[cooking] Summer vegetables

As much as I love receiving CSA vegetables every week, it's kind of a chore trying to use them all up. Some things are eaten quickly- cucumbers I love to eat plain, potatoes get roasted, tomatoes/onion/cilantro are immediately turned into salsa. But things like zucchini and summer squash Dollar doesn't like, so I have to try to find either (1) new ways to prep them that he will enjoy (no joy thus far), or (2) a dish that uses everything up and I will have it for supper and take to work for lunch.

This week, I used a mandolin to slice zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes and onions. I layered them in a casserole dish:

Summer vegetables

I mixed up some eggs and milk and poured it over (for a crustless quiche) and baked. I added cheese on top for the last 15 minutes of baking. So what's not to like? Summer vegetables galore, eggs, cheese. It tasted good but was rather watery. I didn't salt any moisture out of the squash or squeeze pulp from the tomatoes. This idea needs refinement. 

Speaking of summer squash, the plants in the garden have started to produce these:

Tatume Squash

I think it's a tatume squash, called "calabacita" in Spanish. It seems like a popular item in Mexican cooking. I've found some interesting recipes online. The one I picked here is very young- I'll let them go to see how big/dark they get. It seems like an item you can consume either as summer squash or fall squash. We'll see.


[gardening] Late summer flowers

Late summer flowers are blooming like crazy now. I love the combo of coneflower, daisies and black-eyed susans:

I love this summertime trio. #echinacea #shastadaisy #rudbeckia

All three are quite tall and the daisies and black-eyed susans (rudbeckia) are drooping like crazy. I'll be moving the blacked-eyed susans and dividing the daisies. I will have to get some hoops/support for next year. The rudbeckia will probably be move to be behind this liatris:


Day lilies are going- but the deer have become more brazen and have eaten A LOT of the unopened flowers. 

Four #daylilies blooming now! 💐

They've also gotten at the hostas in the shade bed. Partially, I wasn't around to diligently spray everything but it's been so hot, I just don't want to be outside gardening. I have so much weeding to do. 

Threadleaf coreopsis growing well. Will divide next spring.

Threadleaf #coreopsis blooming so well this year. I'm going to divide it next spring.

Only have a few asiatic lilies blooming by the deck in the back yard but they are so fragrant, you definitely get a lovely whiff when a breeze comes through:

Asiatic lily

These should only get bigger and multiply in the years to come.

Gladiolus are blooming:

Lots of new #gladiolus in bloom.

I got a bag of mixed colors and planted the bulbs in April or May. This was my first time growing them. I may go through the trouble of digging them up after a killing frost and drying/saving them to plant next spring. I should probably mark the different colors now, as they bloom, to group them separately.

I planted a little jackmanii clematis root this spring in a pot. About a month ago I moved it to a permanent spot (where it will have full sun but the root ball will stay shaded/cool) and added a wire trellis. It has grown to be about 12 inches tall and there was one bloom:

Planted #clematis vine this spring. Only grew about 12 inches tall and this is the only bloom but looking forward to exponential growth in the years to come.

That's okay- I'm just happy that it survived and took hold. I think (hope) next year it's going to be a lot bigger with more flowers. The birds just love the wire trellis- it's just perfect for their little bird feet to wrap around and perch on. Unfortunately, this means everything below is spotted with bird poop. Sigh- you can see it on the rocks behind the vine. Didn't see that coming. Oh well.


[travel] San Diego

After we returned home from Quebec City, I had enough time to do laundry, repack and head out to San Diego, CA for a conference. My hotel was very close to the convention center:

Good morning, San Diego. My hotel room looks down over the convention center. I wonder if there's any leftover stuff from ComicCon.

Very, very close. 

The conference was good. I came many years ago but was put off by how crowed it was- ~14,000 people attend. After the crowds in Quebec, this was a breeze. It was good to connect with people all over the country that I regularly email with but hardly ever get to see.

One afternoon we took a ferry over to Coronado. I got to dip my feet into the Pacific:

Overlooking Point Loma at Coronado. Dipped my feet in the Pacific and then told to get out because the water is toxic after recent rain. I can't wait to be a mutant.

We were promptly told by a lifeguard with a bullhorn to get out, the water is toxic after recent rain. Didn't seem to stop all the Navy Seals in helicopters conducting training exercises further offshore.

Waiting for the ferry back at sunset:

Coronado, waiting for the ferry. The sunsets here don't suck.

