Friday, June 19, 2020


I'm currently not at the lake as I came back to Chicago for my daughter Emily's birthday and the christening of her baby girl, Lucy.  Big events that I wouldn't think of missing. I had Emily, Mike, Madelyn, and Lucy over for dinner to celebrate.  We had a little plate of apps...cheese, crackers, almonds, some veggies, and a simple cheese spread.  For dinner I made a salad, steaks, my first try at  crab cakes (which were so-so, I think), and prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  I did most of the prep work early in the afternoon so everything went smoothly and I could have a cocktail with everyone.  But in making the crab cakes earlier, refrigerating them, and reheating in the oven, made them a little soggy.  Next time I'll do everything but the frying them up which only took about 3 minutes per side.  All in all it was the perfect celebration of my firstborn just 33 years ago.  What a day back then of emotion, fear, pain, and then pure joy!  I'd do it over again in a heartbeat.  

So this is a serene little photo from the patio at the lakehouse I took before I left, the much used hanging swing and the old shed in the background.  So much more work to be done there and now I'm focused on the way I left things here in the city back in mid-May.   You know...the mindset is: It always gets done in the end.  

I love the nursery and small grocery near my house on the lake. I find plants I've never seen before, some of which I brought back to Chicago this week.  The grocery shop is all local produce and so darn fresh.  The people are friendly and helpful.  One of these days I'll take a few snaps.  This particular hanging basket of petunias had me floored.  The throats are a deep, deep purple that look almost black.  And they look almost like a pen and ink drawing.  I hope it doesn't die before I get back, we've been very hot and dry here in the Midwest for days.

I have birdbaths at both of my homes.  I have to admit I don't relish cleaning them but it really is important to do that once in a while instead of just adding water.  I always worry about gnats and mosquitos and those are really a danger for people and pets.  So I did some research and it really boils down to emptying the stagnant water in a bucket or whatever and disposing of it away from your yard or garden.  Then use the jet spray of your hose nozzle inside the basin and out.  Mix up 1 part white vinegar to 9 parts hot water, pour it in and let if soak for a bit.  Use a hard bristle brush to scour it clean and then rinse well.  Don't forget the pedestal.  To keep this work down to a minimum, remember to empty out the old water before refilling...something I'm really guilty of, and don't  have the birdbath in the hot sun which causes algae to grow and evaporation of the water.  Finally, keep it away from your feeders ,nothing like soggy seeds and squirrels hopping in and out!  I love to watch the birds flock around these baths, its always a treat to see them splashing around!!

photo credit:  Cooking For Keeps

This is such a refreshing salad and I'm always looking for something out of the ordinary for summer when we really get into our salads.  You can double or triple this if you are having guests for lunch or dinner.  It's easy to assemble and super fresh.  I love the sweetness of the melon with the saltiness of the prosciutto.  I found this on Pinterest and changed it up quite a bit.  As usual, I forgot to take a photo.  Enjoy!

Melon, Prosciutto, and Arugula salad

1 small cantaloupe melon
2 T lemon juice
1 t honey
1/4 t Dijon mustard
1 T olive oil
4 c arugula
4 oz fresh mozzarella pearls or pieces
3 oz prosciutto, roughly torn (I actually use about 6 oz as it is sooooo good!)

Use a melon baller to portion out melon or simply slice and cut out  1 inch pieces.  (Perfect for lazy and un-fancy people like me).

In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, honey and mustard.  Gently whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Gently mix with arugula. Add melon, cheese, and prosciutto, toss and serve.  Serves 4-6

I hope all of you are doing well.  Illinois has not opened up completely and we continue to go down in Covid cases and deaths.  Hallelujah!  We continue to wear masks, keep the social distancing of six feet, and use one way directions in aisles of stores and other essential places.  I don't feel this virus is going to go away and I'm going to be vigilant for a long time to come.  Just my feelings.  So all the best to you, my friends.  Be healthy.  

