Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Rose

It's my least favorite time of the year -- 'Summer'
In some parts of the world, they have lovely weather  in the Summer, with temps just high enough to make a swimming pool (and a cold drink) very inviting.

But, here in Oklahoma the past 2 Summers could not be described as 'lovely'.  Last year had over 66 days over 100 degrees with no rain.  And, unless you were willing to take out a 2nd mortgage for your water bill - you had some casualities of the heat and drought.  We still have bare patches in our lawn and I thought we lost one of the rose bushes too.  I was wrong (partly away).  The picture below is a rose, springing up from the dried up base of one of my favorite Knock Out Roses. 

I was going to dig this bush up and replace it with a crepe myrtle in the fall - but now I'll wait and see what happens with this little shoot of green, topped with a rose.
I think it deserves a chance, don't you ? 

Note:  This Summer we are already on our 5th day of over 100 degree heat.  Keep your fingers crossed that we don't have a repeat of last year.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Research & Development

I've never had what I consider a 'great' recipe for Zucchini Bread.  A zucchini bread with great texture.  The bread must be moist and loaded with zucchini & nuts.  O' and with just the right amount of vanilla & cinnamon.  To that end - I've been 'auditioning' recipes for Zucchini Bread for the past few months.  

This recipe is the latest contender - baked last night.  We are half way through the first loaf and so far, it's checking most of the boxes.  Expanding the research, I'll deliver a loaf to my daughter's house tomorrow - to see if it passes the 'taste test' with the grandbabes. 

Zucchini Bread
(Take 4)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsps ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts 

Grease and flour 2 loaf pans (8x4 inch).  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, mix together flour, salt, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, set aside.  Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and beat well.  Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes.  Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Friday, June 15, 2012

How does 'My' garden grow . . . .

No cockle shells, silver bells and pretty maids all in a row I'm sorry to say.
And, even though my name is not 'Mistress Mary' - 'my' garden does grow. 

I do have hosta plants with green leaves all bordered in white --
Just love the texture they add to my garden.
And, I've finally found a way to keep the pesky gopher away -- 
plant them in sunken terra cotta pots, and he can't nibble at the roots.  

The begonias are so pretty this year -- they are a garden stand-by for me --
I never grow tired of those glossy leaves and delicate flowers.
Although, Willie Jay, would tell you have way too many at the moment! 


Thank you again LB for this sweet old-fashioned basket.
Like so many things in my garden (and in my life) --
 the imprint of your love and generous heart are every where. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Good Read: 'Shelter Me'

'Four months are her husband's death, Janie LaMarche remains undone by grief and anger.'

The above is the first line I read on the back of the book 'Shelter Me' by Juliette Fay.
I was drawn to the book because of the cover - a picture of a woman & child, on a porch, wrapped in a colorful hand-made afghan. 

After picking up the book and reading that first line - I immediately put it back on display table, thinking 'not another tragic widow's story'.  No thank you -  not in the mood.  Moving on down the aisle in Barnes & Noble, I searched for something else to read that was light and entertaining.  If I'm correct, I believe this is about the time I got sucked into the world of 'Game of Thrones' (all 5 books in 4 months).  FYI - the Game of Thrones series is filled with beheading, pillaging, dragons, and evil villains - not 'light'  but, entertaining all the same.  But, this post is not about Game of Thrones is it ?

I must confess that I started reading it expecting not to like it at all -- and, you need to know, the book it is filled with grief & sadness.  But, it's also packed with characters I really felt at home with - that I didn't want to leave at the last page.  Janie, the young widow, a fierce personality who loves deeply and grieves even deeper.  And, then there are all the people who come in/out of her life - some are permanent - some are short term - but all important.  Shelly, her sassy neighbor, Cormac, her big lovable brother (the baker), her wacky & 'always there for her' Auntie Jude, her children, Carly the baby & Dylan the pre-schooler, and Tug, the capenter (all flannel and big heart). And, that's just a short list of the characters -- all of them touch Janie and in big/small ways, helping her navigate her way through her grief.   Yes, it was a little 'Lifetime Movie'ish - but, in a good way.   I did not want the book to end and I think that's a good recommendation. 

Now I'm onto working my way through this pile of books on my bedside table -- hope they are all 'good reads' too.

Note:  Can't believe I almost forgot to mention one last thing from 'Shelter Me' -- 'pology cake'.  It has magical powers to right wrongs, dry tears and cause an out-break of spontaneous smiling.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Battles, Birds, & Ballerinas

Joe and I scored big on a Saturday garage sale run:  lots and lots of Lincoln Logs.  Which, of course, led to the purchase of tiny Cowboys, Indians & Pirates for an epic battle at MoMo/Papa Bill's house. So worth the $2 price tag.

I've always wanted a bird bath for our backyard - but, the really nice ones are very dear. After a little internet search, I bought a large clay planter saucer, sprayed it with a couple of coats of  clear spray paint -- our neighborhood birds have a little 'splash park'.   It took them almost a week to get used to this new addition to the back patio - but, now it's in full use.  I like to think they know the value of a dollar and appreciate my thrifty effort -- or maybe they just like my terra-cotta chicken!

A tired little ballerina, after her first performance as one of a troup of mice in the ballet 'Peter Pan'.  She had an entire row of family cheering her on and we all agreed she was excellent (and so cute in ruffles, velvet, & tail). 

Yes, May has been a busy month - can't wait to see what June has to offer !