Monday’s Rambles…just because I’m a bit scattered today

Big sigh. What a day here at work…6:30 am hit the ground running and it hasn’t stopped! I just keep focusing on the margarita I will be making myself when I get home. 🙂

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Over the weekend we stopped off at Lavender Ridge…and proceeded to get a $30 parking ticket “failure to obey traffic sign” ~ parking in the bike lane. WHAT?! I parked on the shoulder of the road! There is no Bike Path sign until you reach the bend in the road near the bridge! There is NO sign at the corner of 4th and Mayberry where I parked. Then on top of it…Lavender Ridge is EXPENSIVE! Patooey. I usually like to buy from local stores…but got so mad that I went to Lowes and bought myself a nice Hidcote lavender plant. It’s in a pot for now…I’ll plant it later next month at my new house when we move. I did love seeing all the bees on the lavender plants there…that was one good thing.

Hidcote Lavender ~ From Gorge Top Garden’s website:

A must have plant for anyone who is trying to create the cottage garden look. Lavender Hidcote is a compact plant growing to a height of only 14 inches, perfect for edging or creating a low growing hedge. Its beautiful blue-green foliage is evergreen and remains attractive throughout the year. The sweet perfumed fragrance of Lavender is strong in both the foliage and the gorgeous deep blue flowers. Flowers first begin to appear in mid July and continue to appear into the later parts of September.

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One of my faculty gave me a few tomato plants…this one is loading the maters on! It’s a cherry tomato plant of some sort. The biggest one is about 1″ round with the smallest being 1/8″ round. Also in pots…waiting for the move.

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Started back on the ps i quilt along (the one I shelved after realizing it had to be done in three weeks time…”easy peasy” for folks who don’t work outside the home, not so for folks who only have an hour at night every other day or so). I have the top left four sewn together…with the rest in pairs. Will try to work on it more tonight.

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Some more wildflowers from Verdi, NV area ~ along the Truckee river.

Chimney Ruins and foundation of Verdi Glen Resort & Verdi Timber Company.

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How I found Leo the other day…he’s such a bed hog.

Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette for Tomatoes and More!

After my most recent move, my garden plants that I dug up and put into pots are not doing the best…except for my herbs, they are doing wonderful. So…I’ve been buying heirloom tomatoes at the Farmers Market.

I want to share the vinaigrette that I’ve been making to drizzle over the tomatoes (and bread).

Cast of characters are:
(note– measurements are approximate, as I change it up each time I make it)

1/2 Cup Olive Oil
6-8 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
4-6 cloves of garlic…I lean towards the 6 🙂
1/3 Cup Fresh Basil
1 TBSP Fresh Oregano
2 grabs of Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (probably about 1 tsp or more)
Fresh ground Pepper (I use the 3 peppercorn blend…and some black/red pepper)…and lots of it! 🙂

I use my small chopper/blender….mince the garlic, add chopped up herbs, add salt and pepper, vinegar, then olive oil….blend like crazy.

Drizzle over sliced tomatoes or some very good bread!

It’s good over pork chops…rice…bread and cheese…the list goes on! ENJOY!

August 2009 Garden Update ~ Sparks, Nevada

Well…it’s almost the end of August and here is what is left of my garden. I don’t think it produced as well as last year, but I tried different plants than last.

Cucumbers…I’ve oodles of cucumbers. The best producing ones have been the Lemon and the Homemade Pickles. Both I bought as seedlings from the UNCE Plant Sale, and that particular Master Gardener got her seeds from Botanical Interests in Colorado.

Cucumber ~ Homemade Pickles Seeds

homemadepickle_august

They have made many many many pints and quarts of pickles (picture shows lemon and homemade cucs):

august_pickles

Lemon Cucumber Seeds ~ These are tasty little cucumbers!

lemon_cuc

Spacemaster Cucumbers round out my cucumber plants. It’s not producing as many as the other two…but supplies us with great cucs to slice into salads and add with red onions and vinegar.

Squash…I’ve diddly-squat in the squash department. Squash bugs ate my whole crop. I couldn’t smoosh them fast enough.

I do have a mystery volunteer that is coming up in the decomposed granite in between two of my boxed tomato plants. I’m thinking it’s a winter squash of some sort…or a mutant. Anyone have any ideas?

mysterysquash1

Tomatillos…I’ve tomatillos coming out of my ears. 🙂 They grow well here in Northern Nevada, that’s for sure. I think I may decrease to 2 plants next year. I’ll be making more salsa soon. I’ll add a bunch into pesole that I plan on canning (going to break out that pressure canner that I got for my birthday soon).

