Tuesday, June 30, 2020

HAPPY SUMMER! GARDENING,THE LITTLE ONES, & A QUICK RECIPE




Hello, friends!  So glad to be back (again, so soon!).  A little odd that when we were really sheltered in place for several months, I just never felt inclined to post.  Maybe I'm just feeling a little more energy now.  I'm not doing a whole lot more other than seeing family and grocery shopping, a few trips to the garden nurseries.  Going back and forth to the lake gives me a nice change of scenery.  Illinois is now open with a lot of restrictions and our numbers have gone down.  I pray everyone continues to practice the social distancing, masks, and hand washing.  How is everything in your area?

Anyway, you know I like to start with a pretty photo.  I'm working very hard on my garden beds here in the city because I've been here longer than usual.  We have a huge backyard as far as city norms; great for badminton, corn in the hole, kids running through the sprinkler, a little soccer, space for the dogs to play. 


This is the north side and that's crazy Poppy chewing on a stick or something.  The afternoon shadows make it hard to see the border left of my little woodland garden.  I have sedum, phlox, lilies, spiderwort, speedwell, milkweed, and tons of tulips and daffodils,  Once those spring bulbs are spent, I pull off the brown leaves and fold the rest over, securing loosely with a rubber band.  Never cut them to make room for the rest of your flowers, they need them for nutrient.  Doing what I do makes room for your summer plants.  The south side has a bed which is undergoing a lot of changes.  Whew, I'm worn out and sore every evening.  A long hot shower and scrubbing the dirt off is the best remedy.  Sometimes I wonder how I do all the bending, squatting, and lifting with all the metal and screws in my back.  Maybe it's a good surgeon or maybe it's just good stretching.  😏




I bought a lot of plants at the nursery at the lake.  They have a super selection of perennials and the prices are very reasonable.  This was my haul.  I have this fancy dandy plastic wagon thing.  I place all my plants (and also groceries) in this and roll it wherever needed.  What a time saver and easy on the 'ol back.  With my plants, I can add some water from the hose into it so that they can bottom water until I get them planted.  



The other day Poppy was making a fuss near my day lilies.  The Husband went over and then called me to come quick.  Here was this magnificent moth.  I don't know how I knew it was a moth, perhaps the huge, fuzzy body.  



He carefully picked it up with this magazine cover and brought it around to our patio table.  It wasn't moving much at all.  Then we took pics and let it go in some greenery outside the backyard, safe from our dogs.  I managed to find it on Google, it's called a Polyphemus moth.  The photos I saw were incredible.  Our guy was actually a lot smaller than some.  We learned they only live about five
days so maybe it was near the end as it was so chill with us. 😥. They have no mouths, so they don't eat, and they are only here to mate and leave something behind.  How it landed here, I'm not sure.  We had several trees trimmed in April so maybe there were cocoons.  What an amazing experience!




Sausage, Vegetables & Kalamata Olives over Orzo.

I'm going to break things up here with a recipe.  This is actually my own picture- Ta-Da!  You all know how bad I feel about the poor quality of my photos of food.  I probably share 1/4 of the dishes I make because of the hideous pictures I take which I think turned out delicious.  

I keep my grocery list and cost to a minimum mostly because of my feelings about being in public places during this pandemic.  I also go back and forth to the lake so much that I either cart food to and fro in cooling bags, or I spend more money shopping there.  The verdict is: I often wind down to what I have in cabinets, and the freezer and fridge.  I love the challenge of cooking with just a few items, such inventiveness!  Without further ado, this meal worked really well one night and I've vowed to make it many more times.  

2 Italian sausage links, casings removed, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, sliced 
2 c fresh spinach, loosely chopped, or 5 oz of frozen, thawed and water squeezed out
1/4 c red onion, thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic (or more), minced
6-8 oz uncooked orzo
1 c whole Kalamata olives
I T olive oil + more as needed
Pinch of red pepper flakes 
S & P to taste

Start the orzo in a pot of boiling water according to package directions.  Once done, drain, reserving 1 cup of the starchy water.  Return the pasta to the pot with a splash of olive oil and keep covered. 

