Cloudy San Diego

visiting the old stomping grounds. it’s been pretty gray and cool. a welcome relief from the hot muggy summer we’re having in Ky. staying in Hillcrest thanks to our friends Jacek and Caroline. eating lots of great food and enjoying beach walks.
went to the MOST fun wedding. all the best wishes to my sweet niece Summer and her new hubby Brian. we danced danced danced. too much fun. saw the whole family. truly a joyous occasion.
home soon to my jungle garden in Ky.

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Hot times

it’s been an early and hot summer. We’ve had some good early rains. Some of the plants have quickly gone to seed due to the heat. Will have to cut back parsley, sage, mint, greens and some basils and hope they come back. also lemon balm.
Tomatoes are doing well. Pumpkin and watermelon vines are starting to cover the back of the yard. The raspberry bush is taking over the other side. We’ve had a tiny raspberry harvest and yum!!
Had a battle with slugs and other pests but a couple of applications of my concoction of peppermint soap, cayenne and garlic has helped repel unwelcome creatures.
Lots of fire crackers going off today. Poor Fern, our wee beasty is beside herself. Tomorrow will be rough for her.
Wishing all a joyful holiday. We will be celebrating 30 years of living together! How lucky I am.
peace and green blessings

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Planting time

well finally getting some plants into the ground. have done some tending to the soil. turning and digging a bit of new. space. approx. a month or more ago I planted some fish carcass and bones in my garden to nourish the soil. kinda stinky after a bit and had to watch the wee Fern dog as she was on the hunt for those smelly areas.
today we planted the main garden–3 types of heirlooms–mortgage lifters, caspian pinks (pre 1890) and black prince!! also 3 types of peppers, a yellow, purple and one I lost the tag for. oops. then caulifower and Brussels sprouts some watermelon and seeded some small areas with borage, fennel, spinach and a mesclun blend. put in a sweet smelling knock out(?) yellow rose that smells divine, some forget me not seeds, beans and a couple decorative planters.
re. the herbs. I’ve had returns with my sage ( a beautiful bush that I am deadheading to keep it from flowering), parsley, thyme and chives. just added 3 basils- regular, red robin ( purple ) and Siam Queen, Greek oregano and dill.
Steve is working two beehives. just got the swarms in about 4/26. so far so good. there are eggs and lots of pollen gathering during the warm hours of the day. he is just using a veil and no gloves- just keeping a mellow vibe. so far all is good – no stings except for the Fern dog who stepped on a bee. so sad but a baking powder poultice and some rescue remedy and she was as good as new.
so will keep you posted. the green energy is powerful.
peace and love to all

sage and thyme / volunteering from last planting

Steve watching his bees

guardian angel hosta from my friend Bill, 2nd year--- so lovely

working on my mantra--change is life

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Signs of spring at last

crocus are blooming. a few warm days and my thoughts are all about this years garden. I feel myself coming out of hibernation. we will have a couple hives-very exciting. they will be tended by Steve. looking forward to honey, bee pollen, beeswax and propolis. what a bounty the bees give us. will try more companion planting..

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Its been a while

Wow! This fall has flown by. My heirloom tomatoes kept producing like
Mad. I thought they were done and NO. Little green tomatoes kept showing up. Steve pickled some as I was too busy to get to it.
We spent 7 days on the Outer Banks of N Carolina the beginning of Nov. A perfect time- the weather was beautiful-the beaches were deserted and there were good waves for my surfing husband. We rented a little cottage in Avon and ate lots of seafood-walked on the beach-he surfed-lots of naps with the sounds of the surf-visited Ocracoke Island-very quaint-read a lot and just relaxed. It was a very healing and relaxing time.
Visited the Biltmore-amazing and beautiful and expensive. Thanks to my wine seller Kymberly, we were comped the whole visit so it was really fun and painfree on the purse.
Got home to beautiful weather so took advantage of it. Steve and friend Andre helped put the garden to bed for the winter. Still had tomatoes!! Still waiting on the brusselsprouts- they are liking the cool weather so will let them go a bit longer. Same with the pablanos-they are still producing. We filled in the low spot in the garden with plant matter, soil and mulch so should be a good spot next year.
Now on to the holidays and those cozy days of winter. Time to enjoy home and hearth.
Be well and many blessings to you.

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Mid Sept. In Ky.