Peppers…peppers ALWAYS do well here! I’ve been picking bell peppers, hungarian stuffing peppers, yellow pickle peppers, jalapeno, cayenne, and sweet italian. I’ve borrowed my sister’s dehydrator and plan on using it and the pressure canner to put up my peppers after roasting them. I read that you can dehydrate peppers even after roasting them. Will be making sauces up and canning them too.

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

The corn did ok, not as well as last year. I planted it in a different spot, guess it didn’t like it much.

The heirloom Brandywine tomatoes did not do well at all. The plant looks ok, it blooms, but then they drop. The heirloom Siberian tomatoes are producing very well.

Beets did great. Carrots not so well. Radishes did well. Brussels sprouts not so well…I finally yanked them as they were full of bugs. Cabbage did great. Cantaloupe got eaten by squash bugs. Horseradish is doing great…well, the top part is really big, not sure about the root part yet.

Herbs do great in my yard. You should see my one sun room…loaded with brown lunch bags of herbs drying. Basil, fennel, chamomile, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage.

It’s Wednesday and I’m Praying for some Southern Winds!

Sure wish we’d get some winds coming up from the south (I don’t think there are any fires to the south of us!)…this smoke that has settled into the Truckee Meadows is killing me.  Had to break out the Mucinex-D this morning. Photos below were taken this morning about 6am outside my work looking NE.

Last night while watering the flowers out front I spied a Flutterby on the lavender plants ~ lookie at his curly-thingy (very scientific name, I know)!

And a wee bee too…

Here is that yellow squash that I talked about yesterday…it went from 1-1/2″ one morning to 4″ in one day! There’s another one too…

I have more tomatoes setting on the plants…the whole time I was looking at the top of the Yellow Pear plant I didn’t even notice the six tomatoes that started below! The Giant Belgium Pink has lots more setting and the Japanese & Russian Blacks too.

I’ve packed away my jeans and brought out the crop pants, but decided I needed a couple of dresses. Went to Savers and found two…only they were too long and too big, so off I went to my mom’s for her to pin me. Took up the sides of the brown dress and had to hem it 6″ (I’m only 5’4″) as the dress went to the floor on me! The blue floral one doesn’t need to be taken in too much, but you can see in the one picture how much I have to hem it. 🙂 Big sigh. But for $8 per dress, I figured I could do the alterations! You can’t buy the fabric for that price! I love the brown one, it really looks great with Donna’s beaded button bracelet she made.

NO TOMATOES?! ACK! Grow Garden, GROW!

Am quite distressed with the lack of tomatoes in the area at the moment…and all I have right now are tomato blossoms with ONE wee tomato between the lot of them! Big sigh. Next month I should have a nice crop of tomatoes though.

Here are some pictures of the backyard garden that I took after watering last night ~ the peppers, carrots, radishes, green onions, zucs, mexican grey squash, yellow squash, pumpkins, snap peas, bush beans, black beans, cucumbers, spinach, romaine, basil, thyme and even the tomatoes are all growing nicely. The corn out front (ran out of room in the back so I planted them just on the other side of the fence) is about 8″ high now.




The Sparks Hometown Farmer's Market on B Street (Yes…been here long enough to call it B Street instead of Victorian…just can’t shake it) starts tomorrow. Which means I have to remember to put out the orange cones out front of my house before I leave for work.

Sparks Farmer’s Market Weekly Themes:

June 12 ~ Market Kick-Off
June 19 ~ Let the Rodeo Begin – Steer-up Rodeo Week
June 26 ~ Mumbo, Gumbo – Southern Cooking
July 3 ~ Red, White, Blue…and Green?! Independence Day Picnic
July 10 ~ Forever Italy
July 17 ~ Family First
July 24 ~ Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Buy Nevada
July 31 ~ Hot Nights, Hot Rods – Hot August Nights Tribute
Aug 14 ~ A Food Fiesta
Aug 21 ~ Bone up for Ribs, Get ready for the Annual Rib Cook-Off

If you can’t stand all the people at that big one on Thursday nights…there is a real nice small Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays at the Sparks United Methodist Church on the corner of Pyramid & Oddie. I think it runs from 8am to 1pm and it goes through September 16th. I head over there during lunch some weeks.