Thursday, March 23, 2023

In This First Week of Spring

In this first week of spring our weather hasn't decided if it's ready to warm up.  There have been many nights of covering the blueberry and hydrangea plants as the temperatures dipped into the 20s.  Despite our best efforts, there was still some frost damage here and there.  On the bright side, it has made for a long stretch of daffodils unfolding.  There are still new ones coming out which delights me.

The chilly days provided me with the ideal excuse to stay inside and decorate the house for Easter.

Once that was done a pretty springtime puzzle beckoned.

Soon my tulips will be in full bloom along with the grape hyacinths.
The next several days are forecast to be in the upper 70s.  That ought to convince the weather that spring has most definitely sprung!!

I do hope that spring is off to a good start for you.


Thursday, March 16, 2023

A Library Visit

A library visit was on my to-do list today.
Pulling into the parking lot, I noticed some early spring blooms in the garden area next to the library.  

Since I was in no particular hurry, I decided to head over there and take a closer look before going into the library.

The land where the library now sits was donated by a man to honor his wife's memory after she passed away.  She loved to read and garden so, he wanted to honor her with a library and memorial garden in her name.  Apparently he worked in the memorial garden every day until he passed away in his 90s.

Here you see the library in the distance.
All of the sitting areas inside look out over the garden where there are trails to walk on, benches to sit on and many plants to add seasonal beauty.  Here and there are bridges built by local Boy Scout troops

Meandering along the trails I spotted some pretty pink azaleas.

I'm not sure what this is.
It was taller than me and loaded with these fringy flowers.

As someone who also enjoys reading and gardening, I somewhat reluctantly left the garden to tend to the main reason for my visit.
I've been attending a bi-monthly Spice Club meeting and it was time to pick up the next packet.  Each meeting focuses on a different herb/spice.  In April it will be dill.  Our packets contain a sample of dill and several recipes.  We are free to try them out.  When the meeting rolls around we can bring a dish to share, although it is not required.  The gal who runs the meetings loves to cook and brings samples of all of her recipes for us to taste.  It has been a fun way to gain some new inspiration in the kitchen while meeting new people.

It seems no visit to the library is complete without checking out a book or two.
While I'm not familiar with this author, the photo makes me want to be out in the garden planting pretty flowers.

It's still early for that as our frost date isn't until April 15th.
This past week has brought a lot of daffodil bouquets reminding me that it won't be long now.

Do you visit your local library and, if so, what are some of your favorite things about it?


Friday, March 10, 2023

Happy Coincidences

After setting the dinner ingredients on the counter this morning I was kidding Brett about choosing a can of cream style corn to coordinate with the kitchen.  A happy coincidence.  He bought it last fall when he had a hankering.  It has been languishing in the pantry ever since.
Today it will be turned into corn chowder for dinner.  Which is actually another happy coincidence.  For in my family one never even says the words cream style corn without thinking of my Dad.  He loved the stuff.  Give him a heaping helping generously sprinkled with pepper and he was a happy man.  If he were still with us, we would be celebrating his birthday today.  It wouldn't be just any birthday, it would be his 100th.  Hard to even imagine that.  
I have a feeling that each bite of this simple soup will carry memories and warm thoughts of my dearly loved Dad and that will be the very happiest coincidence of them all.

🎡 Happy Birthday, Dear Daddio🎡

Are there certain foods that carry memories for you too?

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

A Thrifty Tip

When thrift shopping, it can be easy to overlook things in boxes in favor of the more obvious/attractive items.  Sometimes the boxes are on the bottom shelves and seem like more effort than they are usually worth to sift through.
That being said, on a recent visit I was intrigued by this box.
My curiosity got the best of me.

This is what I saw after removing the lid.
I became more intrigued by this hand carved nativity set so neatly packed.
One of the first Christmas gifts Brett gave to me our first year of marriage was a Precious Moments nativity set.  I loved it for many years.  Forty some years later I no longer love it.  At this point in my life I have been wanting one made of wood.  It has sort of been on my radar, although I haven't been looking too diligently.

Carefully packaged in newspaper that I can't read.
I can imagine somebody returning from Bethlehem with this beautiful memento of their trip.  It would appear that since 2001 it has been loved and appreciated.  Hard to say why it ended up at the thrift shop.  But, I must say, I am glad it did.


A close up view.

Another close up.

With this unbelievably low price there was no way I could pass it up.
After doing an online search I have learned that similar sets are selling in the $150-200 price range.

