All of the pictures in this post are of the outdoors and at the risk of sounding like a braggart, they may all be of my progress in the gardens and on my patio. Yawn.
The clematis is blooming like crazy. I think it looks so pretty close up but in reality, I simply don't know how or when to prune back the woody stems so this is all you are getting now. They thrive on this black trellis which some of you may know was actually a wrought iron headboard Emily and I scavenged from a neighbors trash. I digress. On one side of the trellis I have a variety that blooms purple and I think it's very common, I see it everywhere. The cool thing is both the pink and purple varieties bloom all summer long. For not knowing what I'm doing, I'm doing alright!
I mentioned I had ordered some urns from Amazon. None of them were over $30.00. I am so pleased with them. Each one is made of different material but all are lightweight, even with your potting soil inside so you can move them around until you're happy. This is one of my favorites. I love impatiens because I have so much shade (they dry out in direct sun) and I'm partial to that pretty peachy color. This is a sweet combo of color and in another 2 weeks they will be billowing over the edges of the pot.
We have a lot of 'not so expected/invited critters' in our yard right now so I stand on my back porch a lot when I let Layla and Milo out, especially at night. We have a family of opossum living in a cardboard box (of all things) in little alcove that leads to our garage. It was hidden under some heavier things over the winter. The husband was attempting to take a bit at a time out to the trash and last week that protective mother reared her ugly head. Okay...have your way. Raise those babies up to be cowboys for all we care. But I digress. No I don't. I have a raccoon family under my shed and we've spotted foxes strolling down the street like nobodies business. Life in the city. But still, I digress. This is my lookout tower on my back porch and if you peer down to the right you get a bird's eye view of the herb garden. I forgot to get dill! Can you believe it? I must have brought some milkweed seeds home with me a few years ago from the lake because it's sprouting all over and I have these beautiful monarchs as well as some blue swallowtail. And then I realize---no dill. I had such a great time seeing the caterpillars munching away on my plants last summer. So I'm off this week for some. Forget using it in my recipes...I just want to see those beautiful (if not a little creepy) caterpillars.
On a sad note, I had a birdhouse close to the house and just off our patio. I had so much fun watching the two sparrows make a little home in it. The Husband could hear the chirping of the babies last week (I couldn't). And then two days ago I was cleaning up outside and I found a little featherless baby. I buried it quickly. The next morning I found another and before I could get my garden gloves on I noticed it was still breathing. I broke my cardinal rule and climbed on a patio chair to get it back into the birdhouse. Later in the afternoon I found another and had to bury it. By then I hadn't seen the parents for awhile. It saddens me. I blame myself for having the birdhouse so close to the patio where they would be disturbed. I'm moving it away to some mulberry bushes that are quite tall. I thought I had learned my lesson when it came to manipulating nature for my own benefit. I have a few stories I can tell...but the moral is, leave all of it alone.
I used to plant tomatoes in this humongous pot but they never made it with the squirrels and their daily volleyball matches with my just ripened babies. Or they'd take one bite and spit it out like a spoiled child. Back in March I planted spinach, butter lettuce and baby carrots. I've already made a few delicious salads. A nice trick I learned from a fellow gardener at the lake, don't pull the whole plant out. Hold a few very gently at the tips and use a serrated knife to do a sort of 'crew cut'. The plants will grow again and you'll get a second harvest. We've had great salads and sandwiches and BLT's. The little carrots are dwarfed by the lettuce. Maybe next year I'll give them their own planter. These may do well when I use up most of the other greens. Am I boring you?
I finally got the patio tidy and clean. I wish I had been patient enough to power wash it but I have to say, its seventy years old and has cracks like an earthquake hit it. I make do with a cute rug and plants to distract. Recently I found an indoor/outdoor rug at Home Depot for a terrific price. I had some mildew or mold on my last rug and I know I might have removed it but I never liked the bright lime green color. I had really toned down some of the bright colors everywhere. I had been one dime short of a few colorful gnomes from Walgreens. Nothing else is very new. I had these place mats which were pretty beat up (and I hope the birds don't find them perfectly satisfactory for nest building after my recent tragedy), and I also found some old pillows I can hide away. I just tuck them in a corner when I know we have rain coming. I'm so loving my retreat. Afternoons puttering and pulling weeds, reading around 4:00 p.m. before the sun moves far enough west to start to blind me and then one last hurrah for the dogs about 8 p.m. Heavenly.
I won't take much of your time with this recipe. It's just one part of a salad that I found here. I've never made the whole deal but I'm sure it's delicious. I was curious about the shrimp and marinade and I just happened to have a pound of nice sized shrimp in the freezer. I served it over thin Thai noodles (my new love) but it would be great along side rice or pasta tossed with your favorite sauce. Keep it light to compliment the tanginess and spice of the shrimp. I took the liberty of giving it my own name.
Spicy Marinated Shrimp
1/2 to 1 lb jumbo shrimp
1/3 c packed cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/4 c olive oil
1 T honey
1/2 t chili powder
canola oil for cooking
S & P
Blend all of the ingredients except the shrimp in a food processor. Place the shrimp in a large zip lock bag and pour the marinade over. Place in refrigerator for no longer than 10 minutes or the shrimp will actually 'cook' in the acidic ingredients.
Heat 1 T canola oil in a skillet or grill pan. You can also do this on an outdoor grill. Place each piece on and grill 1 minute on each side until lightly charred.
As I've said, you can serve this in so many ways. I am looking forward to having this as an appetizer for company over a bed of lettuce, it's great at room temp. Something cool to counteract the spiciness would be a yogurt dip with cucumber slices or tortillas and a salsa verde.
This comes together very fast if you peel and devein the shrimp ahead of time. I do this unpleasant task because I save big $$$. In any case~~~you will love it and get great rave reviews if you serve it to company. :-D
The Husband has been making periodic trips to the lake to see what the crew is up to and meet with the contractor. Things are moving along well. I need to get an email out to the contractor and carpenter as to the details on the kitchen I've planned as well as the powder room.
In the meantime, The Husband took pictures of my monster wisteria which I haven't seen in full bloom for 2 years. You can look on my sidebar at the front view of the lakhouse to see how it grows up the left side of the house from the front porch to the upper balcony which is off the master bedroom. Above is a view from the bedroom. It has flowed over the balcony and God knows where it wants to go after this! I have to make some sort of trellis to get it to go up to the slatted arbor as you can see.
Another view. Look at those blooms (in spite of a poor pic..though I know the guy tried). I think maybe now my neighbors know what the heck I had growing up my house. Even The Husband, who absolutely hates the ivy I've grown all over our little city house here is loving this. I have a young guy who cuts our lawn in the summer. I had asked him for an estimate to trim the wisteria. I usually do it every spring myself. He texted back the day after I saw these pictures and said, "Mrs. B. This vine is so beautiful. I would leave it alone for a few months!" He's so cute. I've waited 10 years to see this and now I'm not there!!!!! But we have just a few weeks left. Unpacking will consume most of our time but I have to get some work done on the gardens. As far as the wisteria...you just go girl!
See ya soon.