Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 23, 2016- catching up

Greetings, after a few weeks absence. Let me tell you what I want to do today. I will do four things.

First, I will give you a little information about the garden as Halloween approaches and we still have not had a frost.

Second, I will tell you a little about our trip to the east coast.

Third, I will take you back briefly to 2008. For the last month I have been upload all of my pictures,  to some cloud somewhere. It takes a long time to upload 20,000 pictures from 15 years. At the moment, the upload process is back to 2008. That got me to review those pictures, and I thought I would share a few.

Finally, Julia will tell you about a great thing to do with green beans, which are still available in abundance at the Iowa City Farmer's Market, which goes for one more week.

Oops-I forgot something. In the last post I had a poll about which picture people thought might win the contest this winter. (I can say the word, even if I try not to think about it.) The most votes went to an orchid cactus. That was followed by any poppy.
We will soon test this out.

Garden Update
It is nearing the end of October, and there has not been a frost. We dodged a frost a few times in the last few weeks. 34 degrees was the closest according to the ever reliable (not) weather channel. That's not really fair. I understand you could see frost in the open areas in the neighborhood.

The ten day forecast has no temperature in the 30's so this continues for the moment. The great fall plant migration to the indoors has begun. I took the first plant, a little cactus, to the office yesterday. This weekend I will bring the light stand down from the attic, and pot up a few succulents that are planted in the ground. One larger jade plant was knocked over (I assume by a deer) in August, and it hasn't been the same since. I am going to chop it up for parts, and then I will plant all the parts. There will be a lot of sturdy little jade plants by the spring migration.
Several Christmas cacti are budding. They do that when the days get short. They are short. I look forward to getting back the hour in the morning. A newly acquired bearded iris, which was said to fall bloom, has several buds.

One star at the moment is the monkshood.
The color blue is always a showstopper.

There are still toad lilies, even though they are mostly finished. They make lots of seeds. I have not found them to be very fertile. There are not many little baby toad lilies in the spring.

Here is the popcorn plant. I grows like crazy but never blooms. It seems like it just needs a very late frost. The bloom promises to last until frost. Do I hear Thanksgiving day perhaps.

Our trip
We went to the east coast for almost two weeks. We visited Chincoteague, Virginia first. That is a little island on the part of Virginia that is over by Delaware, separated by the Chesapeake Bay from the rest of the state. That is where my father was born. In fact we stay in the room in the house where he was born. We were there for the edge of Hurricane Matthew. We had 18 hours of rain, with 30 m.p.h. winds. The total rain came to 5 inches.

The surf was up. It is hard to tell from the picture but those waves further out were almost 8 feet high.

Chincoteague is an inner island, protected somewhat from the ocean by Assateague, where the National Park Service operates a National Seashore.  In the small town of Chincoteague we found these flocks of white ibis just wandering around after the storm had passed by.

Here were two of the not so wild ponies. Did you know that when I was a boy I was an extra in the movie Misty of Chincoteague?
It is a little known fact. If you don't know about Misty of Chincoteague or the ponies, you can look it up.

We then went on the Portland, Maine to visit Katie and Elisabeth. There had not yet been a frost there either. I did have to buy an extra sweatshirt.

Our first full day there we took the mail boat around the populated islands around Portland in Casco Bay. The trees had started to turn. The combination of trees and water and rocks was spectacular.

We went to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, near Boothbay, which is about an hour north of Portland. It was a wonderful mixture of gardens and woods, on a crisp day with plenty of sunshine.

I really liked this glass sculpture in the woods.

The artist was Henry Richardson.  It is called Chiseled Glass Orb.

Here is the Orb from a different direction. Imagine Dale Chihuly in the woods.

There was so many shapes and colors and lines. Wouldn't this be a great jigsaw puzzle?

2008-a trip down Memory Lane

Now let me just give you pictures from 2008. I have been reviewing that year because of a transfer of old pictures. I picked out pictures that I like now.

This first picture was early in the year. You can look up the blog archive that went with the week of the caucuses in early 2008.


Monsala tulip. (I just ordered some more of this very favorite tulip.)

Here is Shirley. This tulip has also been one of our favorites over the years. I like this particular picture because of the blurred background, with the blue, probably from bluebells.

This is a yellow tree peony. It is no longer with us. As the patterns of sun changed it just did not get enough light. That happens over time in a garden. Plants sometimes last. Sometimes they do not. There is one of these yellow tree peonies a few blocks away that we still enjoy every spring.

Here are some of the same orchid cacti hanging from the walnut tree. Several years later we lost that lower branch. Now we really do have skyhooks.

Coneflowers are great,

This wonderful orchid cactus bloomed like crazy. Then one day after it was finished someone stole it. The theft was never solved nor the plant found.
Stuff happens.

Another coneflower picture


And closeups

Banned in Boston is a really lovely daylily.

This is a fall crocus called Waterlily.

Another fall crocus.

An orchid brought inside when the outside turned cold.

This picture was made with my old point and shoot camera. My fancier camera will not do this. The camera and program were able to stich together pictures, giving you this panorama from May, 2008. If you look closely you will see a Rod Sullivan for Supervisor sign. I believe this would have been from the primary when I think Rod was first trying to get on the Board. He was successful and is with us still.

A great thing to do with green beans

We are back from our East Coast travels, and our Farmer's Market is still in operation, although not for much longer. We bought green beans at the market this morning, and I made green beans vinaigrette which is a very tasty dish and easy too. I used a quart box of green beans which, when trimmed and cut up and cooked, came to a little more than 2 cups. Cooking green beans is a matter of individual preference; I am not a fan of al dente vegetables but entirely limp is not good either. I cut the beans into pieces that were 1-1/2 to 2 inches long (green beans at the market are not standard in length and so one just cuts them into smaller pieces that are not precise in length). I put them in a pot with water to cover and a big pinch of salt - no lid on the pot. I checked after 15 minutes, and I think I cooked the beans a little while longer.

While the beans were cooking, I cut a white (could have been yellow, not red) onion into a small dice - I used 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion. And I made a simple vinaigrette of 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (any vinegar - including cider - is okay - if you use a red or other purplish vinegar, it will affect the color of the salad), 1/2 teaspoon of table (not kosher) salt and 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper. If you make the dressing in a jar with a lid, shake it; otherwise stir. I use table salt in salad dressings rather than kosher salt because kosher salt does not dissolve well in cold things like vinaigrette.

When the beans were done, I drained them and let them cool off, in a bowl on the counter (or in the refrigerator if you're in a hurry). When the beans are room temperature (or colder), mix in the onion and the dressing. Then stir in 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese. It doesn't have to be fancy parmesan but shreds: not the powdered kind in the green can. Mix and chill and serve either cold or at room temperature.  Four ingredients and a salad dressing! Nothing easier.

There you have it all. I hope this made up somewhat for the absence for a few weeks. The contest is coming soon. I think maybe next week, with Halloween and all, I might give you pumpkins over the years.

No comments: