[gardening] Late August Flowers

I don't think I've posted any garden flowers since the height of daylilies. There are still a few blooming, here and there. It's so sad to see the very last bloom and think that it won't appear again until next year:

Last one of this type for the year. rip. 😢

I was able to enjoy a few, small pink coneflowers, despite the woodchucks best attempts to eat it all into oblivion:


Hydrangeas bloomed this year:


I really don't get much, if any, blossoms from my hydrangea bushes. I don't cut back the old growth, I try fertilizing and adding hydrangea food. Nothing has ever worked. But this year something was different and the blooms are pink- so I know my soil is alkaline. 

The fragrant asiatics have come and gone:

Asiatic Lilies

If there's a nice breeze, I can smells these from 30 feet away. It's so nice. I wish they would spread faster, though.

I moved my butterfly bush this past spring and it did well enough to grow and bloom:

Butterfly Bush

And that's a healthy catnip plant in the background- which was happy surprise when I found it growing right next to the deck stairs. 

Obedient plant:

Obedient plant

White gayfeather added this past spring:


The blanket flower is responding well to deadheading and should continue to bloom for quite a while:

Blanket flower

And the last of some daylilies:

One of the last daylilies

Daylilies still blooming.

This one, Secret of Contentment, is my favorite and is a late-summer bloomer so there is still much more to come:

Daylilies- still a lot yet to bloom.

Summersweet shrubs are blooming in the back yard and are smelling like lilacs in the summertime:

Summersweet shrubs smelling like lilacs in late summer. 💨 #summersweet

And the glads (all both of them) are starting to bloom:

💕 I don't bother digging up the #gladiolus bulbs and they still come back every year. Love the late summer blooms. 💕

I thought that you had to dig up the blubs every year and store them for the winter and replant in the spring. Like, who has time for that? I left them in the beds over the first winter and pulled up all the dead stuff in the spring, thinking I would plant something else in that location. Lo, some glads came up late last summer and bloomed. So, I left them for another winter and they've bloomed again this year. There are lots of young, new shoots as well so I know there are many baby corms under the ground. I'm still going to leave everything where it is (#lazygardener) and see what happens next year. 

Stonecrop should start blooming soon. Cardinal flower has started but they aren't the showiest specimens in the world. I've really got to get out and weed this weekend- bindweed and crab grass and a bunch of other junk have really swallowed up a few areas. I cut back my delphinium weeks ago to give new growth some light but things are really cooling off (nightly lows in the mid-40s now) and don't think I'll get another show.

This weekend, though, I really have to focus on Fair knitting and start rounding up all the things I'm going to enter. I have to mail the pre-reg form next week! 


[cooking] Tomato galette

After the last pie I made, I had a significant amount of dough scraps. I piled them up, pressed it all into a patty and wrapped it in saran wrap to keep in the fridge for a rustic tart later. I am overwhelmed with tomatoes from the CSA and decided a tomato galette would be an easy way to use a few:

Tomato galette

I rolled out the dough, added a layer of panko breadcrumbs, topped with some cheddar, sliced onion, tomatoes, sprinkle of salt and a more generous sprinkle of Cavender's all purpose greek seasoning (my new favorite use-on-everything blend), folded up the edges and baked at 350 for 30 min.

Tomato galette

By the way, the cheddar I used was Vermont Farmstead Governor's Cheddar. The American Cheese Society recently had their annual Judging and Competition and the winners were announced. Every year I make a list of the VT winners and go to the Hanover or Lebanon Coop looking for them. I can usually find quite a few. This Governor's Cheddar won 2nd place for Aged Cheddar 12 - 24 mos. Another winner from Vermont Farmstead that I bought and have already eaten (#sorrynotsorry) is Lille Coulommiers. 10/10, will definitely get again. Soft and spreadable and creamy. And this farm is so local- just in Woodstock, VT.

The galette was great:

Tomato galette

But it only used three medium tomatoes. What to do with the rest?


[gardening] Succulent mini-garden

So, here's the mini-succulent garden I planted on May 23:

Trying a succulent rock garden in a container.

The two biggest green things in there I had just bought at a nursery- so they were doing well. All the other stuff- the hens and chicks and succulents- were picked off from here and there around the flower beds.

Here it is one month later on June 24:

Succulent mini garden

July 5:

Mini succulent garden

Aug 7:


Yesterday, Aug 22:

This #succulent garden filled in nicely this year.

Everything filled in so well in this whiskey barrel with nice potting soil. I have an old washer tub in a flower bed that I put annuals in for the last couple years but I didn't deadhead the petunias at all this year and things are looking a little gross. I'll do the same succulent mini garden in the washer tub. Would love to find a winter-hardy succulent that drapes/hangs down... that would look nice growing out of the tub...


