Christmas Cactus!

“Good things come to those who wait” — or, “patience is a virtue” — only not a virtue of mine I’m afraid! When I moved to Michigan (four years ago!??) I worked part-time at a grocery store deli. The florist there gifted me with a tiny, straggly Christmas cactus.

My mom always had a huge Christmas cactus — it lived in a giant china jug in the basement of every home I can remember from childhood on — and it was always covered in glorious pink flowers from late every autumn on into the New Year.

I can grow some veggies, but I’ve never had much luck with houseplants. Dear G, however, took the cactus into his charge, and after four years of careful attention, it’s blossoming!

Now, to find the perfect china jug for it ๐Ÿ™‚

christmas cactus blossoming

christmas cactus blossoming!

Happy Sunday!

 

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Late October at Lake Superior

the path to lake superior

view of lake superior from the overlook near deer park ~ michigan’s upper peninsula

Finally we got a chance to head ‘up north’ to the Upper Peninsula — for a very quick and very long overdue couple of days hunting for agates on Lake Superior. The foliage has been late to turn this year — rather than the drab far-past-peak colors we expected, there were surprising bits of color here and there. Sadly my camera couldn’t do it justice…

road to lake superior

color a bit lacking on this road to the lake…

splash of color in the up

this road had seen some heavy logging ~ still a splash of color to be seen

fall color in the up

another splash of color outside our little cabin ~ nestled among the tall pines where myriad nuthatches (red- and white-breasted variety) and chickadees played morning and night…

It was only 36 hours by the clock, but a welcomed eternity for the soul ๐Ÿ™‚

calm lake superior

unusual to see the big lake so calm in autumn

lake superior agates

a few of the treasures we brought back… lake superior agates and other interesting stones…

path to the lake

the path my feet will be dreaming of until spring … leading to a little piece of heaven ‘up north’

Happy Monday!

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Baby Veggies on a Rainy Evening

After the late September heat wave, the baby veggies are still coming on. Tonight we picked a few squash and squash blossoms to cook up simply with some freshly dug potatoes. Harvest supper on a windy, rainy evening — a bit late for the equinoctial storm of autumn, but sure feels like that here tonight!

baby veggies!

baby summer squash and lebanese zucchini with freshly dug german butterball and red cherry potatoes – a few baby onions too!

 

marigolds

a few marigolds in autumn shades ~ these are still going wild in the garden

squash blossoms

beautiful summer squash blossoms!

baby veggies from the october garden

baby veggies from the october garden!

 

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Heat Wave ~ Late Summer in the North Woods Gardens

We thought about going to Lake Superior last weekend — then the week turned hot hot hot — far too hot to leave kitties home alone for days. Not to worry, however, because the late flush of hot temps brought the garden back to life!

We thought about going this weekend too — but more of the same, 90s for days and all of a sudden there are cukes and squash and brinjal galore. I cannot complain ๐Ÿ™‚

 

summer squash

healthy young summer squash plants at this late date!?

korean squash

korean squash ~ the gift that keeps on giving ~ there must be a dozen on now!

red pontiac potatoes

dear g dug all these beautiful potatoes this morning ~ I stuck a penny atop one to show the size ~ the largest was over a pound!

red pontiac potato

all fresh and clean and ready to cook!

san marzano tomatoes waning

most of the tomatoes are dying down ~ here are the San Marzanos ~ this late heat wave is good for ripening on the vine

healthy rogue tomatoes

the healthiest tomatoes we had all season were the rogue-volunteers!

african queen tomatoes

african queen tomatoes at various stages of ripening

cherokee purple heart tomato

cherokee purple heart tomato, perfectly ripe ~ we ate this with miss m’s amazing basil salad dressing tonight!

chard

the chard has taken off again

baby beets and gai lan

probably my fav ~ baby beets and gai lan (chinese broccoli)

I bought a small yellow mum to set near the doorstep but it sure doesn’t feel like autumn yet…

how does your garden grow?

 

 

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Fall Frenzy

Another hurricane is busy wreaking havoc — this time on Florida with other states to come — here’s hoping all in Irma’s path are safe tonight.

