The Garden Booms

It’s full swing in the garden, and I haven’t written for so long that I really have at least three blogs to write.  The last time I wrote it wouldn’t stop raining, but now it seems unable to start again.  All that rain was a miracle for the cucumbers, which are normally hard to grow.  They usually die of early onset powdery mildew, which comes on in dry seasons, and is partly attributable to my lackadaisical watering habits.  But this year!!!  This year, I will be making pickles!!!!  I have already made cucumber salad (slice half moons of cucumbers, thinly slice some red onion, halve some cherry tomatoes, add salt pepper, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and a little olive oil).  So here are the cucumbers I currently have on hand after donating to AFAC.

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Some of these are cut up and draining for pickles. The larger ones I peeled, seeded and put in the cucumber salad I mentioned.

The zucchinis are also thriving and I have enough to freeze some for winter breads.  The trouble is I don’t usually have the patience to drain it properly after shredding.  I’ve been eating a variety of zucchinis and summer squash, as all the seeds I planted survived and appear to be fruiting.  With zucchini  plants you need to visit and search at least every other day; if it’s raining, every day, or you suffer the consequences of the stuffing-sized zucchini…

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View of one of the thriving zucchini plants from the back of the garden.

Tomatoes have yet to come on, except for the salad varieties.  But I’m going to have a boatload if birds, rats, squirrels or others don’t eat them.  I have lots of green ones now ready to ripen and I’m looking forward to some good tomato eating as well as some sauce canning.

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I do have a little bit of blossom rot on some of the San Marzano tomatoes, but not these.

I’ve already made pesto once and am using fresh basil in salads and  sauteed vegetables.  Today, I’ll be making more pesto in small jars for freezing.  What’s better than a fresh sliced tomato on good bread that’s been spread with pesto?  Nothing!

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Basil lower left, more zucchini and tomato plants center.

I enjoy laboring in the garden. Yesterday I set out in the morning, slathered with sunscreen, and took a quinoa salad and a peach with me for lunch.  And lots of water and decaf iced tea…When I was ready for lunch, with soaking wet hair from the heat, I headed for the shade where we have a table, took off my hat…and found I had forgotten the fork.  So I washed my hands again and scooped the salad up with my hand of preference.  Then along comes our beekeeper with all his wares and there I am, sweaty, with matted hair, sitting on an overturned milk crate, eating with my hands, looking feral. He may not have noticed even, so I headed over to watch him check to see if there was a queen yet in the hive, and he did indeed find her, so with luck there will be eggs and the hive will grow.

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So far, the hive is small, but the beekeeper plans to bring more.

I inter-planted my eggplants with marigolds this year and it seemed to help.  They are doing well.  There are also peppers and okra in this area of the garden and they seem to be doing well, too.  I have only one good sized okra plant fruiting because the rabbit seems to find the plants delectable.  Pretty soon my garden will be a collection of cages to keep out various types of critters. A fellow gardener gave me two more plants, but they are small yet, and under cover of the chicken wire cloche. I’m not sure how big they have to be before the rabbit loses interest.

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I think I’ll be planting marigolds again. With luck, I’ll get some nice eggplants.

I’ve also had lots of flowers again this year, but not so many as last when they took over and smothered my vegetables!  This photo, earlier in the season, shows an Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly camouflaged by the yarrow it’s landed on.

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Oddly, it was the orange mark that caught my attention. It never did open its wings to show the blue while I was watching.

And…some of you may remember my kitchen remodeling saga last year and that Kelly over at Boomdeeadda offered to make me a window treatment.  I took her up on it!  Several people had asked what I was going to do with the curtains there and I had always liked those curtains (hand-blocked with fruits) and hadn’t realized how… tired … they looked.  I found fabric on Spoonflower, which has more designs than you can even look through and prints the fabric to order.  I bought some fabric for the bathroom window, where I had been using a pareo for a curtain for years.  I’m thinking of sprucing the bathroom up and thought that a Roman shade there would be just the ticket.  Kelly offered to do that one too!!  Anyhow, trips to New Zealand and Australia and access delays to a superdooper serger sewing machine later, I got the shades in the mail!!!  So I had a little work to do with sewing on the rings for the cording and fixing the hardware.  I also wound up a little frustrated with my power screwdriver, which seems to be designed to work primarily with drywall, certainly not wood.

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Are these not beautiful? I have yet to get the curtain rod hardware taken down, but will…sometime.

