Strawberry Sauce & Lacecap Hydrangeas

The strawberries are almost done. My daughters came over and we had strawberry sundaes. I added sugar to whole, fresh strawberries and cooked them down over medium low heat until the mixture became thick and syrupy. After it cooled, we spooned it over strawberry ice cream and topped it off with freshly whipped cream. My pregnant daughter added bananas and chocolate sauce to hers.

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My 2 year old red currant bush has set out some nice berries that I’ve been harvesting and freezing. It will probably yield only a few cups of berries in total this year.  They will taste good  combined with raspberries in a crisp or crumble.
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I like blue lace cap hydrangeas. They send out runners, like the Annabelle hydrangea. In early Spring, the runners can be easily dug up with the roots and soon you have a whole new bush. A few years ago, I started with 2 bushes and now I have 6. I planted some of them in with the blueberries and lavender. I had read that all the blue flowering plants camouflage the blueberries from the birds. I’m not sure it has proven to be very effective but it’s a pretty combination.

Flora had her bath. Since she spends most of her days roaming around with me in the gardens, she’ll look dirty in no time. I figured I’d take a picture of her while she’s nice and clean. image Have a good weekend everyone!

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PeachTree, Peony & Rhubarb


Borders are starting to fill in and flowering shrubs add nice bursts of color.  Lilacs are already fading with the unseasonably hot temperatures but the humidity enhances their fragrance and it just fills the air! A tree peony planted 3 years ago bloomed for the first time ever. The rhubarb got away from me and sent up its feathery seed stalks. It’s more tender and less stringy if eaten before that happens. I love the look of rhubarb but the taste, not so much. Last year I made a lot of crumbles, cakes and breads with it and wasn’t really crazy about any of them. I even tried making rhubarb pickles but they turned into a soggy mess. Maybe a rhubarb chutney would be good.
My daughters brought me a semi-dwarf peach tree, a gooseberry bush and some raspberry plants for Mother’s Day. A big hole had to be dug for the peach tree… twice the depth and width of the pot it came in. It took over an hour to dig because of all the rocks.  I backfilled the hole with soil, compost, leaf mold and added a good handful of dry dog food to the mix as well.
My little dog Flora trails around at my side all day long. I feel lucky to have such sweet company.

Home remedies, Starting seeds & a Pug

Schools are already being cancelled for tomorrow because another foot of snow is supposedly on its way!  Milk sold out today at the grocery store but they have plenty of cactus seeds.

May 31  is the date here when we are deemed safe from frosts.   I save all plastic containers that can be used to start seeds indoors.  A  large, screw in hook is a handy device to create drainage holes.  It easily makes a hole in thick or thin containers without cracking the plastic.  It’s too early to start seeds for my garden but I thought it would be fun to try sprouting some cactus. (cactusses?, cacti?)

There’s been a lot of  cold and flu remedies, natural antibiotic and ‘master tonic’ recipes floating around on the internet.  I’m not sure I would subscribe to those claims but the ingredients looked interesting so  I made a quick vinegar tincture with garlic, ginger, horseradish and a little bit of  hot pepper.  That combination will surely open the sinuses but I’m thinking a couple spoonfuls would  give a good punch to a smoothie, dipping sauce or salad dressing.

I think our dog  Harvey might be feeling a little depressed over getting another snowstorm.

 

 

Cousins & Senior Bananas

Snow Day!!  This morning I  got a text from my cousin, “Are you baking today?”  Turns out we were both making something to use up our “senior bananas”….that ‘s what she calls them, so funny.   She is an artist in the kitchen!  (outside the kitchen too).  At family gatherings, we all bring something home-made and whatever she brings is the first thing to disappear from the table.  Today she made a banana cake with struesal  topping and finished it off with a beautiful, drizzled glaze.

Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out a way to trick my family with my brown bananas.  I used a carrot cake recipe and played around with the ingredients to try and sneak in healthy things.  I substituted coconut oil and organic butter for the vegetable oil. I cut the amount of sugar in half and substituted it for Sucanat and I added 2 large, mashed bananas to the mix .  Organic flour, pasture raised eggs, extra cinnamon and spices… my cake came out delicious and didn’t need frosting.   If I was bringing this to a family gathering I would definitely finish it with a homemade cream cheese frosting and pray that my cousin wasn’t bringing her banana cake.  I know mine would be left standing alone on the table, in shame.

I am watching my daughter’s dog, Ella this weekend.  She looks so sweet and harmless…until you try and put drops in her ears. Cousin Ella gets scary very quickly.  Her body whips around like an alligator’s.   Geez!!   I got a text from another cousin, our family dog-whisperer, reminding me not to restrain her by the scruff of the neck as it could cause an eyeball to collapse in this type of dog.     I love my family.

Natural Dog … (treat recipe too )

Flora

Flora

We always had dogs in our family. We fed them good quality dog food, took them to the vet for their shots and all was well. Then we got Flora.
She was 4 months old and 8 pounds when we brought her home. I took her to the vet, got her boosters and the recommended topical drops to ward off fleas and tics and a vaccination for Lyme disease. A few months later, I was back at the vet. She had severe itching, ‘hot spots’, wasn’t gaining weight, was lethargic and had fleas. She tested positive for Lyme disease, in spite of the vaccination and drops. Continue reading