[vermont] Nanofest

This past weekend was the 2nd annual Nanofest (festival of 4-barrel or smaller breweries), held at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds.


We arrived a little after 12pm and got some beer (of course) and food:


This was so good. I got ribs (they were perfect) and Dollar got a pulled pork sandwich. The beans had big chunks of pulled pork. The coleslaw was great. 

There was live music and we ran into friends. I tried a bit of this and that:


The way it worked was that you bought drink tickets for $1 each and each ticket is a 3oz pour. If you want 6 oz of something- two tickets. A full glass is 12 oz, so four tickets. I ended up trying 3 to 6 oz of, like, everything.

Got home around 6:30, took a quick nap and woke up a little after 8 pm to watch the Pats/Texans preseason game. My stomach was... not awesome from the variety of beer I sampled all day. Sunday was devoted to my hangover. For lunch, I was able to pull together some ramen:

Hangover cure.

Just some spicy Shin Ramyun from a package with a whisked egg poured in to the boiling soup near the end of cook time. The scallions were already sliced in a container in the fridge from a meal earlier in the week. So this was a verrrrrry low effort meal but totally worked to cure my hangover (along with a gallon of water).


[knitting] Dragon Baby Blanket

I've started a new baby blanket-

Was enjoying coffee this weekend in my new favorite mug, as well.

I've made it through 25% of the charts and just started the 2nd ball of yarn. The entire blanket is one picture of a dragon so progress is definitely line-by-line. I move my highlighter tape up the chart every two rows- thankfully the wrong side rows are mostly purl with only an occasional different stitch.


[misc] Rocky Friday

So we brought Rocky to the vet yesterday to be neutered after he bit Murderface. We dropped him off at 7:30 am and at 10 am I get a call. He can't be neutered. Because he is a girl.

We've had him, I mean HER, for two years. We were told she was a boy and assumed it to be so. I had no desire to double-check and wouldn't even know what to be looking for. So we brought her home, no surgery needed, and we've made the switch to start using female pronouns.

UPDATE: But get this- I contacted the previous owner, our friend who has since moved to Florida, and said, "Yo, Rocky's a girl." He wrote back and very definitively said that no, Rocky is male. Rocky was fixed at about 8-months-old. He has SEEN Rocky's male parts with his own eyes. 100% sure that Rocky is male.

I'm so confused. I guess we'll just... keep using "she" and "her"... Because I assume the vet has seen more rabbits than our friend... But then, what did he see that looked like male parts? I don't know. I don't know.


[cooking] Blueberry Peach Pie and Peach Sangria

Had dinner guest over this past weekend to celebrate a belated birthday (we missed the actual party while we were in Quebec last month). I wanted to make a summery pie with blueberries and since peaches are in season as well...

Blueberry peach pie it is. The pie also serves as a belated birthday card:

The text got a little bit harder to read after baking:

The pie was super with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

And since I had peaches on hand, it was peach sangria time:

This sangria is out-of-control tasty. A bottle of sauvignon blanc, a cup of Applejack brandy, half of cup of triple sec, half a bottle of Tropicana Peach Passion Fruit probiotic drink, juice of one lime, peach slices. Pour over ice and mix with plain seltzer. It's incredible. And as long as you keep the seltzer separate, you can keep the pitcher in the fridge and just pour off a fizzy peachy drink whenever.


[cooking] Eggplant fan

Received two quite beautiful eggplants in the CSA this week and googled around, looking for a recipe. I found a nice one for a pretty eggplant fan.

After salting both sides of the... panels? Wings? Patties? After salting both sides of the eggplant slices, I left it to drain on a plate for an hour. Next time I'll leave it in a colander in the sink- a lot of moisture did come out and it pooled on the plate. I put paper towels between the slices and pressed out more liquid before assembling the rest of the ingredients.

I rubbed olive oil all over the eggplant surfaces and stuffed with sliced yellow tomato and onion. Then I roasted in the oven for 45 min at 350. Then I added shredded mozzarella all over, upped the temp to 400 and baked an additional 15 min. Finished with chopped basil:

Not pictured but also added: grated cured egg yolk all over the top (made this veg dish more savory and filling as a main course). This was delish! Definitely made me a FAN of eggplant, har har har. Next time I'll smear pesto over the eggplant cut surfaces and forgo the basil garnish.

I've got an Asian-inspired plan for the other eggplant tonight: miso glazed and broiled. Will serve with ssam since we have a whole head of leafy lettuce to eat. 


