Hello, friends. I hope all of you are off to a great week. Our high temps are cooling off as we speak but a nice breeze has been so great in keeping us cool and making being outdoors tolerable with 90+ degrees.
Taking a walk around the Ponderosa today I had my camera in hand while I randomly watered some pots of flowers. I've seen these little herb boxes on many blogs, I have had the set for quite a while; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. This summer they are all up on the brick around my patio. There are so many things you can do with these boxes. So this is one. I'll share the others later. The Husband constantly harps that our house is going to crumble down if I hammer in one more masonry nail.
Thought I'd zoom in on a few things. This basket holds a mismatch of outdoor essentials. I love these colorful citronella candles found at Marshall's. I try to use citronella as opposed to an air spray or bug repellent applied to the skin. If I do use a body spray I try to find the gentlest. Right now I'm using Cutter Skinsations (no promotional deal going here). It has Aloe and Vitamin E. The key I believe is to wash it off once you head in. Many find these repellents to be unsafe but I prefer to lean toward the lesser of the evils and West Nile Virus is something I never want to have.
I have some Asiatic lilies blooming near my herbs. Gosh, they really make me smile. They look like they are virtually painted in watercolors. You can see there are many more buds to open.
As you know, I LOVE my chairs. In fact I am really looking forward to getting up to the lakehouse just to hunt down more. This wrought iron chair holds a special place in my heart. A few years after we moved here we literally had some strangers show up at the door and tell us they were the children of the original owners. We were as excited as they were. All they really wanted to see was the backyard where they had so many fun memories. One of the things I could never part with when we moved in was this lone chair (and it only has three legs). I kept it propped up in a corner of what I call my Woodland Garden. The two daughters saw it and nearly cried while remembering the matching table and second chair, a bistro set I imagine. So I keep it, adorn it every spring and love it.
The latest in Blondieville. Son Kevin turned thirty~three on Friday. We went to dinner at a favorite steakhouse nearby. Most of the kids had Friday night plans but Kevin, Mary Clare, her mother, Peggy (my partner in crime) and The Husband had a great time. This is the cutest picture of Kevin and MC. They had a sitter for Elsie so I hope they painted the town red later on!
We spent a glorious weekend with long time friends Zeke and Jill at their new home on a lake southwest of us. They bought it to use for weekends and then took the plunge last year to move in full time. They had retired but after several months of contemplating this new chapter of their lives they decided to take part time jobs. Jill has forty some years as a nurse under her belt Going from working in a hospital to a medical clinic has had its challenges but she takes it in stride. I truly admire how she takes the bull by the horns but is also very honest and humble at the same time. I could stand to learn a lot from her. I hope we see these friends more in the future, we lost touch as raising kids took precedence over most thngs and it's so good to reconnect.
We spent much of the weekend cruising on their pontoon with a few other friends, sharing great meals cooked on the grill by the menfolk, wiling away the time on the deck. Jill took me for a ride around the lake by car. It's a heavily wooded area and we saw groups of deer munching the vegetation along the road. They would stare at us for a second and then bound into the woods. This was awesome for me as I've only seen a handful of them in my entire life and then only from a distance. All in all, this was just the remedy for The Husband and I who continue to miss our lake life tremendously.
Daughter Abigail finally finished up teaching last week. Amazing how some schools go so long. Her guy Tom also finished up so they have a whole 6 weeks of fun together. They have so many cool things to do near their apartment on the Northside but they also love to come down here (the Southside) to enjoy the pool at Tom's family's home a few blocks away. Abby loves being outside as they live on the third floor of their building without a balcony, and she also spends a lot of time with Milo and Layla, she misses them so. To think she was just thirteen when we got Milo, it really is a special relationship. This is a picture of her playing with Layla on the back steps but I also wanted to sneak in a picture of those outdoor lights I bought at Target last fall on clearance. We had more than we needed and so we hung them in a swag pattern. I love them along with the solar lights I have here and there in my garden borders around the patio. At night I really have no use for the porch light or spot lights, thus, fewer bugs. We do have the 'flight of the bats' around dusk. They swoop and dive for about 5 minutes eating up the flying bugs. I used to enjoy watching them from the safety of my patio table under the umbrella until one decided to fly under and whizzed inches from my head. Now when I sight the first few I make a hasty exit to the house. ;-(
The bed along the house is doing great. The pink clematis have died off for now but will be back. I wish I had the names of the varieties. The purple ones are doing well. I have bunches of cosmos planted here and there to fill up space. In a few weeks I'll hit some garden centers to find perennials on sale to add and fill in spaces. Still, I may continue to add cosmos every year...I simply love them and their fluffy leaves and how they sway in the wind.
I know, this looks like one full plate and it is, The Husbands at dinner tonight. But trust me, this is just one simple recipe that I wanted to pass on and it is for the Parsley Glazed Carrots. I came across the recipe around Easter, we all loved it and then tonight I wanted to make it again and had to pull the ingredients out of my head.
I cook fresh veggies every single night. It sounds time consuming but you can easily do it while you are at the stove working on the other parts of your meal. The only veggies I don't prepare are peas (I get them frozen). I don't have the patience to shuck them. I think that jazzing up your veggies makes them more tasty and you tend to add more to your plate, a great trick to get those nutrients. And oh, I got to use some fresh parsley I have growing in abundance! So, very simply:
Parsley Glazed Carrots
4 cups carrots (sliced in half and then cut lengthwise very thinly into long spears)
S & P to taste
1/2 t sugar
1/4 cup water
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T butter
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
Add all ingredients except the butter and parsley to a sauce pan or skillet with a tightly fitted lid and cook over moderately high heat for approximately 7-10 minutes. Toss frequently in the last 3 minutest prevent burning. Remove from heat when they are lightly charred and tender. Toss with the butter and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4-6.
The beauty of this recipe is that the small amount of sugar caramelizes the carrots, and the bit of charring makes for a crispness and earthiness that is softened by the butter. I hope you try this as a side dish. It really is delicious.
After our mini vacation at the home of our friends, the dogs were more than happy to see us. Arriving home at 8:00 p.m. Sunday night we had just enough time to enjoy the last of the sun and play a little fetch with the rubber ball that Milo has yet to chew into shreds. He tires a little more quickly but I still try to keep him active and in shape. Isn't that what we are all supposed to do? And then he is content to lie in the grass and sniff the warm summer breeze. My favorite memories will always be the outdoor ones. My dogs are always happiest there and I simply can't wait to get back to the lake and see them run wild. And that's coming soon. More on it later!
Have a wonderful 4th! Celebrate and sparkle!