The garden in May

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A trip to the nursery to get us going on some plants, while the rest are in the greenhouse growing.

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And a new plant.  Gooseberries. The funny thing is that we had 2 gooseberries plants when we first move here to the US.  I love eating (green) gooseberries growing up, so we planted some in our garden.  They never did much, and by the time Siena was born, those super large needles worried me that this crawler of a girl we had, would grab one of those big thorns and get hurt, because those plants were so big that we couldn’t contain them within the garden space.  So out they went.  We changed them for blueberries… which they never did much either because the birds would eat them before we got to them. DSC_0057

So here we are again.  I will leave it to the gardeners to decide location and to care for it.  Maybe it will do better.  I am sure actually.

Spring in May

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DSC_0191My Mother’s Day Clematis has done her job and shared it with all of us.  What a treat.

DSC_0230 Roses everywhere, so beautiful.

DSC_0223 A wild bouquet.

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DSC_0227Because all those colors outside… I had to bring some inside too before the rain was coming.

DSC_0210 The apple trees in the backyard are getting full of leaves for sure.  That shade is so nice for those hot days.  It cools it as much as 10 degrees I think.  it is so nice to have.

 

DSC_0198 Chives beauty.

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I know the heat is coming….

 

My Mother’s Day Clematis

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I’ve written before about this beautiful corner in our garden.  The entrance to our vegetable garden.

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It is in full bloom, and I love watching it and taking photos.  As if each flower is different and each year as well… I know they are, and at the same time, they are so similar and identical in beauty. IMG_1438 IMG_1834 IMG_1846 IMG_1836 IMG_1848 IMG_1835IMG_1847

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to all the mom’s out there and especially to My Mamá.  Feliz Día Mamá.

Spring?

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The rhubarb is one of the first vegetable, plant appearing in our garden.  This plant is from some friends who gave it to us long, long time ago.  18 years?  They lived here in Portland for few years, we became friends, they had kids and they moved back East.  When they left Portland, we had our house and they gave us their rhubarb.  Three plants.  One of them is very strong.  The other two, I transferred them last year to this new spot.  I think this is a better place already.  (Thank you Lisa!)

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Is Spring really coming?  I know, it always seems too early when the first flowers start to bloom.  Seeing in the news all the snow falling in the rest of the country, seems that purple crocuses shouldn’t be flowering just yet. DSC_0045

The rosemary is also starting to bloom, but it is a little hardier. DSC_0046 DSC_0047

It is these delicate petals that make me wonder about spring.

DSC_0037 DSC_0039 DSC_0041Is February Purple Flower Month then? Or maybe (most likely) we like purple so we have only early blooming flowers that are purple. (Probably this last one is truer.)  But I guess I wouldn’t mind the first one either…. so Happy Purple Flower Month to you all!

the garden

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Looking at what the garden did this year, all thanks to Mark and Siena, I feel thankful for everything we’ve gotten.  Being able to eat fresh, organic and so good.

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It makes me happy we Mark takes the time to start the garden and garden all summer long.   DSC_0034 copy DSC_0035 copy

I do like gardening, but I do believe I do not have the green thumb he and Siena have.  Maybe it’s their eye for details, patience, caring for the plants, it’s what the plants and the garden needs.

DSC_0038 copy DSC_0001 copyDay after day, bringing in produce, fresh, organic delicious produce.

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How lucky we are.

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And autumn is here and slowly the garden is put to rest.  But not just yet. The days are still warm, even hot at times.  The sun much lower in the horizon, the rays barely making it to the back of the garden, as if it was the last place to be reached by the sun.   But still warming our days, barely, stretching our days and the growing season just a little longer.  Yes, indeed, how lucky I am.

canning tomatoes

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Our plants have done so well this year.  I can’t take any credit for the garden this year either, but it’s been fun seeing all the goods coming into our kitchen and into friends’s hands.   Look at this 1-pound tomato.  It was so pretty and so good!

DSC_0018 copyMy menu board is not being updated very often, for meals, but it is where we are keeping track of what the garden is producing us.

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A friend wanted to learn to can tomatoes, so we waited to pick them from the garden until that day.  We had 19 pounds of tomatoes to can.

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We set up our outdoor station, how we like doing it in the summer, to keep our house a little cooler (we can in that outdoor gas stove, is perfect.)

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Our friend brought some of her tomatoes and these were some of the tiny colorful and beautiful ones.  We’ve never canned small tomatoes.  We usually peel the bigger ones, but we didn’t these.

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We just packed them after washing them.  She said she blends her tomato sauce when she cooks, anyways.  I am excited to hear how they’ll turn out when she uses them later on.

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We put her to work too, so she can see it’s not that hard to can.  I know it takes time, but it is more fun to do it with friends anyway! We were glad to share our day with her.

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Besides, with these colors?  Isn’t it pretty?

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And then to wait to hear that pop, right? Aaaahhh… just perfect!

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A new pesto recipe

We love pesto.  Most of us at least, here at home.  I’ve tried the regular basil pesto from different recipes.  You can’t seem to go wrong with basil and pine nuts and parmesan cheese, right?  All so good and such a summer food.

I’ve also tried Stinging Nettle Pesto, and we like it, but I think it’s better fresh.  Everything is better fresh I think, but freezing it for winter eating works too.

Last year I made Lovage Pesto from a recipe online (that I can’t seem to find now) and it was also good.  I didn’t make too much, so I didn’t get to freeze it.

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This year, we have so much kale that Mark and Siena started from seeds, I am loving it.

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I make roasted kale chips for snacking and adding to popcorn, for salads, some smoothies (I think we need a better blender though), in whatever seems to need something green, kale is present.  But oh these plants are so good looking, they’ve done so well this year.  We’ve shared them with friends, and are constantly eating them, and we still have so much more.

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After eating all this kale, I’ve been keeping the stems.  I freeze them with any other vegetable I’m saving to make stock later (on a day that is not so hot!)  But then I found an article on Rachel Ray‘s magazine (the June 2015 issue) about making pesto with kale’s stem.  Yes!  Those beautiful stems, that though I use them for something else, they re so good looking, that it was hard to leave for the compost.

So this Kale Stem Pesto recipe I welcomed happily.  It is really good.  I changed it a little, and this is what I made:

  • 3 cups of kale stems, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or until consistency you like
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, grated

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Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth.  I think this pesto worked OK in our blender, but I think maybe the stinging nettle might be better in a food processor (that we don’t have.)

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But oh yes, this turned out so good!

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On crunchy, yummy bread with slices of eggs… oh yes!  It was so good! (I took 2 pictures.)

DSC_0188 copyLet me know what you think or if you have other pesto recipes.  I’m on a mission to try new green parts for a pesto.  But of course, basil is ready to be picked almost every day, so I’m heading that way next.