[misc] Penny Tuesday

My mother recently gifted us with a beautiful new cherry dining room set- table and seating for six and a sideboard. We finally put the legs on the new table and started shuffling furniture around the house (the old table went into my craft room, which meant the couch there had to be moved to the living room, which meant the ratty couch there needs to be moved above the garage, etc). While the rest of the house is in a messy state of adjustment (*cough* my craft room *cough*), the dining room looks quite nice. We were even able to separate the boardgame bookshelves and squeeze in the sideboard and put miscellaneous gaming tackle boxes under it.

As I was walking by the dining room from the kitchen to the living room, something caught my eye:

I did a double-take. 

Penny, on the new sideboard, with her "What are YOU looking at?" face. This is why I can't have nice things.


[misc] Penny Monday

Just a quick post. Flickr pages are not loading for me... Not sure if this means I should find another image hosting service... Will give it a few more days...

Penny in Rocky's hay box:

Busy weekend. Saturday I went to work to start cleaning/redesigning the front flower bed. I arrived a little later than I wanted- 10am. The admin was already there and had done so much already. I brought home a ton of irises to clean up. Then I went to see Dollar's band play on the green in Lebanon at an anti-natural gas pipeline rally. 

Sunday I cleaned up all the irises, made a (late) birthday pie for Dollar's step dad, who was coming over for dinner with Dolllar's mom on Sunday night. Busy day cleaning for that- I only invite people over when I need to clean the house.

Cast on for a new project that I've got to hurry up and complete. The Fair pre-registration form is due by Sept. 1.


[cooking] Six eggs

In an effort to use up eggs, I wanted to try salt-cured egg yolks. I've seen these pop up here and there on foodie blogs- and the recipes looks ridiculously easy: cover egg yolks with salt/sugar and wait. I can do that. 

I took six eggs and separated the yolks from the whites, one at a time, sliding the yolks into a spot on a mix of 75% salt and 25% sugar. The whites I would dump into a container for later use.

Salt-curing egg yolks. Will dig them out of the salt in 4 or 5 days.

Then I covered the yolks with more salt/sugar mix, closed the containers and put them into the back of the fridge. 

But what to do with six egg whites? I went with this recipe for chocolate pavlova. My only change was trying to plop out six individual sized pavlovas on a parchment sheet, rather than making one big one.

I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to meringue. I watched some videos and read some blogs- this one was particularly helpful. I got my meringue to the point of shiny, hold-the-bowl-upside-down stiffness, but... I don't think my sugar was incorporated well enough. I only use organic sugar which tents to have bigger grains and... I don't know, I could still see the sugar when I was portioning out the meringue onto the baking sheet. Which, when heated in the oven, I think caused the pavlovas to collapse and spread? My pavlovas were flat and chewy, rather than lofty and cake-y. 

I had one:



And unfortunately threw the rest away. The edges were good (and whipped cream + berries + shaved chocolate was the BEST way to enjoy this) but the center of the pavlova couldn't be cut with a fork. It was like... chocolate jerky. Disappoint. Maybe next time I should use superfine sugar? Or let the meringue mix for longer? Or bake at a different oven temp? Every recipe I found seemed to use a different temp, ranging from 150 F to 350 F. I think I did mine at 300 F. 

I guess I would be willing to try meringue again... since I know I'm going to be making cured egg yolks again! The yolks turned out excellent.

After 6 days, I took the containers out of the back of the fridge, gently dug out the gold disks of treasure and brushed off the salt/sugar. They had the consistency of soft gummy bears. I rinsed each under the faucet and patted dry with paper towel- at this point I could pull off any chalazae (those white stringy bits) that had stuck to the yolk when I first set them to cure. Then I put them onto a greased cooling rack to dehydrate in the oven at 150 F for two hours. When they cooled, they were fairly hard.

Salt cured egg yolks. After 6 days, dug them out of the salt, rinsed, finished dehydrating in the oven at 150 F for two hours. I suppose I should make some pasta now, to grate this over.

My desire is homemade pasta with sage browned butter and these yolks shaved over it... But I was feeling lazy, so I just shaved some over buttered corn-on-the-cob that we were having with dinner:

Grated yolk over corn on the cob. Fan-f'ing-tastic . These cured egg yolks are 💯

The yolk shavings didn't melt (I don't know why, but I thought that they would) and the corn didn't taste yolk-y. It just tasted extra good. The shavings themselves just taste... umami. The yolks are currently in a ziplock bag in the fridge and are easy to grab and grate when the urge strikes. Maybe... over mashed potatoes? Popcorn? Should I just motivate and make ton of pasta and freeze most of it so I can enjoy homemade pasta whenever? ... FINE. But I know we'll just end up eating pasta every night until it's gone.


