Monday, August 30, 2010


A rainy Monday with overcast skies and cool temps (59 degrees). Heaven after the 100 of last week! The flowers like it too.

This old apricot picker's bucket made its way to Oregon in the mid-1970's thanks to my mom. It was full of Agapanthas that remained in it until 2001 when I finally planted them in the garden here on Grey Eagle. The bottom of the bucket is rotted out but Mr. A pop-riveted in a metal pie pan with holes for drainage.

The main vine is a Thunbergia "Charles Star" which seems to like it fine in the bucket and is climbing ever skyward on the trellis.

After spending several hours on the computer working on Mr. A's latest book, a rainy day nap sounds fine to me and the pooch. Rough life being semi-retired.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


When the weather guesser alluded to cooler weather this weekend, my thoughts turned to soup...homemade split pea with lots of goodies, to be exact.
And yes, it did get down to a bone-chilling 47 degrees last night, with daytime highs predicted in the shivering low 70's with possible showers.
So I fired up the crock pot and we enjoyed some soup in August.
We're thinking that it's gonna be an early Fall this year...the Sunset Maples are already starting to turn bright red and our red table grapes are turning pink.

Split pea soup with carrots & celery, potatoes, mushrooms and of course a few dried tomatoes for extra flavor. Served up with crusty rosemary potato bread...some rib sticking stuff! We worked it off with a walk after dinner.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Some one has been sleeping in my chair...

I think Chase likes this chair because it's leather, so it warms up his butt quickly.

Chase says, "Only fitting that a cute dog like me should get the best chair, you know. I looked around and suddenly I was in Mom's chair...don't know how it happened! I fell asleep and had a good night's sleep in it. It's so comfy and secure for a little dog like me..."

"Aw, Mom, it's so warm and soft for a dog!
Yep, I guess we'll be calling it our 'Chase lounge.'

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Just to prove that you're never too old to be a nut! And to prove that without 'lectricity we can still work in the office!

We "survived" the annual summer hail storm. We had picked lots of produce and wrapped the beans, tomatoes, squash, cukes and peppers in shade cloth, held down with clothespins. The shade cloth is left over from our trellis, used before the Wisteria took over. It is better than tarps because it lets the wind through but keeps the hail from damaging the crops.
This time the forecast was correct. The storm welled up in a matter of a few minutes...just enough time to get stuff covered. We were overdue anyway for this annual storm.

We Rogue Valley gardeners know we'll get one sooner or later. Unfortunately it was the grapes and pears that were hit the hardest in the Ruch area southwest of us. Hail up to 1" for them, only about 3/8" here in Medford

Here is the last of the Honey Treat corn. It was the best I've ever grown!

I grew one eggplant in a has four sets! I just wrapped it with shade cloth after I picked the biggest one.
So we've had our "shot over the bow" that the Jet Stream will dip down from Alaska more frequently as we approach Fall and give us a bit of cooler weather, which would be okay in a normal year, but this year we have so many green tomatoes on the vine yet to ripen...

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Gentleladies, start your ovens...."

Our Amish Paste tomatoes are starting to ripen in batches...that means it's time to dry a bunch of 'em for use this winter in soups, stews and potroast. They add such a nice complexity to the flavor of meats and soups. Also great on English muffins with melted cheese for breakfast. Or in a roast beef or chicken sandwich, omlettes....I could go on.........but I do draw the line at putting them on oatmeal...

Peeled and cut in half. Easy peeling by dropping them in hot water for a couple of minutes, then into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking. The skins will split and you can just roll them off.

Squishing the guts out makes for faster drying. Just press them on the side of a bowl and the seeds and juice will come out. If you're doing lots, you may want to wear kitchen gloves...the acid can get you your hands after awhile.

All ready for the oven with herbs & lots of olive oil ( I used a lemon infused oil I had been saving for this purpose). I put them on parchment paper for easier cleanup.

After about 2-hours (this varies with the size & juiciness) at 275 degrees, you'll have a great smelling kitchen and some dark roasted tomatoes. They'll still be a bit juicy...I don't want them to turn into shoe leather...

I just put them in baggies making sure to get all the oil I can (now the oil is tomato infused). I freeze 'em up and put them into seal-a-meal type plastic bags later. Less messy that way when they are frozen. As Jack likes to say as he wanders through the kitchen, "Bodes well for good eatin' this winter!"


Our neighbors, the Retzer's had a birthday party this Saturday for their girls. They warned all the neighbors that they would be having a "jump house" set up.
Yeah, they did! It looks bigger when it's in your street!

What lucky kids. It had a water slide which is a good thing on a 100 degree day!

