Saturday, July 31, 2010

It was a good day...

You know the feeling you get when a job is completed, finished, finito?  

After a few days of pruning and fertilizing the roses and then deadheading the flowers around the bocce court I am done!   For at least a week anyway.

Above is a photo I edited over at you must go!  Make sure you have a lot of time to waste spend because it is addicting!

Here is the before:
Actually this photo has had a bit of color editing, but you get the idea:)

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Poultry Fair~ let's talk chickens!

Last weekend my husband and two sons humored me all the way into downtown Portland...
~taken from the lower deck of the Marquam (pronounce mark-um) Bridge... beautiful day, beautiful city~

and right into Pistil's Nursery where a group of chicken breeders had brought their award winning chicks to do a little show and tell.  Thank you family!

I was on the hunt!  The hunt for some, eh-hem, older chicks, shall we say?  Our current chicks are about 5 to 6 weeks old, but I wanted some girls that would start laying eggs this fall.

Here are just some of the beauties we saw:
Silver and Golden Laced Wyandottes or  (I think)
Bob's Favorite.

I thought the chicks would look splendid coming home in this!  Bob thought not:)

~the endangered Speckled Sussex, my favorite of the day~

We didn't come home with any of these, but I think I will pursue the Speckled Sussex.  The pictures really don't do these beauties justice!

We parted for the day with two Buff Orpingtons and two Buff Brahmas, all about four months old.

~How you doin'?~

 Did I mention that one of my Barred Rocks has turned out to be a he?  And I think the same goes for one or two of my Ameraucaunas.

Some things I learned at the poultry fair:
  • Feathered feet are better for roaming in the garden because the feathers prevent them from scratching so much.
  • Feathered feet are not so good for rain and mud.
  • The expert told me that Barred Rock Roosters are terrible mean, and when I replied that I thought I had an Ameraucauna Rooster too he said, "Those are even worse!"  Good times:)
  • Chicken wrangling could become addicting!  There are too many beautiful birds to choose from.
  • Seriously, how cool is that convertible???
Stay tuned~ I will be posting more pictures of the new girls soon:)

ps. Can I just add that the chicken owners I have met in blogland are the greatest?!  Thanks for all your tips and encouragement!

Linked up to I'm Lovin' It

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Garden Party~ Feelin' hot, hot, hot!

Let me just say the weather has been incredible!  After such a slow start to summer I promised myself I wouldn't complain if it got too hot.  I am loving it...  And so is the garden!

We harvested our first tomatoes (featured last week on the vine) and made a Caprese Salad, savoring every summery bite!
sweet shot~ tomatoes and basil from the garden

And, I have been scouring my cookbooks and the internet for Sweet Onion Jam recipes... you know, Christmas is right around the corner and it's not too early to plan:)

With the kitchen around 90F (no a/c here:) (this is NOT a complaint!) I think I will need to wait a bit to go into mass production, but I did make this small batch of confiture for fun the other day...
walla walla onion jam

Actually, I made it to go on a tart but didn't have all of the ingredients I needed, so I made a batch of Quick Rosemary Flatbread crackers and served it with some extra sharp, Irish white cheddar and the smoked salmon my hubby made last week.  Yum!

I did have one scandalous find having to do with the eggplant...
sad day in the garden, but hope for the future (how's that for melodrama?)

Other garden news and views...
little zucchini~ taking their sweet time, purple garlic~ ready for harvest, asparagus~ beauty sleep,
bunching onions~ planted late but doing well, raspberries~ round two, artichoke~ freshly composted

I am so happy you stopped by the garden today... click below to see how other people are growing and photographing!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Garden Party~ This, that, and me...

I had pretty much given up the thought of joining An Oregon Cottage's Garden Party, which was yesterday.  I had started dinner prep tonight and was reminded, in a rather smelly way, that I had a little business to attend to in the garden.  So out I went with my camera and something a little fishy...

Starting around this time of year you can get some pretty great deals on wild caught, whole fish salmon.  I brought home two... one for the grill and one for the smoker and two carcasses for the garden.
What could be simpler than burying the carcasses in a currently unused portion of the vegetable or flower garden?  Your plants will love you for it!

I don't have a photo of the grilled salmon, but I plan on making it again and sharing the best salmon marinade recipe ever soon.

While I was in the garden I noticed these...
The first tomatoes of the season for me;  I think they need a little more time, sigh.

