Friday Ramblings in Nevada

Well…I made it to the end of the work week. Another day of being wide awake at 4:30am with my mind racing about all the things I need to do here at work. 😦

So to give my wee brain time to recoop I thought I’d post some banana recipes (I have a few ripe ones at home and needed something to make) and a few pictures.

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The Sensation Lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’) that I planted in April of 2008 is about to bloom! I’m so excited…it will have single reddish buds that will open to deep purple edged in white.

lilacapril091

A few of the Lemon Queen sunflowers that I planted for the bee project are starting to come up.

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Digging up sod from the front yard (we have way too much lawn) so I can put in another garden area. Will put up a decorative fence of some sort to divide the lawn from the garden. All the grass from the shovel back is coming out.

sodremoval

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Below are two recipes that I’ve tried…and both are real tasty! Enjoy.

French Toast Stuffed with Bananas and Pecans
recipe from Williams-Sonoma Breakfasts & Brunches, page 66

bananafrenchtoast

6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (original is walnuts, but I like pecans)
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
8 slices egg bread
4 Tbsp butter
powdered sugar
jam or pure maple syrup

In a large, shallow bowl, beat eggs until lightly frothy. Stir in milk. Set aside.

Peel nanners into a small bowl and mash. Stir in nuts and nutmeg. Spread the banana-nut mixture evenly over half the bread slices, leaving space around the edges. Top with the remaining bread slices and press down lightly to seal.

Place sandwiches into the egg mixture. Turn gently until evenly saturated on both sides. In a frying pan or griddle, big enough to make all sandwiches, melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add sandwiches and fry until the undersides are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Melt other 2 Tbsp and then flip sandwiches.

Place on plates, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with jam or syrup.

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Sweet Omelet Souffle with Caramelized Bananas
recipe from Williams-Sonoma Breakfasts & Brunches, page 24

bananaomelet

6 Tbsp butter
2 firm but ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices
1/4 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
pinch of salt

In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt 3 Tbsp of the butter. Add the banana slices and, using a fork, turn to coat them well with butter. Saute until very lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the bananas. Reduce the heat slightly and continue to saute until the sugar melts. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside.

Put egg whites in a bowl. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until very frothy but still fairly liquid. In another bowl, beat the yolks until blended. Gradually stir the whites into the yolks until fully incorporated.

In a 8″ nonstick pan, over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 Tbsp of butter. Add the eggs and as they began to set, carefully lift the edges and gently push them to the center, tilting the pan slightly to allow the liquid egg on top to flow undernegth. Continue to cook the eggs until they are almost completely set but still moist on top.

Arrange the bananas evenly over half of the omelet. Beginning with the banana-covered side of the omelet, slide the omelet from the pan to a warmed serving plate and, when halfway out, flip the pan over to fold the olemet in half over the bananas. Cut in half and serve at once.

We Killed Another Juniper! OORAH!

If you’ve read my blog long enough, you’d know that I despise Junipers in any type of landscaping. And when we bought our house, which was built in 1915, the yard was full of the bloody shrubs…some of them the size of a single car garage. We dug and pulled and dug and cried and dug and chopped and sawed and dug most of them out of the yard.

One was left in my way….and on Saturday we sawed and dug the wee one out.

The wee Juniper had to die because I wanted to plant pretty plants that bees like. I love to garden…bees help my garden…therefore I love bees. And I’m going to make my yard a very happy place for bees.

While at Lowes, I wandered to the outdoor plant section while my husband went to the back to pick up something he needed to fix our side gate. I stood in front of the Mediterranean Heather plants for 5 minutes mesmerized by all the bees. Happy bees. Very very happy bees. I want those happy bees in my yard, so I picked out two plants, one in pink and one in white and took them home with me.

After taking out the small juniper, with a big trunk, I planted the heather. This type of Heather blooms in the winter and spring (great for rock gardens) ~ takes full sun, fast growing, hardy to -20F. It’s near my Russian Sage…so when the Heather stops flowering, the Russian Sage will pick up where it left off.

I planted four horseradish plants in the strip between the two sets of bricks (believe it or not, but that is the space I grew two rows of sweet corn last year!)…see picture below.

Also, if you take a look at the upper right corner ~ I’m debating on either planting 3 Blueberry plants and some Elderberries OR that will be the spot I plant the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash).

I’ve narrowed down the Blueberry plants to either TORO or the BLUECROP.

Garden Harvest, Canning, Landscaping & Photography

Just a hodge-podge for today…it’s been a rough week already here at work and I just want to post lots of pictures.

Over the weekend I picked the rest of the green beans from the garden and yanked out the black bean plants. We ate the green beans and I shelled the black beans, blanched and froze ’em for future soups and dinners. Pulled 2 rows of carrots, chopped and blanched and bagged for the freezer. The rest is for eating raw. Did the same for a large amount of squash (Yellow Crook-Necks, Mexican Greys, and Black Zucs). Me thinks I need a small freezer for out back to store all my veggies as my freezer in the kitchen is might full now.

We were rolling the idea around about either using concrete or pavers in the area immediately out front where we have our bench and table under the cedar tree…we can’t afford concrete at the moment and we had pavers in another area of the yard. So, we took up the pavers and the area they used to be in will be planted with corn next spring!

