Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Tomatoes Are No More

It's a disappointing day. My garden is doing horribly. I had big plans to do lots of canning and preserving to help save money. It's not going to happen.

Web worms have attacked my new Apple Tree.

These are the sad remnants of my tomato plants.

All rotten, black tomatoes filled with blight.

Too much rain. Too little sun. It's a sad day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Basil-Lemon Vinagrette

I had some friends over last week for lunch and decided to try out a new recipe. It's sometimes hard to know what to feed guests, especially for lunch so I whipped up a delicious Chef's Salad with Basil-Lemon Vinagrette. This recipe makes 2 cups of vinagrette. I made the salad in a huge pasta dish and the vinagrett covered all of the salad with a bit extra. It will keep nicely in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let it come to room temperature before using it or it's just gross. Nothing worse than cold solidified olive oil.
Basil-Lemon Vinagrette
2 cups of freshly washed packed basil leaves
1 cup of vinegar
1 cup of olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
pinch salt
4 tablespoons of sugar

Place 2 cups of packed basil leaves in a bowl.

Zest the peel of one lemon and add it to the bowl.

Add all of the lemon juice. Not the seeds. Just the juice.

Pour in one cup of vinegar. I used plain white vinegar.

Add one cup of Olive Oil.

Add the salt and sugar right on top. Do not skimp on the sugar. This is a tart dressing and you need the sugar for balance.

Use your handy dandy immersion blender or food processor-which ever you prefer- and blend until the basil is broken down into tiny pieces and the vinegar and olive oil is mixed well.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. You may need to add a bit more sugar.

This was a shrimp salad I made for another lunch date. Romaine lettuce from the garden, carrot shreds, red pepper, scallions, eggs from the chickens, some feta and big shards of parmesan.
The Vinagrette is very light and tart and sweet all at the same time. I could not get enough of it and ate it all week. A little homemade bread helps to sop up any leftover dressing that may be hiding in your bowl.
Yes-it's that good.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How Doesn't Your Garden Grow

It's been a whirlwind week. Last week I had two days of lunch dates and made a fabulous meal and totally yummy dressing to go with it. I'll post the recipes tomorrow. I had several meetings for the Capital Campaign at church and another for our homeschool group. My youngest daughter had soccer practice and a tournament Saturday and she turned an insane 10 years old today. In the midst of all of this my Lyme disease gave me much difficulty causing me to miss work. I'm very tired of it being a part of my life...I have things to do!
This past week brought Rhode Island yet more rain. I'm very worried about my garden. Friday night we had very high winds and all of my corn was uprooted and we had to replant them and create a support system for them. We also planted 36 tomato plants this year in hopes of canning and preserving most of them for sauce and such. With the tremendous amounts of rain we have had, I'm afraid the tomatoes have blight and many are already rotting. If we get a handful this year we will be lucky. A few cherry tomatoes are ripening but I just don't know how many we'll get before the plants die. Not too much I can do about it but it is disappointing and will not save us much money this year as we had hoped.

The fog has been rolling in every night. This is a view of the back of my house in the fog.

However, the flowers seem to be doing well and loving the rain. Is there anything prettier than day lillies right after the rain?

My Echinacea is in full bloom and loaded with butterflys and bees.

This is the side garden next to the pool.

The plants around our Koi pond are doing well. We haven't seen the pesky Heron in several weeks and my Koi are growing at an alarming rate. Can you see how large they are?

Look how fast the fog rolled in. This picture was taken just about two minutes later than the picture above it. I love the fog. Murder on the hair but good for my soul.

Some of the garden is doing very well. I've picked several cucumbers. They were delicious with just a little salt.

From a distance, everything looks like it's doing well. The weeds especially.

I've picked lots of Zuchinni. Tomorrow I will make some breakfast muffins.

The herb garden is thriving.

Golden Oregano glows in the evening hours.
I hope some of my garden turns out ok. How is yours doing?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creating Sand Art

I take so many pictures that I forgot about these. Our homeschool group created some sand art a few weeks ago. The kids loved this activity.

Of course, you must find the perfect spot on the sidewalk to accomplish really beautiful sand art.

Big cheesy smiles are also required.

So are giggles.

The color selection must be just perfect. So many choices.

Orange and Yellow and Blue, Oh My!

Careful measuring ensures perfect results.

Perfect is in the eye of the creator.

Black was a favorite color choice.

All of the creations were different.

Shane chose pastels. He told me it was the color of his chickens.

Busy, delighted kids.

Jars of beauty.

The ants appreciated all the spilled sand. I had lovely colored ant hills the very next day.

Snacks, barefeet, sand.

Shy Sand Creations.
Proud and delighted.

What fun!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Homeschoolers Cookout

We were finally able to have our homeschoolers over for a picnic. There were about 32 of us last I counted. It was a really fun day. We started around 1pm and ended around 8pm. Everyone was exhausted from all of the activities.

Lots of play on the slip and slide. I think the makers of slip and slide should make these about 20 feet longer. Just when you get a good slip going crash at the end.

Here Gab demonstrates the ever popular butt slide.

Zachary perfects the straight leg bullet slide.

We ate all day. Dear Husband cooked burgers and hotdogs and there was cous-cous with pecans and cranberries (delish), vegetable salad, watermelon, pasta salad, potatoe salad and raspberry sherbet for dessert. And smores. Can there ever be a picnic without smores?

The kids dove right in.

And lots of swimming. I used to think we had a large pool but when you cram about 20 kids into it well....not so much.

The giggly girls told secrets.

Even the grownups tried the slip and slide. Go Danielle!

Whoo hooo!

Little Avery even gave it a go.

And we welcomed 2 week old baby Cooper to homeschooling. He taught everyone the fine art of nursing all day and then demonstrated how to make a dirty diaper...twice. He's already perfected his craft even at such a young age.

Papa Joe took a nap under the willow tree. How did he sleep with all of those kids running around him?

Gideon cooed at baby Cooper. He thought is was more fun than his dog Bindy.

Kiara and Sara played in the kiddie pool that was all dirty from our nutball dog Stewie playing in it. No one seemed to mind.....the kids were soooooo clean anyway.

The boys pack hung out on some rocks.

The smoke from the fire created these really cool pictures.

Doesn't this look like something from the lost boys?

Avery hung out with the chickens.

Sue hung out with the girls on the rock in "the village."

Zoey was very thirsty.
We had a great day.