Archive for July, 2012

I have been told before by people that they don’t have time to garden. Let me tell you, when it comes to the actual gardening part of my garden, I am quite lazy about the whole thing. I am blessed with good soil and vegetables that like to be called minions. (Yes. I call my vegetables minions. Look at my results. They obviously like being my minions. And someday, me and my giant tomatoes will take over the world…) Now, as I said, I don’t spend all that much time on the actual gardening. What I did spend time on? Getting my yard to the point where I could garden.  And that took a hell of a lot of time. And hard work. And manual labor. And a new title of Rock Slinger. Today, when I went out to my garden to see what was ripe, this is what I found.

Obviously, lazy gardener here. Those zucchinis should have been harvested at least a day ago. The tomatoes though? Deliciously sweet and juicy and I am unsure I will be sharing them with my family. What is not pictured here are the pickling cucumbers I found later that will have to be pickled soon. Now that? I don’ t have time for right now. I was ill prepared to start pickling in July and so will have to wait on those. At least the chili peppers I picked today have a home tonight in chocolate sauce for sundaes and the rest can go in the pickles. Spicy garlic dills are my favorite pickle ever.

When last I blogged, I promised an update on the yard work. So here is the yard in its current state.

As you can see, I have a prehistoric zucchini plant growing in the back along with tomato trees, a pineapple sage bush and tons of hot peppers.

I have a patio that I built.

There is no longer a sand pit or a foot deep pile of rock around the perimeter.(Lazy gardener tip: Just leave the hose out. It makes it so much easier to water the garden the next time.)

All of the overgrown weeds have been pulled and herbs and flowers planted instead. These pictures were taken about a week ago. There are already a ton more flowers in bloom and my cucumber vines now cover the trellis attached to the fence.  When I go out on my balcony and look around the yard, I enjoy the view immensely.  Although there is still a lot of work to go, I have done a tremendous job in a short period of time. My husband likes to tell me I am two years ahead of schedule on the yard. But all the work was well worth it. I get to go sit out in my yard and relax and enjoy the day when I have a  moment (work on my knitting, read a book, or write in the mornings before my kids get up)  instead of fretting over what I need to do next. And my lazy approach to gardening seems to work. I turn on the sprinkler during watering hours and let it go (sometimes for longer than I should. Sometimes busy life means forgetting to turn off the water). I weed sporadically, pulling weeds as I harvest. As long as I get the weeds before the seed pods pop up, I am happy. I snip off dead roses and stop my herbs from flowering during phone conversations. I keep meaning to set up a compost bin, but in the meantime, I let the veggies that fall or get attacked by bugs stay on the ground, breaking them up a bit as I go, and I toss all the crabapples over in the garden too. As of right now, there isn’t a smell problem and I do try to break it all up and mix it in under the mulch. It takes me about 10 minutes every week to do that, plus the randoming weeding watering and harvesting. All in all, I maybe spend an hour every week working on the garden. I spend more time walking around it and staring at it in a week than I spend working on it. See? Lazy gardener. And yet, I have a gorgeous garden and a yard I can enjoy. And all in all, I found out that I kind of rock. And not just in the slinger kind of way, but in the awesome I-can-do-way-more-than-I-thought-I-could kind of way.

~The Elder


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Happy 4th of July!  (a day late…)

Oops, oh well.  Summer in Chicago has been hot and humid so far, and I’ve been hard pressed to do anything but lie spread-eagled on my bed with baby Logan, A/C going full blast and a fan whirling above us.

Today, our A/C broke.  Stupid window unit.  The other A/Cs in the house are working fine, but ours is now spewing out slightly cooler-than-the-air-but-still-warm breaths.  It’s a good thing Logan’s carpet is comfy.  I may take my afternoon nap on his floor.

Chris had time for breakfast this morning (my Chris, not Jessica’s Chris.  Oh, did you know my sister and I chose men with the same name?  Sometimes we think too much alike.) and I’ve been busy busy busy with all those grown-up things like cleaning the house, working, looking for a new house, and planning a wedding…  So I opted for one of my favorite breakfast choices from my childhood.

You’ve heard of Toad-in-a-Hole, haven’t you?  Or perhaps “Egg-in-a-basket” or some other such term coined for the delicious combination of egg and toast, cooked together with butter in a fry-pan.  You know, the one were you take a cup and cut out the middle of a piece of toast and drop the egg in the hole?  Well, I made a delicious, slightly more grown up version of the classic Toad-in-a-Hole…

Grown-Up Toad in a Hole

Egg and toast, with fried tomato slices, sage, and a side of bacon. All topped off with a cold iced coffee– YUM!

It’s really simple to make.  First get your bacon started- it’ll take longer.  Then, you cut a hole in the middle of the bread by turning over a glass and pressing down.  Drop a pat of butter in a heated skillet, plop your toast into the pan, then drop an egg into the hole in the toast. (Don’t forget to toast up your cut-out, too!  It’s one of the best things about toad-in-a-hole) Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Cook a bit, then flip.  You know how you like your eggs, so the cook time will differ.  I like mine with a slightly runny yolk.  While you’re doing that, fry up two thick slices of tomato.  Drop a few leaves of sage into the pan.  Flip the tomatoes. Then after the sage turns a dark green, set the leaves on top of the tomatoes while they cook.

Serve the tomatoes on top of the toad-in-a-hole, or on the side with the bacon. It’ll all take about 10 minutes, with a 5 minute prep time.  Quick, easy, and delicious!

Logan is finally down for his nap, so time to refill the coffee cup and relax for a few minutes.

~Becki, The Younger

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