Sunday, August 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day ~ August, 2010

On this bloggers' bloom day, the shiniest flower in the garden was my dear friend, Gloria, author of Dakota Garden.

She and hubs, Ted, were in town for a conference so naturally I had to throw a slumber party. We gabbed, non-stop. Poor Ted could barely get a word in edgewise!

I was so fearful that she'd stand in my garden, all dejected, thinking... Wow, this joint looks a whole lot prettier online. 

Because ~ honestly? It does! In the real world, there's just no hiding those pesky weeds. Or, the spots where flowers eagerly curled up and died.

Plus, there's not much rhyme or reason to this place. If it strikes my fancy, I'll probably plant it. Whether it should live here, or not.

Anyhoo, Gloria, Ted and I had a grand time. Nobody croaked from the din-din I prepared. (Breathing a sigh of relief.)

And, after a giant panic attack, prior to their arrival, I figured out that meeting blogging friends, in the real world, is two tons of fun.

PS: She asked that I disguise her if she ended up in my blog. So, dear Gloria, how's this? :)

To see what's blooming elsewhere, check out Carol, of May Dreams Gardens, inventor of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tomato Time @ High Star Farm

This summer, I had my worst luck - ever - with heirloom tomatoes. Let's just blame that on over confidence. Poised for huge success with fancy, new containers in a sunny, protected spot, I expected blue ribbon results.

I'd saved up a whole winter of coffee grounds and egg shells. (Nitrogen, calcium and phosphorous makes for some very happy tomaters.) But, then I made the fatal mistake of blogging about it.

Had no idea my veggie garden nemesis, Mother Nature, reads my blog posts. She swooped in (on June 16th!) freezing pineapple sage, baby bell peppers and the most delightful delicacy of all, Black from Tula heirloom tomatoes. [Note to self: watch the weather reports.]

Normally, I would have started over. It takes more than one cold night to foil my plans. But, this year I'm volunteering at a local organic farm so why bother?

No amount of TLC in my sorry gardens can match the luscious bounty produced in this greenhouse. [I get to nibble the whole time I'm harvesting. How sweet is that?]
On my last harvest day at High Star Farm I picked 18 pounds of tomatoes and I barely made a dent. That got me thinking about what conniving little buggers tomato seedlings can be. In springtime, seedlings look small and innocent, inspiring you to plant twice as many as you really need. Come August, those tiny plants have evolved into monstrous vines and you've got tomatoes coming out your ears.

Here's 2 hot tips for handling the harvest:
1) Grill the big ones: Thick slices, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan and Asiago cheeses, garlic and parsley. They taste so yummy, you'll run out before you know it.
2) Dry them in your oven to save them for a rainy day:

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
  • Slice small tomatoes in half, slice larger tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt ~ this improves flavor and speeds up the drying process.
  • Set the oven to 175 - 200 degrees (F).
  • Slowly roast until they feel pliable, kind of leathery. It could take anywhere from 3-6 hours, depending upon the size of the tomato slices.
To Rehydrate Dried Tomatoes:
Soak in water for 1-2 hours or toss directly into soups and stews.

PS: If these ideas don't snap your socks, send those extra tomatoes to me. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesdays: Sweet Bella

My Bella ~ named as such for the distinctive vampire bite on her pretty neck. What has this girl been up to?

For more Wordless Wednesday participants, click here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wordless Wildflower Wednesdays

Locals: Find these pretty wildflowers on the trail to the lake at Guardsman Pass.

For more Wordless Wednesday participants, click here!