I hung them on July 3rd and was mightily pleased.  You aren’t getting a picture of the bathroom one because Kelly is not happy with it, and craftspeople do not want work they are unhappy with shown around (though I like it).  Kudos and many thanks to Boomdee for labor and craftsmanship.  Now nobody’s going to ask what I’m going to do about that kitchen window.

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And here they are raised!! They’re such a nice finishing touch for the kitchen.

So, I said at least three blogs, and I think you got that!  I thought I might show how the Roman blinds get fixed and mounted, but there are lots of demonstrations of that on YouTube and frankly, it’s a blog for the winter!  And of course, I could show you my pickling, but that can wait for another blog! It’s good to be back.

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One okra plant is not nearly enough.  When I don’t have enough pods, I just throw them in with whatever other vegetable I’m cooking. Enjoy the week!

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44 Responses to The Garden Booms

  1. Lovely to see you back! Kelly has made a super job of that blind in the kitchen and I assume the one in the bathroom looks just as good! The view from your window is very beautiful I’m sure I would never want to shut it out! The garden is very giving this year – combination of good care and the right weather. I’m primarily eating green things I can grow on my windowsill as the cost of vegetables this winter is astronomical for some strange reason – except pumpkins – and there is only so much pumpkin soup one can imbibe before turning yellow! I rather liked the image of you in your garden on an upturned crate, eating with your hands and looking all feral – it certainly made me laugh and, as the beekeeper didn’t notice, obviously you have looked that way before 😀 So much fun!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes, that blind is up until it gets dark. I am very pleased with it and with its bathroom sibling. As for the garden, goodness what a change from the year before. The only produce I am buying consists of lemons, limes and onions. Of course, I’m finding lots of ways to use zucchini! As for looking feral, I’m sure it isn’t the first time! But it’s the first time I was eating something like that with my hands, though actually that’s what hands are for, among other things! I am hoping to get back into the swing of visiting people and blogging again, now that I am no longer Acting Branch Chief. So I should have a little more energy.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel healthy just reading about it!

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  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Good to hear from you, Lisa. Your garden is a lot more full than the last we saw it. Pickles, yum, love ’em. Pesto, tomatoes, my mouth is watering. 😉 Love the pineapple design on your new shade – it matches your colors perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I was going to do a comparison picture from the last time, but figured people could scroll back (or remember). I love produce from the garden–even when it makes me stay inside on a weekend day to pickle and freeze. I hope your garden is equally lush!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Okra ROX! I do not know of anyone else who grows it here. I might have friends in the Los Angeles region who grow it. It is unpopular in the West. I do not know why I like it so much. It is not like I get a lot of it.

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    • arlingwoman says:

      There are lots of different ways to cook it. I like the dusted with cornmeal and fried method and also with tomatoes and onions and a little dash of vinegar at the end. It’s pretty much a southern vegetable, so it doesn’t surprise me people don’t grow it out west. It also likes heat and humidity–a combination not found out there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        Those happen to be two of my favorite ways of cooking it! I think that steaming it plain is sort of weird. They can grow here, and are only somewhat productive until early summer. Then they slow down and do not do much. Eggplant does the same. Others have also explained that they dislike the aridity, even if the weather gets warm enough. It is rarely humid here, and it is almost never humid and warm at the same time. Black eyed pea is popular among some, and we even have our own varieties, but they are also not as productive here as they are in other regions.

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      • arlingwoman says:

        It’s best to take advantage of the texture to make things creamy. If you boil or steam it, it’s just slimy. But yes, all those plants need heat and humidity at the same time. But you have things we can’t grow, so it evens out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tonytomeo says:

        We all grew up with apricots here. I love growing them, but not eating them.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sylvie G says:

    On top of all those beautiful photos, including that of the beautiful new curtains, I would have like to see a selfie of you, eating with your hands :). Great veggies, I love pesto too, and because there is not a lot of fresh basil at the moment, I made the latest batch with parsley and brazil nuts (because pine nuts are too expensive here) and it was good too.

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    • arlingwoman says:

      No selfies looking the way I looked. I kept my hat on afterward when I went to the grocery store! Your pesto sounds great. I use walnuts in mine rather than pine nuts. I think there’s lots of room for creativity in pestos.