Wel, it’s been a while. I’ve been working on a new wine list which involves a lot of tasting. O poor me! Am adding some organics. There are some very nice ones out of Argentina.
The garden is evolving. Tomatoes are pretty much done. The herbs are vibrant and I will be harvesting them soon and drying most of them. We have rigged old window screens with hooks and twine and are suspending them in the basement. I may need to put a fan down there too. I’ll be drying cooking herbs s/a basil, parsley, Rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, chives and dill. I also have a nice little crop of lemon balm to dry. It makes the yummiest tea. I also will be tincturing some of the thyme- a great immune booster and anti aging herb with wonderful healing properties.
I thought i’d send out some info on boosting your immune system since the media is trying to scare us with the swine flu scenerio.
A great herb to use thru the fall and winter is astragalus. You can get it in capsule form but my favorite form is the dried slices. They look kind of like a tongue depressor. I like to use them in soups, stews or rice. You just toss one slice inthe pot and let it cook. You can take it out when your dish is finished or not. It has a very bland slightly taste alone and does not affect the taste of your dish at all.
This is my families favorite immune boosting soup. I make it by the big pot and keep some in the freezer for emergencies.
Ingredeints: organic if you can get them
1 finely chopped large onion
2-3 large carrots sliced
2-3 stalks celery sliced
1 good sized burdock root ( if you can find one)sliced thin
A good knuckle sized peice of Ginger chopped
As much garlic as you can stand finely chopped
1 lemon
Chicken broth or vegetable broth
Cayenne pepper
Boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into bitesized prices or tofu
1-2 slices of astragalus
Saut√© the vegies in olive oil until the onions are soft. Add the broth (you can decide how much depending on how much volume you want) and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and astragalus. The chicken will poach quickly. Add whatever seasonings you like– I like turmeric, thyme, salt and pepper, paprika but have fun-try something new-it’s only soup! Add as much cayenne as you can stand-I make mine pretty hot. At the end squeeze the juice of a lemon or lime in the soup and serve it up with a nice salad and some whole grain bread for a tasty winter meal. This soup cooks up pretty quick or you can let it simmer away for as long as you like. Of course, you can substitute tofu and vegetable broth if you are vegetarian.
Stay warm. Sounds silly but many times we run out without decent cold weather gear. It’s important to keep your core warm.
Get enough rest and when you feel run down-slow down. Take a day or night off.
Eat warming foods like soups and stews. Use onions, garlic, ginger and warming spices on your food.
Fall is a good time to get ready for the cozy days of winter that are coming. Stock up at your farmers market. Local honey and local apples have a long shelf life.
The beauty of fall is almost upon us. My favorite month, October is almost here.
Be well and choose peace.

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Dog days of summer

Well, still letting the lemon achar sit as per recipe. I ended up using vegetable oil with mustard powder. It smelled wonderful. Quite a lovely spice combo. It goes in the jars after a week.
Jim, our amazing chef, created a delicious meal using some of the second batch of chutney. It did not turn out as hot as I wanted–just a hint of heat but still good. He coated a halibut filet with the chutney and broiled it. He served that over slightly wilted spinach, salted, peppered and drizzled with lemon juice. WOW. Amazing.
Still sharing the tomatoes with the squirrels. The water dishes I have put out for them–didn’t make a lick of difference. Luckily there are plenty to share.
The aragula is wilting and eaten –it’s super hot and humid. I am going to pull it up and start a new batch. Should have a new batch for Sept.
Beans are ready to harvest.
Green blessings

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Early August in Ky.

Well, as you know, lotsa tomatoes. I’m sharing them with the thirsty squirrels in the neighborhood. A friend suggested putting out water for the lil critters as that is why they eat the tomatoes. So I went to the goodwill and got some really shallow dishes cuz who wants to drown a squirrel. Well, today still about 4 tomatoes donated so ??
On to my adventures today…
I made another batch of the chutney but added some HOT jalapenos from the garden and oops! forgot to put the pickling spice in a bag and just tossed it willy nilly in the mix. We have used the first batch with blackened porkchops and a friend has used it on a bagette with some cheese and we both really liked it. Will keep you posted on this second batch. I just heard one of the jars pop. Wish me luck.
Also tried my hand at a lemon achar. You almost quarter lemons leaving them attached at the bottom. You stuff them with a spice mix of fennel seed, cumin seed, pepper pods, mustard seeds,chili powder and salt. You’re supposed to grind all these spices on your mortar. Good luck with that! I ground until my shoulders said STOP and still–not so finely ground. Too bad. I stuffed the semi quartered lemons while getting my oil to a boil. You are supposed to bring mustard oil to a boil. Well, I searched hi and low for this oil and found it at the Mediterranean store at Findlay Mkt. Of course, I didn’t buy enough soooo decided to add vegetable oil to make up the difference. Bad idea– it didn’t boil but smoked up my house and then caught FIRE!! Well I took that pan and threw it outside. Now my stuffed lemons are waiting for the addition of some really hot oil so I’m off to try again.
Canning–fun,exciting,maybe a bit dangerous!!

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Monday morning in Kentucky

The tomatoes bushes are so heavy with fruit they are being pulled over. Next year I’m using heavy duty tomato cages.
It’s a great year for peaches. I’m considering canning some. What a treat that would be in the winter.

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First canning adventure

Last nite we tried our hands at canning. We made a tart apple and green tomato chutney. I cut the recipe down as I’m not sure how much of this we will use.
4 small tart apples. Peeled and chopped
8 small green tomatoes. Peeled and chopped
1 1/2 thinly sliced onion
1/3 lb raisins
1/3 qt vinegar
1/3 lb brown sugar
2/3 tblspn salt
Pinch red pepper
1/2 tspn curry powder
2/3 tblspn pickling spice in a bag
Combine all ingredients in large heavy pan and bring to boil then simmer until thick and apples are transparent. Toss spice bag. Pack in hot sterile jars and seal while hot. Wait for the top to pop and you are good to go.
It was fun and I’m hoping tasty.
Next I’m going to try lemon achar and dilled greenbeans.¬† We’ve had a run of really nice cool weather which has slowed down the ripening of the tomatoes.

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