Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GARDENS, TOMATOES & GOOD TIMES WITH GOOD FRIENDS





My next door neighbors (at the lake) went away for a few days and told me to help myself to anything in their veggie garden.  I had a ball!  They must have 30 tomato plants.  This is from one picking!  And I have tons of green beans that I blanched and froze.  I've canned before, I used to make red sauce and salsa and my own version of V8 Juice, but I've found that you need a lot of tomatoes to yield a few jars.  I found a recipe here for a tomato tart so I'm going to give it a whirl today.  I've also been slicing them up to have with lunch and last night I made a mix of tomatoes, green pepper and zucchini, along with some herbs and a butter/bread crumb topping that I baked in the oven.  It was very good.  


We got home from our week at the lake on Friday night and were up early Saturday morning to head to Madison, Wi.  It wasn't hard to do at all since my bag was packed and all I had to do was switch out some clothes.  It was about a three hour drive from Chicago.  We were meeting Cindy and Dan from Applestone Cottage and they chose a restaurant on Capitol Square where we had a beautiful view of the Capitol Building.  A huge farmer's market was going on and there were so many enticing shops and restaurants.  As you can see it was pouring rain and of course, we didn't have umbrellas.  :(

We met Cindy and Dan at a restaurant called The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant.  It was delicious, with a wood burning grill and a huge selection of Wisconsin's famous beer.  It was so great to see Cindy again, we get together once a year you know, last fall we were in Cedarburg, Wi.   The rain ultimately put a damper (!) on things.  After lunch we managed to make it down about 2 streets, ducking into pubs and shops to dry off a bit.  Cindy took me into one of her favorite shops called The Soap Opera where I bought three fancy little guests soaps that smell incredible.  And that was my one and only purchase on the whole trip!  The Husband was a happy man.  











Now on to some general rambling.  :)

I'm lonely.  Sad, listless and lonely.  The Husband and Abigail are at work all day now and I pace around looking for things to do.  Since it has been raining and storming for days on end, I've only gotten a little weeding in and not much else.  I have to schedule the carpet installation and finish disassembling the family room.  I'm in no hurry because I will just be skirting around things piled up in various rooms until I schedule.  And I have no idea who is going to help The Husband move the heavy furniture or where it's going to go, but I have decided to isolate myself from that problem.  Don't you love that?  That's my new way to deal with stress...mentally isolate myself from things.  It works!  And in addition to the above, all of the wires and gadgets to the TV and Computers have to be unhooked so of course I don't want that to happen until the last thing left to be done.  Sigh.

Daughter Abby got a teaching job at a new school and started the next day.  She was elated!  She got the phone call an hour after her interview.  She is teaching sophomore (10th grade) English at a high school.  This academy is just two years old and the pictures she has shown me are incredible.  All glass and stone and landscaping...very different from the very old schools that she has taught at here previously.  She came home after her first meeting with the department and announced happily, "I have to wear the uniform  blazer everyday and there is a teacher's lounge with a Keurig machine.  Squeal!"  Well, the blazer will cut down on adding to her work wardrobe although I did help fund a trip to Banana Republic. She does have a long day though, she's up at 5:00 a.m. and home at 5:00 p.m.  I've taken pity on her and I straighten up her room and bathroom every morning (I have nothing else to do).  The Husband thinks I'm crazy but I think if I do this for awhile, maybe she will realize that everything goes more smoothly if you are organized.  Maybe not.  And I have too much time on my hands.  I'm seriously thinking about joining the university gym again so you know I'm desperate.  

Have I mentioned that I invited a small group of family members up to the lake for the holiday.  Oh, maybe just 15 or so.   Why do I do this stuff???  Actually, after spending a whole week there, I get everything so spic and span I just felt like entertaining!  One last hurrah, as it were.  The Husband and I will have plenty of quality time up there this fall, it's just magical then.  But for now it's still hot and sunny and ripe for swimming and boating and making sand castles.  :)

Okay, a trip to the store for the tart ingredients and then some packing up these rooms.  Have a great holiday weekend if I don't get back and thanks for visiting!

XO,
Jane

40 comments:

ImSoVintage Laura Walker said...

That B&B sounds wonderful, Jane. What fun you have been having and hooray for your daughter and her new job. I always feel a bit antsy this time of year. I think it is the changing of the seasons. xo Laura

Bluebird49 said...

