Gardening + Nature

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Our STRONG rooted fennel took two hands to release from the ground!

Juniper’s tongue! She’s so stinking cute.

The beautiful fluff of seed pods waiting to be carried off to new lands.
omelet
Bee and butterfly!
butternut squash tacos
reflection from a seltzer can!
spicy Asian pork salad
Bald Eagle
Final harvest of peppers, onions, and fennel!
tiny poblano
Snow!

Hello, and happy Wednesday!

We’re a one foot in salad and one foot in soup season around here. Days still have enough warmth in them, but my mind, I think, is further along the transition because I made fennel apple soup with these last bulbs, and boy, it was wonderful!

It is full on FALL here, with trees lit up: ochre, pumpkin, scarlet. But alas, no photo! The last jeweled apples cling to trees and prettily litter the ground. It hurts my heart a bit not to gather them all, but I’ve already made butter, sauce, and jelly galore. The birds and squirrels and other critters will go gonzo soon enough, I suppose.

The bee and butterfly up yonder were noshing on our mint. After looking a little droopy, it took off right and proper, with hundreds of winged creatures feasting on the flowers. We were dazzled by the constant flurry of activity and ever-so-grateful not to have prematurely trimmed it back. I shudder to think at all the missed nutrients for the bevy of tiny friends.

Farmer Greg’s final harvest was a showstopper considering the tiny footprint of the garden, and this doesn’t even show the giant bowl of tomatoes waiting to be made into something wonderful.

And on that wonderful note, how good does the handsome hubster look after 18 pounds lost on Weight Watchers? He’s humming at a much faster clip than I, but we’re still moving forward. Foods like the pork salad and butternut squash tacos (thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow for this idea) make it all the more colorful and satisfyingly delicious.

Here’s hoping you are WELL!

Happy & strong. . .
bumper crop
weekly cookie & iced latte
nasturtium
mum
sunflower
scarlet runner
crocosmia
rudbeckia
canteloupe
hollyhock
aster
hyssop
goldenrod
teeny tiny rose

Last week we got our no. 2 shingles vaccine, and it knocked us OUT. I had a headache within minutes, and my arm was sore the first night. But oh, the next morning! We walked Juniper, and were so exhausted by our truncated effort that we returned to bed. Later, I heard my phone making a ruckus and went to my office to check. Turns out, we’d been asleep for hours. It was 11:30 and I’d missed a massage appointment. I felt wrecked for the rest of the day and pretty tired the following two. Brutal, dear peeps. Brutal.

When we finally came up for air, we took Juniper to her favorite frolic spot, and let her get her wiggles out good and proper. She was pretty happy with our decision!

I made three pints of pico de gallo with the tomatoes, and the hubster could not be happier about it.

Greg and I are down 15 and 10 pounds respectively, thanks in part to enjoying cookies one-at-a-time, rather than a half batch in one go. We both like that it is sensibility not deprivation.

Oh, and speaking of cookies, have you ever tried a chocolate chip dough with the addition of white miso? Sounds crazy, right? I read about it somewhere recently and gave it a whirl – one tablespoon to our half batch of dough. Eek! Quite the je ne sais quoi to elevate the humble winner to it’s better-better best.

And the garden! Much of it is fading, but much remains so very alive. The hyssop is especially delightful, with a constant zoom & flurry of hummingbirds.

Happy Fall…

Farmer Greg + tomato + kohlrabi
pork shoulder steak + spiralized zucchini & carrot + veg galore + peanut dressing
Uncle Lyle + Aunt Bev, with L O V E

The front garden gives and gives

Who goes there?
Raccoon methinks
B a l l o o n s ! !

Mud! Juniper’s toes! My Maine Coone socks! Hello Paris…

blue tepary
scarlet runner beans: one and all
S I X pounds of prickly pears wild harvested and processed!

Home grown tiny canteloupe…flip fantasia
With a sincere nod to US3’s FAB song!

poblano
fennel + chicory + ground cherry + kohlrabi + tomato
tomato
big + little
harvest
Breakfast “Ramen” – zoodles + egg + bacon + jack cheese + green chile + chicken broth
pico de gallo with our own tomatoes and cayenne pepper – huzzah!

Good Tuesday to you, dear reader! What eye candy here today, and what luck to find it all in front of my lens.

From the top: the garden is going like gangbusters, with super delicious ripening tomatoes, of a variety we cannot remember, drat. The kohlrabi hollering go big or go home!

After struggling a bit with the middle age S P R E A D, Greg and I joined Weight Watchers. It’s been a few weeks, and though the pounds aren’t exactly flying off (damn slowing metabolism!), we are losing weight and feeling truly great. It is actually FUN, and we are enjoying the challenge. I am spiralizing like a mad woman: zucchini, carrots, butternut squash!