 Meanwhile, sauté the sausage over medium heat until almost cooked through.  Add  the tomatoes, spinach, onion, an d red pepper flakes.  Cook over low heat about 3 minutes until just softened.  Stir in the garlic for the last minute, adding a bit of the pasta water as needed to keep everything saucy.  Divide the orzo over 4 plates.  Top with the sausage mixture.  Scatter the Kalamato olives all around. Adjust seasonings to your taste.  Serves 4.

We had a few slices of Italian bread with this dish.  Absolutely wonderful for using just a little bits and pieces from the fridge just waiting to be used up. Let me know if you give this recipe a try. :)




Lucy June

I came home from the lake to celebrate Emily's 33rd birthday.  The memories of her birth always come back so vividly.  She was my firstborn, I was twenty-seven years old and so naive. We hadn't even considered names, and never thought to ask whether it was a boy or girl.  I'm so grateful for the experience.  Many haven't gone through this but I hope for many, that just being there for young family members, the children of friends, fostering or adopting fills your heart...and for those who continue to try, all my prayers.🙏 

We had Emily, Mike, and the two littles ones over for a steak dinner with crab cakes--surf and turf.  I need to brush up on the crab cakes,  I made them earlier and refrigerated them not wanting the kitchen to smell like grease and fish.  I reheated them in the oven before serving and they were limp and flavorless.  Bad mistake.  The chocolate cake made up for it!

And Lucy June was christened last Sunday.  Just grandparents, the godmother and father.  The church was empty, and the lunch celebration was limited to six people as mandated at the time, so The Husband I couldn't attend.  But the church was the best part.  I love the whole celebration, as in the past with all of our grands and our own children.

Lucy wore the same gown as Madelyn.  It was custom made from Emily's wedding dress, all satin and tulle ruffles along the bottom.  It's a beautiful keepsake.



I can't get enough of Madelyn.  She was a little out of sorts and confused by the celebration although she attends Sunday mass.  Look at that dress! I gifted Emily with some dresses and outfits from Boden USA,  If you are familiar with the British company, it's just the most precious patterns and fabric, and the best quality you can get for your money. and she's hooked.  Em washes all the baby clothes on gentle with a mild soap and hangs each and every piece to dry.   


Madelyn & Lucy


So--my little Poppy girl made it through the spaying and had her stitches removed at a veterinarian clinic near the cottage. Then she came down with painful infections in both ears.  The vet asked if she had been in the water and she hadn't yet, but she rolls in everything, including the marshy grass near the shore.  The doctor treated her with a med that lasts 30 days and in the meantime, she can't get wet.  So we haven't been able to get her used to swimming, although I doubt she has any qualms.  While hanging out along the water before the infection, she gifted me with a bunch of weeds, lily pads, and a dead snail.  And I can't bathe her!!



A snap from the front of the veterinarian hospital.  I talk a lot about the lake but there is so much more to love and be grateful for in just being surrounded by fields, farms, barns, and a wide open green paradise with fresh air.  

I'm off again tomorrow, the last day of June.  In past years I've settled in around May.  Everything is off due to the Covid, and sometimes I feel I've missed the summer.  But we haven't, it's only June.  I'll be back the week after the 4th of July for an appointment and (finally) a hair appointment!  I'm back to being brown, and just a bit of gray strands (thank you good genes!), and I haven't had a cut since January.  I like my hair long  but this is looking scraggly.

SO:

1) How are you coping with the pandemic right now?
2).  Anything good happening in your garden?  How's your weather?  Super humid and hot here in the Midwest.
3)  Cooking or trying new recipes?
4). Activities that keep you happy and moving?

Again,

Love and Lysol,

Jane




9 comments:

THE ONLY TRUE HACKER IN THE WORLD ® said...
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Jeanie said...

