful when they blossom.

Giant hostas and ferns. 

Teddy is looking at me as if to ask, where is my water? Soon puppy, soon.

We just started to mulch the berry patch.

Celery, tomatoes, edamame, garlic, cucumbers and beans.

Teddy is looking for 'bad kitties'.

The roses are blooming by the potting shed which is about to be painted.

The garden doors need to be stained.  The work really never ends.

The dry creek bed.

The katsura's.  These are the trees that smell like cotton candy a couple times each day.
Looking back to the top.  It's a jungle.
Teddy takes her time climbing back to the upper garden.  It's a long haul for those short legs.

My Mock Oranges are blossoming all over the gardens.  These are in front of my driveway.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sweet Tea, Pasta Salad and Focaccia

Summer has come to our region early this year and we have been in the upper 80's for weeks.  We get a cooler day once in a while but the hot humid weather has settled in.  It's going to be a long few months for this hot weather hater.  When I was little, we drank sweet tea every day during warm weather and I still make it all the time.
 The Blog Tech was heading out to a work picnic and I made some food for him to take along.  This is my favorite summer pasta salad.  It's a Barefoot Contessa recipe:

Focaccia goes well with this salad.

Focaccia recipe:

For the tea, bring 10 cups of water and 1/4 tsp. of baking soda to a boil with 1 cup of sugar.  Drop in 8 tea bags and steep.  Squeeze 1 or 2 lemons into it and chill.  Serve over lots of ice.  * The baking soda keeps the tea crystal clear.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Upper Garden

 Blooms for brains.

 I bought these planters this year to grow some tomatoes. So far, I am pretty impressed. The yellow things between them are the water gauges.  You fill the tanks on the bottom with water and it is wicked up in four different areas in each planter.  Time will tell.

 I have lots of pepper blossoms right now.

Especially on these peppers which are new for me this year.
 I also planted some of these tomato bags.  They are filled with coco coir which is supposed to be a great growing medium for tomatoes. Time will tell on these too.

 My first tomato...the thrill of it all!

 My fig tree is thriving.  But something is eating the leaves on most of my eggplants?  Do any of you know what this is and how to treat it?

 My first eggplant.

 The first of the lettuce and arugula is almost used up and it will be a while before the second planting is ready. I should have planted sooner.


 The last few years I have planted basil seeds in my strawberry planter and it has been very successful.

 My bay trees are thriving.

 Teddy's sunflowers.

Hopefully I will get some blueberries before the birds get them.  I live in an aviary.  The birds have been eating my strawberries before they turn red.  It's hopeless.
 My chives were spreading so fast that I dug most of them up and planted them in planters. These are very convenient just outside my garden room door.

 One of the raised planters.

 For those of you that asked about the mirror chains, I tried to get a few pics of them. When the sun hits them, it looks like fairies are dancing in the garden.

 Copper spider on it's web.

 Mirror chain.

 The Oakleaf Hydrangeas are about to bloom and my allergies are about to get even worse than they already are.  But I love these guys.  You don't need a calender when you have these in your garden.  I can tell what time of the year it is just by looking at these plants.

 Pool's open!

 The ladies will watch you while you swim.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cambodian Na-taing

When we eat Cambodian food, we always order this dish.  I decided I wanted to make it myself and my family is very happy that I did.
But first, I have to tell you a sad story.  Yesterday I baked pies for some of the kids at the center.  They are between programs right now but a few kids show up every day to hang out.  Two of the kids were there last week when I sent a pie to the people that work there and when they tried it, they really loved it.  So, I promised them more for yesterday.  Two of the boys were walking to the center to get pie and were held up at gun point.

One of them was carrying his Xbox because they were heading to a friends to play it after eating pie.  The robber took the Xbox, their phones and the few bucks they had in their pockets.  I could just die.  I can't imagine how horrible it is to be held up in your own neighborhood let alone to lose the few possessions you have.  The police were called but they didn't believe the boys story which is a whole other problem.  However, the people that work at the center believed these kids and they are the ones that know them.  And they had no phones and had to borrow them all day. These are good kids that have never been in trouble.  It just makes me miserable.  But they got lots of pie.  However, if I hadn't baked them, then they wouldn't have been where they were and got robbed.  CRAP!

Back to the na-taing.  Brown 2 pounds of pork in some sesame oil along with 8 diced garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons of minced ginger.

Sprinkle in some salt and pepper.

Add the juice of one lime along with it's zest.

Add 2 tablespoons of paprika.
Add 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Add a thinly sliced shallot.
Add 2 cans of coconut milk.

Looking good.

Add 3 tablespoons of green curry paste.

It sort of looks like this. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then stir in a bunch of minced cilantro.

Serve it scooped on rice crackers.  This might not look like much but it is a taste explosion in your mouth.  It is seriously good food.