We visited Bev + Lyle’s graves weekend before last for the very first time. Her colorful personality called for a rainbow of roses. We’ve had more death in the family, and I’ve felt a little heavy about it, truth be told. I pore over pictures and replay Super-8 style memories while pondering the gossamer connections of blood kin and my chosen family, each binding me to the wider world. Like planting small seeds of comfort that will one day bear beautiful fruit.

In a super cookbook from the library, Living Within the Wild, I found the recipe for Breakfast Ramen. Theirs uses actual ramen, which is NOT worth my points on WW, so of course I zoodled! It also calls for nori rather than green chile, but come on, green chile was made for this dish! I will definitely be making it again.

This past weekend was the Balloon Festival, and we awoke early Saturday to wade through giant puddles and trudge the mud of two evening’s blessed rains: all to watch the launch from our favorite perch on high. The mist veiled hills a bonus gift for our labors. Every year we expect a crowd in our viewing spot, and every year we are gratefully spared, reveling in our own good luck AND company to watch each wonder of gravity rise and rise and rise.

It is prickly pear season, at last, at last. I cannot believe my good luck at finding the local patches of beautiful fruit, waiting to be turned into wonderful juice. The spiny jabs worth it in the end.

More glory in the garden as the harvest gets to go, go, going. We experimented with cantaloupe! While it is among the best we’ve ever tasted, it is not nearly worth the water or labor for the three adorable fruits produced. The ground cherries, peppers, beans, zucchini, and tomatoes are quite a different story. The blue tepary and scarlet runners an excellent introduction to beans for drying, so we will plant much more next year, taking out the strawberry plants that do so very little. How life presents a body with ample opportunities to learn!

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Greg gets his kicks at the Route 66 Mural in Jopin. Getting hip, alright…

L I O N S not lambs…
Made us chuckle…
The Dawn Redwood – not small

At the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center. I love it when such beauty and serenity is tucked in amongst the city. We got up early to enjoy it and reveled in beauty, birdsong, and the babble of flowing water.

What a dazzler of a building! The Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage.
A nod to my Williams ancestors, also in Carthage
What kind of a bug are YOU?
A Tiger Bee Fly, thank you very much.

Just above and up to the Williams family ancestors nod is Red Oak II, created by the artist Lowell Davis, who died in 2020:

Davis, once a commercial artist who left Dallas to return to his roots in the Missouri countryside, hit it big in the 1980s and 1990s with sculptures and paintings based on farm life at the nostalgic village of Red Oak II, a community of old buildings he purchased and moved to resurrect his family’s hometown of Red Oak, which was once located near Avilla. His work was sold in 2,000 stores and galleries worldwide.

It’s a truly magical experience to wander about, amongst sculptures and every manner of building, that someone would go to such lengths to recreate a HOME. It is a fabrication but so very authentic, too.

Thanks, Joplin & Carthage!

yellow dianthus : low creeping sumac : peony : iris : New Mexican privet : ratbida : echinacea : fernbush : golden currant
echinacea : horehound : yarrow: Grandpa’s potentilla : New Mexican Privet : mallow
mallow – it blooms like mad for months and makes pollinators very happy
crocosmia : foxglove : horehound : sea buckthorn : Apache plume : fern bush : Grandpa’s potentilla : yarrow : dwarf mugo pine
goldenrod : serviceberry : penstemon : hyssop : horsetail milkweed : mallow : amaranth : rabbitbrush : choke cherry
horehound : Grandpa’s potentilla : mallow : foxglove : crocosmia : scarlet runner beans
Nine foot tall sunflowers!!
golden currant : fernbush : ratbida : evening primrose : echinacea : prickly poppy : oriental poppy : horsetail milkweed : hyssop : sedum : dwarf mugo pine
New Mexican privet : fernbush : golden currant : orange horned poppy : brown eyed susan : crocosmia : penstemon : red yarrow : sedum
never-ending rhubarb in a basket bought ages ago in Portland

Though there is always more growing to do, like with the evergreens and a few of the shrubs, I feel like our gardens, and my vision for them, have come to fruition. With the exception of this year’s new plants and the fruit and vegetable patch, we don’t provide any additional water – a xeriscaped haven in the high desert of Colorado Springs!

It is truly exciting to no longer think long-term, wondering what more needs to be added. Everything is here, huzzah! We’ll replace whatever becomes diseased or dies, of course. In the mean time, what a pleasure to wander amongst plants of varying heights, textures, and colors, to hear all the critters and winged visitors, bird and insect alike.

How cute, also, is farmer Greg harvesting lettuce made safe from marauding, but ever adorable, rabbits. We’ve also learned they enjoy echinacea flower petals for dessert, rats. The ups and downs of sharing a space with all the four-leggers.

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