Monday, May 30, 2011

What's For Breakfast?

This morning, we served Ryan's famous sourdough rolls with a choice of blackberry-basil or strawberry-tarragon jams.

The first course consisted of Healthy Blueberry Breakfast "Cake" with organic apricot jam topping, and garnished with local blueberries and a sprig of lemon balm!

Finally, there was lemony quinoa with maple-sauteed apples!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Good Friends, Good Wines, GREAT Hats!

Saturday afternoon was spent relaxing around a table at the wonderful Longsword Vineyard, while watching paragliders and hang gliders land in the field in front of the tasting room. What a great way to start off Memorial Weekend!

Of course I wore my birthday hat!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Birthday Hat & The Date That Never Happened

Thursday was my (infamous) birthday, and it appears that I mostly managed to escape my normal bad luck spell: I did not have to work, there were no trips to the emergency room, and there was only one minor instance with a sick animal (ok, I cried for two days straight over that one, but thankfully it happened on SUNDAY, and the animal ended up not being as ill as it could have been!). All in all, not too bad for me!

Thursday morning began with the normal family breakfast and packs of marauding kittens demanding food crumbs and attention. After which, I raced off to the local Aveda salon for a cut 'n' color. I have missed being a "true" redhead so much, and I decided it was time to lop off my long locks and go for something far shorter and much redder. I jokingly call it "Channeling Joan." After my appointment, Ryan and I had drinks & lunch with Friend David at 38 Central. We wandered around a few antique stores and bought Ryan a new old "toyl," and on the way home we decided to stop by a new-ish antique store in Jacksonville that we hadn't been to in months. Well, it was there that I discovered The Hat. And not just any hat - my super-awesome, totally borderline, ridiculously-feathered, BIRTHDAY Hat! I had been yearning for a hat worthy of a good birthday, and this was it! At first, I had been occupied with a silly (but somewhat beat-up) 1940s black velvet tilt hat with an ostrich feather. It was fun, but at $65 it was a bit expensive for something that had seen better days (and I have never been a fan of ostrich feathers on hats). Well, I set the hat down and was pondering it when I looked across the shop. There, at the very top of a display cabinet, I saw MY hat. It was gorgeous! I asked Ryan to get it for me (thank goodness for tall husbands), and when I tried it on we both looked at each other and said, "This needs to come home with us!" The shopkeeper had told us it was more expensive than the other hat I had just been looking at, so as I reluctantly turned it over to look at the price tag, I was expecting something in the $120 range...instead, the $75 price tag seemed like an answer to my prayers! Yippee! So, of course the hat came home with me! It even matched my outfit!

Later, Ryan and I got all dressed up to go out on an evening date, but we were still SO full from lunch at 38 Central that we ended up canceling our reservation, changing into sweatpants, and hanging out at home. I know, we must sound pretty lame, but it was the best way to end a wonderful birthday that I could think of! We did make sure to take pictures of us dressed up though...just to have as proof that we DO clean up well! *grin*

What's For Breakfast?

Today's B&B guest breakfast consisted of Ryan's freshly-baked sourdough rolls with a choice of blackberry-basil or strawberry-tarragon jams; farm fresh scrambled eggs with butter-fried sage and chives; and finally, our signature Cherry-Fennel Granola with whole milk yogurt, garnished with (local) apricot slices, blueberries, and a strawberry topped with a fennel leaf!


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Word of the Day is...EXHAUSTED!

I've been pulling some really long hours in the garden now that the weather is finally beginning to cooperate with me. I've planted the beans and sweet corn in the ground (both starts AND seeds), and have begun transplanting peppers and squash and cucumbers outside too. We've also had a lot of "first of the season" appearances this past week: the first ripe strawberries, the first rose bloom, the first artichokes, etc. All of the heirloom pole beans have germinated, and today I noticed the Dragons Tongue bush beans finally poking their shy heads up out of the soil! Summer is on the way!

Last weekend, Ryan and I spent most of Sunday putting together my pepper isolation cage frames. I had to order my snap clamps online though, so I'm still waiting for those to arrive before I can finish the cages with reemay fabric. Who would have thought that such a simple and supposedly common part would be SO unbelievably difficult to find?!? I don't even want to admit how many hours we wasted trying to find the part locally...ah well. Story of my life.

I'm very much looking forward to summer! We've had a bad year for greens/peas/etc this year (which is SO strange to me), so there hasn't been much fresh produce to eat around the house. We're not big on grocery store shopping (mainly due to the fact that town is a long drive away, grocery shopping is EXPENSIVE anymore, and most of the produce they have is terribly bland), so if we can't eat out of our garden then we tend not to eat produce...I swear, if I see one more carb I may SCREAM! I am eagerly awaiting those lusciously ripe tomatoes, cold zucchini soup, hot tamale pie with fresh vegetables and homegrown & ground cornmeal! Not to mention squash soup, raspberries, peppers, etc.! Is it mid-summer yet??

Not Quite the Purple People Eater (Thankfully)

My grandmother asked if we could stop by the "Sally Store" while we were in town running errands last week. I always seem to have good luck at that thrift store, and that day was no exception!: I found the most adorable 1940's purple print dress. I'm not normally a purple fan, but this dress is so much fun that you can't help but love it. The puffed and gathered sleeves, mid-length buttons, and cloth belt are SO 1940's/50's.

I also found this adorable vintage purse to go with it!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Eat Your Corn...Just Not MY Corn...

On Saturday, Ryan tilled the Pasture Garden one last time for me. I then proceeded to plant Oaxacan Green Dent Corn seeds and pumpkin seeds in the 14'x49' plot. We have expanded from our original flour corn patch last year, which measured 10'x40'. However, I was frustrated to note that Sunday morning the ground squirrels and crows had already gone to work on my patch! This has been a bad year for furry "pests," and I am beginning to stress a bit about the harvest. Though we try to live in harmony with the wildlife around us, the ground squirrels were such a problem last year (both to gardens and house foundations) that we officially declared open warfare on them. As far as I can tell, there are only two small colonies left, and we are still waging our war.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Peppers on a Time Out

Yesterday, Ryan and I built our "tester" pepper plant isolation cage out of wood and reemay row cover cloth. This cage (and the 6-7 others we are planning to build) will be used to ensure seed purity in the rare heirloom pepper plants that we will be raising this year.

The reemay fabric allows about 75% light and water to pass through, and also provides a light shade and increased humidity, which the plants love.

This particular cage measures 4'x4'x4', which is a bit too large for many pepper plants. However, this one is planned for my beloved Chapeau de Frade pepper plants, which (when happy) have been known to grow up to 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide! I doubt they will reach that big here in Southern Oregon, but I wanted to give them a good amount of space just in case!

Trying to attach the reemay fabric to the wooden frame was a the breeze to say the least! The fabric covers all sides except for the bottom of the frame, with a long "skirt" that will be buried in the soil so that insects can't crawl under the frame to get into the box.

The cage took 1.5 professionals about 2 hours to construct. It is easily disassembled for storage during the off season, too! I like the way Ryan designed the cages, and I told him he ought to go into production and market these to other gardeners and seed-savers! I know when I first looked into isolation cages, I couldn't find anywhere that actually SOLD them - just a bunch of pictures of other people's cages. Many gardeners aren't married to woodworkers, and so might perhaps rather purchase a pre-made cage that they can assemble themselves...just a thought... :)