Monday, July 29, 2013

Fair Weather

It is always a gamble when deciding in June what to enter in the fair in July. One can only speculate which flowers will be at the height of perfection on floral and horticulture judging day.

Last year, due to a very early start to the growing season many of the usual contenders were long past their peak. This year, because it was still snowing in May, the same varieties were nowhere near their bloom date even in mid July.

Roses, not often seen in great numbers at the fair were a welcome sight as they came to maturity much later than their typical June showing.

Monarda and Echinacea however, were barely represented at the last two years' fairs as their narrow window of flowering opened too early in '12 and too late in '13 for competition.

See the tall, gleaming ivory tower of blossoms near the back? 
That is your NWSF sweepstakes winner in the perennial division in the "any other perennial" category. It was quite magnificent. It is no shame that NDL's little "Osprey" trandescantia  took just 2nd place and a red when the blue and purple ribbons went to the champion yucca in the same class.

And in the crops and soils division....some fine looking rhubarb that would, in many years, be old, rangy, and long gone to seed.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Worth the Wait

Last winter we bought some beautiful strawberries at the grocery store and discovered that they were hard as rocks, had solid white hearts, and the taste? what taste?

Someone told us they were really pretty good. Being our usual agreeable self we did not argue.
But we should have. Those were not good berries.

These are good berries.

Summer has come and now we are reminded of what a strawberry is really meant to be like. 
Red all the way through, best the very day it is picked, juicy, 
and full of ecstasy-producing flavor without need for sugar, chocolate coating, 
or any other distractions from its amazing strawberryness.

It is even a good thing that summer berries do not keep for more than a day or two. 
The same breeding that enables a strawberry to be transported for hundreds or thousands of miles and keep for weeks in the frig also takes away all that makes strawberries divinely desirable to eat.

See that juice in the bottom of the bowl. Just try to get one of those plastic January pretend strawberries to ooze even a drop of it. And if you see us in the produce aisle next winter reaching for a plastic clam-shell full of out-of -season zombie berries, please remind us that if we take them home we will be disappointed. 

Very, very disappointed.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


We had the honor of receiving the new gardeners' first harvest.

The presentation of these four small veg clutched in the hand of the girl half 
of the community gardening duo seemed  familiar.

Yes, we thought as we searched our memory. 

This is the grownup, independent child version of the first dandelion bouquet of the summer 
being proudly, beamingly, offered. 

How we have missed that.

What a wonderful gift.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Days of Wine (and Cheese) and Roses

African marathon runners have nothing on gardeners in the stamina department.

A recent garden club field trip had members crossing several county lines in search of 
new greenhouses to explore. But first thing's first. 

Lunch and wine tasting at Munson Bridge Winery fueled the fond-of-foliage friends for plant shopping 
up and down and round about Hwy. 29 East.

Munson Bridge.

Well, you can't have wine without cheese so...the ladies had to stop at the world famous 
Holland's Family Cheese  home of prize-winning Marieke Gouda
They were driving right by for heaven's sake.

Here are the girls that really make the champion gouda possible.

It's all good, 

but may we recommend our favorite, the foenegreek?

Be patient, it's best when aged.

At the end of the day the cars could hold no more plants. 
But somehow, someone managed to wedge in a case of wine. 

Can't wait for the garden club Christmas party!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Carol's Garden Revisited

Since we last toured Carol's Garden some new things have been popping up.

Large, cheerful mushrooms.

More welded flowers.

And some very inviting, throw-back seating.

We wonder if we will ever actually catch Carol sitting down? 

It is our observation that people with amazing gardens seldom do. The weeds won't let them.

Monday, July 15, 2013


The first, perfect, most tender zucchini.  Just 4" long it is a thing of beauty.

We call this Perfection Salad.

Zucchini ribbons, olive oil, lemon juice, and shaved parmesan, garnished with 
wonderfully fragrant lemon basil.

Delectable! Tastes like summer.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wait Until Dark

When you have a notion to get naked it can be hard to wait. 

Especially if the urge hits you on one of the longest days of the year. 

But if you are in a public place you just might want to try to stay clothed until after sundown.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Day in Alsace

A half day really. But we did our best to see, eat, and drink all that our representative Alsatian town of 
 Ribeauville, France had to offer.

Flowers are everywhere in the Cité  Fleurie.

And stork nests can be seen on every spire.

Here is where we tried to consume a humongous plate of the classic Alsatian dish choucroute garnie
It couldn't be done.

Grapes and vintners are put on a pedestal in this famous wine region.

The village is too charming for words. See the castle on the hill at the end of the street?

Goddesses of bountiful grape harvest are also held on high.

Stork Street.

Where else can you get vineyards, storks, and castles all in one shot?

And grape vines in the empty lot next to your hotel?

Alsace, that's where. We'll be back!

Friday, July 5, 2013

French Connection

This is what made our auto come to a sudden halt as we passed through town.

And it is the sole reason that we propose Toucy, France as our NDL sister-city. Although we have since discovered that there are many other reasons we should want Toucycois as a sibling state. 

At the top of that list is the mid-September event called "Frequently Asked Potatoes". 

Voulez-vous être le mien, pourriez-vous être le mien, s'il vous plaît ne vous mon voisin?*

*Would you be mine, could you be mine, please won't you be my neighbor?