Jul 27, 2020

Macies Monday

macies ~ atrophy, emaciation

Yawn. I have to say, there’s nothing much exciting going on here. The highlight of the week was the quick trip the hubby and I took to Costco on Wednesday. And because things were a little more open than they’ve been, we also hit the Peterborough Mall and Chapters. But even with those additional stops I think that was the quickest shopping trip we’ve ever made (pre-COVID).

There were a lot of people in the mall and Chapters not wearing masks, which really surprised me. Chapters had someone standing at the door making sure we used their hand sanitizer, which annoyed me at first but then I saw the sense of it, seeing as customers would be handling their books. It was almost comforting to get to Costco where if you don’t have a mask they give you one.

I still don’t like wearing masks, but when I am I want to see others wearing them too.

We’ve had a cardinal visiting our back yard from time to time, and a few other interesting birds, so I finally broke down and filled the feeder. And then I spent the day watching the grackles systematically empty it out. *sigh* At least it wasn’t the squirrels this time.

And I learned something interesting about blue jays. I put peanuts out for them on the rail of the deck if it’s not too breezy, and on the patio table if it is. When the grandbaby is over I let her do it because she’ll call out to them, telling them to come get their peanuts, and they do. They’re pretty smart birds because they even figured out where she lives (not too far from us) and followed her home to squawk for peanuts at her house too.

But I digress.

I was in my office and I watched out the window as a blue jay took his sweet time picking out just the right peanut from the patio table, and then hopped over to one of the planters we have surrounding the patio. I thought he was going to use the edge of the planter to break open the peanut but no, he buried his peanut in the planter!

Here I thought the squirrels were responsible for the peanuts we find in various gardens and planters. Looks like they’re not the only ones who like to stash food for a rainy day.

Speaking of rainy days . . . We haven’t had too many of them lately, and we’re under water restrictions now. But the hubby faithfully waters the gardens every other day, which is a good thing because they need all the help they can get. Especially now that we have visitors of the insect kind.

These are Japanese beetles, and you see them here doing what they do best – defoliating plants. I don’t have them as bad as my neighbour does, but it’s still a little annoying to have all your hard work end up in a bug’s stomach. So far it’s just the leaves, not the actual produce they’re attacking. And we’re still getting plenty of peas and beans.

But touch my tomatoes and it’ll mean war!

Jul 20, 2020

Mundify Monday

mundify ~ to cleanse; to purify; to heal

The beans and peas are loving the heat wave we’ve been having, the tomatoes . . . not so much. The tomatoes in the garden are getting flowers, but then the flowers dry up and fall off. I have one beefsteak tomato starting, but so far the heritage Brandywines have nothing but dead flowers.

The peppers are still alive, and a couple of them are thinking about getting blossoms, but so far not much action with them. The beets are doing well, and so far I have just one pumpkin starting. All those blossoms and most of them just fall off (or get nibbled off by a forest creature) without the fruit starting below it. The carrots need to be thinned . . . if I could get at them. They’re sandwiched in between the rows of beans so you can’t even see them.

I’ve had to pick beans a couple of times already, and the peas once. That green thing outside of the basket is from my neighbor’s garden. It’s supposed to be an acorn squash but it looks more like a weird shaped zucchini to me. Guess I’ll find out what it is when I cut it apart to spiralize. Zucchini or squash, either way it’s going to end up as noodles for spaghetti.

The tomatoes on the deck, however, are starting to show promise. I have a few cherry tomatoes and several beefsteaks that I’m babying along.

Not only does the deck get more shade, it’s right off the house so the squirrels and chipmunks aren’t as apt to bother the plants on it. But if these plants live up to their promise, I’m skipping the other garden centers next year and going straight to Walmart for my plants.

The last couple of years we planted our own seeds for the cherry tomatoes but this year my neighbour gave us some she’d started inside. They’re doing okay, but they’re not as prolific as the ones we’ve had before. It could be the excessive heat, or it could just be the seeds she used. I’m very pleased with the beefsteak tomatoes though, especially since the brandywines she gave us aren’t doing well. But then neither are hers.

