Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tick. Tock.

The clock on my desk keeps ticking in earnest.

It proudly displays the time... and also the date. As I stare at this gadget I'm quite befuddled on how to proceed. Throw the clock away? It's obviously broken. Ticking through the last months of this year at far too quick a pace.

Orchids ~ all smiles ~ they get to blossom indoors. 
Outside is a whole 'nother story.

It cannot possibly be November 1st. Can it? (Please, don't answer that.) 'Cause I'm not even half way done with my autumn chores.

Surprise snows buried all sorts of tacky garden art.

Winter came in the pesky way it does sometimes ~ too early. Chopping an entire month off gardening. And, horseback riding. And, pretty much everything else this autumn lover loves to do.

Peering out my kitchen window onto the uninvited guest: gloomy weather joined me for morning coffee far too often this month.

Surprise snows, followed by sudden melts. Bad Dog and I slip-slide along the hiking trails like little piglets wallowing in the mud.

During the blur that 'twas the month of October I was gifted with these gorgeous Iris ~ in honor of my birthday. Inching ever closer to the 5th decade, I am now... officially...

... older than I was the last time I had a birthday. :)

I hope y'all had a marvelous weekend.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thriller ~ Locals Last Minute Halloween Fun

Hey locals! Here's something fun to do for Halloween. This week, we went to see Thriller. It's an amazing, hysterical performance by some way talented zombies in Salt Lake City. Buy tickets, if you possibly can. It's so fun!

University of Utah
Kingsbury Hall
Salt Lake City, UT

And, if you're not a local, click below to watch the video. I gave their performance 6 stars! (Out of 5.)

Monday, October 25, 2010


I hear them whispering behind my back. Nosy neighbors, witness to crimes unimaginable. And, now they're stirring up trouble:

"It's murder I tell you, murder most foul!"

"This killing spree began early in springtime. We saw with our own eyes how she tortured those little flowers..."

  • There was Death by Dehydration. (RIP beloved Canterbury Bells.)
  • Death by Shameless Neglect! (I'll never forget you, Lord Baltimore.)
  • Death by Strangulation! (Who's got time to pull all those weeds?)
  • Death by Scary Critters! (No tippy toeing through the tulips for this little lady.)

Death by ignoring which growing zone I actually live in!
Goodbye my little cabbage. The icy fingers of a frosty night squeezed the life right out of you [and the rest of my heirloom veggies.]


Suddenly, without a sound. Without a warning of any kind...

A crime of passion that should have the neighbors gossiping well into the next decade.

The premeditated murder of every jolly little houseplant that had bugs or refused to bloom... Such senseless brutality!

I did it!

I was a lazy, lazy gardener this summer. Forgetting to water, forgetting to weed. I didn't fertilize my flowers even once all summer long. I planted a lot of goodies but my lazy ways upped the body count, big time.

flowerpowerhg3 In loving memory of all the little flowers who died waiting for Kate to turn on the sprinklers. I promise to do better next year.

PS: I hope you'z all prepared for a hideous Halloween :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Feed 'em to the birds

So you hosted your first (and probably last) Come As You Really Are Halloween Party. And, everyone from the neighborhood showed up.

Including Fat Bob in a pair of Superman tights. At which point, the rest of the crowd decided tequilla shooters might be a good idea, after all. And, then... well... no point in reliving the gory details.

It's only natural you'd want to put this behind you as quick as you can.

Salvage something from this disaster by disposing of the evidence in an environmentally friendly manner.

Lighten the burden on landfills!
Chop up those Jack O'Lanterns and feed 'em to the birds. 
They love it! 
Any leftovers can be tossed into the compost pile.

What's that you say? You don't have a compost pile? Well, maybe you should start one! It's a whole lot easier than bagging up dry leaves.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lemon-Sage Roasted Chicken

I tried to get all artsy fartsy with the herbs & flavors in this yummy recipe. Though I really should just leave the artwork to Richard Neuman. I love his stuff. (The Sage, Thyme pics are his artwork.)

