Friday, May 8, 2015

A Nicer Welcome

Altho we have three entrances - a "formal" front door, a side door and a back door, 90% of our guests come and go thru the side door, which opens directly onto the driveway.  
We use that entrance almost exclusively. 
 Over the years the railings had gotten loose and some of the decking had warped, so it was time to repair or replace it.  

We decided to go with a composite product instead of treated wood in the hope that it would last longer and not wear as fast this time. 
Once it was done, we needed a nice big pot of something by the steps.  We've kept a pot of mint there for years, so i just got another big blue pot and added some additional varieties of mint.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday Workday

I burned my last day of vacation today to have lunch with a friend, but since she did not want to eat at 7 a.m., i sneaked in a couple of hours in the garden. 
[Is anyone surprised by that?  No.  I thought not.]

Last summer we grew three tomatoes - Cherokee Purple (an early bearing heirloom), Brandywine (a late heirloom) and Roma - one plant each.   While both the Cherokee and the Brandywine produced fairly well from mid-May thru October, we would have used more "eating" tomatoes - especially since both had excellent flavor.  
The Romas were all either made into Tomato Jam, or roasted for Rachel Ray's roasted tomato sauce.* 

Mitchell loved the tomato sauce, but we were out of it by January and i committed to grow lots of Romas this year for sauce. 

Today was the day to plant.  But, not before I added a new raised bed, just for the Romas.
The bench used to sit on this "pad".
I took up the pavers a couple of weeks ago.
Mitchell built the new box for me yesterday and helped me move it into place.  
See how much the whole garden has greened up in two weeks.
Early this morning I was a Big Blue Box to get compost and peat moss.  For raised beds i use a combo of peat moss, vermiculite and two or three different types of composts.  Today I used "webb dirt" from my compost pile, plus Leafgro and a mushroom compost for a rich blend that will help feed the tomatoes all season.

Rolling the "ingredients" together.
It only took a couple of hours once I had everything.  Did I mention that we ended up with 12 plants this year?  Probably a bit of overkill.

All of the Romas and two Brandywine.
We have three Cherokee Purple, one red cherry, four Brandywine and four Roma - enough for a great summer of tomato eating and a winter of good sauce!

*Rachel Ray's Roasted Tomato Sauce 
Cut tomatoes in half, add desired seasonings (garlic, fresh herbs, salt and pepper), drizzle olive oil over all and roast cut side down 1.5 to 2 hours until tomatoes are soft and well roasted.

To serve immediately, put in blender (or use immersion blender) to puree, heat and serve with your favorite pasta.  
Freeze in quart or gallon bags to use later.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Flowers in the House

Well, just barely!

A busy week and i missed the invitation.

Wednesday - flood in the kitchen
Friday - industrial fans and dehumidifier brought in.
Saturday - floor installer measured and estimated.
Sunday - fans removed and wet insulation pulled out from under the house. 

Still no contact with the adjuster, but we have hope...
... but, until a few minutes ago, we had no flowers. 

Fortunately, Mother Nature provided the most gorgeous purple iris - the kind that look like velvet - as well as the last of the woods hyacinths, and the first of the lilacs ('Miss Kim').
Thanks, Mom!

Please go visit Jane and all her other friends - you know, the ones who did their homework on time.