Thursday, August 17, 2017

6 More Tomatoes Today

The tomatoes are coming in now and I'm pleased.
Note:  They are redder in life than they appear in their photos.  I'm not the best of photographers.
The Left loner is my first Patio tomato and the other 4 are more Better Bush.

Here my 2nd Red Pride is on the right with the 4 Better Bush to its left.  I'll taste test the Red Pride and the Patio when I roast my tomatoes later today or maybe tomorrow.  I have the others I harvested earlier to add to the group.  I'm hoping to get a full quart bag of them when they are finished.

My report on flavors will take a later posting.

Have a Good Day.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tomato Taste Test

The results are in but I need more Red Prides to make a true comparison.
I sliced and added the newly-picked tomatoes to a salad last nite.
I found the Red Pride to have a much thicker skin so the eating was not comfy.  It was a job chewing thru that skin.  I had to cut some of it out entirely in order to have a smooth salad.
The Better Bush toms were very tasty and the skin perfect for eating in salads and as a whole tomato.
Here's another Better Bush tomato picked fresh yesterday.

Compare the size with my hand.  I'm a tall person and with some uncomfortable girth to go with it so my hands are large.  The size is commendable along with the flavor of Better Bush.   The reddish slash of an oven burn on my hand is healing well.

Have a good day friends.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Bald Eagle Visits Our River Today

I was astounded to see a beautiful bald eagle soaring over our river today.  It took me by surprise.  I had been told we had one that fished our reservoir in the summer but this is the first time I've seen it.
You can spot him sitting in the top of a tree about in the center of this photo.

He's still sitting and watching from the same spot in this shot that shows the river below him.

I only took 3 photos of this lovely figurehead for our free country.  I'm sorry I couldn't get a closer shot or two.   I hope to see him again soon.

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bissell "Featherweight", Now Do I Love Thee

My report on this little wizard, is a 'thumbs up' for sure.
I am older and weaker than I was a few years ago.  My old vacuum was too heavy to drag around and even setting it up was getting difficult.  What does one do in such cases?
One finds a way.....
Above is my new Bissell "Featherweight" which truly lives up to its name.  It was a joy to push around the carpeting.  So light and easy.  The fact that it has a cup for dirt was another plus I liked.  No more dirty bags to deal with in emptying.

 This is the section that can be removed it one wants to zip over the upholstery or in between the sofa cushions for a quick clean-up.  Just push a button and it comes apart.  Easy Peasy.  I love easy.

This is the blurb in Dr Leonards catalog.  I liked the weight, I liked the idea of a dirt cup.  Why not try it.  If it didn't work out, I could send it back.
This little baby will NOT be going back.  I really like it.  It makes quick work of my limited carpet areas, only the living room and bedroom.  I live alone with only a dog for company.  Its a great way to suck up the dog hair every day in only a few minutes time.  Emptying the dirt cup is a breeze and there's a filter to keep the air clean.  What's not to like.
I get a catalog from Dr Leonard's quite often, but if you want a fast purchase, just go to  drleonards.com and check out their items.
In all the years I've done business with them, I've only sent back one item, a small exercise bicycle that fell apart on its first use.  It was the kind where you sit in a chair and only use your feet on the pedals.  They didn't quibble.  I got my money back right away.

Nice day here but overcast.  I love the fact that it is cooler, only in the 60sF.  This week will be pretty comfy around here.  We got a nice rain shower last nite that petered out early this morning.  Much needed, that shower. 
I don't even have a fan going at this moment and its nearly noon.  Nites have been in the 50sF so even when the days are sunny with high 70s to low 80s, the cooler evening bring the temps back into line.  Nice weather.

Have a good day.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fresh Blueberries

I got a terrific gift from a good neighbor yesterday.  She picked fresh blueberries and kindly brought me a pint.
Don't they look divine.

Their size is great as well.  In Maine there is nothing like fresh blueberries.  Its one of the crops we grow well in this state, second after Maine potatoes.

I like them fresh eaten without a muffin or pie to honor them, just from my hand.  A bit of whipped cream doesn't hurt either, but alas, I am out of whipped cream.

Thank you Estelle.  You made my day.

I checked the weather for the coming week and it will be very nice indeed.  Days in the 70sF and nites in the 50sF which is ideal in my book.  No rain in site now after last nite's little bit, until a week ahead when temps will return to the low to mid-80sF.

Walking the dog last nite near midnight, the air was cool and brisk.  No air conditioning needed today, just a fan to move the air a bit.  Outdoors on our noon walk, the breeze was terrific and one needed a sleeve to be comfy.  If one opened a window, the breeze was so cooling and divine.

Have a good day everyone.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Love Using A Pill Dispenser.

For years now I took my daily pills and vitamins daily, taking them out of their bottles, one after the other and swallowing them down.
Today I use a Pill Dispenser.  I've had a couple, two too small for my portions and this one a larger one that has space for daily morning and daily afternoon or evening pills.  I love it.  It cost me a buck at Dollar Tree and it has removable lids so it is easily refilled each week.
Here's my dispenser with my bottles of daily pills and vitamins alongside.  Refilling it only once a week is so time-saving.