[cooking] Blueberry Raspberry Muffins

Sunday morning (before whisking MF off to the vet- he's doing much better, btw), I quickly made some blueberry raspberry muffins:

Blueberry Raspberry Muffins

The blueberries are fresh (I am getting a pint weekly as part of the CSA) and the raspberries are frozen. I used the raspberries that I picked a little over a week ago and froze; I looooove having a gallon zip-lock bag of big red raspberries in the freezer to use whenever.

Blueberry Raspberry Muffins

Raspberries comprised 50% of the fruit but really dominate the aroma and flavor. Dollar picked one up and took a bite, thinking they were just blueberry muffins (usually the only kind of fruit muffins I make), and said "OOOooo raspberry".

Blueberry Raspberry Muffins

Ooo raspberry, indeed.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface got to go on on a very exciting excursion to the vet for an emergency visit Sunday morning.

Sunday not-so-funday for Murderface. Emergency vet visit- Rocky bit him pretty bad on his butt. Rocky's getting castrated in a couple weeks to curb his aggression.

He's okay- getting better. He was bitten very bad in the butt by Rocky, our rabbit.

So, Sunday morning MF is having trouble going to the bathroom. He's trying to go in the litterbox and out of the litterbox and having small accidents all over the house. I'm following him and he's actively trying to poop on the bath mats, the front door rug, under my desk in the craft room on paper- everywhere. I scoop him up and turn him over in my lap to clean his butt- and I see a deep hole next to his anus and blood. 

I calmly put him down. Calmly walk to the kitchen and calmly call the vet's emergency line. As I wait for a callback, I frantically hurry to the bedroom to wake Dollar, get dressed and say, "We gotta go! We gotta go now! Murderface needs to go to the vet right now! Get ready!" 

We get the callback, drive down and have him thoroughly checked. It wasn't a pooping issue, which is what I had initially called for. I saw him pooping and then saw blood- I thought they were related. Actually it was a deep, painful bite that, not knowing what the pain was about and given how close it was to his... you know, made MF try to go to the bathroom nonstop. 

The question was then- who bit him? Penny, Santana or Rocky? We didn't see it happen so we can only guess but I'm 99.9999% certain that it was the rabbit. We have seen the rabbit get aggressive with the cats and the bite looked exactly like Rocky's two front teeth. Plus, Penny and Santana would never bite MF in the butt. Come on- that's not what cats do. The vet asked if Rocky is castrated and we have no idea but assume no. The vet said that intact male rabbits only get more aggressive the older they get, so... Rocky now has an appointment to get fixed in a couple weeks. 

We feel so bad for MF. He's the sweetest cat, a total pacifist. We usually let Rocky out of his hutch when we get home from work- then during the evening the cats and rabbit tend to chill on a fleece blanket that we put on the floor. The vet pointed out that the bite was on MF's butt, so he was trying to run away. Ugh. I get the feeling that MF was prob sitting or laying on the blanket, the rabbit ran up to him, MF jumped up and tried to get away, which startled the rabbit, who then lashed out to bite him.

Thankfully we caught the deep bite quickly- he hardly had a fever and the wound wasn't pussy/infected. He got a shot of antibiotics, rabies, something to curb the diarrhea he was having, and sub-q fluids to rehydrate him. We have some cleaning and disinfectant ointment to apply twice a day. He was a little depressed all day yesterday after we returned home but I think he was sleeping off all the shots. Last night he slept between us in bed on a towel all night. This morning he was purry and affectionate- he didn't seem to mind too much the cleaning/ointment application and then ate his breakfast in bed. The wound already looks MUCH better than yesterday. We are also administering lots of TLC.


[gardening] Lavender Sachets

Collected all the dried lavender and made sachets this week. There were a lot of fine twigs that had to be picked out after rubbing the bundles between my hands over a big bowl to get most of the initial dried buds off. That's fine, I sat on the couch with the bug bowl in my lap and hand picked the stems out while watching a documentary.

Then it was easy to scoop a spoonful of dried lavender into little purple tulle fabric bags.

Homemade lavender sachets

I made a dozen little sachets to throw into yarn storage and dresser drawers. 

Homemade lavender sachets

The ones I made last year are still quite fragrant. Just a squeeze or two and they are as aromatic as they day they were bagged.

This past spring I dug up a lavender plant, divided it and placed the divisions in a few new locations. I'm not sure what will come back next year but I'm trying to expand my collection of lavender plants. I really love this easy harvesting/drying/sacheting.