Where I am in VT, we don't get spectacular sunsets. It's all hills and valleys- the sun goes down behind the hill and then it's dark. I think the only place to enjoy a sunset around here is either on a mountain top or looking out across Lake Champlain (or other large lake).

My favorite flower, which was blooming everywhere around the city:


Bird of Paradise. It looks like a crane with an awesome orange mohawk. I love these so much- wish I could grow them at home but they're far too tropical.


[travel] FEQ - art and shows

Yesterday I showed some pictures around Quebec City. Today I have pictures of the shows we saw. Saturday night, the same day we arrived, we went to see the Foo Fighters. It rained. A lot. There was a moment when it stopped after the first song and everyone was like, "Yeah! I'm wet but the rain stopped, so let's rock!" The rain started again for the third song. By the fourth song, I was drenched. Like, jumped into a lake fully clothed drenched. I ran for the exit, along with everyone else. They ended up canceling the show after just four songs.

Foo Fighters. It was a little rainy. #feq #best4songsever

I mean, there was a lot of lightning. No one wants Dave Grohl to get electrocuted on top of suffering a broken leg.

I won't go into too much detail about the main show the next night, because it was terrible, suffice it to say that it was worth attending just to see parents grabbing their kids and leaving when Iggy Azalea started "singing". We saw, with our own eyes, a girl covering her ears and running out. We should have done the same. 

Next night, Doobie Brothers and Boston. A few people came for that show:

A few people showed up for Doobie Brothers and Boston. #feq

I went to visit the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec the next day. Great works of art here.

Time for some culture at Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec. #mnbaq

An afternoon at the museum. #mnbaq

That night, we went to catch a burlesque show down at the port. So much fun- Dollar got pulled on stage to participate.

#spiegelworld #empire #quebeccity

Graffiti Guy in 3D. Spintop on Driftwood and Sanddorn Branch Balance. #spiegelworld #empire #quebeccity

The next night: The Rolling Stones. The show everyone came to see. The gates were opening at 6pm and we got into the queue at 5:45 pm. To say the line was "long" is an understatement. The line went down from the gate, across the street, around a rotary, down to the end of the block and wrapped back around to the gate again. It was the biggest line I've ever been in.

Here were are waiting by a fountain:


Here's an aerial shot with an arrow pointing to where we would have been standing in the above picture:


Who knows, that arrow could actually be pointing to me for all I know.

Once inside, it was just a scramble to get a spot. We had been sitting in the back, on the grassy slope, for most of the shows. We threw our blanket down and took turns visiting the bathroom and hunting for food/beer. This was my view:


No pictures from the show because I was that enraptured. And the stage was so far away, Mick looked like an ant from my perspective.

Just me and 93,000 of my closest friends enjoys the Stones:


We were sitting up by the FEQ sign.


Merci beaucoup. It was so much fun. We'll do FEQ again, I know.


[travel] Quebec City

Back home after two weeks away. We spent a week in Quebec City for the Festival d'ete de Quebec (FEQ)- an 11 day music festival. We went for 5 nights. It's only about a 4.5 hour drive. The city is awesome- so beautiful and old. Everyone is really nice and the food is exceptional. We went many years ago to see Rammstein. This year, we were going primarily to see the Rolling Stones.

It's a great city to walk around- as long as you don't mind trudging up and down steep slopes.

It's all up and down and up and down and up and down in this city. #quebeccity #feq

Love the old streets and buildings.




The food was good- I loved this charcuterie slate at Le Hobbit:

Charcuterie slate at Le Hobbit, Quebec City.

It was followed by beef tartare, which is one of my favorite vacation foods. We ordered poutine at one place- I think it is compulsory that you order it at least once while in Quebec. The beer we had at every place was great. Dollar has become such a fan or Boreal that I think I might pop across the border and get some to bring home for his birthday.

Speaking of alcohol- the vending machine in the elevator foyer of our hotel dispensed wine:

Hotel vending machine

Best. Vending machine. Ever. I was actually a little apprehensive about the room we would get at the hotel. It was the same hotel that we staying in when we came up before but our room was the size of a matchbox during that trip. This time the room was so large. Very nice. (I'm sure we paid more this time around.)

Lastly, there was a Starbucks across from our hotel. I went in to order a cappuccino and was asked for my name. I gave it and they asked if it was spelled with an "i" or a "y". Fair question. Nice of them to check so they can get it right. I said "y". They handed me this:

Starbucks barista asked if my name was spelled with an "i" or "y". Guess I should have said it's with an "a" as well.

