Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Cool Day

It has been a long and hot summer so a Sunday afternoon that we are having today with a temperature of only 72 degrees F (22C) and rain is quite a change.

We sometimes eat dinner out on the deck and can then enjoy seeing the hummingbirds come to feed at the same time.  But some days ago I found a new guest at the feeder;

This smart butterfly and discovered there was more than the blooms of the flowers to be enjoyed. There have also been a lot of goldfinches in the garden this year flitting from seedhead to seedhead in among the coneflowers.

It's the time of year when I feel as though I should be eating tomatoes at every meal as there are so many of them.

 I thought this was a great color combination. The tomatoes are both yellow and orange; most of my plants this year are volunteers from earlier years so I take what I get.

Recently friends were over to share in a potluck dinner and one friend introduced us to Salad Caprese which, in her version anyway, is slices of tomato alternating with slices of mozzarella cheese with lots of fresh basil strewn over the top and dressed at the last minute with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

 I hightailed it to the store to find the balsamic vinegar reduction and now use it to make a simple tomato salad (caprese without the mozzarella cheese as that does not grow in my garden!)

 Looking in the fridge I put together this salad of arugula, strawberries, blueberries, sugared pecans and crumbled feta cheese and then drizzled a little of the balsamic reduction over top.

On another night, company was coming and I was making pork tenderloin with beans from the farmstand and I decided to make a peach cobbler variation as well (peaches also from the farm stand).

My garden does not have a lot of produce but it does provide a jumping off point for several dishes. And the just picked rosemary for the pork or basil for the tomatoes or mint that I might add to a simple side of sliced fresh peaches all make for great summertime eating.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Sad Loss in the Back Garden

On Friday the screaming of a chain saw was heard in the back garden. When listening closely it was also possible to hear the trees and birds screaming. Why? Because what was coming down was two more cedar trees and one of them was a tree much beloved by the birds visiting my back garden especially in the winter months.
 Here is a not so good photo of the cedar tree in late 2008. It was quite a presence then in the tree area.

Here are the birds all over it in January of this year.

But here is the poor thing on August 1 of this year. We have had a number of storms lately that have blown down trees and I did not want to risk this one falling towards the house.

 Here is the sight halfway through. I was so sad; I had to retreat to the upstairs and watch out the window.

 And here is the gap now in my landscape. See that tall silver stump on the far right? That is what is now left of the second tree that had to come down on Friday.

You can perhaps see why. To the near left was the cedar that died last year that got taken half down earlier in the spring. That was where the green man was hanging. But Friday I decided it needed to go totally and the one to the right could now host the green man.

It has been a sad season in my back garden. The grass is not doing so well and the flowers are not putting on the usual wonderful display. I can count seven stumps from cedar trees that we have lost in the last few years along this front row of trees. I wish I knew why they are no longer thriving.

The next problem will be what happens to what used to be my shade garden. It is located behind where the big cedar was but now it will take the hot mid afternoon sun. So there will be more plants to mourn I'm thinking.

Time to put my garden thinking hat on and ponder what I can do to return beauty to my back garden.