Well, here I am again! I think I posted just a few days ago and I'm really thrilled that not only did I manage my time well to fit this in, I actually have some things to write about. It really felt like a rather slow week and I suppose it was, especially to those of you that work outside of the home. I consider it a "productive week" if I've kept busy, kept moving. If I sat at my computer blogging or surfing, or sat on my butt and read half of a book, that's not good. I feel good about myself when I MOVE! Then again, I've never hid it from you that I can be quite a sloth, so you can see how I get and strive toward my definition of productive. :)
I love to putter around my garden. This is "putter" season. I pull some weeds, I water the pots with my little old watering can, I add some organic food to the lawn and most of all, I sit in the early evening (okay...this is the 'slothiness" part, (I made up that word.), and just watch as the sprinkler moves back and forth, catching beads of sun, and hearing the faint splatter as it showers my plants. Mesmerizing! It's a shame we can't hear what falling snow sounds like when it hits the ground in the winter. What do you imagine it to be like? Maybe that's the beauty of it...that it's a silent wonder, For someone like me who only has about 20% hearing left, that's a relief! I don't want to miss anything else in this life of mine!
Oh, by the way. This is Tickseed, the feathery kind that gets lots of tiny flowers. I had some extra from the lakehouse and I planted it here in the city. Isn't it pretty?
My hydrangea hasn't really turned any color yet and the blossoms look a little conical. I bought this as a four year old plant at the farmer's market at the end of last summer. Sort of curious about what's going on. Any ideas?
In my area, pansies (not above) do well in the spring and fall. They are not great hot summer players. I pull them out of their pots once they say "goodbye", and fill the pots with something different. It's such a great excuse to go to the nursery! Hee! But I actually got a little wiser this year. Instead of falling for those half priced leftover annuals, I found these perennials that fit perfectly in these pots. Thus, I can plant them in one of my garden beds later and they will come up every year! They are called Lantana. I think I'm on to something here! Finally. :)
I saw these coming up and wondered what the heck they were. I've been known to pull up what I think are weeds only to find they are flowers. Gulp. I looked at my graph which has a bird's eye sketch of my yard and all of the things I've planted since 200 B.C. and I didn't see anything in that spot. Then it bloomed and I declared, "Phlox!" But nothing on my diagram. The other day I found a big envelope in my shed in which I keep all the 'sticks" that come with my plants...you know, the ones with the name and info, etc. And I found one for Phlox. It never made the diagram. I'm slacking off, but what a nice surprise. I thought maybe it was a present from the birds! I get a lot of those.
As I wrote in my last post wherein I discussed entertaining, I'm not one to give tips because Lord knows...it's always trial and error for me. And I'm not going to give gardening advice, I'm no expert. I've been an avid gardener for 25 years and I have a library of related books that's quite extensive. I just want to tell you, as I did with my party giving exploits, some of the things that work for me may work for you... just some friendly words. I thought about sharing this last evening as I was in the process of taking care of my plants... we were leaving again for the lake today and staying three days (plans fell through, going tomorrow morning...hence this timely post).
I love me sprinkler!! But I only use it on my lawn. I use it about 2-3 times a week if there is no rain and I let it soak the grass down about an inch and 1/2, or as far as half my index finger can do down and feel moisture. Again, I'm not an expert, but this works for me. When we have had a good bit of rain, I am much more stingy with watering. And I read some advice by the late great Thalassa Cruso, if you plan to be away, like on a vacation and don't have a way to have your lawn watered, wean it off slowly in the weeks before. Grass can get spoiled! Oh, how I loved this woman...truly the Julia Child of gardening. Look up her books, I discovered them over 25 years ago. They are a pretty penny now...collectors items. She wrote essay style. A woman after my own heart.