Here is the front during and after ~ before it was redwood bark mulch…full of GOOBER shells dropped by the Scrub Jays. Looked like a western bar floor. It’s a little lumpy in some spots, but it’s nicer than before. 🙂 And my husband wanted me to construct one of my “rock monsters”…”you mean a cairn?” “Ya…just what I said, a rock monster”. LOL!

Playing with the camera again (someone asked earlier what type of camera I have ~ it’s a Canon 2S-IS ~ and no, I don’t use Photoshop, mainly because I haven’t learned yet!) ~ here are some shots of the corn, poppies, pumpkins, and other flowers in the yard.

One of my favorite snacks ~ buy raw pumpkin seeds, spray a tin with olive oil and then spray the seeds, sprinkle some kosher salt on them then stick ’em under the broiler. Yummy.

Leo-Monster…our Bengal-Tabby.

Scrub Jay with his goober ~

Dinner last night ~ BBQ’d Chicken, last of the green beans from the garden, and leftover Crash Hot Potatoes!

Front Yard Landscaping after the death of the Junipers

Well…we finished yanking, pulling and cutting those junipers out of the front ne corner of the lot. Only 3 truck loads to the dump! LOL! Still have a few piles of juniper debris to bag up and then we can level out the corner a bit…rearrange all the river rocks, then plant and regroup the drip system.

BEFORE!

AFTER!

We plan on putting in a drive pad (whether it be concrete or just rock) in part of that area sometime in the future, so I will not be planting anything between the 2nd and the 4th posts (see third picture).

My plants of choice are:

Grappenhall Lavender, English Lavender and French Lavender, Russian Sage, Yellow Coneflower (see picture below), and maybe a White Flutterby Bush.

I thought I wanted a fruitless mulberry tree for the very front yard…but I’m now thinking about a shade tree that turns pretty colors in the Autumn, which is my favorite part of the year. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I live in Zone 7.

Ohhhh….just found this ~ a ‘October Glory’ Maple! Very pretty. Fast growing. In my hardiness zone!

A Weekend in the Juniper War Zone

I’m very, very, very tired today. And my arms and legs look like I was in the middle of a cat fight…and lost. My hands are swollen and hurt…carpal tunnel will be hurting them for a few weeks. 😦

It’s amazing how much work we’ve done, yet have soooo much more to do. So far two truck loads and 26 trash bags…at least one more truck load and many more bags to go. There are two Arborvitae to take out, one more juniper and lots of trunks.

I’ve sketched out in my mind what we will do in that area once finished…immediately in the corner next to the church will be plants like Flutterby Bush, Russian Sage, and Lavender…then there will be an area left open facing the street for a future drive pad…then a Fruitless Mulberry tree.

Yesterday while taking a break I was just staring into that mess when five of the “teenager” scrub jays went to investigate. They loved the trunks…great place to crack open their goobers. And the black cat across the street had the funniest confused look on his face…staring up and looking around where, I’m sure, he used to lay in wait, under cover, to attack birdies.

It boggles my mind why ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would plant junipers! There are so many prettier shrubs to plant ~ like butterfly bushes, forsythia, barberry, hydrangea, lilacs!

Waging War Against the Junipers Continues….

We have once again declared war against the junipers in our yard! This war will be a triology…not sure when we will get to the last part.

This time it’s on the NE corner of our lot…there are at least three junipers with pretty big trunks. Me thinks they’ve been there for over 30 years.

Here is a before picture after I trimmed them down somewhat in the spring.

And here is what we’ve done with one saw, one hedge trimmer, and my pruners. They’ve been there so long they are growing in and out of the fence. It’s slow going. Going to have to take a few trips to the dump again…we’ve piles on two sections of our fence. Ultimately I’d like to have a drive pad in that corner as we have no off-street parking. I will be planting a fruitless Mulberry near there…more towards the irises. I love those trees…fast growing and a great climbing & shade tree, not that I’ll be doing much climbing in it. 🙂

Happy Friday! My dirt is coming! My dirt is coming!

LOL! Oxborrow is delivering my garden soil and decomposed granite today ~ asked them to give me a call here at work before they deliver so I can get home by the time they get there.

Am getting 3 cubic yards of Double Mix (topsoil and grape compost) and 3 cubic yards of D.G. 5/16″ (coarse). Have my wheelborrow and shovel ready!

Well have to go shopping for seeds and some plants afterwards. List has been made:

Here’s a picture of where it’s all going ~

Soil in the boxes ~ decomposed granite all around the boxes where the dirt is now. It’s going to be nice not having dirt all over the patio when the wind blows. Tired of sweeping out there all the time! I was going to get the fine D.G., but the lady at the counter asked what it was going to be used for. Told her and she suggested the coarse as the fine is like sand. She said that the coarse D.G. is what everyone uses in their xeri-scape landscaping. Small pebble size, like your pinky finger nail. I plan on using it in the front yard where I’ve been re-landscaping too.

ALSO! Wanted to remind everyone in the Reno/Sparks area that the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office will be holding their:

ANNUAL MASTER GARDENER PLANT FAIRE next Saturday, May 17th, 2008 at 7:00 am to 11:30 am. 5305 Mill Street, Reno, NV. 784-4848.

From our gardens to your’s at great savings! Wide variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, grasses, shrubs, grapes and more. 4-inch and 1-gallon plants.

Here is a link to their Calendar of Events.