This is a close-up of my compartments filled for the week.  I have only one Potassium tablet to take in the evenings.   I love that the lids are removable.  Its just a matter of counting your pills and dropping them in the slots....1, 2, 3 etc.

Lids closed up and dispenser ready for another week of easy, peasy.

On the garden front, my tomato containers are still sporting only green fruits.
tomato containers
From Left to Right:  Patio, 2 Better Bush and my Red Pride.
All still green.  That's what happens when one gets a too late start to the season.  Usually I am transplanting tomatoes before Memorial Day each spring, but this year it was well into June before I bought them locally.
I've harvested Oregon Spring tomatoes (which can be transplanted outdoors 4 weeks BEFORE our last frost date), before the end of June in the past, but their flavor, alas, was not the best in my opinion.  I like rich, juicy flavor for my home-grown tomatoes.  Not having fresh fruits in July is very unusual for me.  I just hope the flavor is worth the long wait this year.

Have a Good Day.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Have A New Range.

It was a big surprise.  I finally complained to management about my overheating oven ruining cookies, brownies, and now my roasting tomatoes getting tinged.
They quickly followed thru.
Maintenance looked at it 2 days later, pronounced that a new thermostat should set it right.
Imagine my surprise when the following day a knock at my door produced two men with a new range.  Evidently the new thermostat was going to be an outrageous price so they gave me a new range instead.
Its white so it matches the fridge.  This one is a Whirlpool instead of a Tappan.

Its first use proved the top burners are working just fine and fast.  If the weather cools down in the next few days, I will christen the oven with some chocolate chip cookies.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Freezing Roasted Tomatoes.

I've made these the last few years and they certainly add some great flavor to soups, chili, sauces and the like.  I just toss in a bagful or two still frozen.
I have to give credit where credit is due.  I got this recipe from Melissa D'Arabian on Ten Dollar Dinners which was on the Food Network a few years.  By the way, her book of the same title, is fantastic.  I've given it as a gift before and it was much used and loved.

ROASTED TOMATOES
Lots of tomatoes, any size or variety, as long as they are fresh.
Olive Oil
Chopped Garlic
Thyme
Salt and Pepper

Time:
About 10 minutes to Prep
Two Hours to Roast.
One Hour to Cool.

Use any fresh tomatoes, large or small.  For small or medium ones, cut them in halves.  For larger tomatoes.  Cut them in quarters.  Remove the stem section.

In a large bowl, place the cut tomatoes.  Add olive oil, chopped garlic, fresh or dry tyme, salt and pepper and toss them to coat evenly.

Place the tomatoes on foil-lined baking sheets, cut-side up.  Roast at 275*F for one hour on this side.

 Unfortunately, my oven is overheating.  It won't stay at 275* but leaps higher, hence the blackeing of he foil, so a report was made to Maintenace about it.  Its been a pain making cookies and brownies and anything that has to bake or roast the last several months.
Anyway, after one hour the tomatoes looks like this above.
You have to turn them all over so they are skin-side up and let them roast for another hour.

When they are done, they are a bit shriveled and if your oven is working right, you will have juices on your foil which you also want to save.  Unfortunately mine are a bit drier because of the overheating oven.

You can freeze these with the skins on, or remove the skins.

You can easily lift the skins off the tomatoes with tongs.  If they won't come right off, give a bit of a shake and the skin will lift off easily.
These are terrific eaten fresh from the oven as a side dish to a meal.  Yummy.

Mark your freezer bags with the information you want, and the date, and seal them tightly.  Putting them in a double bag is best.
When you need to add something to chili, sauce or a soup, you can take a bag or two from your freezer and toss in the tomatoes still frozen.  Easy peasy.  And it gives your dish such an added flavor, you won't want to miss.

Have a Good Day.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Stroll Thru Our Gardens

We've had some lovely weather the last few days, in the mid-80sF here is southwestern Maine, but such low humidity and cool breezes off the river that made it so comfy outdoors.  Many residents here sitting out under the huge trees and enjoying the passing of the river and the summer blooming the last couple of days.   There's some 60'sF days coming for Monday and Tuesday and nothing really hot for at least a week which makes things pleasant for Mainers and tourists alike.

My container garden of tomatoes are still only greenies with just a touch of blush on one or two as you can see here.  L to R: Patio, two Better Bush and a Red Pride on the far right.

Here's a close-up of one of my Better Bush pots.

As for flowers, where does one begin.  Here is one of the Hosta Gardens out front and there's my corgi Penny checking it out.  The  several varieites of Hostas are in flower with lovely, tall, lavender spikes.  A large rhododendron in the background yet to blossom.

On the other side of our main entrance is the other half of the Hosta garden.  There's another large rhododendron in the background but no blossoms there yet either.  And on the right is a lacey vine.

I'm not sure what this is, but its very pretty.  Not in full bloom yet.  Covers a tall fence.