My gosh--you are a busy girl when there are people around! I feel so bad that you're getting lonely when they aren't with you--you've got a lot of things coming up that will be getting good things done --that you will be so happy with, though. (I hope!)
I know you enjoyed that beautiful B&B with your friends, even with the rain. And--even though you invited all those people to the Lake--you know you're going to love it!
I am so happy to hear Abby got such a great job--what a smart, lucky girl! And even luckier--she's got a mom who will clean up her room. I'll bet she is hoping you won't join the gym--it might mean her room is a mess again!
Enjoy your weekend--I know you will. :)

Susan Freeman said...

I loved all the beautiful pictures and the wonderful chatting. I just started mentally isolating myself recently too. Love it! Keeps my blood pressure from rising. Glad you had a good time with Cindy. I just love all the cute dresses she make for the grandkids. This was a fun visit. Thank you!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

PS: Congrats on your daughter's new teaching job!

Julie Marie said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time Jane... those tomatoes look delish!... love Harvest time!... I just made my salsa, froze corn and beans... made Susan Branches pumpkin bundt cake... my favorite time of year!... your cottage garden is beautiful!... I would definitely edge it with something... otherwise if the plants grow over onto the lawn, you won't want hubby to cut the grass there because he would cut your precious flowers!... I would google "English cottage gardens" if you do not have a book on them, and see what some of them use... I'll look through some of mine and let you know what I come up with too... Layla is adorable sunning herself!... xoxo Me

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Jane,

Well, you obviously worked very hard on your flower border and it does now look very pretty. Borders which are wavy edged are somewhat problematic when it comes to edging them. You may not like this suggestion but have you thought of straightening the edge into a line, at right angles to the hedge. This would like good we think, especially as the house is linear too. Just a thought. Notice how the garden you liked at the B and B was arranged in straight lines....you might like it! Whatever, the flowers look lovely.

You obviously get enormous pleasure from looking after your guests. It really does sound to us as if you treat them like royalty. And, it is so sad that you are miserable when they are not there. Your guests are so lucky to be invited into such a warm and loving environment, we wonder that they ever leave! Still, good to be thinking of activities that you can do on your own or to meet new friends.....the bar at the gym might be a good choice! Well, that is where we should be found!

Penny @ The Comforts of Home said...

Jane, it sounds like you are having a wonderful summer! I bet it was great seeing Jane again.

I have a good tomato galette recipe for you. It is on my food blog. Here is the link:
http://fromharvesttotable.com/creme-fraiche-galette-with-heirloom-tomatoes/

Stacey said...

I'm totally jealous of the tomatoes.

Don't like to be alone much either. Much rather have my people around.

Your flowers are beautiful.

Sending hugs to you!!

Simply LKJ said...

Your flower beds are beautiful. The B&B getaway with friends sounds lovely. Congrats to Abbey. Our Elie has her own classroom this year as well. A science teacher quit the first day of pre-planning, so Elie applied and got the job. She no longer is co-teaching special ed, and loves having her own room. And yes, getting back into a routine here as it is awfully quiet now that both girls are out.

Coastal Cottage Dreams said...

Hi Jane, your gardens look great. Sounds like you had a great time with friends and the Bed and Breakfast looked so nice. We love to stay at bed and breakfasts too. Hope you have a great holiday weekend.

Gina said...

It looks like you had a great time with Cindy & Dan despite the rain!

I got a laugh out of Layla sunning herself...so cute!

Congrats to your daughter on her new job!

Cozy Little House said...

I would live in that little cottage by the garden! Such a beautiful place. I bet you slept wonderfully there.
Brenda

Laurie M said...

congratulations on you daughters teaching job!!! You must have had such a god time at the speckled hen, its lovely! I wish you were closer you sound like you need a hug,

Susie said...

Blondie, Congrats on Abby's new job. Wonderful. I like your new gardens. It looks very pretty. Wow those tomatoes look so good in that basket. :):) I hope your holiday family gathering goes well. Enjoy yourself. xoxo,Susie

Beth said...

What a nice B & B! We enjoy visiting them too. Their garden is really pretty, and your garden is as well. Glad you are enjoying the tomatoes, Jane. We are enjoying ours as well. We also have some to share, and some to freeze, and I'm also going to try dehydrating them. Have a great holiday weekend! You have an IDEAL place to entertain. :)
Hugs, Beth

Melanie said...

Your new garden looks so pretty - hubby did a good job! Yes, I'd put some kind of border around it. If you don't want to go traditional (you mentioned flagstone), there are so many creative ideas out there. Take a look on Pinterest! I did the wine bottle border around my butterfly garden BUT if you decide to do this, be sure to soak the labels off the wine bottles first. ;-) Those tomatoes are beautiful...I love fresh summer tomatoes.