I guess I should have also said that it starts with an "a". 


[misc] Penny Friday


Was getting into bed the other night and Penny was hanging out above the lamp, on the headboard. She looked extra spooky.




[gardening] Things for the pollinators

I added a Black Knight butterfly bush to the back yard this spring. Only a couple stalks but they are tall and healthy and blooming:

Black Knight butterfly bush in the back yard.

So far I've seen no bees, butterflies or hummingbirds interested. Boo.

In the front yard, my butterfly bush (started from seed two years ago when I winter-sowed all the things) is finally blooming:

What the shit is this. I thought this butterfly weed was supposed to be orange. Garden is ruined now. RUINED!!!

Uhhhh... That doesn't look orange. Sigh, this is the seed packet that I used. What I have looks like straight-up swamp milkweed. Whatever. The butterflies will still love it but I was hoping for a nice orange color.

Down in a new bed this year, bee balm that I got from a coworker has started to sprout it's red dreadlocks:

Bee balm starting to bloom. This thing looks crazy. I ❤️ it.

This thing looks so crazy. I love it. I decided I'm only going to add the weirdest looking flowers from now on. Once this stuff spreads and needs to be divided, I think I'll start adding it around the vegetable garden. It seems to be deer and woodchuck resistant so far.

Speaking of the vegetable garden, the tomato plants are doing well:

Tomatoes are growing well. Peppers are meh. Cucumbers have succumbed to some critter.

I have a couple green zebra tomatoes that I can't wait for. I received one large red tomato in my CSA this week and made the best BLTs for dinner that night. It was so good. All I want to eat this summer is BLTs. 

I've have some pepper plants (bell, jalapeño, banana) that aren't very robust. Cucumbers are my favorite but I have no luck with them last year and this year isn't any better. Something's eating the young plants down. Ants? Slugs? Birds? I have no idea. I don't think it's the woodchucks (for once). I have some tansy growing and might move it down to the veg garden to grow as a companion plant to the cukes. Maybe it will help.

And these things:

Still have no idea what these are going to be. But I'm going to have a lot of it.

Still no idea what they are. But I'm going to have a lot. All the plants have flowered and I re-fertilized everything. I'm going to be away for a couple weeks and I'm kind of excited to come back and see how big everything will have grown. Maybe I'll be able to identify it all by then.


[gardening] Flowers, flowers, flowers!

More things blooming in the flower beds.

The evening primrose has been so pretty:

Evening primrose

Blanket flower has been a great performer for the past couple weeks:

This blanket flower has been such a good little performer.

It seems fairly dense. I may dig it up in the spring and divide it. I have a couple little spots of sweet william in front of this that didn't bloom this year but will next year. Now that I know how tall sweet william is, I need to move it so it doesn't completely block out this blanket flower next year. I'm going to give a clump away to one of my coworkers.

Speaking of sweet william, it's all starting to brown and go to seed. I've got to spend a day eventually collecting all the seeds to winter sow.

The burgundy asiatic lilies have opened up:

Burgundy lilies are blooming.

The shasta daisies and black-eyed susans are just getting going:

Shasta Daisy

I love how big these daisies are. I should take a picture with my hand in the shot for scale.


This little grasshopper has taken up residency:

So we meet again, little grasshopper.

The sempervivium in the rock garden are sending out chicks. The tall red one here is getting ready to flower:

Succulent garden this morning. The tall red one is going to flower, then die.

Threadleaf coreopsis (aka Tickseed):

Thread leaf #coreopsis.

Stella d'oro daylily. I have two lines of this, one in the front yard, one in the back. I like how light yellow this is:

Stella d'oro daylily

And a new daylily (can't remember the cultivar name) that I planted last year. I bought it at Ollalie Daylily Gardens and I'm going to have so many other new daylilies this year!


Lastly, delphinium that I started from seed two years ago:

#Delphinium so violet.

It is so blue/violet. The petals are edged with a purple that makes the flowers look more iridescent.

I winter sowed these seeds and planted them in the spring of 2014. Last summer, I did have one little stalk that bloomed a bit. This year, I'd say there are about eight flowering stalks. I can't wait to see what these are like next year. They did require a diligent amount of protection/spraying to keep the woodchucks off this spring.


[vermont] Rainbow

Last week, during a passing shower, I caught a complete rainbow arc in the back yard:

Complete rainbow arc

It passed rather quickly but was pretty vibrant:

Awesome rainbow in the back yard