What a strange week of weather we had. Last Tuesday it rained so hard parts of the garden store experienced some minor flooding. Then it suddenly turned hot!. The sunny, hot weather is not unusual here in the valley in the summer. What is a little different this year is that it started before July 4th. For all you heat lovers, my sister-in-law especially, this is a welcome change. For those of you that think 70 deg is the perfect temperature-sorry. Personally, 80 is my perfect temperature, so I haven’t been in my comfort zone the last few days, either. But I do love the sunshine and summertime, so I’ll figure out a way to deal with 95 deg.
Three things my husband and I have been doing in this past fews days are watering, harvesting and barbequing. Keeping plants in containers and newly planted plants adequately hydrated is always a challenge when it gets to be over 90. Some plants just react to the heat and wilt, even though they’re not dry. Hydrangeas are especially prone to doing this. Plants with large, succulent foliage, like my Nasturtiums, got sunburned. Not to mention that most of the flowers fell off. I picked the seedheads off and I hope they will bloom again. Mitch has been getting our drip irrigation system working again. Hopefully, we’re able to keep most of our plants alive and healthy. It’s also important to use water appropriately and conserve where possible. We just posted some tips on watering on our website. Check it out…
Our vegetables are producing furiously. The lettuce grew so fast, I didn’t get it all harvested before it started to bolt. Zucchini and patty pan squash are exploding. Even my dad’s beans are producing more than I imagined they would. We’re sharing a pot garden at my parent’s house. I haven’t harvested for a week. I’m imaging zucchinis the size of baseball bats! The last time I did gather produce, I had a few of this and a little bit of that. My plan was to cook what Mitch and would eat and then go back and harvest again in a few days. Well, our life is never on a set schedule. We had an impromptu dinner at our house joined by my sister and her boyfriend. Since I try to cook enough meat for leftovers, that was not a problem. But when I thought about the vegetables, I didn’t have enough of any one veggie to feed all four of us. I’m usually the type of cook that fixes a single vegetable, but Erica regularly creates a medley, so I asked her for suggestions on how to cook what I had. We ended up with a delicious, and beautiful, medley of quartered patty pan squash, green beans and onions-all from our garden. Yum. It was so good, I don’t even remember what the meat was we barbequed. This week I sauteed zucchini, mushrooms and onions in olive oil with a little oregano. That was actually from a recipe. It too was delicious. Our first cherry tomato is almost ripe. We didn’t pick it because we had mushroom stuffed tomatoes (store bought, unfortunately) for dinner. Next it will be peppers and eggplant. Yeah!
I’m not sure how Mitch feels about barbequing. It means he is doing more of the cooking. He seems to enjoy barbequing. He approaches it like he does everything else: researches the best procedure and equipment, buys what he considers is necessary (which is why we have 3 different barbeques), and then keeps at it until her perfects his skill. I could complain that we really don’t need 3 barbeques or that he should loosen up a little bit, but he’s cooking and he does a really good job. Also, he is willing to try anything on the barbeque, so we have a varied menu. Tonight was a classic relationship challenge. I had been trying to find a recipe for the above mentioned mushroom stuffed tomatoes. We ordered them as an appetizer at Ankeny Hill Winery on Saturday. We both enjoyed them so much that I became obsessed with making them. Of course, every chef is different and I didn’t end up with exactly what we enjoyed on Saturday. Over the course of the last two days, we discussed Mitch cooking them on the barbeque. Well, I had finally settled on 2 recipes that I was going to merge. Both of them called for baking them and warned not to overcook. So I decided to put them in the oven, without telling Mitch. I was very surprised to find out he was a little bit upset. He had prepared his coals entirely around the plan of cooking the tomatoes. They had already been in the oven for 10 minutes! Well, I took them out of the oven and he finished them on the grill. They were so yummy. I’m hoping to try them again when my tomatoes get ripe. So, lessen learned on my part. Don’t mess with the barbeque master and his plan.
Everything seems to taste better when it is fresh, simply prepared and eaten outside. Plus, we enjoy watching the birds flying through, the hummingbirds and bees feasting on the flowers. Even as it has been so hot, I have noticed how the bees are feeding during the heat of the day. It made me happier and more tolerant of the heat, to see them calmly going about their business. Our dog, Tipper, enjoys laying in the grass. Life just seems slower and more enjoyable.
Happy Independence Day to everyone. I hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor. Have a relaxing, safe holiday!