Another recent box find started off like this.
I nearly didn't waste my time on it until something on the box caught my eye.  The mailing label was attached indicating where it had originally shipped from.  A company that I have never bought from, but know to be a bit high end.

Once unboxed, the label was still attached.
Looks like the lady who ordered them never used them.

Once taken out of the box the familiar Mackenzie Childs patterns were revealed.  I think these will be fun for Easter decorating this year.
In this case the $1.99 price tag sealed the deal.

If you find yourself thrift or garage sale shopping and come across things in boxes, it just might be worth taking a look.  You never know what treasure might be lurking inside.

Friday, February 24, 2023

When Life Gives You Lemons ...

Late last fall when it was time to bring my Meyer Lemon inside for the winter, there were two lovely lemons waiting to be picked.  Not a huge harvest, yet very exciting as I have been trying to grow them for years with limited success.
I put them into the fridge waiting for just the right recipe to use them in.  While two lemons from the grocery wouldn't be all that exciting, these were like a prized treasure to me :).  
Anyhow, the fall and winter holidays came and went.  The lemons were still in the fridge.  Clearly something needed to be done before they were no longer edible.

Yesterday I decided to quit waiting for the perfect recipe to present itself and just think of something with lemon in it that sounded appealing.  Something with blueberries came to mind.
I consulted my Cooking Light cookbook and decided on lemon blueberry muffins.

The lemon glaze was the "icing on the cake muffin".  It added such a sweet/tart fresh lemon flavor.
One lemon and it's zest were used.  One remains in the fridge.
Amazingly, they were still very fresh and full of juice.
I suppose that has to do with being homegrown rather than traveling great distances to reach the grocery store.

All ready for the weekend.
If you were here I'd offer you one.
Since that's not the case, I can offer the recipe here.

With our recent stretch of warm weather, the lemon tree has been enjoying the patio.  The five lemons that were growing last fall are still there along with many flower buds.  Exciting!!
I think I better start collecting the lemon recipes now.
Do you have any to recommend?

Hope your weekend is enjoyable.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Outside Playing

My winter garden is beginning to wake up.
Daffodils are thinking about opening.
Our current temperatures in the 70s this week may be just what's needed to coax them along.
The bulbs I planted most recently (last fall) are just starting to poke out of the ground.  I'm hoping that means the daffodil show will be extended this year.

Since it is still early and there isn't much blooming, I brought my Valentine's bouquet outside to play with.
A recent phone update means a camera update too.
Today seemed like a good day to get to know the camera better.

A week later and the flowers are still looking good in their close up.

There are a few pansies in bloom.
I zoomed in a bit on this one.
The color and clarity are nice.
The zoom capabilities on this phone are much better than the previous one.

Hoping to test out that function on a bird photo or two, I sat and waited for one to land at the feeder.
I waited and waited and then noticed two hawks swooping overhead.
That would explain why the songbirds were in hiding.
I tried for a quick photo of the hawks and ended up with this.
Ah well, it looks like more practice is in order.

When choosing a phone cover, a garden theme was the winner.
I hope to spend lots of time getting familiar with the camera feature in the coming months.  Naturally much of that time will be in the garden.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

While Waiting For Gardening Season To Begin

I couldn't resist popping a couple of these hyacinth bulbs into my cart at Aldi the other day.  

While waiting for the outdoor gardening season to begin, it will be so nice to watch them reveal their beauty.  Something to look forward to each day.

I brought this anthurium back into the house last fall after it's summer vacation on the patio.  Apparently it liked it's vacation because it responded by putting out many red heart shaped blooms.    The blooms have remained in place all this time bringing additional cheer to the indoor garden.
Recently, I attached a window bird feeder to the window here.
It looks out into a small courtyard that is protected from animals visiting.
Previously I had the feeder on my office window until a racoon kept knocking it down.

It's added new interest to my morning coffee ritual.
Each day I take up a spot amongst the house plants hoping they will make me less obvious to the birds if they happen to find my feeder.
By the way, the amaryllis plant to the left of my coffee cup has been growing leaves for weeks.  Big tall leaves with not a sign of a bud or bloom to be found.  Have you ever had an amaryllis do this?
I'm going to let it keep growing with hopes that sooner or later I will be rewarded with a bloom, although I am beginning to wonder.

For a week or more there was no action at the feeder.
I continued on with my morning ritual until, at last, I heard some chirping and soon found two visitors enjoying their breakfast.

This bird known as the tufted titmouse looked my way with a sunflower seed in it's beak.  Perhaps his way of thanking me for the breakfast buffet.  I hope he will soon learn that as long as he/she comes to visit, the buffet will be open for business.