They invited lots of kids...about 50-60 all together. They played from about noon to 8pm. Sure beats the clown, magician & pony-ride style birthday party from the "olden days"!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Obviously Isabella doesn't care about phloxing...she hangs out in the studio on hot summer days in her/my chair.

Phlox is an old fashioned perennial that takes no effort except a bit of staking as it grows to 7' in height with heads about 1' across.
I favour white in the summer nice and cooling.
I just use old pantyhose for easy & stretchy plant ties to keep them from flopping over.

The flower heads give off a slight honey aroma. They're good cut flowers and really fill in well.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


After the sordid affair on Tuesday at the Senior Dance Club, we decided that we needed a day OUT! So we made a quick trip to Ashland for a bit of quick shopping (comics and pot scrubbers were on our list...) but decided that we'd let the tourists pay the high restaurant prices there and made our way back to Medford to enjoy a late lunch at Wild River Brewery. Some how by the time I got the camera out, this glass of Wild River Nut Brown Ale was half gone! Don't know how that happened. But we did experience a brightening of mood.

We are about to split a BBQ Bacon Burger with Fries...our one weakness, don't you know!
We did notice the lessening of our state of advanced ill humor shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We've been dancing for 10 years...that's allot of dances at allot of places...some good and some not so much. But yesterday we experienced A FIRST at our local Senior Dance Club.
Jack got up at the break and reminded folks about the direction of dance and that those with food or wishing to talk to friends should observe dance etiquette for safety reasons by staying off the active dance floor. Seems like a no brainer and those are "rules" observed by all good dancers but sometimes folks forget.
When dancing resumed, we were purposely cut off while dancing by 2-couples who stopped on the dance floor mid-dance to "talk." We asked them to move off the floor and the one old guy "showed us his dukes" and wanted to fight Jack right there, right then ON THE DANCE FLOOR!. Jack cooled his ardor by saying, "Well, just get started then, boy!" We walked off the floor.

Seems not only did we dare to mention "rules" but we also took "their" seats at "their" table. AND to top it off, we had offered to give three short dance workshops this fall before the dance for those who were interested(A WELL RECEIVED IDEA BY THE CLUB, WE MIGHT ADD).These folks took exception to dance lessons. We had, it seemed, committed A SEVERE BREACH of "We've never done that before and you can't make us do it now!"
So we got a call last night from the President who said that she guessed we wouldn't be "allowed" to do the dance workshops after all. We said, "Okay, less work for us!" Seems some couples had complained about certain new members wanting to make "changes." OOOOOHHHHH!
We called the President of the club this morning, explained what had happened on the dance floor, etc. and told her that to avoid further unpleasantness we'd just not be coming for awhile. so those who were threatened would cool off. Too's a nice floor (even if the music is dated) and most folks are happy to see us each week.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Yeah, I'm back on the ladder again...beans grow fast once they make up their minds.

Sometimes they get ahead of me so I make "Sunday Beans." I shell the gnarly ones for their "shellies" and throw those in with the "big boys" that are too mature to freeze.

These are Kentucky Wonder and Rattlesnake (a Cascade Giant var.).
Add Walla Walla Sweet onion, thick sliced bacon, carrots or baby potatoes. Throw in some leek soup mix (about 1/2 packet) and a cup or so of water.

Put them in the crock pot and let 'em go for a few hours while you play.

Here's the finished product...ummm! Great as a main dish with cornbread or as a side dish with chicken. (You can freeze the leftover broth to use for soup in the fall).

Good stuff, Maynard!


"Stepping up" to pick beans this year! They put on allot of growth before they started beaning! It's a well known fact (by gardeners, at least) that tomatoes and beans like each other's company. So much so that they tend to grow together and grow larger...even when originally confined in wire cages.

It's "bean" a very slow garden season due to a very rainy & cold spring but the beans finally decided to get with it. Tomatoes are still playing onesies, twosies, but nothing stops the low flying zucchini from growing oversized!

Good eating ahead...


Ever since Mr. A reclaimed his shop, he's been missing his big drill press...that was part of the equipment that went with the sale of the business. He figured that it would cost big bucks to replace it.

Yes. he found this baby the "old fashioned" way...reading the classifieds in the Mail Tribune. Wonder of wonders, he was able to call the guy, drive over to his place and dicker on the price. So he got this heavy duty honey for $125, hardly if ever used and originally a $400 price tag. Good work, Jack. And, it has more features and is in better condition than his old one! AND it has 16 speeds...15 of which he'll probably never use, but it's good to be ready! Did I mention it took 2-grown & grunting men to move it from the truck to the bench?