Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summer Vegetables


Who can resist the wonderful vegetables available in our farmer's markets?  One of the sweetest treats is to walk through all the stalls and choose yummy fruits and veggies grown by our local farmers.  Our city has a whole block allocated to these wonderful farmers that work so hard.  It surrounds a city park. 


Families bring their children to play while they shop.  There is even a Kettle Korn stand to tempt you.  Bread, honey, soaps, flowers and other assorted venders are available as well.




The colors in the market are so vivid and promise great nutrition.







They say we eat with our eyes first.  I must say, this is a feast for all of my senses.  Does your area have a farmer's market that you enjoy visiting?

The new LOVE sign has just been installed in the park as part of the Virginia is for lovers theme. 




  "What The World Needs Now Is Love"
(originally by Jackie DeShannon)

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
It's the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now is love sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord we don't need another mountain, 
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb,
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last until the end of time

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
It's the only thing that theres just too little of,
What the world needs now is love sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we dont need another meadow,
There are corn fields and wheat fields enough to grow,
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine,
Oh listen Lord, if you want to know

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
It's the only thing that theres just too little of.
What the world needs now is love sweet love,
No not just for some, oh but just for every every everyone.

what the world (whoa whoa) needs now, 
Is love (is love) sweet love 
What the world ( oh oh) needs now 
Is love (is love) sweet love 
What the world (whoa whoa) needs now 
Is love (is love) sweet love


Dear Lord, Please let it begin with me. ♥









Thursday, August 24, 2017

Almost Over August



Does time seem to be racing by for you?  August is coming to a close and September will be greeting us soon.  I've always heard the older we get the faster time passes.  It surely seems true to me.




We have been blessed with many family times this summer.  Our youngest grand has celebrated his 13th birthday.  It was fun to be with him and join in the excitement of becoming a teenangel.  My cousin just introduced me to that term and I do love it.  Maybe it's a little corny, but I like it.




The one and only gift Miles has wanted for a long time is a phone.  He says he's the only one of his friends that doesn't have one.  Have you ever heard that one?  His parents very wisely, I think, waited for his 13th birthday. 




Our summer has been a hot and humid one and I'll have to say I'll be glad when the days are a little bit cooler.  I am looking forward to my favorite season--glorious Autumn.  Cozy sweaters, candles, soups, pumpkins, afghans, hot chocolate, hot tea, easy days in the garden.  I can feel Autumn knocking at the door.  The evenings are much cooler, the occasional leaf falls to the ground, the days are growing shorter, the crickets are chirping.  Yes, Autumn is getting ready to visit us.


I've mentioned the decline of butterflies this year in my garden.  I'm happy to say we have had a few to come recently.


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail



White stripped longtail




Black form swallowtail


Fritillary


Skippers on the zinnias


Monarch

  Have you seen the signs that promote getting rid of mosquitoes in your yard?  It disturbs me as a gardener that we need to spray our yards with pesticides.  We have mosquitoes but try to keep their population down by emptying any standing water that we have around.  Every two days we empty the bird baths so mosquito larva doesn't form.  I worry when pesticides affect the balance of our beneficial insects and birds.  Realizing that West Nile and Zika fever can be an issue in some areas I understand, but to just spray our yards randomly seems foolish.  I remember growing up and seeing planes fog areas to kill the mosquitoes.  I wince when I think of this.  What in the world were we inhaling?

This sweet little garden in Colonial Williamsburg is maintained without the help of pesticides.  If they can do it so can we.






The goldfinch have returned to my garden and are enjoying the seed heads of the rudbeckia.  Can you see him?



Enjoy these last few days of summer, my friends. ♥





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beach Week 2017




The ocean is a lure like none other.  The waves are intoxicating and calming to my soul.  It would be a very strange year indeed without a visit to the ocean.  Our family gathers by the ocean every year.  It's a wonderful time to enjoy each other and be enveloped by the power and the glory of the ocean.






“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” 

― Mahatma Gandhi








The grand's excitement over the ocean reminds me of times with my own cousins when we all gathered at the ocean.











  My siblings and I and my parents all piled into our family's car packed to the gills with all that we needed for a fun week at the ocean.  It was the highlight of my summers growing up and has continued to be exciting to me.  Even though I no longer ride the waves in with my siblings and cousins, I think of those precious times spent long ago.





  One of my cousins that I rode many a wave into the shoreline is now in the end stages of MS.  He lives by the ocean and I visit with him when we take our annual trek.  

We experienced a couple rainy mornings followed by sunshine that allowed us to enjoy making a puzzle supplied by our daughter and son-in-law.








  We even sat under the umbrella in the pouring rain. It's not the first time we've done it and Lord willing it won't be the last.  We are serious beach lovers.  Bocce Ball occupied times in the sunshine and in the rain.








Fireworks over the ocean are especially beautiful in the evening.








The beautiful Green Corn moon lit up the sky as well.




As darkness fell it really took on the likeness of a Harvest Moon.