Love and Lysol,



Mary said...

Good Saturday morning dear Jane - enjoying reading your latest news and happy you were able to get back to town to celebrate Emily's birthday and Lucy's Christening, both happy milestones.

My bird baths need a good scrub too - and I've added mosquito rings to them this year which hopefully are keeping the numerous larvae down. So much rain here the past week everywhere is saturated and a haven for these unwanted insects....and yes, I'm still so allergic to them!

Doing OK physically thank goodness, but emotionally somewhat down in these changing times - so many have lost their way and the future is worrisome for the country.

Meanwhile we plod along, not far in distance of course, and travel is really missed as we can't get home to UK or even to Asheville yet! Hoping we can get out somewhere this summer even if just local country drives, with perhaps a picnic now and then.
Enjoying home and garden time but need a change of scenery!

Love to you all - stay well, be safe.
Mary x

Vee said...

I appreciate all that information about cleaning a birdbath, I was just considering bringing mine out, but I think it will be too much this summer. Oh well, it is good to know.

The salad does sound like pure summer yumminess.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Sounds like you are having a great summer. That salad looks wonderful!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I do think that we are in this for the long haul. We still have a curfew and business have yet to reopen. Everything sure is upside down and makes me feel out of sorts. Glad to see you are doing well and enjoying local produce and time with family.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

I get endless joy from watching the birds flitting in and out of the birdbath. I usually leave it to hubby to clean it! The salad looks delish, and better yet, easy! I love fruit in my salads, especially when mixed with something salty. Things are opening up here in NJ, but I haven't done much venturing out, except for food shopping and the garden center. I'd love to do some outdoor dining, but too many people aren't wearing masks. SO frustrating. As long as that is the attitude, I agree that we will be living this way for a long, long time.

Bluebird49 said...

Here in VA, we're supposed to be in "Phase 2". Some people are in, some out, some unmasked and some masked. Crazy people can't even get it together to agree on that,much less everything else that is going on.I
I know Emily enjoyed her birthday dinner with you. 😘
That salad is a good changeup from watermelon and feta on greens, too. Honeydew is also good! Love light salads, and a little grilled chicken can make them a meal.
Enjoy the rest of the summer, dear. June is rushing on!

Jeanie said...

The salad looks delicious! Thanks for this recipe for the dressing, too. The proscuitto and melon balls with the mozz is a perfect summer treat.

Your christening sounds beautiful and such fun. I know you had to be one of the proudest, happiest, most delighted grans ever!

Mereknits said...

Hope the celebrations were just perfect and you enjoyed every moment with your family. stay safe.

Lynne said...

Liked your bird water bath, milk can look and
great info for keeping bird baths clean and healthy
for our feathered friends.

Happy you made a trip home for your daughters BD and the christening . . .
Love the white petunias with darkened centers.
Not usually a fan of petunias but these looked tempting.
Salad sounded wonderful, thank you for the recipe.

Enjoy your posts . . .
Awwww yes, we need to continue on with mask, wash, distance
Thanks for the Love and Lysol smile!

Kim said...

That's a fabulous birdhouse, Jane!! I need to make one for myself immediately! So glad you were able to enjoy your family time and celebrate. Stay safe!!

Lorrie said...

Such wonderful family celebrations - a birthday and a christening. It's so good that we can gather in our small bubbles now. I change the water in the bird bath from time to time; we have a drip line installed so it fills and overflows regularly and the water doesn't stagnate. What a delicious sounding salad. It's warming up here and that sounds perfect for a summer evening. Take care Jane.

anna lucas said...
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La Contessa said...

OH, I am going to make that SALAD Right AWAY!
XX said...

Sounds like a lovely party!! We got together for Father's day but social distanced in my garden. Cases are on the rise here in Montana so we're still wearing masks. Take care and have a good summer! Kit

It's me said...

Mmmmmmm...what a delicious is so hot here in holland...o my.....enjoy your week love Ria...💕🍀💕