The week since I returned from Mass. was mostly rainy and cold — so cold we covered the beans in case of frost on Friday night — luckily that didn’t happen. This week should bring better weather. Tomatoes are still trying to ripen outdoors and the squash and cukes have taken on a second life. Peppers are coming on strong and the little chinese broccoli seedlings are growing… kohlrabi too. The lack of heat has meant fewer brinjals and no okra at all. Still there are chard and beets and so on… there’s nothing to complain about with the gardens this year!

squash and long beans

beautiful long beans, summer squash and lebanese zucchini ~ with one lonely brinjal

daisy is dreaming of agates

daisy is dreaming of catnip from the garden

lake superior waves

I am dreaming of Lake Superior …

lake superior agate

and her hidden treasures!

If this nice weather holds, we might be able to escape to the UP for a day’s agate hunting ๐Ÿ™‚

pickles and basil dressing

Meanwhile, here is Miss M’s scrumptious basil salad dressing, along with a mess of pickles we put up last night!

Miss M’s Basil Salad Dressing

I messaged Miss M to send me the recipe for the yummy basil dressing we had at her new apartment. Would you believe my baby is 25!??! She and her boyfriend made a salad of home-grown tomatoes (carried in bubble wrap all the way from Michigan!) with burrata — that creamy dreamy cousin of fresh mozzarella — with this fresh dressing drizzled on top.

Here is the recipe precisely as she told it to me ๐Ÿ™‚

“Take half a cup of olive oil, two cups packed basil, a bit of lemon juice–calls for 1/4 of a cup but I like less, and 1-2 cloves garlic. Salt and pepper to taste, blend together and enjoy!!

OH, and add three tablespoons pine nuts!!”

I used all the lemon juice and just love this dressing on any salad — but especially with burrata — check out this link!

 

Happy Monday!

 

 


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Late August ~ Harvest Begins

Here’s hoping everyone in the path of Hurricane Harvey is safe and dry tonight. There is always something to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for any harvest here this year. The spring was cool and late — the summer was not hot and did not encourage my tomatoes to do much — most are dying off from some unknown disease. Nevertheless we are picking, fast and furious, anything that has a chance to ripen. Everything is late — I finally got a few brinjals! Okra is just blossoming and I doubt it will grow in the cool of late August here, but we shall see.

As I’ve mentioned previously, the cucumbers and squash have been the stars this year — there is always something to be thankful for. We managed to salvage some corn from the blown-over stalks, and the green beans have been very prolific! Long beans are coming on, the little Chinese broccoli plants are growing, there will be beets and chard to pick, as well as the second planting of kohlrabi.ย  I have my winter stash of Thai and regular basil in the freezer — fresh dhania too. I can’t complain about the peppers, either.

Best of all, I am off on Thursday to see my kids and my folks in Massachusetts — when I get back there should be LOTS of tomatoes ready and waiting ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope your garden is flourishing — wherever you may be!

sweet corn, var. bodacious

sweet corn, var. bodacious ~ we got 14 good-sized ears for fresh eating!

mixed rogue ears

I boiled up the rogue ears ~ bodacious and double standard ~ cut the kernels from the cobs and got about a quart for the freezerย  ๐Ÿ™‚

korean squash and brinjals

at last, the brinjals ~ these are ‘orient express’ ~ with the lovely Korean squash, var. Pum Ae

tomatoes!

and yes, thankfully, there are tomatoes! lemon boy, cherokee purple, prudens purple, and parks whopper improved… hoping those green cherries turn yellow as they were meant to do ~ var. egg yolk

ingrdients for cornichons

all the ingredients for cornichons came from the garden save bay leaf and peppercorns

homemade cornichons

homemade cornichons with plenty of vinegar ~ enough to make you pucker!

Happy Monday!

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Garden Monsters

Just a peek at why it pays to check the plants daily ~ when I don’t, the monsters appear! ๐Ÿ™‚

Monster pickling cuke

a lovely little cornichon-sized pickling cucumber, and a monster!

baby summer squash and a monster

a lovely summer squash as it should be picked ~ young and sweet ~ and a monster!

giant cherokee purple tomato

the kind of monster I never fear ~ a giant cherokee purple tomato! 1.6 lbs!

Of course the monsters don’t go to waste – they just have all the big seeds removed and tough skin peeled before cooking/eating. I find with cukes and squashes especially, when they suddenly stop producing, I almost always find a monster lurking, usurping all the energy the poor plant has ๐Ÿ™‚

With those baby cucumbers, I tried a batch of homemade cornichons with this recipe — only I’m curing them in the fridge. We’ll see how that goes. Meanwhile…

Happy Monster Hunting!

summer squash

the summer squash plants… from whence came…. the monster ๐Ÿ™‚

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