Sorry it rained during your trip to Madison. Brian and I are actually going there next month for our anniversary! We wanted to go somewhere "new" and that is where we had decided upon. We're not staying overnight though. I had read about The Old-Fashioned online...they had mentioned some other good restaurants, too (Graze, Aldo's Cafe, Eldorado Grill). Will have to let you know where we end up going.

You're the total opposite of me when there's no one around! I'm an introvert, so I have to have a lot of alone time. If you're feeling like you have too much time on your hands, I think joining a gym would be a fantastic idea. I've been thinking of joining one, too because my last PT session is tomorrow and I really need to keep up with the shoulder and arm strengthening.

Congrats to Emily on her new job! Getting up at 5 and not getting home until 5 is pretty much the norm (gone 12 hours) for a FT job and she's young, so she'll be fine. Been there, done that - for too many years. She's lucky she still lives at home...it's even worse when you have your own home to keep up with, plus a husband and kids to take care of, too!

I hope to be back to blogging either later this week or early next week. :-)

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Congrats to your daughter on her new job - it sounds like she is just thrilled with it. Love the garden bed, Jane. I like it both ways - with and without a hard edging, but I would make sure to edge it well either with something or by trimming so the grass doesn't creep into it.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Congratulations to your daughter on her new job. I know she is very excited.
Sounds like you are having a let down after having such fun up at the Lake and so much company around. You were very busy entertaining, planting flowers, etc. Now you need to re-charge for this weekend.
Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy your self.
Your flower bed looks great and when that fills in - WOW your going to love it.
Hugs
Mary

Doreen@househoneys said...

Clearly, you're an extrovert Jane ;).

You know I know exactly what you can do with those tomatoes, and if you don't want to, send them to me!

Sarah said...

Jane, it's fun to read your post. I feel as if I've just had a delightful visit with you. Your lake time, the get away with Cindy and the husbands, and your lovely garden…….life is good. ;-)

Chatelaine said...

Whenever I travel I stay at B&B's or Inns and the home cooked breakfast is one of the highlights of the stay. I was just looking at one of my old Martha's Vineyard posts where I raved about the Oak Bluffs Inn.

Do let us know how the tomato tart turned out.

Congrats to your Daughter on her new job. 12 hours is a long day.
At least she's young and should have plenty of stamina!

deb @ frugal little bungalow said...

It is good that Layla has an aversion to mulch. One of my sister's dogs loved some kind of mulch that they got one year and ate a bunch of it and got sick. What a nice area and planting you created there, though.

And then WOW THE B&B Garden!!!

Nice that you all enjoyed your time together there :)

Sounds like you had the rainy day blues afterwards though...probably a let down after so much going on! You can be very busy sometimes :)

Primitive Stars said...

Morning Jane, love that B+B, so lovely and that garden is beautiful.. Take Care, Hugs Francine.

Teresa@1800 Farmhouse Rd said...

What pretty pics! All looks so peaceful and relaxing. Come here....I will make sure your not lonely and sad...I can have plants here when you arrive, lol, and you can make me a flower garden as pretty as yours. I don't have a green thumb at all, so I am very envious. I am all for the flagstone. It will be beautiful.

We have actually had a drought here, so I am a bit envious of your rain/storms, too. Our grass is dead and hasn't had to be cut in weeks. It looks as if I have sprayed our yard with weed killer.It is all brown, crispy and ugly! Hang in there sweet lady, things will get better.

Balisha said...

We used cocoa mulch one year and our dog wouldn't leave it alone....she ate so much of it before I noticed. We had to remove all of it.
Congrats to your daughter on her new job.
Now, on to the garden.....wow is all I can say. It will fill in and be so beautiful next year....it's really beautiful already. I think you will be happier with a border. Not sure about flagstone. You might have a problem with grass coming up in between stones. Whatever you and your husband do....it will be great.
Enjoy the coming holiday weekend. I always used to clean and then get in the mood for company.
Balisha

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

That Layla cracks me up with all her sunning poses! I think a flagstone border on your garden would look so pretty. Looks like you had a fabulous time in Madison. That B&B sounds wonderful! Quick little getaways like that are so refreshing. :)

Kathleen Grace said...

Your new garden looks beautiful, it will really takeoff next year!
Your trip to Wisconsin looks like such fun, even in the rain:>)
I'm guessing you are feeling down because you have broken with your usual schedule and now it is hard to get back in the swing. I am like that when we come home from a trip. All at loose ends. Chin up Jane, Autumn is coming and you KNOW you will be cooking up good food and decorating:>) You'll get back into the swing of things soon and then you'll feel so much better.

Vel Criste said...

I can't imagine you being lonely with all the things you've done and are planning to do dear Jane!