Then I remembered I wanted to ask you all about these...
What is up with these berries?  They all have flat bottoms... suggestions???

Tonight's dinner... great way to use your garden produce!
If you are interested, you can click Giada's Fab Veggie Sandwiches to be taken to the post with the recipe.

And then when I started grilling dinner I noticed this pretty thing...

But then I didn't think it was right to pretend my roses were all healthy and lovely, so here you go... my rose walk of shame.  Is this what chemical free roses are destined to look like?

Well, that's all I got for now... thanks for stopping by my garden.  Oh, I almost forgot... the title of this post is this, that, and me...

So here is a summer self-portrait I took today... I don't know what it says, but it's me:)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sweet Shot~ Dill Three Ways

While out in the garden I was struck by how the dill reminded me of fireworks...
Just having a little fun with editing... 

Click the button to see what others captured this week...
Sweet Shot Day

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Cook's Garden Summer Dinner

If you are looking for a delicious way to use a lot of vegetables and herbs from your garden or the farmer's market this is it!  I have made this quiche a few times with a variety of veggies and it is always a hit.
Vegetable and Cheddar Quiche
Recipe found in From the Cook's Garden by
Ellen Ecker Ogden

Pastry Crust
1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 c cake flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
9 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/3 c ice water

Mix flours, sugar, salt in medium bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few pea-sized bits.  Gradually stir in water until dough holds together.  Gather up the dough into a thick disk, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  If dough is well chilled and hard, let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften slightly before rolling.

Custard Filling
1 c. heavy cream or half-and-half
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
1/4 tsp chopped fresh sage or 1/8 tsp dried
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
ground black pepper
1 c shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 c cooked chopped vegetables, combinations such as broccoli, leeks, asparagus, or spinach (squeeze spinach to remove excess moisture) (Use your imagination! I used more than 1 c)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or chervil

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375F.  Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface into an 11- or 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.  Fit into a 9- inch pie plate trimming and crimping the edge.  prick the dough in several places with a fork.  Line the dough with a piece of aluminum foil, and fill with dried beans, raw rice, or pie weights.

Bake until the dough looks set but not browned, about 12 minutes.  Remove foil with the beans and et stand until ready to fill.

Whisk cream, eggs, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper until combined.  Sprinkle the cheese (and bacon, if using) over the bottom of the pastry, then top with the vegetables.  Pour in the custard, and then sprinkle with the parsley.

Bake until knife inserted in the center of the filling comes out clean, about 35 minutes.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving warm.

In addition to baking my own crust I have also used Trader Joe's pre-made crust, which tasted just fine and cut down on prep time immensely!

Thanks for visiting... I am now off to tend to my new chickens and do some major weeding in the garden.  ~Have a joyful day~

For more great recipes check here...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What is a girl to do when she turns 41? Chickens!

I went out and picked up chicks, of course!  And oh, they are cute... albeit a little on the feathery side.  Yes, my chicks will soon be producing lovely, fresh eggs for me!  They are truly the gift that will keep giving.

I selected three Ameraucana hens (I hope) and three Barred Rock hens (I hope again)!  They are three and four weeks old and I was told they were to young to tell the sex.  Let me introduce my girls(?)...

Apparently I am not the only one enamored with the chicks...
Meet Sadie~ who belongs to my neighbor and friend from Inspired Nesting.  Should I be worried?

Looking forward to sharing all our exploits!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Garden Party~ I love summer

Shall we jump right in?

Tilly and I went to check on the blue birds this morning after being out of town over the weekend, but alas they had flown the nest.
I sure enjoyed them, and I hope they return next year.


Into the garden...
Circle left to right... Sweet Peas, huge Rosemary, rhubarb, artichoke, garlic, onions, lettuce, herbs,
peas ( for fun I planted more to see what would happen), zucchini & eggplant, blueberries.  Apple and Pear trees in the back.

blueberries, zucchini, eggplant

Ever had Pink Banana Squash?  I haven't but it looked interesting.

I have a crush on these little bunching onions... is that weird??  They are so cute!

Poor rejected Yukons... this photo only shows their good sides.

Forgive me;  I couldn't choose just one photo of the raspberries... scrumptious!

Chicken pen still in the works, but I have exciting news to share on this front tomorrow:)

I wish you all were close so you could come over, sit here, and play bocce with me:)

Visit the Garden Party to see what others are doing...

Also linking to Mingle Monday...

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