Thursday, June 30, 2011


Zinnias are one of the few blooms
that will tolerate, even thrive in, our summer heat.

An array of colors, sizes and textures bless us with beauty.

They do well accompanying most any neighbor.

Each flower encircled with lovely "stars"
known as disks.

Such delicate details and muted tones.
They just scream "vintage".

These make their home in pine straw mulch.

And dress it up just a bit.

Others climb for the blue sky
in a myriad of colors.

Each one seems so different from the next,
but all are oh-so-easy to grow.
Seeds harvested will take off with little effort.

The warm shades of orange are a pleasing contrast
against cool green leaves.

Seemingly the same,
but somehow each flower has its uniqueness.

Have you ever seen the likes of this?

No trick photography here,
it really is two-toned.

Last year I had these thumbelina types
growing profusely near the veggie garden.
This year they seem quite content in pots.

The best part is that there always seems to be
another popping up somewhere in the garden.
Mother Nature is so very generous.

Tuesday Garden Party Co-Hosts

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Pizza

We are big pizza fans here.
Not the kind you call for delivery and
certainly nothing out of the deep freeze at the grocery store.
Once you've gotten a hold of the real deal,
nothing compares and you're spoiled for life.

We've gotten into the habit of making pizza on Friday nights
and just munching on it all weekend long.
It's easier and quicker than ordering
from your local pizza joint.
And the taste speaks for itself.

I had made some homemade gravy
(that's tomato sauce for non-Italians).
Nothing beats homemade.

This week we had some delicious organic tomatoes to use up.
Big K doesn't like raw tomatoes, but cooked in sauce
or on a pizza they are eaten with relish.
A little leftover ground turkey and lots of cheese
rounds out his side of the pie.


I had sauteed some organic eggplant I'd gotten earlier
in the week from our farmer friends at Barefoot Gardener.
I'm an eggplant junkie.
Just veggies with red pepper flakes
and the tiniest hint of cheese for mine.

It's a little piece o' heaven on a plate.

Pizza Dough

4 C bread flour
1 T sugar or sucanat
4 t yeast
1 t salt
1 T Italian herbs
1 1/2 C water
1/4 C olive oil

Heat water to not more than 120 degrees. 
Add oil to warmed water.
Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients in large bowl.
Add water mixture to bowl and blend.
Leave in oiled bowl 20 minutes to rise.
Turn dough onto floured surface and form into pizza shape
(we make large rectangles).
Let rise again on parchment-lined cookie sheet 10 minutes, brush with olive oil and minced garlic, then add toppings.

Bake at 400 degrees 12-20 minutes.
**Halfway through cooktime, remove from cookie sheet
and cook directly on oven rack (if you like crispy dough).**
Makes 2 large or 4 medium pies.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So, That's Tickseed!

These beauties popped up on the side of our house
a couple of months ago leaving me guessing. 

I get the Birds and Blooms Newsletter sent to my email box.
It's always filled with interesting tidbits
about gardening and birding.

After reading an article on their website,
the mystery was solved.

Tickseed is actually the state wildflower of Florida.
Who knew?

The contrast in colors is striking.

These sweet lovelies don't ask for much.
They do well in full or part sun,
sandy or poor soils
and can tolerate a bit of drought.

Now that I know what they are,
I'll be planting more of this seed
in other areas of the garden.
Thanks to Meems at Hoe & Shovel for the bounty of seeds.
It'll be fun experimenting with different
conditions to see where these blooms will best thrive.

***I'm happiest with my hands in the dirt.***

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oh, Yeah...

You'd think someone who'd been through an event 
like Hurricane Andrew
and lived to tell about it wouldn't much like storms.

But what a sight for sore eyes this was...

What a great way to start off the weekend!
I hope
(choose the appropriate response):
  a)  the sun is shining
b)  the rain is pouring
where you are.

Enjoy your day,
whatever the weather!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Real Simple: The Organized Home
from the editors of Real Simple

Real Simple — The Organized Home by Real Simple

"For many people, the idea of getting organized is far more daunting than the reality of doing it.  If you need an incentive to start, keep in mind that a small investment of time now will have a large payoff later.  Approach this book as you would approach your own house:  Enter the foyer and proceed into the living and family rooms to the kitchen, the bedroom, the bathroom, and beyond."

And that's just what I did while exploring this book. 
As soon as I started perusing the pages, I felt inclined to take out a spiral notebook and write down what changes I'd like to make in our home, starting with the entryway.  Most of what I have planned is to make it more marketable for buyers, but there's no harm in changing it for the better in case we are here longer than we want to be.  Anyone who embraces the idea of simplifying their lives will enjoy this book.  Those who get a real charge out of organizing and having our home as efficient and pragmatic as possible will relish it. 

Toward the back of the book are several strategies for getting started by streamlining daily practices to ensure that clutter never makes a home in your abode.  An extensive shopping guide provides resources for items to make your organizing just a bit more fun.  This book would be helpful for those needing a jumping off point.  For those of us who already adore all things organizational, it can offer a fresh perspective and a motivational boost.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Say "cheese!"

Since discovering that hard cheeses do not have lactose,
I have been indulging in delicious cheddar cheese
from time to time.
This is a major dietary change,
considering it was avoided for over 20 years
because of lactose intolerance.

The trick is to check the label.
Any cheese that shows "0" for sugar should be a safe bet.
We buy only Cabot cheese,
as we choose to support responsible dairy farmers.

Quality cheddar and organic tomatoes
on homemade bread...

life is good...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Every week or so,
I've been monitoring our milkweed plants
for caterpillars.
This is what I've found...


Same for the parsley.  Usually it's loaded with cats.
Last year, we found these beauties.

But out by the plumbago it was another story...

Isn't it funky?

Happily chomping away...

They are fat and fuzzy!

God sure makes some amazing critters.
I love that nature feels at home here.
It tells me I'm doing something very right
by gardening organically.

They are tickle-ish-ous!
I'd love to know what kind they are.
The closest thing I could find were salt marsh cats.

The info I read said that they tend to form
their cocoons on leaf beds, so I'll be checking.
I hope we get to see them
make their grand transformation!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011