Oh, that moth is gorgeous! And a wonderful photo of it. I'm at the lake, too. Sure is hot and that's OK with me. I'm in serious isolation mode and it's easy up here. I'm a little put out that I have to go home and some things for a longer stay! Ah, well. That pasta looks good. Consider it copied down! Stay well and happy. (I have bad hair, too.)

Vee said...

Life sounds good all except for Grandpa not being able to attend the very special christening and Layla's need to stay a way from the water when she lives at the lake. Your grandgirlies are darling. I know they provide a lot of joy.

The pandemic? I'm equally concerned with the riots and statues being pulled over. Crazy times. One day at a time...

Linda said...

It was a lot of fun catching up with you! I think I have the previous post to read next. How did I miss that one?
Covid is still raging in Texas and we are in a quarantine period ending on July 11th since we picked my step son up at the airport and taking him back here to the ranch.
I'm staying busy as I always am but I feel safer in the country....

Mereknits said...

Beautiful fields, moth and those darling, darling girls. Looks like your heart is full with all that you have been doing in June. My Hank has recurrent ear infections because his ears are so deep, like an Irish Setter. We are trying the meds you are on that last 30 days and a sensitive diet because it could be more of an allergy to food. Happy Summer.

La Contessa said...

HELLO BEAUTIFUL JANE!
WHY DO YOU HAVE SCREWS IN YOUR BACK?
WE HERE IN CALIFORNIA I THINK ARE HEADED FOR ANOTHER SHELTER IN PLACE AS SO MANY ARENOT WEARING MASKS ESPECIALLY IN Southern California!IT was shocking to me as we headed down there to see our FIRST GRANDCHILD!
I WANT YOU TO KNOW I MADE YOUR MELON AND PROSCIUTTO SALAD YESTERDAY!THE DRESSING WAS DELICIOUS AND I THOUGHT TO MYSELD I CAN DO THIS DAILY!BEING MARRIED TO AN ITALIAN WE ALWAYS HAVE A PROSCIUTTO HANGING IN THE GARAGE!SHHHHHHH< DONT TELL MY PET PIGGY!BANKSY!
HAIR BEING DONE THE DAY AFTER MY 60TH BIRTHDAY so in THREE WEEKS..............
THANK GOODNESS FOR OUR GARDENS AND THAT MOTH ONLY FIVE DAYS!!!OH HOW SAD................
SHE KNEW A GOOD PLACE TO BE!
XX

Lynne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynne said...

Life is good here a bit north in Michigan from your summer home.
We social distance, wear our masks, wash our hands, wash our hands, again and again.
I think it was blogger Jeanie that gave me a cool idea for hand washing.
Instead of a hand towel available for guests, I purchased a bunch of colorful wash cloths.
I stack them up, and anyone visiting the guest bath, has their own personal “cloth towel!”
Mister Irish has loved the idea. He is a bit over the top with hand washing, he really likes his personal cloth!

Not just saying it . . . I am trying your recipe. I will let you know.

Madelyn and Lucy June . . . A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. .. .
Oh my, I want to hold, cuddle, squeeze both of them!

Life is good here a bit north in Michigan from your summer home.
We social distance, wear our masks, wash our hands, wash our hands, again and again.
I think it was blogger Jeanie that gave me a cool idea for hand washing.
Instead of a hand towel available for guests, I purchased a bunch of colorful wash cloths.
I stack them up, and anyone visiting the guest bath, has their own personal “cloth towel!”
Mister Irish has loved the idea. He is a bit over the top with hand washing, he really likes his personal cloth!

Not just saying it . . . I am trying your recipe. I will let you know.

Madelyn and Lucy June are A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. . . .
I want to hold, cuccles, squeeze both of them.

Flowers and greens are a bloomin’ and making life just fine.,
I played with flowers this morning.and loved it.

Happy July days “Blondie who has turned brown with grey streaks!”

Anonymous said...

Your grandchildren are beautiful. God Bless.
Marilyn