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  6. KerryCan says:

    You sound great–so much enthusiasm for your gardening! And what output–it all looks yummy (except the okra . . . ick). I love the image of you being feral and uninhibited. And Kelly’s curtain looks perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post is all wows! The pineapple blind, the okara, the cukes — Lisa girl, you are doing very well! Good to hear from you. Our zucchini and tomato plants are huge-er than I can recall, but there are few visible tomato fruit so far (lots of blossoms setting now) and the zukes are there, but maybe the watched pot never boils, because we are nowhere near the problem of stuffing-size zukes.

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Well, you shouldn’t be, given your season is later than ours! But it sounds as though you’re well on your way. I need to get that okra pod today or it will be too big. Especially since we’re supposed to get some rain tomorrow!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Boomdeeadda says:

    Hooray for summer and plentiful gardens. Your’s looks like a flippin’ jungle. I must admit, I’ve never eaten orka, don’t really know what I’d do with it all all 😀 I typed it into Google and the first thing that pops up is a whale, LOL I laughed at your El’ fresco quandary and laughed at the ‘pickle’ you were in (garden pun :D). Really got back to nature that day and ‘looked feral’ was especially funny !
    Get this, I pickling cuc’s today too 😀 Except I bought my cuc’s, dill and garlic at the market.

    Thanks for your kind words on the blinds. I will be much more at ease when I’m finally sending a proper bathroom re-make. 😀 Thanks for your patience.

    Glad to hear you’ll have more time to do things you love. Cheers my dear 😀 xo K

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  9. So the weather extremes were not totally disastrous, Lisa. Well done. The shade is marvellous – I bet the other one is good, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. LB says:

    Lisa, this is such a fun post, and truly full of life’s joys.
    I loved reading about your garden’s bounty and all the ways that you are using it. I also chuckled at your lunchtime in the garden story 🙂
    Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks so much for coming by to visit! I do think I am a bit feral, even if I don’t always look that way. Just took pickles to a friend tonight where I was having dinner! It’s nice to supply home canned goodies.

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  11. Laurie Graves says:

    Yay for an abundant garden! Summer, summer!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Maria says:

    You have so much variety in your garden!! I like seeing all your pictures.
    When you see a beautiful yellow flower, it’s Okra! I have a post about it in my blog, but more about the flower than the vegetable:
    (https://tropicalfloweringzone.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/okra-abelmoschus-esculentus/)

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  13. What a newsy post, Lisa. You’ve really got a lot going on. Your garden is gorgeous and abundant. I’m always impressed with the way you put everything to use, pickling, freezing, baking and fresh. Well done, well done.

    I knew Boomdee was making you a Roman shade, but I didn’t know about the fabric you picked. Spoonflower is amazing, albeit overwhelming if you don’t know what you want. That fabric is a lovely compliment to your kitchen colors, and I agree with Pauline about your view.

    My tomatoes are also really slow to produce this year. I’m hearing that from many people. I hope to get some soon.

    I’m excited to hear more about the bees in a future post. I think bee hives are extraordinary.

    Like

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks for coming by, Alys. I do love to cook, so all the preservation is just in aid of that. I’ve had time off this week so I painted my peeling, crackling bathroom–scraping. sparkling, sanding, priming, and painting over a couple days to get a new look. Very satisfying. It’s been raining cats and dogs here, day after day of downpours, but supposed to be sunny again today, to I’m hoping to go to the garden today. Probably to find stuffing sized zucchini…

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      • Lisa, I feel like I saw part of a post on painting. I’m so far behind on everything internet-related. I’m glad you got to spend time painting and refreshing a room. You’ve done your kitchen and bathroom now. Any thing left before you call it done? It’s gratifying work. As for the pouring rain, what we wouldn’t give for a good storm out here in California. The wildfires are devastating up and down the state. Of course, too much rain is no good either. I hope you get your sunny day, pronto.

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        It’s finally sunny again. Whew. I was thinking we might need an ark.

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      • The weather around the world is out of tune and suffering from global warming. I’m glad the sun came out.

        The sky looked yellow when we got up this morning. It felt like you were looking through a filter till about 3 in the afternoon. The air is awful here, though nothing compared to further north.

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        I was thinking about you yesterday. I saw a weather camera that illustrated one day and the next. Ugh. I hope there’s a drenching rain that puts those fires out soon.

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  14. Mary Tang says:

    I really like your colour scheme -the blinds look great but so does the view! Stuffing sized zucchini sounds good too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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