Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Waiting for windows

When a door closes, a window opens.

We've all heard that one before, and it's very comforting to think that an opportunity is waiting for us when we lose something. I've been watching doors close lately; don't get me wrong, they're doors that need to close, but they're doors that I didn't want to close myself. It's scary to close doors, sometimes, even when they need to be closed.

I'm learning the difference between closing them nicely, slamming them, and leaving them off the latch. So far, I've resisted the temptation to turn the lock behind the door-slammers; the doors may be closing, but I don't really want to lock them. Okay, in the moment of slamming, I would love to turn the lock with a flourish, but I'm resisting that moment of evil satisfaction. They're all doors I wouldn't mind seeing open again some day, and I don't need to contribute to the negativity.

Of course, the rooms beyond them will no doubt undergo a redecorating project while their doors are closed. I may not even recognize them when the doors open again. That's okay. I'll be doing some redecorating on my side of the wall, too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My rebellious nature

I'm not good about doing what I'm told; even when I'm the one telling me. All I have to do is write a list and I am out of here, busily doing everything but what I've just written down. I sabotage myself; there's no two ways around it. I hate being told what to do, even when it's something I want to do.

I've reached this conclusion after something totally inexplicable happened. Along with a group of friends, I agreed to commit to doing something jewelry related every day this month. We agreed to share our progress, and let each other know how we were doing. You guessed it: I became a member of the jewelry fantasy league.

I did get a few things done, but not much. I found myself setting goals, and avoiding them. The beads did not call to me; instead, they hollered, "Get outta here! We want to be left alone."

And so I did. I've been out in the garden, I've been harvesting, cooking, and freezing veggies and appetizers. I have not been beading. And so, I decided to give up my commitment. And guess what happened?

Yup. I'm interested in beading again.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My garden

Here's a photo of three of our four raised beds; I'm standing on the hill, looking down on them. Everything is growing like mad; it is so much fun to grow so much of our own food. Last night we had the first of the corn; it was so sweet and good.

Of course, one problem with a garden is that when it's ripe, it's all ripe. Today we picked a bushel or so of peaches; we'll be making everything we can think of that includes peaches for the next few days. There are still some left on the trees; we'll have another big picking and then they will be gone until next year.

Harvesting from the garden is different than harvesting from the grocery store.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I'm beading again. When I get away from it for awhile, I really miss it. I've been so busy for the past week or so; I've been beading only in my head. Sadly, those things didn't work. I tried to put them into reality today, but the beads just wouldn't do what I thought they could do.

Life's a lot like that.

Wouldn't it be fun if you could have a whole day where fantasy became reality? Where everything - and everyone - behaved exactly the way you imagined they could?

I wouldn't really want life to go like that all the time; oddly enough, I'd miss the element of surprise and the challenge of changing plans. I surprise myself by realizing that; but it's true. I like thinking on the fly.

Most of the time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The last of the zucchini

For today, anyway.

And probably only because I am not going out to look at the plants to see if any need to be picked. Nope, I'm going to savor my victory over that particular green vegetable, even though I know it is a hollow one, and undoubtedly short lived.

I used them to make these quiche, which have just come out of the oven and are sitting on my stove to cool. We will take a couple of pieces from one of them with us tonight to picnic on at the concert in the park; the other will go directly into the freezer for another time. I like having things in there that can be pulled out for dinner quickly and eaten without any fuss. And, I always figure: if I'm going to make one, I might as well make two.

Here's the recipe, if you'd like; it makes two. Of course. One for now, and another for later. Cut the ingredients in half if you only want to make one:

  • Two deep dish pie crusts (if you are using disposable pie tins, be sure to set them on a cookie sheet covered with foil before filling them. Uncooked custard is heavy and wobbly; those pans just can't cope without help.)
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • garlic and oregano (or other herbs) to taste
  • grated mozzarella cheese
  • grated zucchini (courgette)

Fill each pie crust 1/4 of the way with grated cheese. Add enough zucchini to fill them about half or 2/3 of the way, depending on how much you've got. Toss the cheese and zucchini with a fork, being careful not to dig into the crust. You don't want to leave them in layers, but they don't have to be mixed perfectly, either.

In a bowl, slightly beat the eggs. Add the evaporated and regular milk and the salt. Mix well, but don't beat. Pour the custard over the cheese and zucchini mixtures until you've used it all, or the pans are filled up. Extra custard can be sweetened, flavored and baked for dessert - I didn't have any this time, though.

Bake for 50 minutes at 400°, or until the tops are well browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If it hits some cheese and comes out with a cheesy spot, but the rest of it is clean, that counts as done. It should have a slight wiggle when you move it, but shouldn't look gooey.

Let cool a bit before cutting for best results; it can be served warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our little friend

Last month, in my post Wild Things, I told you about our new friend, RJ.

He's a scrub jay, and he's very friendly. It took awhile, but he now trusts us enough to land on our laps and take peanuts from our fingers. He likes to hide his treats in the garden; he will actually lift mulch in his beak and arrange it so that the ground looks undisturbed; he's very particular about his cache. Luckily, the peanuts are roasted; otherwise, I'm sure we'd be having them growing all over the place.

He's a greedy little thing; he'll fly back and forth as long as we keep handing him peanuts. When I'm working in the garden, he'll fly over to where I am and scold me; he's firmly convinced that my purpose in life is to feed the bird.

I'm likely to agree, some days.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vegging out

My meticulous garden is making lots of food. I have been harvesting every day; mostly green beans, artichokes and squash; though the strawberries and peaches have been steady, and the garlic all came due in one fell swoop. Now, of course, it's time to cook it and eat it; what we can't consume in a timely manner I am freezing.

Yesterday, I made roasted garlic and artichoke won tons in my new mini-deep fryer; what a difference it made! It's a lot less messy than trying to deep fry in a pot, and there's no guessing about the temperature. It's very small, so it doesn't use a lot of oil; I do have to fry in small batches, but that's okay. I never used a very large pot when I fried over the stove, so I'm used to small batches.

Today I'm frying patty pan squash in panko crumbs; I'm having fun with my new toy. But lest you think that everything I make is high calorie and deep fried, I must let you know that I also made a lovely bean salad today with roasted garlic and feta cheese, and I blanched three quarts of green beans for the freezer. We had them steamed last night at dinner, and by tomorrow there will, no doubt, be enough for another meal.

Tonight I'm going to make a pesto with more of the roasted garlic (yes, I roasted quite a lot of it!) and some basil from the garden. I've got some ravioli in the freezer, and we'll have it with a salad of baby lettuces and some of the roasted garlic and rosemary bread I made last night.

It's summer time, all right!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Me, meticulous?

My sister looked at my garden the other day and said I was a meticulous gardener. My first thought was, I know some really meticulous gardeners, and I'm not even close!

And then I took a look around.

You know what? I am pretty meticulous. The tomatoes are tied neatly; the new supports are actually supporting them. The squash, melons and pumpkins have been trained to go in the directions I want them to go in; with the exception of some rebellious yellow squash that is taking liberties with the marigolds, they are all behaving rather well.

The weeds, for the most part, have been pulled; though sis did manage to find a rather large one pretending to be part of the rhubarb. The strawberries have their own bed, and the mint is held in check by a path that gets no water.

I'm still not up to Connecticut standards, but yeah: this garden merits meticulous.