Monday, August 21, 2017

A Yummy Summer Sandwich

Can you guess what's happening in my kitchen?
If you grow basil this may be a familiar sight right about now.
Pesto making time.

Last winter my sister-in-law gave me a cutting from the basil plant she had growing on her kitchen windowsill.
When I got home I stuck it in water and waited a few weeks until it sprouted roots.  At that time I planted it in a little pot on my kitchen counter and cared for it until it was safe to plant it outside in my garden.
It is now thriving out there in the garden as you can tell by the size of the leaf above.

Seemed an ideal time to harvest some for a batch of pesto.
As I was making it my mouth was watering just thinking about it's intended purpose...

With just four simple ingredients, this recipe has become our favorite summertime sandwich.
If you'd like to try it, you will need:
- a nice loaf of crusty Italian bread
- a nice fresh tomato
- fresh mozzarella cheese
- basil pesto

Slice your bread.
Spread each slice with pesto.
Lay mozzarella slices and tomato slices on one piece of bread.
Put the other piece of bread on top.
Brush the outside of each piece of the bread with a bit of olive oil and cook in a pre-heated skilled as you would a regular grilled cheese sandwich.

Once the bread is toasty and golden and the cheese is "melty",
cut in half and enjoy.
A little taste of summer!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Something to Cheer About

Give me a Z
Give me a U
Give me a C
Give me another C
Give me an H
Give me an I
Give me an N
Give me an I

What's it spell?

Why, zucchini, of course.
I'm thinking many people would not be cheering about zucchini right now as their gardens may be overflowing with them.
Over here, we are cheering enthusiastically over our very first crop.
To date our attempts to grow them have been unsuccessful.
One year the male and female flowers didn't do their thing, another year squash vine borers did them in.  In fact, after those failed attempts I swore there would be no more tries.  However, last spring I decided I was not ready to admit defeat.  I always thought they were easy to grow and it was ticking me off that I didn't have any luck with them.
So, I stuck a few plants in the garden and waited and waited and waited some more.  Nothing!
I checked out some YouTube videos about that male and female flower thing.  I headed out one day with my Q Tip determined to help them (ahem) get it on only to find out there were no female flowers in the bunch :(.
The other day I was tempted to rip out the whole mess.
Just for the heck of it I started poking around amongst those big leaves and there it was.
Oh, what a beautiful sight :).

The next day while snipping some basil I spotted another little zucchini peeking out at me.
I decided to harvest it promptly before it disappeared like most of my tomatoes have :/.
Once in the house it seemed a photo shoot was in order.
I added another element harvested from the garden, the zinnias.
Zucchini & Zinnias.  A happy summertime pair.

I'm wondering if it is normal for zucchini to grow and grow and then put out the squash late in the season?  If you grow it, what has been your experience?  Do you harvest throughout the season?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Timeless Lessons

Last Thursday was a big day in his little life.
His first day of preschool.
We, as the grandparents, could hardly wait to hear how he would like it.
We were delighted to receive a photo of him all dressed and ready for his new adventure.
As I looked at him standing up so straight and tall smiling so big, I couldn't help but be excited for him.  At the same time the thought went through my mind that I hope his school years will always be happy ones.  I felt that familiar protective mother instinct, yet it seemed more pronounced than I remember it being when my own boys were off to school for the first time.
Perhaps those of you who have been down this road can tell me whether our protective feelings become even stronger when it comes to the grandchildren.

While looking at a video my son sent of Jaxson singing a little song he learned at school, the news of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia came on the television.
My heart sank, my bubble burst and my fears for the future of our children and grandchildren became a bit heightened.
At times like this, things can feel rather hopeless.
I find I can only watch it for so long and then it's time to switch it off.  It may be switched off, but the image of that car slamming into the crowd of people is something that can't be unseen.  It stayed with me and made me wonder what happens to people that makes them that filled with hatred?

I don't pretend to have the answers, yet I find it deeply concerning how hatred and a lack of basic respect seem to be evident so often now, particularly online.  Frankly I am shocked at some of the comments people leave or in the ways they talk to one another.  We certainly don't all have to agree with each other but I think there is something to be said for "if you don't have anything nice to say...."

Sometimes when I want to be reminded of a kinder, gentler time I head for my vintage children's book collection.
This particular book dates back to 1943.
Some might think the information to be out-of-date.

I tend to disagree.
Instead I find it filled with timeless life lessons as well as charming illustrations.
As another school year gets underway, let's help them learn love and acceptance along with reading, writing and arithmetic.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Table Manners

Greetings Friends!

You may not realize this but we cardinals are a well-mannered bunch.

When we see that someone has cared enough about us to offer a bird buffet, we show up nicely groomed.  You know, every hair in place.

Before digging in, we bow our heads in prayers of thanks.

At times we get overly excited and drop our food.

That's okay because our large hummingbird friend is very patient with us.
He just sits quietly and allows us to finish our meal.

Speaking of friends, when we spot a friend waiting in line for the buffet we know the importance of sharing the bounty.

We fly into the nearest tree and allow others to have a turn.

After all, there is plenty for everybody.

Happy Weekend!!