  Our family surely is blessed to spend time together by ocean.  Do you enjoy the ocean?  







Monday, July 31, 2017

Cooler Temperatures



For the last couple of days we had a respite from the heat and humidity!  Along with plentiful rain (six inches for the month) we are blessed with happy plants.  I'm so thankful to enjoy time on the patio and in the garden in July.  It's also a time that Grayden and I have been able to do our second pruning of the shrubbery.


Our Crepe Myrtle 

During this past week we had the trees attended to on our property.  If you remember we had a very large limb fall in May and it prompted us to get our trees evaluated.  I was going to post a link to that post, but I have somehow managed to delete that post! 


Taken in May


We had several large oak limbs removed.  They also looked at the health of our trees and one was singled out as a possible problem.  This large oak was beside our bedroom and very close to the house.  We decided it was best for us to have this tree removed. 




 It makes us sad as we know this tree was over 100 years old.  When the tree was removed water came out of the inside.  It would have rotted from the inside and then been a danger to our home.




  Summer storms can get quite violent in our area and we always see on the news where folks have large trees slice through their homes.  It's so sad to see that, even sadder when someone gets hurt or worse.

I am always amazed at how skillful these men take down huge limbs without injury to themselves or to property.







  Our new view of our garden has a lot more morning light now.  Thank goodness we still have plenty of shade around in the afternoon when the temperatures increase.



The Rudbeckia Hirta (Blackeyed Susan) are blooming and brightening up the perennial bed.




  The bees are enjoying the blooms as they gather nectar.  It makes me so happy to see them in our garden.




  I've not seen the usual butterflies this year.  I'm not sure why.  The butterflies I see seem to have the most crazy flights.  Rather spastic with circling quickly around flowers.  Have you seen the usual number of butterflies this year? 




 We need all of the pollinators we can get.


Sphinx Moth


  I thought we had some milkweed growing in our compost area, but it turned out to be pokeberry.   Pokeberry can be the bane of us that like to hang sheets on the line.  If you have birds you know what I mean!  We are going to have to arrange a new clothesline as the tree we had removed served as a part of a clothesline for us.


Shredded Oak Stump





July is practically over and August will greet us tomorrow.  I hope you are finding joy in whatever comes your way. 








Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Long Hot Summer

  

It's not a news flash to us that live in the South that's it's hot!!  As a matter of fact it's been hot over most of the country.  We've had many days that have been in the upper 90s with the heat index over 100. 



The last thing I want to do when it's so hot is to heat up the kitchen.  In the summer I always like to make baked beans.  It just says summer along with great meals from the grill.  My old standby recipe requires heating up the oven.  This new (to me) recipe uses a slow cooker that you can prepare in your cool kitchen and still have a great dish. 




Hearty Baked Beans

 3 cans (16.5 oz.) baked beans
 1 pound of  lean ground beef
 4 slices of chopped bacon
 1 diced onion
 1/2 cup of ketchup
 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
 1 teaspoon of vinegar
 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Saute' onion and bacon until the bacon is done and a little crispy. Add ground beef and continue cooking until beef is done.  Add mixture to slow cooker along with  the other ingredients.  Stir it all until combined.  Cook for 3 hours on low.


This is a great dish to take to a covered dish dinner.  It would also be a great accompaniment to other grilled foods when it's not too hot to fire up the grill. 




It would not be summer if we didn't make homemade ice cream.  I have one of those electric Krups machines that makes 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream.  When our children were young, we had the old fashioned style machine.  Even though it was electric, we still had to prepare the ice cream outside with the rock salt and ice.  I like to make the custard for ice cream the day before freezing it.  My machine makes the ice cream in twenty minutes.  We've had chocolate (the only kind according to Grayden) and vanilla.  Of course you can add what ever you wish to vanilla such as fruit or candies.  Do you make ice cream in your home?  Here are the two recipes I use for ice cream.





French Vanilla Ice Cream

  3 eggs
  1 cup of sugar
  2 cups of cream
  2 cups of whole milk
  2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat eggs and milk together in a large saucepan.  Add sugar and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.  About 10 minutes.  Mixture should coat the spoon. Cool, then add cream and vanilla.  Refrigerate overnight.  Freeze in your ice cream maker.





French Chocolate Ice Cream

  1 cup of sugar
  3 egg yolks
  1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  2 cups of cream
  1/3 cup of cocoa
  1 teaspoon of vanilla

Beat milk and egg yolks together.  Blend in sugar.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the spoon.  Remove from heat and gently sift cocoa into the mixture, then beat well until blended.  Cool.  Add cream and vanilla. Mix well and refrigerate overnight.  Freeze in your ice cream freezer. 




I hope you are trying to enjoy summer even though it's a hot one.  I'll leave you with some photos of the Crepe Myrtles that have been spectacular this year. The official spelling is Crape Myrtle, but here in the South it is spelled Crepe Myrtle because the flowers resemble crepe paper.  Mine is about to open.  These were taken one day this week in Williamsburg, where to me, everything always looks lovely. ♥