Friday, June 25, 2010

Nature Notes: Nosy Neighbor

Peeking In

Sometimes you go looking for nature and sometimes it comes looking for you.

I was just sitting here considering what to post about for Nature Notes, when this little dragonfly floated up and peered in through the window. I had no time to change the camera settings, so it's in black and white. But then, so was the dragonfly, so nothing lost. Doesn't she look like she's shading her eyes for a better look?

We did lose power with the storm Wednesday, which means no pump to bring water from the well. No AC or lights, either, but the water is the real issue. I washed in the sink yesterday morning, using water I scooped out of the swimming pool in a bucket. We flushed toilets the same way, using pool water. I really hate the way that above ground pool looks, but I'm suddenly not so inclined to take it down.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

There's been a lot of heavy weather this week in northeast Indiana, taking out power and Internet for a lot of us. The rain is more or less welcome, though we're getting pretty floody in places, but the wind and lightning are a pain. If I disappear for a while again, you'll know why.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme


The "herb garden" has been scaled back this year, planted in pots along the the edge of the deck. It's for the best, really.

Last year I tried growing them in the veggie patch but, time and energy being limited, I eventually had to hunt through the weeds to find them. Besides, The Hubby is attacking the weed situation with a little tiller this time around, and he seems to have a hard time telling friend from foe in the herb section.

The only thing that survived from last year was the sage, now safely potted up and removed from harm's way. I have added rosemary, mint, globe basil, thyme, parsley, dill and catnip. I'll be salvaging some chives from my son's yard, too.

I keep them trimmed back and dry the clippings I'm not using in the kitchen right away, and it's working out quite well. I haven't tried herbal teas for medicinal uses yet, but that's on the agenda.

I roasted a turkey breast a couple of weeks ago and thought it would be fun to add parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme in the gravy - turkey a la Simon and Garfunkle. It was absolutely delicious! (I thicken with cornstarch, so it's really more of a sauce.)

Rosemary is my favorite for cooking. It's easy to find at the garden center or sometimes in the produce section at the grocery store. I've included a simple recipe below that we love.

If you haven't tried growing herbs yet, I highly recommend it.

* Nice link for cooking: Culinary Herb Guide

Herb Chicken

Rinse and dry split chicken breasts with the skin on, as many as you need. From the thick end of the breasts, gently separate the skin from the meat to form a pocket. (Do not loosen all the way to the edges of the skin.)

Into the pocket, insert a generous layer of strong garlic butter, a thin lemon slice, and a sprig or two of rosemary. Smoke, roast on the grill, or roast in the oven at 325 degrees for about an hour, until brown and done (Depends on the size of the pieces.)

If roasted in the oven, discard all but about 2-3 teaspoons of the fat. Thicken drippings with cornstarch and chicken broth, plus a spoonful of granulated chicken bouillon and another sprig of rosemary to make a gravy.

I serve this with wild rice, peas, spring-greens salad, and watermelon.


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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nature Notes: Carpe Diem

The Latin phrase carpe diem—usually expressed in English as “seize the day” although its literal translation is “pluck the day” or “pick the day” as in gathering flowers—originates in the Odes of Horace (Book 1, No. 11):

carpe diem quam minimum credula postero
Seize the day and put no trust in the future


Salvage Yard

See all these lovely flowers? The photo was taken May 20, and already they are all gone. Which leads me to the story of why they are here.

My mother loved irises. She had a collection, so many colors and shapes, early bloomers to late. The blue and white ones here are descendants of a clump she gave me over twenty years ago, which I dug up and moved with us from state to state. I will always think of her when they bloom.

The sweet-scented purple and lavender ones came with our previous house and were the only pretty things in the yard. I spent weeks in the spring defending them from tricycles, baseballs, and games of tag.

So I was dismayed when my son announced he was digging them all up, along with the rest of my old perennials.

"Don't you remember how beautiful they are every spring?" I said.
"Yes, but for how long?" he replied. "Most of the time they're just leaves."

And so we spent a day last fall salvaging the unwanted plants and tucking them into this temporary home, a weedy, vacant plot beside the front porch. The fact that they have already taken hold and are blooming is a testament to their tenacity.

How could a child of mine so completely miss the point?

The essence of life is change. A garden grows, flowers, dies - and grows again in the next wave of bloom, the next season. The joy of it happens in the space between the coming and the going, the the bittersweet pleasure of loving all that is destined to die.

Lilac Time

O Gather Me the Rose

- William Ernest Henley (1874)

O, gather me the rose, the rose,
While yet in flower we find it,
For summer smiles, but summer goes,
And winter waits behind it!

For with the dream foregone, foregone,
The deed forborne for ever,
The worm, regret, will canker on,
And time will turn him never.

So well it were to love, my love,
And cheat of any laughter
The death beneath us and above,
The dark before and after.

The myrtle and the rose, the rose,
The sunshine and the swallow,
The dream that comes, the wish that goes,
The memories that follow!

Mom's Iris

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