Did you know hummingbirds are the smallest of birds measuring from just under three inches to a little over 5-inches? Yet these petite birds are most fascinating and so exciting to watch as they flit to and fro each summer. One recent rainy day, a tiny hummingbird perched right outside my kitchen window for most of the morning allowing me to get this amazing video.Continue Reading
Psalm 91 is one of the most encouraging passages of scripture to me. After completing the book, Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney, our community group Bible study is finished the year studying Psalm 91. It is a beautiful Psalm and I am sharing each verse with a photo of a blossom from my garden this past spring.
Summer is a delightful time of the year for many reasons and one of them is the abundance of fresh produce. Whether from the market or your garden, this is when the best and freshest fruits and vegetables are available making it easy to add nutritious ingredients to your meals. Zucchini will soon be ready to harvest from local farmers and backyard plots. In this collection of recipes using garden fresh zucchini, you will find an appetizer, entree, side dish and even a dessert that shines the spotlight on this summer squash.
Do you have an herb garden or grow herbs on your windowsill? Do you have a favorite herb for cooking? I have a smallish, 4-foot by 8-foot raised bed where I grow herbs and some annuals. Just the ones I use most often in the kitchen. The aromatic evergreen, rosemary, does really well needing little attention. This perennial herb is super easy to propagate from stem cuttings to make more plants. Rosemary infuses lots of flavor in cooking but it also is a lovely ingredient in this light and clean-smelling, simmering potpourri.
It started as a need to fill a patch of space along a walkway to the front door. We had to remove some hinoki cypress bushes that were looking shabby and wanted to replace them with something inexpensive. Like free inexpensive. I spotted a Shasta Daisy we planted several years prior that was now getting pretty large.Continue Reading
This spring I found a stevia plant at the garden center and thought it would be an interesting addition to my herb garden. I have been experimenting with the leaves from the stevia plant to see how it would work as a sweetener.
We love berries and we love muffins. We love them for breakfast, mid-morning or afternoon snack, with a cold glass of milk or with a hot cup of coffee.
John has a couple raspberry bushes growing in containers and this year they are loaded with flowers and tiny berries.
For now, when we are in the mood for muffins I stir in berries from the produce store.
These muffins are filled with raspberries but other berries work just as well.
And, don’t forget, place extra in freezer bags or containers for no-hassle, quick and convenient homemade muffins whenever you are in the mood!
If you prefer less sweet, skip the glaze frosting and enjoy with a simple baked-on topping of cinnamon sugar.
Very Berry Muffins
2 cups all Purpose flour
2 cups all Purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup (or more if you like) berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or combination)
optional: cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top
optional: cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top
Heat oven to 400. Grease bottom only of 12 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.
In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange (or lemon) peel; whisk well. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine milk, oil and egg; add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until moistened.
Gently fold in berries. Fill cups 2/3 full. If desired, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar on the muffins just before baking.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute before removing from pan.
Orange Glaze Frosting
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
tiny pinch salt (optional)
1/4- 1/2 tsp. orange zest
1-2 tsp. orange juice
In small bowl, combine glaze/frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread or drizzle on tops of slightly cooled muffins.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
|roses, hydrangea and purple spiderwort fill a vase for a late summer centerpiece|
It is hugely rewarding
How about your experience in the garden and flower beds?
I can usually count on these plants/trees/bushes to perform well.
Sweet potato vine
Hydrangea with astilbe in foreground
Budleia (butterfly bush)
Morning glory twinning in the zinnia
and some that give me trouble…
Japanese Beatles doing their damage.
Boxwood hedge that we have been treating for years for leaf minor
Shasta daisy was outstanding last year but not so much this year.
Powdery mildew on the brilliant white phlox..
Ferns on the northern exposure look green and healthy in the spring but as summer continues, even with ample water, they turn brown and ugly.
But the worse this year were the impatiens.
I knew about the blight/Downey Mildew last year, but my heart longed once again for the abundant and overflowing window boxes of the past. I planted them and for six weeks they grew well and beautifully (first two photos). Then they quickly succumbed to this nasty fungus.
They were my favorite to fill my window boxes and add color to shady places.
You can see how pretty they looked but then, I watched as each plant shriveled and died. The window boxes are okay but not as full as the ones in the last two photos from a few years ago.
I have read that the spores remain in the soil and therefore, I will not be able to grow impatiens there again. So, I need an alternative for next year.
Any suggestions (beside begonia)?
What stood out in your garden this season?
Did you have any disappointments?
In the Garden
Words: Charles Austin Miles (1912)
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
~ dainty, blue forget-me-nots blooming in the garden this week ~
It’s been a perfect couple of days after some very heavy rain this week.
The grass is green, the trees are blooming and it is really spring!
It is also Raider’s birthday
I think he is feeling his 11 years
a quick selfie before heading out for another full day of yard work
I’ve got another wreath idea to share with you.
This one is not just decorative but also useful in the kitchen
A wreath made of Rosemary sprigs is both aromatic and handy to snip and add in meal preparation.
For the base of the wreath I looked for a small circle. I found a package of four, five-inch metal circles in the leather supply section of the craft store.You could use a heavy wire and make the circle yourself.
After cutting the rosemary into 5-6-inch pieces, I wired several of them into a bundle.
It took six bundles to go around and fill out this 5-inch wire circle.
That’s all there is to it.
It smells wonderful too!
My Rosemary was a windowsill-size gift from a friend. I kept it indoors for a year and then planted it outside in a pot. It grew and I transplanted it into a raised bed herb garden two years ago.
Rosemary is an aromatic, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves. The leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffing, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean region. The name “rosemary” derives from the Latin for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus), or “dew of the sea”. Rosemary is reasonably hardy in cool climates and it can withstand droughts. I live in zone 6b and my rosemary has no problem wintering over. It is easy to grow and pest-resistant and can be grown in pots. Be sure it has good drainage and a sunny location.
Parmesan & Rosemary Crusted~Pork Chops
adapted from Giada recipe
1 large egg
1/2 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2-1 tsp. snipped rosemary
3 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Whisk the egg in a pie plate to blend. Combine Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and the rosemary in another plate. Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip the pork chops in the egg and then into the cheese/bread crumb mixture, coating completely, patting to adhere.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Add additional oil as needed when cooking second side. (My chops browned quickly, so I covered pan with lid, leaving slightly ajar and cooked for less time until just cooked through keeping them nice and juicy). I served with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.
Cupcakes & Crinoline
Late springtime blooms and lots of heavy rain…