And the last thing...as you can see from my picture above, I like to soak my plants, with just a regular hose at a medium type of flow. This is just for my flower beds. Leaves don't need or want water and the roots need it. Why waste water? Of course it takes time to move that hose around. I have it going while I'm working in the yard and move it periodically. Try to position the hose so the water puddles around the plant and ideally flows down to another plant. Double the money. I really love when I'm sitting out in the evening, the dogs languishing in the cool grass, getting up to move the hose around a bit, knowing it's making those tender roots plump up and say, "ahhhh!" As you can see, I love my mulch. It's work to buy, haul in and spread, but it's totally worth it and not expensive. I use shredded bark and put it down every spring. I love that it smothers a lot of weeds, keeps the plants cool and holds that moisture in. It looks good, too. I have some beds that are free flowing and natural...and I have some that are very neat and tidy. The mulch enhances all of them. Try the soaking method. You can almost hear that "slurp!" :)
Enough on plants and please forgive me if I am trying to come off like an expert. No!! Just passing along what works for me and may work for you. Ask those pro's at your nursery, Google your questions, read books!
I am switching to my never ending quest to learn how to grill food! I won't bore you as I think probably 9 out of 10 of you know tons more than me. But I am a creative cook so this is more of me passing along a few things I tried that worked on the grill. Pictured above is a salmon filet that serves four. I just cooked it skin side down with a little blend of olive oil, apricot preserves, green onions and some garlic salt. Delish. Close the cover and let it smoke just a short while...fish dries out fast.
Something that takes longer and I put it on ahead of everything else, are sliced potatoes. I cut one potato per person in 1/2 inch rounds, just nice and thick so they don't fall apart. In a bowl I toss the slices with some veggie oil (it just does better at high heat and browns everything better, but by all means, use the oil you prefer), some S & P, garlic and onion powder and maybe some dried herbs that you like. Grill about 7-10 minutes per side and stick a sharp knife in the middle to test for doneness. Oh heaven! A little sour cream or a few drips of melted butter makes this out of sight when you serve. As for the rest of my grilling experimentation, slow going. I only test things on The Husband and he has a penchant for liking most everything. Ha!
These are how the potatoes look right before I pop them on the grill. See how those trays come in handy (as I wrote about in my last post)?
Last but not least, I gave our main bath a face lift. I was at Home Depot trying to find a solution for my grub problem (involving the lawn, should you be wondering). Do you love the smell of Home Depot like I do? It smells like fresh cut lumber. This one is hiring. I could work there just to have that wonderful smell around me all day! Anyway, I needed a few groceries and Target is right there. Even though I was saying to myself, "No, no, no...don't go there", I did. And I looked in the bath aisle. Seriously, I'm not a spendthrift nor frivoulous, I put away more each month than I spend (that saving for a rainy day is something that was instilled in me long ago by The Husband). I just love to change out the bathroom once in awhile. I have about five shower curtains and I switch them out about every three months when the plastic liner starts to get a little 'not so pleasant'. I saw this and thought what a departure it would be for me. I'm loving blue and patterns, especially patterns that don't involve flowers. Very different for me and I'm loving this sort of metamorphosis! Just the rug and curtain...didn't set me back much but I'll be darned, no one noticed it!! And I take the rug up every night because it's white and I don't want anyone's dirty feet on it in the morning when they shower. Oh, I'm so Type A!
Lastly...Chicago is hosting the Lollapalooza Festival for the ninth year in a row. 3 days long in Grant Park, it's a fantastic time and draws huge crowds. Lots of great live music acts and fantastic food. I haven't been but would love to go one year, I know many who have gone and just loved it! I'm bringing it up because you may have heard of it. And we have just been down for the count as a city if you follow the news. I want to give a shout out for some of the things we are good at, proud of. Say a prayer that the gun violence, here and everywhere will end...it's very close to home. I put my faith in our mayor and police department. I'm not going political on anyone. Just please say a prayer for all of the innocent people in our city who are facing this violence and the aftermath in these past few month. Chicago Pride!
Joining in at Thoughts From Alice for Sundays At Home
Cindy from Dwellings Of The Heart for Amaze Me Monday