~ Lemon Thyme is a pretty pink perennial I like to grow in the garden.  
~ Italian Parsley and Cooking Sage do pretty well in the herb garden, too. Though it's not really a garden. It's just a whole bunch of pots on the deck that get hauled indoors at the first sign of nasty weather.
~ Cooking Sage {Salvia officinalis} is different from the ornamental sages that most of us grow in our gardens. These flowers are edible and have a subtler flavor than the sage leaves.
~ Rosemary comes and goes. {She's such a little weenie.} If I forget to water her, even once, she curls up and dies. But that's okay. Dried, crushed rosemary imparts great flavor to chicken and homegrown potatoes.

As for those Lemons? Perhaps some day I'll get to garden in zone 9 Nirvana. Until then they're on the grocery list.

Do you ever bite the bullet and roast a whole chicken? There's not much cause to do so these days since the supermarkets happily do that for us. But every once in awhile I love to make this from-scratch version of that bird in the bag so readily available at the market.
  • Place the chicken in a large stew pot and cover with water.
  • Toss in 2 sliced lemons.
  • Plus, one full cup of crushed herbs just like Simon and Garfunkel suggested way back when ~ parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. 
  • And, 1/2 chopped yellow onion plus lots of chopped, fresh garlic.
  • Put a lid on this mess and let it percolate in the 'frig overnight.
    Drain this glorious bird while you're pre-heating the oven to 475 degrees (F.) Put your cast iron skillet into the oven while it's pre-heating.

    After about 15-20 minutes, remove the hot skillet, coat it with olive oil and brown the chicken in it. Rub some crushed Rosemary and Sage on the chickie. Then roast in that same iron skillet at 475 degrees for about an hour. (Time depends upon the size of the bird.)

    * Now I know what you're thinking... 2 days of effort vs. 10 minutes in the checkout line at the supermarket. Is it worth it? Well... it makes for one ultra-marvy Sunday Dinner. :)

    ** Dearest Hazel: If you're reading this, it's time to step bravely out of the dark ages and ramp that oven up to a hot, hot 475. (This crazy gal recently confessed that she never cooks anything hotter than 325. (Huh??)

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ October, 2010

    Bring out yer dead: Dead Hollyhocks, that is.

    Whenever I was use my goofy hand cart to harvest tall, scraggly monsters, like Mom's Heirloom Hollyhocks, my neighbor calls out over the fence: "Bring out yer dead!" To him, my hand cart looks like a throwback to the middle ages.

    Here it is... another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. For a reality check, that picture above is a full, sad view of what's not blooming. As in pretty much everything. Though I have enough hollyhock seeds to populate the entire planet so this is your lucky day!!! If you'd like me to send you a bucket of seeds, just say the word.

    Zebrina French (Miniature) Hollyhock

    Little bits of color, here and there, thanks mostly to Zebrina. She's under the delusion that it's still summertime. Her sistahs kicked the bucket about a month ago. This gal is a volunteer, seeding herself in the most inhospitable place. Now, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer... but I am picking up what she's putting down: Pahleez! Less frequent watering, thank you very much. This extra dry spot is heaven to me!

    Pincushion Flowers (Scabiosa) in pink, blue and purple are still hard at work.

    A few happy Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia aristata) adorn the brown mess that has become my autumn garden.

    And, thus ends another glorious summer of sweet, lazy days, bright blossoms, muddy jeans, and happily ruined manicures in the ongoing battle with those pesky weeds.

    * Pop over and say hello to Carol of May Dreams Gardens ~ the brainchild behind Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day held on the 15th of each month.

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    A Not To Be Harvest Festival and the 10-10-10.

    Arose early this morning, with a full day planned! Heading up to the High Star Ranch Harvest Festival! Fully intended to spend the whole afternoon goofing off at what promised to be an exceptionally good time. Big fun, fabulous food, demos, entertainment...

    Only one real problem with this grand plan. It happened yesterday. Whaaa? (Clearly I need to buy a day planner.)

    So, here I sit, in front of the Mac... perhaps I should visit a blog, or two. Carol had a wonderful post. From there, I popped over to say hi to Dee and saw how she adapted Carol's clever idea, adding her own creative spin.

    Can I be a Copy Kat and play this game, too? For October 10th, 2010, [10-10-10] here's a salute to the 10 hardest working perennials in my waterwise gardens. These gals bloom for at least 8 weeks, some 12 or 16 weeks. All are drought-tolerant, much-loved by hummingbirds, butterflies, and most everyone who bikes past the Street Garden.

