Sunday, August 19, 2012

What's going on?

We have been busy since our return from Nashville. Priority #1 : to get back into the gym and fit again.

Other priority: to catch up with the garden. A lot of deadheading had to be done.

My hibiscus bush from last year (overwintered in the garage) obviously likes the new place next to the front door better. Some shade there sometimes!

It also seems to like the watering system.
It's a used nozzle from my sister in Germany which I brought with me to try out whether it fits on our soda bottles. Well, it does. Now I would need some more. 
The butterflies love the butterfly bush. We love sitting on the back porch watching them and the birds and humming birds. This summer though it was a bit too hot most of the daytime to do that.

We even have 'wildlife' in our garden.
Here is a video for William.
For almost two weeks we went daily to give Sarah and Wade's cat some attention while they were on vacation. Edy is the most loveable cat. Actually my nickname for her is Needy Edy. When she heard us at the door she was right there greeting us. Here she was trying to lick my chin. 
I could re-name her Toddler Edy because you can't even go to the bathroom without her following you.
I showed you Sarah's garden in a previous blog. Well, we had to harvest daily and had several good meals of tomato salad ... with basil out of my garden. Oh yes, after our return I also had to do a batch of basil pesto for the freezer. Can't let it go to waste.

She had planted two kinds of cucumbers. Some of them were huge. Some of them were found too late and I had to cut away bitter parts. But there was plenty left to have to google for recipes.
I found a "best ever cucumber salad" which you can see in the jar on the left. But it was too sweet for James and me. So I googled some more for the second badge. These jars are for Sarah and Wade to enjoy something from their garden.

The second batch was a big success. Even James likes it and he is usually not so fond of sweet pickles. I took ideas from several recipes on the internet and came up with this:

Christa's not so sweet refrigerator pickles!

3-4 cucumbers (the size you buy)
1 Tbsp salt
1or 2 onions
1 red pepper
1 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (I used the latter)
1/2 cup water
3 oz (3/8 cup) Stevia (in the raw cup for cup)
1 Tbsp dried dill
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

Peel the cucumbers. Make sure the end is not bitter and slice very thin (I used the thick setting on my mandolin). If the seeds have become too big, just cut the cucumber lengthwise and scrape seeds out. Sprinkle the salt over it and let stand for at least 2 hours.

I also sliced the onions and pepper on the mandolin.

Combine vinegar, water, Stevia and Cayenne pepper and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes. At the end add dill.

The salt should have drawn a lot of liquid out of the cucumbers. Drain but don't rinse. Add onions and pepper and stir. Add the hot liquid. Let cool and enjoy at room temperature or cold.

Will keep in refrigerator for up to a month (so says the internet).

What else? Of course Facetime with Helen and William once in a while.

Catching up with volunteer stuff.

Testing the dehydrator. Aldi, our favorite store in Nashville, always has special things on sale. This time this! We bought one and I tried it out in Nashville on bananas and raisins and strawberries. We thought it will be nice healthy snack food for William when he is ready.

We liked it so much that we left the one in Nashville and bought another to bring to Richmond.
More testing: Kiwi, apple, pear, peach, banana again, cherries, basil.

Helen just told me that William now likes  raisins. Should Omi put something in the mail?

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