Saturday, July 4, 2015

Chasing the drought ~


Living with a drought is quite a challenge. 

Many of the lawns in my community are like the one below, sadder still is the loss of so many trees, people stop watering their lawns and don't seem to realize that trees still need water.  Mature trees can take decades to replace and are so much more important than a lawn.



  This summer my life seems to revolve around the water meter. I always knew where it was and how to turn it off if necessary but now I. I keep track on a daily basis to see how much water I have used and how many CCFs I have left to last until the next billing period.



I use buckets in the bathroom and kitchen to collect the gray water which then is carried out...


to watering cans on the deck to be dispersed later.

I am not surprised by the amount of water that is wasted waiting for a shower to warm, but I am surprised by how much is used  in food preparation, washing dishes and cleaning up.


I also hooked up a hose to capture all the grey water from my washing machine, it is a front loading machine and very water efficient so there isn't as much as one would think. Still it all helps.


And, my number one helper and the most valuable thing I ever did, was to install drip systems throughout the whole garden. I use microsprinklers, individual emitters, and drip hoses, all operated by battery timers. Without this system keeping my garden through these conditions would be dire.

The mandatory reduction throughout California is 24%, so far I am at a 40% reduction but the hottest weather is yet to come.



I am going to be very happy when the summer is at an end and cooler weather arrives...and maybe, maybe, this winter we will have rain!

Thank you for visiting

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Technical challenges

While I am waiting for my computer to be repaired I decided to attempt using my IPad to post. Since I am a complete novice at both taking pictures and composing anything on my IPad the results have been interesting. It is soooo much easier with my camera and computer.

                                                                 
So, I am making this very short but including a picture of one of my first dahlias to bloom. Enjoy.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fast, easy, and delicious ~

On some nights when I am not in the mood to do a lot of cooking or when I come in late from yoga I often turn to a one of my 'go to' recipes. This one is a favorite...Salmon en papillote. It's easy, quick, and very tasty.

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I use parchment paper but you could just as easily use foil. 

The recipe is per serving 

Place the fish on a large piece of parchment paper or foil
 salt and pepper to taste 
 cover with two tablespoons+ of butter,
several slices of lemon and sprinkle with dill

The butter, lemon and dill will combine with the cooking juices from the fish to make a nice, light sauce.

Fold the edges  carefully and tightly seal the packet, leaving room for expansion during cooking, and place on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes

Take care when opening the packet it will be hot and steamy!

Save the liquid sauce to pour over the fish.
  


I usually serve this as above with fettuccine noodles. I like the brand below because the noodles cook to  al dente in just three minutes.  I sprinkle the cooked noodles with fresh parsley, grated Parmesan cheese and the coupe de grâce...some truffle oil.

Yummy, fast, and except for the butter, healthy, but you can't have it all and everything is better with a little butter!


~ Bon appétit  ~

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Humble and lovely ~

When I went out walking this morning I happened to glance through one of the front gates and caught this view.


What I liked about it the best was the profusion of Ground Morning Glories, or Convulvulus mauritanicus scampering across the gravel path. I have grown to love this plant for several reasons...it's ease of care, low water needs, the way it creeps, softening edges, and of course the beauty of it's flowers.


I think of it as one of the 'humble plants', often overlooked because it is so easy, and for some reason gardeners seem to be drawn to plants that are difficult. Maybe it is the challenge. I know I used to be that way, but now I prefer my garden plants to be those that will have a better chance of flourishing. in our climate.


Quite, quite, lovely I think and so bounteous in its bloom, starting in early spring and continuing through the hot summer months.

What else can one ask for.

I hope your week is a happy one.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Update ~

An update on the guest bedroom.

I have the drapes finished and installed and I love them. Forgotten are all of the difficulties I had with hanging the rod and the hassle of working with yards and yards of fabric. The are fully lined and pleated.

Ah...success.



As this is a guest room and they won't be drawn very often I decided to puddle the drapes. Not to everyone's taste but I think it adds a little touch of elegance. I did what is called a trouser puddle. Until recently I didn't realize there were different styles for puddling drapes.

The ladies writing desk was one of the first antiques we ever purchased.



One of the reasons I picked this floral fabric for the room is because I thought it would work with this blue and white stripped chair, which I wanted to keep...it's so cute. 


And...this beautiful fringe, an extravagance that was well worth the cost.


But alas, I am not finished as now I must tackle the cover, pillows and bolsters for the daybed.

They will be made from a matelasse coverlet, with a bottom ruffle made of the floral fabric.

~ ~ ~

This painting which was done by my aunt many years ago as a gift for my grandfather will hang over the daybed...rather fitting, sheep for a bedroom. Although it might not appear so in this photo the colors in the painting tie the whole room together. I have had it for a while and I am pleased to finally find a place to put it.



So...I am almost finished, I will share the daybed when it is done.

Oh, I also have an idea for embellishing the ceiling, very experimental but it just might work.

Thank you for visiting

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Bit of this and that ~

It has been a very busy weekend. I have managed to get quite a few things accomplished.

I finally, finally, finally, finished painting the trim in the guest room and now I can hang the new drapes.

Hooray!

I got all of my favorite pink Zinnia seeds planted.

 This is the first time I have used one of these Pro-Hex trays. It comes with 72 planting cells, a tray to hold water, and a clear top to retain moisture and help germination. I should be able to plant the seedlings right into the garden without transplanting them first, which should be a real time saver.


Baked a batch of my favorite cookies.

 In my opinion, along with an early morning walk, having a homemade cookie to eat is a important ingredient for a good day, and chocolate chip cookies are definitely my favorite. I have made them so frequently that I don't even have to look at the recipe.


And, I went to the Chrysanthemum Show at the Arboretum.  




My hope is by fall these little starts will provide me with more gorgeous flowers like the ones in the picture below. Two of them are a pale yellow, Primrose Mt Shasta. and two of them are white, apply named, White City.

I am definitely experiencing chrysanthemum love.


I hope that your weekend is going well too.

Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Against the odds ~

The odds of successfully growing Clematis in our arid climate aren't very good. Nevertheless they were very fashionable here a few years ago and I of course succumbed and planted quite a few.

I have since come to my senses and no longer give into the temptation to plant more each year. The ones I do have perform fairly well but it is a bit of an uphill battle and now, especially considering our drought, when I put in new plants I try to pick things that fit better into our environment.

An exception to all the above is this wonderful Clematis Jackmanii you see below.


Each year with little care it scampers happily up the climbing rose by the front deck.


I must have picked just the right spot when I planted this. how else can I explain how well it performs.

Each flower is huge and such a wonderful color. 


Simply beautiful.

Thank you for visiting. I hope your day is full of wonder.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Options ~



I have wanted a birdcage stand for a while so when my brother found this one for me I was very pleased. I was sure I knew what I was going to do with it; use it as a plant stand on the back deck.  First it needed a coat of black paint to match the outdoor table and chairs.


I does make a nice fern stand...but then I got another idea, one I think I like even better.


Using it to hold a chalkboard. So I made a new chalkboard to fit it.


Chalkboards are so much fun and I can think of all sorts of messages to put on this one.


Of course the fern looks nice too, so I will probably change them out...which reminds me, somewhere in the barn there is an antique birdcage and I saw this one planted with succulents on Pinterest. What could be more fitting and this is truly lovely.



Who would think there would be so many options for a old birdcage stand.

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It seems that I haven't posted for a long time. I have been finishing up the drapes, building a little rock retaining wall, and trying to solve computer and telephone problems. Sometimes life seems to get in the way of blogging.

Have a happy day!