    May Night Salvia
    Salvia x superba
    Flowers: June - August, with deadheading
    Full sun
    USDA zones 5-9

    Tickseed Coreopsis
    Coreopsis lanceolata
    Flowers: June - September, with deadheading
    Full sun
    USDA zones 5-9

    Munstead Lavender
    Lavandula angustifolia
    Flowers: July - October
    Full sun
    USDA zones 4-10 

    Bellflower Deep Blue Pearls
    Campanula carpatica
    Flowers: June - September
    Full sun
    USDA zones 3-8 

    John Cabot Roses
    Flowers: June - October
    Full sun
    USDA zones 3-7

    Johnson's Blue Geranium
    Geranium himalayense x pratense
    Flowers: May - September
    Full sun
    USDA zones 4-8

    Redbirds in a Tree
    Scrophularia macrantha
    Flowers: June - September
    Happiest at 6,000 feet or higher
    Full sun
    USDA zones 5-10

    Cat Mint
    Nepeta x faaseenii 'Select Blue'
    Flowers: June - August
    Full sun
    USDA zones 4-9

    Jupiter's Beard
    Centranthus Ruber
    Flowers: June - August, with deadheading
    Full sun
    USDA zones 4-9

    Corkscrew Ornamental Onion
    Allium senescens 'Blue Twister'
    Flowers: June - September
    Full sun/Loves clay soil
    USDA zones 3-8


    Do you have a love affair with 10 special flowers? Do tell!

    Thursday, October 07, 2010

    Asters and the Butterfly Effect

    With pretty much everything else winding down, purple Asters are suddenly the name of my game.

    The latest of my autumn perennials, they're happily blooming in every nook and cranny. Though, I can't take a whole lotta credit for that. Seeing as how they're weeds.

    Well, they started out as weeds. But, I'm an equal opportunity flower employer. You don't need a fancy resume to get me all excited. Once I discovered how pretty the wild Asters were, I eagerly promoted them to flower status.

    And, I help them along a bit. Me and my 250 foot hose. :) Which I schlep up the hill to the undeveloped portion of our backyard where I play favorites with the wildflowers. If I happen to like the looks of you, you'll get a drink. And, if I don't, then you're on your own. It's working. Little Asters are taking over and that fits neatly into my grand plan ~ of not actually having to pay for any of the flowers growing back there.

    What's so great about Asters?

    Well, if you're dreading the onslaught of winter, they're just about the latest 'Daisy' to bloom in the garden.

    And, they're so easy. Even if you break down and actually buy the hybridized perennials, all you need is sun. They grow in dry, wet, clay, sandy soils, too cold to imagine Canada and too hot to handle New Mexico.

    Plus, they're good eats for our favorite hobos... traveling bees, butterflies, and birds. The Migrating Monarch Magazine recently reviewed them as the 'perfect flower dinner for a long road trip.'

    The Butterfly Effect:  
    * I found this to be the most enjoyable story! Perhaps you will, too... 

    "I asked the waiter standing outside the door of the steakhouse to find a corner table for me, my colleague and the butterfly."

    "Right away, sir," responded the waiter, acting as if there was nothing extraordinary about a butterfly dropping in at a steakhouse... Read the rest of this marvelous story.

    Sunday, October 03, 2010

    The Joy List

    The Professor tagged me for this fun meme ~ simply shelling out 10 things I enjoy (aside from reading blogs. :) Here we go....

    Numero Uno:

    The scent of Lilacs after a spring rain.

    This dorky dog.

    The Perfect Horse

    & The Problem Horse

    My daughter's company.
    She's in Paris, right now, enjoying the lovely flowers of Jardins des Tuileries. (We should all be this lucky!)

    Winter ~ yep ~ as surprising as that may sound ~ this gardener enjoys winter as much, maybe more so, than summer.

    ~~~~~ Quiet Time ~~~~~
    So I can hear myself think.

    Radiolab! If you haven't discovered these free podcasts go grab one right now! Start with 'The Luckiest Lobster' and you'll be hooked. For life.

    Turandot is my fave.

    Traveling to pretty much anywhere.

    And, there you have it! Easy Peasy. Passing this meme along to 10 more victims: