Friday, May 30, 2008

Time to give up shoes and socks!

I've been waiting a long time for spring to start feeling like summer. We've had a few warmish days, but the nights have remained cool. It's certainly been comfortable. And I haven't had to turn on the air conditioner or the furnace. But my vegetable plants need some warm nights so they can start growing in earnest.

Wonder Melon toes!

A high of 80 degrees was predicted for Race Day, May 25. So I painted my toenails their summer color. I think it's called Wonder Melon. It's a good summer color! We didn't hit 80, but my feet didn't get cold in sandals. So I'm ready to give up socks for the season.

I've been busy working on my gardens all week. I've installed weed cloth, held down by strips of carpet. It's a weird look, but it works. I'll be re-carpeting the pool site as soon as I finish my planting. I've had an 8' pool for the last few years. Last fall I found a deal on a 10' pool, so I upgraded. I need a bigger chunk of carpet.

Having a pool makes my gardening life easier. I take breaks during the heat of summer days to float on my raft and read paperback novels. I only read outdoors. So the stack of books I'm dying to read is getting pretty tall. I read my first two in the lounge chair. I just finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I loved it! I'm also hooked on the Stephanie Plum series from Janet Evanovich. I found Plum Lovin' and read it in one afternoon.

I baked a ham this week. I decided to try a ham and cheese sandwich. I've had exactly two sandwiches in 2008. Both were disappointing. I was encouraged to see a new soft sandwich bread recipe from Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl. I hope to try it on my next baking day. So I settled for my improving porridge bread.

I seem to react to every (EVERY!) pre-made mayonnaise. I'm okay with that. I warmed my sandwich, so the cheese was a little melty. It was a good little half a sandwich, but something was missing. Pickles!

I seem to react to everything that comes in a jar, box or can. So I made some easy, quick pickles with entirely safe ingredients. The next day I had another half a ham & cheese with pickles. Perfect! I've planted about 20 cucumber plants so far. I'll be happy when they start producing. I'm going to make lots of these pickles. They are crisp and delightful.

Kay's Crispy Pickles

2 C water
1 C cider vinegar
2 T sea salt (not iodized)
1 big dill head for each jar or a small bunch of tarragon

Boil water, vinegar and salt 5 minutes. Put a dill head int he bottom of each jar, then fill up with clean cucumbers, whole or sliced. Pour boiling brine into jars of cucumber and let sit 10 minutes. Pour the brine back into the kettle and boil again for 10 minutes. Pour the brine back over the cucumbers, clean the threads of the jars, and seal with lids.

While the brine is boiling the second time, bring a kettle half-filled with plain water to a boil. After sealing the jars, place them in the boiling water. Turn off the heat. Do not process the pickles. Water need not cover the jars. About a third of the jar should be above the water line. Allow the jars to cool completely in this pan of water. I went to bed, and they were perfect in the morning.

I used small jars, that added up to about a quart. My dill is tiny just now, so I used a small bunch of fresh tarragon in each jar. I used to make tarragon cornichons for my special remoulade sauce, so I knew I would like the tarragon. I'll use dill when mine grows up.

I also pickled some asparagus, using the same recipe. I use the litte ones in place of artichokes in my Greek salad. The long spears look pretty on an antipasto tray.

Daddy cat and the lettuce patch.

No, it's not a poppy, it's a peony!

My favorite show has been on tv all night - weather radar! We're having our first severe storm of the year. Sounds really severe just north of my house. Power is out, a roof blew off, roads are flooded, and trees are down. I think it would be a good time to unplug my computer.


Gluti Girl said...

I hope you survived the storms! It got so bad for a while. I thought our house would blow away. I thought of you when they showed Beech Grove on the map!

I planted cucumber seeds and they are not coming up. I think it's been so cool that they probably rotted! I don't know if Lowes would still have some plants or not yet.

I love that color of Peony, my favorite flower. I have some the same color that just bloomed out this week. All my lighter pink ones are done :( I love to have them all over the house. They smell so good! But next the hydrangea's will be blooming. Yeah!

Gluten free Kay said...

I survived the storm. Lots of wind and lightning, but my power lines remained intact.

I had poor germination of my cucumber seeds, too. So I bought some others to fill in. I make the rounds of southside garden centers. Hiedenreich's, Paul's at Kitley and Brookville, and the one on Meridian just north of Troy. I think they all had cukes last week.

Those peonies were perfect the day after the race. But they're all gone now. My deep red ones are blooming now, and the pink ones will be next.

Ashlee said...

Thanks for sharing!! I like those pair.. If I am not wrong then those are Gucci designer shoes.

Gluten free Kay said...

Ha ha! Me in Gucci! They're Birkenstocks, Maui I think. I also have them in a lovely puke green snakeskin.