Monday, July 28, 2014

Bean blossoms

The green beans in the vegetable garden are covered with beautiful lavender blossoms. In the past, my green bean plants have had white blossoms, so I must have picked up a different variety this year. These are the dwarf beans; the climbing beans are just starting to form flowers and I don't know what color they are, yet.

I'm looking forward to harvesting the first green beans.

Last night's rain will be good for the plants. It also helped to replenish the water in the rain barrel. I had pretty much used it all up during this past week of hot weather. The new rain barrels we got this year are working well and I've been using a lot less town water in the garden.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

First harvest

That is, if you don't count the radishes we harvested in the spring, and the coriander we've been picking for a while. These are the first fruits! The courgettes (zucchini) are starting to produce.

We plan to stuff these with the beef and rice filling that was left over from making dolmas not long ago.

It won't be long before we have green beans and tomatoes, too. At least I hope it won't be long. I'm looking forward to August.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


I'm seeing a lot of tendrils now. This one is a grape vine. The vines send out tendrils that grasp and climb the horizontal support wires strung along the vineyard rows. A few times during the growing season, the growers will drive tractors fitted with spinning blades that cut off branches on the sides and the tops of the vines, making very neat, uniform rows. The grape bunches are safely nestled in the interior of the plant where the blades can't reach.

A grape tendril that hasn't found a gripping point.

There are also many tendrils in our vegetable garden. The green beans, climbing beans, winter squash, and cucumbers all send out tendrils to grip and climb. I will soon need to clip off the ends of the winter squash to keep the plants from wandering too far outside the garden beds and encourage their fruit to grow.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The heat is on

The weather people got it right: this week has been a hot one. Well, hot for us. Even so, we've been using the oven to make pizzas and calzone. On Thursday I made some ice cream with the raspberries we picked back in June. I had frozen half of them; raspberries freeze incredibly well. The recipe was easy because it didn't require making a custard. The result was delicious.

Fluffy seeds.

Not much else going on right now. We're taking it easy, resting after what was (for us) a hectic social calendar over the past month or so. The Tour de France will be finishing up this weekend with the traditional final ride into Paris on Sunday, so I'll be watching that on television.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I haven't run out of old photos. Yet. This one is, I think, from 1963. The actual photograph is stamped "Dec 63," but that doesn't look like it would December in upstate New York. So, maybe it's from the fall. I would have been three, almost four, years old.

If I remember correctly, my parents rented the upstairs apartment in this building where we lived in 1963.

I have some other photos from this group (same date stamp) with snow in them which makes me think that this roll of film was developed in December of that year. I remember, of course, back in the film days how a single roll of film could sit in a camera for months before it was developed. That's all ancient history, now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The garden in late July

The vegetable garden is progressing. We have lots of little green tomatoes, some zucchini and winter squash are forming, and one row of green beans is forming blossoms. The corn is not very tall (I'm not sure how tall this variety is supposed to get) but I can see tassels starting to form.

A wide view of the four square garden plus the long strip of tomatoes (on the left). We have 32 tomato plants in all, plus 2 volunteers.

The cucumbers have sent out tendrils and I'm training them up the tee-pee like structure you see in the pictures. That's the "cucumber tree." Under it is a crop of coriander (cilantro) that's getting ready to go to seed. We use the coriander leaves (called cilantro in the US) in Asian and Mexican dishes and we also use the seeds in other cooking. Plus, the seeds can be planted again next year (there are always too many to use).

Another angle. You can see the corn sticking up in the back.

Otherwise, the surviving aubergine (eggplant) plants are looking good and the warm weather has given a boost to the scrawny bell peppers. Time will tell if they will produce anything. So that's the state of the garden as we move toward August.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


For lack of a better topic, I'll show you the calzone Ken and I made for Sunday's lunch. We used leftover pizza dough and layered half of it with steamed potatoes, two types of ham, some leftover chopped celery greens, and cheese. Then I folded the dough over the stuffing and crimped it closed. It went into the oven for twenty or thirty minutes.

A hot pocket of goodness.

We each ate half, which was plenty. Between the dough and the potatoes, it made for a very hearty dish. Besides, we had eaten celery and carrot sticks with a ranch-style dressing as an appetizer. Salad came after. Yesterday, we ate yet another smoked chicken and bell pepper pizza for lunch. And there is still enough dough left over for two more pizzas. I put that in the freezer for another time.