Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Odds and Ends

Summer weather overview: 1 warm week in the 90s, but the rest has been cool and rainy. Very weird. We had some crazy sky days as smoke from wild fires in Canada rode a polar vortex down to the Midwest US, blocking out some light of the sun and creating an eerie green haze for days. 
The cool and wet weather has resulted in lots of blight; fungal or bacterial- I'm not sure which, killing many gardener's tomato plants. No loss for me, thus far.

The tomatoes and beans are just coming in. First harvest: 
Black Plum, Sun Sugar and German Lunchbox with Burgundy Beans

Made this salad with an avocado vinaigrette or sauce that we ate on grilled tortillas with cheese. 
With the second day of tomato harvest I made this Turkish Shephard Salad and omg, is this good. I really liked the dill in it. Plus, the colors! Wow.
 I then mixed it with Freekah (roasted baby wheat)
and served it with arepas (Colombian corn cakes). Happy summer meal!

Made this self-feeder for the outside cats. First night the raccoons ate 3/4 of it and that was the end of that. Three young ones have been coming into the house via the cat door recently. They've discovered the inside cat food bowl is JUST inside this door! 3am feedings. AHHH! 

Repainted the bathroom as one of my spontaneous summer projects.
Got some new planters and replanted some old.
 Had 2 of these glass ornaments that came with air plants
in them. One of the air plants died so I replaced them with these orchids
that I found on the orphan rack at Lowe's. 

Got this cool retro planter (below) on the clearance rack at Target.
Not shown- planted today with 3 houseplant starts.
 I also found these hanging egg-shaped planters (below) on the
clearance rack and stuck in some starts left by 
my botany students. Pothos.

I make these every year when I chop down the Cupplant. If the stems aren't hollow, I poke a chopstick in it. My hope is to attract Mason bees. See the stem at the bottom with the grass hanging out? A small wasp has been visiting and doing this. Needless to say I am tickled pink that someone appreciates my efforts. 

In bloom
Plants at back porch.
I don't think I appreciated impatiens enough
until this year. This may just be the right spot for them.
Of course, the weather has been ideal.

Gray-headed coneflower
reseeded in the driveway.
Raspberry Wine Monarda
Particularly loved by the Carpenter Bees.

Wild food
A mushroom-hunting friend of mine came across a gold-mine of chanterelle mushrooms this weekend. We don't typically have them this late, but we've been in a perpetual spring (70/80s) this summer. She gave me an entire grocery bag of them! Talk about love. Tonight I made some bisque as it is cool enough for soup. 
 Oh, so good. Made in the crock pot.
Didn't think I'd be busting that out this summer.

I won't lie. I've been wearing long underwear to bed and we
don't have the AC on. It's that ridiculously nice.
The mosquitoes don't seem to mind. I guess they've loved the rain.

Happy Summer, folks.