She has a huge garden and not only are her tomatoes not doing much (yet), neither are her beans. Usually by this time of the summer she’s at our door once or twice a week with beans and cucumbers to share. This year the only thing that’s doing well for her is the leaf lettuce and cabbage (which is also quite yummy). In fact, this year I got to share my beans with her.

You just never know what will do well in a garden.

Jul 13, 2020

Misoclere Monday

misoclere ~ one who hates the clergy

So . . . everybody enjoying Ontario’s heat wave?

I have to chuckle when the weather network goes on about our hot dry spell – dry my butt! The humidity is so thick you could grab a fist full of air and wring it out. One evening I thought there was a fog rolling in, but no, it was condensation on the windows because it was so humid outside and cool inside. A reversal of what happens in the winter when I have a pot of boiling water on the stove.

And then the weather experts went crazy warning us about severe thunderstorms and major rainfall starting Friday and extending through the weekend. Well, maybe the rest of Southern Ontario was hit with flooding and power outages and tornado-force winds, but my little town has a magic umbrella protecting it. We had maybe a thimble-full of rain, and not even a whisper of thunder.

Continuing last week’s saga of my Amish Friendship bread . . . The thing about the Amish starter is that it gets real old, real fast. At first it’s a novelty – squishing the bag, adding the flour, milk, and sugar every few days – but then you have to find someone to share it with and people start to duck for cover when they see you coming.

So when the latest batch was ready to split off, I decided to just use it up making bread:

Starting at the front left we have pistachio almond mini loaves and a regular loaf, and the same of butterscotch to the right. The second row has two loaves of chocolate on the left, with spiced almond on the right. The back row is two loaves of pistachio almond that did not work out. In order to save time I tried baking them in the toaster oven while a different batch baked in the regular oven. Unfortunately, the temperature of the toaster oven can be kind of iffy. They looked done when I took them out, and I didn’t test them. Instead I went babysitting and when I came home they’d collapsed.

Oh, well. I think I have enough Friendship Bread to last a while without them.

Jul 6, 2020

Megameter Monday

megameter ~ instrument for determining longitude by observing stars

When the grandbaby was over for a swim on the weekend, she showed off her toenails which had been painted a sea-green. So yesterday I thought “why not?” and pulled out my various bottles of nail polish. After much deliberation I chose a bright red and proceeded to paint my toenails . . . and part of my toes.

To be fair, the nail polish was a little on the drippy side, but I honestly can’t remember ever making such a mess of nail polish before. I did manage to clean it up enough that it didn’t look like I dipped my toes in blood, but it took some doing. Guess I’m a little out of practice.

I now understand where the expression “it’s muggy outside” came from. It’s an accurate description of hot, humid weather. You step outside and it feels like you’ve been mugged. We had a heat warning in effect all of last week and it’s continuing on into this week too. I have now fully embraced the whole ‘close up the windows and turn on the central air’. Even when there’s not a lot of difference in the temperature, there’s a huge difference in the humidity.

It’s a good think my gardens are pretty low maintenance, I haven’t had to brave the heat to do much to them. But the beans, peas, and tomatoes all have blossoms on them, so pretty soon I’ll have to be getting out there with my basket to pick beans.

Meanwhile, this year’s bumper crop from my neighbour has been leaf lettuce. Every few days there’s a knock on my door and another bag of lettuce is handed over. It’s really good lettuce too, and perfect for wraps.

Speaking of sharing, the daughter had some Amish Friendship Bread starter that she shared with me a few weeks ago. I dutifully did the mushing and the adding, and at the appropriate time I divided it. And then I figured, why not give the recipients a taste of what they’ll end up with and made three mini loaves to include with the starter and instructions when I passed it along.

Well, serves me right for not reading the instructions. One of the ingredients was pudding mix, which I don’t keep in my cupboard. So halfway through mixing the dough it was off to the store I went, stood in line to get in, stood in line to check out, then came home and finished my bread. Oh, the things we do to get rid of that Amish starter. LOL

Yesterday morning I decided to have my morning coffee out on the deck. It was already starting to warm up, but the neighbourhood was quiet and I could hear the bells from one of the churches playing hymns.

What a peaceful start to the week – I hope it keeps up.