Sunday Slow Down

The weather has taken a blustery turn today. It’s overcast and windy, with rainstorms moving in. A perfect day for hunkering down indoors. So we didn’t feel guilty for sitting around all day, we got our work done first thing – I cleaned the bedroom, tidied the house and did the dishes. Husband swept the floors and watered the plants. Speaking of, they’re faring pretty well in their winter home of the living room windowsill. I’ve got them decked out in some orange lights for Halloween. Pretty excited because I’ve wanted orange lights for a few years now to add to my fall decor, but I kept missing the sales on them. Friday, I found them buy one get one half off at the dollar store. Score! I also found some cute window clings on sale there – photo prints of pumpkins and leaves (that are up on the bathroom mirror) and a cartoonish cling of a stack of jack-o-lanterns with bats flying around it (thought my kiddo would like it). But I digress. All of the plants are looking great, except the rosemary. We had to do more triage pruning. If it’s not dead already, it will come back stronger. It’s still got some green on it, so I’m holding out hope. Cautiously. We also have a strawberry plant that we’re overwintering in the kitchen window.

Anyhow, once the work was done we were free for leisure.  Brunch was bacon and eggs with biscuits. I’ve been on a major biscuit kick, so I’ve been whipping up mason jar biscuits at every opportunity. This was an my best batch yet – especially light and fluffy –

And now, they’re all gone –

We hung out with the baby and I got to spend some time curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and reading and internetting. The baby and I had an hour and a half nap. It’s been a super good day. There’s more baking on the agenda though too, because we do need bread for the week. Fortunately, I find baking a relaxing task so it won’t mess up our Sunday slow down vibe. I’m going to do some herbed quick bread in mini loaves, and try out a great new recipe I found on Pinterestbacon pain d’epi. Stay tuned this week, and I’ll let you all know how it turns out!

Hot Pepper Harvest

Mmmm, summer. We finally have our first hot peppers ready to come off the vine! Husband clipped one yesterday for a simple pasta dish for lunch, along with some of our fresh herbs –

The hot pepper, thyme and basil are from our garden. The onion and garlic are from the farmers market. He just added the freshly chopped veg to a can of diced tomatoes, and added a generous splash of white wine, with a little salt and pepper to taste. Served over rotini with Italian sausage on the side, it was simple and delicious. Easy dishes packed with fresh flavor are the way to go in the height of summer. And he’s doing pretty well in the kitchen while I’m off my feet!

A Profusion of Peppers!

This heat wave we’ve been having lately is having a mixed effect on the garden. The peppers and tomatoes are loving the heat, the herbs are tolerating it, and the chard is just suffering. The cabbages seem to be more or less indifferent. At the end of Week One of Bedrest (yes – the verdict is not the worst case scenario on my ankle, but not the best – I’ll be in a cast for the next six weeks, which is basically the rest of my pregnancy) I sent husband out back with the camera for a progress report.

As you can see from the photos above, we really do have a profusion of peppers! The green ones are the hot peppers, and the yellow ones are the sweet peppers. And most of them are still setting flowers, so there will certainly be more to come.

You’ll also notice that the chard is looking a little rough for wear. We think we’ve got the spider mite attack under control as we haven’t seen much further evidence of them on the plants, but they’re slow to rebound. This killer heat just isn’t helping either – with intermittent thunderstorms all the time, it’s hard to know when to water and to stay on top of it.

We also let the oregano go to flower. It’s slightly more bitter now that it’s flowering, but not so much that I think it’s inedible. Oregano is a favorite of bees, so I wanted it to flower to be sure to attract enough pollinators for the peppers and tomatoes. Seems the plan is working!

 Check out that hops plant! It’s well over six feet tall now, and husband has really had to scramble to keep up with it with the makeshift trellis. And it’s grown to that height in the shade! They really prefer to be in full sun, so I can hardly imagine how tall it would be if we had it down on the patio. It doesn’t seem to producing any hops cones yet, so we’ll see if it does. We don’t really know at what stage of it’s growth cycle it’s supposed to, so we need to read up on that a bit.

The bay tree is robust and still outgrowing it’s pot. I hope Gethsemane has another sale on their pots this fall, because we’re going to need a much bigger one to move it into this year. It’s a proper tree now.

And we had to give the rosemary a haircut. With all this wet, humid weather it was starting to get affected by powdery mildew. Husband tries to move it down to the patio every few days so that it gets full sunlight and better air circulation, but that’s a heavy pot and we have a lot of plants to keep on the move in the quest for better sunlight. We are definitely investing in wheeled plant coasters for next season. The powdery mildew was really at the tips of the branches, so we just lopped them off with the garden shears. Hopefully that will eradicate the problem once and for all. And honestly, I kind of like the more manicured look it has now. It’s got a topiary feel to it.

And last but not least, the cabbages and tomatoes. The cabbages are just fine and are continuing to head up. We’ve had no problems with bugs or disease with them thus far, so hopefully they continue on in good health through the summer.

And check out those lovely green tomatoes! There are some big ones hiding in there too. We had a few that succumbed to blossom end rot (I blame this ridiculous weather for that) but for the most part they’re all healthy and robust. None of them are starting to pink up yet, but hopefully any day now. We’ve got to be on squirrel patrol big time – one of the neighbors said she had some tomatoes just starting to turn red, and the little bugger took a bite out of them! So she’s watching hers carefully and snatching them off the plant at the first sign of red and letting them ripen on the counter. So we may not get vine-ripened tomatoes around here, but we WILL get them!