Thursday, September 29, 2011

west coast wonders

The ever-bearing strawberries are still producing, slow and steady, enough to slice over ice cream or granola.

And raspberries are just putting on their fall crop.  Summer raspberries are sweeter, but these are precious because of their timing -- raspberries, backyard-fresh, when the squash vines are dying off and the nights are getting cooler.

Cabbages and cauliflower, still young, stand in a raised bed, ready for winter and an early start in the spring.

Salad greens sprout in a cold frame. 

I take pride in coaxing the most out of every ray of sunshine, every hour of daylight and every degree above freezing.  These are the wonders of a west coast garden.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

a september walk in the garden

It's officially fall.  Lettuce is flourishing.  Tomatoes are still rolling in.  The apple tree is heavy and the young pear tree makes its first offering.
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

cucumber snackers

My cucumbers have flourished this year.  The trouble is that I haven't found a way to preserve them for colder days, except by making pickles -- which half the residents of this house don't eat.  So I made one batch of pickles for myself and determined to deal with the rest of the cucumber surplus fresh.  These pretty snackers were a big hit with friends.  Three cucumbers disappeared likitty-split.

Zippy Ham Salad Cucumber Snackers 
1/4 lb deli ham, sliced thick and finely diced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
a couple of spoon fulls of green olives, drained and chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 dill pickle, finely chopped
1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
a couple of cucumbers 
Combine everything but the cucumbers. 
Peel off half of the cucumber skin (more if it's tough).  Slice the cucumbers into 11/2 inch disks.  Use a melon baller to remove a scoop from the centre of each disk, making a little cup.  Fill the cups with ham salad.  Enjoy. 
Recipe from Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals (Clarkson Potter Pub., 2005).
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Friday, September 23, 2011


Our cool summer pushed all the garden rights of passage back by weeks.  I doubted this day would come -- this day when I have more tomatoes than I can eat -- and more coming.   These beauties aren't all ripe, but I'm harvesting them half green to preempt the greedy slugs that proliferate in cool, moist weather.  Besides, seeing this bright platter on the dining room table makes me happy.

I had planned to can tomatoes, but energy is running low, so I think I'll roast and freeze them.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011


It was a long, cold spring, but summer is finally here.  How do I know it?  How do I know it's not just another tantalizing start, followed by a week of drizzle?  Strawberries -- fragrant and juicy.  I'm bringing them in from the garden by the bucket-load.  I'm eating them for breakfast, lunch and supper.  It is, after all, the right of a gardener to gorge on whatever is in season.  In that vein, these are my FAVORITE FIVE for fresh strawberries:
  1. Tossed with BALSAMIC VINEGAR.  It sounds strange, but just try it.
  3. Sliced over a bowl of homemade GRANOLA, topped with plain yogurt
  4. In a SALAD with avocado, candied ginger, lime, juice and fresh cilantro.
  5. Sun-warmed and STRAIGHT OFF THE PLANT.
How do you like your strawberries?

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Monday, June 13, 2011

in bloom

A sampling from my flower garden.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

invisible zipper

I've had hard time getting started on this recent sewing project.  It's a good thing the Cloth Castle is only a block away because I had to made two excursions for supplies and tools that I thought I had on hand.  This invisible zipper foot was the object of my second trip and I'm anxious to use it.  

On a side note:  It's amazing that I can still buy accessories to fit a machine that was built in the 1960's.

My project is a skirt -- just a basic pencil skirt -- something I can't believe I don't have.  I'm using a lovely grey wool-blend fabric with tan paisley print.  Stay tuned for a photo of the finished product.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

playing with paint

This weekend I set up an easel in the dining room where the light is good and pressed my university lab coat  into service as a smock (science and art reconciled).  Creating should be fun, so I tied up my inner censor -- the one who says you can't copy a masterpiece -- and played.  Midnight blue.  Yellow light.  Streaks and swirls of colour.  Rhythm of light and night.  I had a wonderful time ripping off someone else's composition.  Do you recognize my inspiration?

These will hang in my office, which is desperately in need of colour.

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