This one is in the back garden near the curbside bench.  I think it might be a lacey Hydrangea.

In the close-up it looks very much like the Bombshell Hydrangea and its flanked by bush roses.

We also have Snowball Hydrangeas on the far lawn.

Here's a close-up of the larger of the three planted along that hillside.

There are summer flowers blooming in the raised beds as well.  Here is Echinacea or Coneflower, a red variety.  Very pretty.

I can't identify this one, but its tiny purple bells on tall stalks.

Some of our flowers have passed, such as the Black-eyed Susans, Dianthus, early-blooming coneflowers, and the Shasta Daisies but I see later Black-eyed Susans are just opening in our birch tree garden where there's more shade.  I'll try to remember to take some photos of the birch tree areas soon.  Its shady under the trees and grows shade-loving flowers.  We've had a variety of blossoms in that area already which have passed and more to come from the looks of things.

Our Flower Box under the trees is going strong with an assortment of flowers and colors.

Its always a pleasure to stroll thru our grounds with its many flowering bushes and blooms.  I thought I would miss my own garden from back home when I moved here, but with all this color and beauty, I don't miss it at all and another more energetic and gardener takes care of it in all seasons.  I'm happy to just have a few containers this year.

I'm not the only one with pots to tend as you can see here with grape tomatoes, dahlias, dill and other greens.  Our patio is a nice sunny spot for growing flowers and veggies.

Have a good day my friends.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Our Canada Geese Family is Grown.

They came to visit our garden today and they are all grown up but still staying with Mom and Dad.  I think they may stay together and fly south when it starts to get cold.
One of their favorite things to do is graze on our riverside lawns.

When they've eaten their fill, they move closer to the river.
Every once in a while they stretch those wings and flutter them wide.  They sometimes just lie around enjoying some rest. 
A bit of preening goes a long way to making them so presentable and handsome.

But when the security guard comes in his automobile, on a signal from every watchful Dad, they head in single file into the reeds and down to the water's edge away from humans.
Its been wonderful watching this family grow the last couple of months, from little balls of fluff to tall adults with their true feathers and colors.
Have a Good Day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Christmas Cactus Care

Some folks I know have wondered how to care for the beautiful Christmas Cactus.  Though called a cactus, it is actually a succulent.

This is a lovely plant and if you want it to bloom specifically for Christmas, follow these rules....

CHRISTMAS CACTUS CARE
​1.  Keep potbound in sandy soil.
​2.  Water only when soil is completely dry.
​3.  Provide some humidity to the environment.
4.  Don't worry about bud fall.....its normal
​5.  Budding Regimen......To bloom for Xmas, place in dark room, or under bag or box in late Sept or early Oct, for 12 hours a day.
6.  When buds appear, cease the dark treatment.
They prefer day temps in 70s and nites 55-50F best or as close as you can get it.
Spring.....Fertilize after flowering.
Summer.....Move outdoors to shady area and maintain water and fertilizer.
Fall.....Move indoors before frost.  Keep drier soil now.  Start budding regimen late Sept or early Oct.
Winter......Place plant in indirect sunlight 4-6 hrs a day.  Keep soil moist.  Humid environment.


These are the general rules for having that lovely plant blooming for Christmas. 
 
They come is such lovely colors as well.  Good luck.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Knobby Towels, A First For Me.

It kept me up early this morning, thinking about it.  How about making hanging dish towels for knobs.  I have drawers in my kitchen that could use a towel hanging handy.  So I got right up and wrote out the new directions for it.
Above is a pair I made post haste today to see how I like it and how its fits my kitchen knobs.  It works.

A close up of the holes for the knobs.  If you have large knobs, you can adjust the holes by skipping 2 stitches instead of one.  Mine fits fine with one skip.

I think this will keep me busy today.  I have nothing else planned for the day so I can make a few sets of these for Christmas goodies.

Its beautiful out today here in Maine.  Sunny and only in the high 60sF so it feels so lovely when walking the dog and a nice breeze off the river.

Have a Nice Day.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Have Baby Tomatoes!

Hooray, I finally see baby tomatoes on 3 of my plants and the other plant is full of yellow blossoms.  Remember, I live in Maine and they got a terribly late start this year with all the kerfluffall I had trying to get my tomato plant order shipped but bad weather in Oregon prevented that from happening so I bought local and very late.
Here's a Better Bush with a green baby tomato,

The other Better Bush also has one greenie that I could locate.

This one is the Patio tomato with a greenie right in the middle.

The flowers in the back garden are blooming as well and this is one of the bushes.

In the front garden the two Hosta garden areas are getting large and filling in with blossoms.  I'll try to get some photos soon.  I rarely go out the front entrance so miss the flowers in that area too often.

I also did a little sewing this weekend.  These are pillowcases I made for a couple of neck/knee pillows that came in the mail on Monday.  I tried one last night while I slept and it sure felt good for raising my knees to a comfy level.

Have a Wonderful 4th of July everyone.