Layla is a hoot! She knows she lives in cold Chicago and she's trying to absorb all the sun she can before the big W comes! LOL! Flagstone or not, once everything is in bloom that bed will look wonderful.

As for your trip, the only place I've been to in WI was Milwaukee, I should've explored it more back then... sigh.. Love the B & B you stayed at, have to keep that in mind.

As for your 'last summer hurrah', I'm with you on that one!!! HAVE A BLAST!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Hi, stranger! I have missed you so, and I enjoyed every word of this, except I don't like you being lonely. Boo to that! But it sounds like you have had a great summer. So glad you got to spend time with Cindy and Dan and that your sweet daughter got a new job. That school sounds great!

Loved Layla lolling on the grass, sunbathing, and I think you could go either way with that bed. Edging with the rocks or let it go native... or is that natural? You know what I mean.

I have been MIA for months. It was a busy, busy, BUSY spring that had me hurting my hand (someone shook it too hard at church and reinjured it), while this summer saw us traveling, my turn a BIG UGLY NUMBER, and then me falling AGAIN. Yes, I did, but I am doing much better.

Anyhow, I am back, dipping my toe into the pool and will see how it goes. I decided to join two blog parties this week, and that should be fun.

Sending you hugs, and all good wishes for a Happy Labor Day!

Love to you, Janie...

XO,

Sheila :-)

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Oh what a lovely post Jane. Dan and I had such a great time and I only wish we were closer say like right down the block. The garden looks really lovely and those tomatoes, oh my, delicious.
That b and b was really nice minus the mosquitoes. I think a gym would be fun or maybe a yoga class or something along that line. I know how lonely I feel sometimes too. Today I have Addison so I don't get much done. But boy does she brighten my spirit. Thanks so much for the gifts too. I love that cup I am using lot already. Well I wrote this on my tablet and oh is it slow. Take care dear friend. And have a great weekend at the lake. Cindy

R




Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

P.s.hi to Al and tell him Dan really enjoys our get togethers too. Xoxo

Carol said...

That sounds like some garden, and those tomatoes look delicious! We didn't even have a garden this year. We have to start it so early and the growing season is very short. The year before, we had a boat-load of tomatoes, and I put them in the food processor and froze them in freezer zip bags for red sauce and soup. That worked out really well. I use to can all summer long when we lived in Oregon, but I didn't even move my canning gear when we moved to AZ. We have a great market chain here called Sprouts, and we get wonderful produce there all year long. Seems kind of silly to go to all the trouble of having a garden.

Loved seeing more of the grounds at the B&B. Such a beautiful place.

Kelly said...

Your flower garden looks so pretty! I wish I had more flowers in my yard. I fell in love with the flower garden at the B&B too. It was so charming with the picket fence and potting shed. Congrats to your daughter on her new teaching job! That is a heck of a long day though (for the money). I hope she likes it. At least it's a very important job. I feel for you having to disassemble the rooms for the carpet installation. But just think how nice it will be with new carpet! We need to replace ours upstairs one day.

Jen Vandervoort said...

Oh to have the run of a veggie garden that produces like that...

Congrats to your daughter, what a lovely place to work at.

How about taking some courses? You were saying you were looking for new roads to travel...hint hint.

Jen

Tommie Jo said...

Your garden is so pretty! And lucky you to have access to those luscious tomatoes. Try as I might, I haven't had more than a few sickly looking tomatoes come from my gardening efforts. But I'll keep trying. Enjoy them!~TJ

laura Madalene said...

Gorgeous!!! How very beautiful everything looks! How I love the big bucket of flowers. I can look at your garden, and your beautiful home all day. It makes me happy!
Relaxing Garden Ideas

Karen Huelsmann said...

That B&B looks wonderful and that garden is amazing. Your flowers are so pretty. I just finished canning my tomatoes these last two weeks. I'm stocked up for winter.
Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Art and Sand said...

Your visit with friends sounds like so much fun.

And you seem to be keeping busy even though everyone else has gone off to work.

Congrats to your daughter for her new teaching job.

Maria Elena said...

What a nice getaway! The B&B sounds beautiful. I have to tell you, I love, love your garden. It was worth all the hard work. So pretty! Have a great weekend! Maria

Mary Childers said...

Hi, Love your blog! Just one quick comment; many years ago I found a very easy way to save the overcrop of tomatoes.. just wash, core and throw in a freezer bag. The skins come right off when you take them out and rinse under cold water. They can go right in the sauce pot without any of the boiling water hassle!

Traci said...

Love home grown tomatoes & I can't tell you the last time I've had them. Congrats to Abby! Sounds like a great job!