i’ve got garlic on my mind

I’ve finally cleaned up my garlic harvest from a few weeks ago. It’s been drying on my porch and I figured I needed to get to it; cutting off the roots and stalks, before it got away from me.

I admit that I love garlic. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before. I love just roasting whole cloves of it and then schmearing the softened cloves onto crusty French bread. <DIVINE>

Here’s my harvest this year:

how to grow garlicDuh-rool, Duh-rool!

Many moons ago, I learned from a farmer at a farmer’s market, that all I needed to do was to find big bulbs of garlic, separate the cloves and then plant them, pointed-end up, in October.

Come spring, they shoot their little green garlic sprouts through the earth. Come June, those same green tops start to yellow and fall over and that is when you dig them up, let them dry, and then enjoy them. (yeah, they grow whole new bulbs under there. Crazy, right?)

Throughout my garlic-growing years, I also learned to use the green tops as garlic chives. Then I learned I could eat the scapes – the small, twisting buds that occur as the garlic begins to go to seed. (toss in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil and salt and saute for a few minutes. You can thank me later.)

how to grow cook garlic scape

Then I realized that I didn’t really need to let the garlic dry – I could eat if FRESH! (yeah, go figure). They call that “green garlic” or “fresh garlic” nowadays. Pssht. I figured it out on my own. One day I needed garlic and all I had was my fresh stuff. <AND THE HEAVENS OPENED>

And then I learned that if I leave a few in my garden to go to seed, I wouldn’t have to replant it. Ever again.

Garlic. It’s a beautiful thing.

Plus it gets rid of all those nasty vampires that seem to be cropping up lately.

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vacation come and gone

Ahhhh….Jim and I took our first vacation in a very long time and it was absolutely wonderful!

A huge group of family and friends joined up at Campfire Bay Resort in Minnesota and spent an entire week fishing, relaxing, cooking, eating, and having a lot of laughs. It was truly an amazingly awesome week and it was over way too soon.

Here are a couple of shots I took while we were there:

last of the mofreakins campfire bay resort minnesota

last of the mofreakins campfire bay resort minnesota

Wishing the harsh reality of real life hadn’t invaded so soon…..*sigh*….but it’s back to real life. C’mon lottery!


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90 in the shade

It’s a hot one this weekend but I’m loving it just the same. I’m sure I’ve mentioned by now that I’m a summer girl. Give me the sun, heat and long days and I’m happier than a pig in dirt.

Spent yesterday on a major shopping spree with my mom and had an absolute blast. We shopped, shopped, shopped, ate, shopped, shopped and shopped some more. Almost 6 hours worth before we called it quits.

Then my parents came by later for a mini seafood fest. Shrimp cocktail, bacon wrapped scallops with garlic, and mussels in tomato and garlic sauce (compliments of my mom). We sipped a few cocktails and stuffed ourselves and then they headed off.

Today Jim and I got up pretty early – we knew it was going to be a scorcher, so we wanted to get an early start. He’s doing a major overhaul on his boat – new carpentry, new carpet, all kinds of new stuff.

Me? I finished getting the rest of the veggie garden planted and then set about digging up our incredibly-overgrown creeping phlox. Ugh. I used to really like the stuff until it took over my front gardens. Now it’s all been relegated to the burn pile. I can’t be the only person that’s grown to hate this stuff, can I? I mean, it’s gorgeous for 3 weeks out of the year and then it just looks like a bunch of half-dead ferns in the dirt. Anyway, I’m over it. Jim’s hated it all along, so he’s pretty thrilled.

Once again we’ve outdone ourselves with our peppers. Holy Molé, Poblano, Anaheim, Hot Red Cherry, Sweet Red and Yellow, Chilaca, Jalapeno, and last, but very not least, Ghost Peppers.

Our Habanero’s didn’t take for some reason (I started all our peppers indoors in February), but since the Ghost Pepper took so well, I think we can do without our Habanero’s this season. We’re so excited to try them. I know…we’re crazy!

Tonight we’re continuing our Seafood Fest with Cherrystone Clams, Littleneck Clams, and Raw Oysters. Ohhhhh Yeahhhhhhh.

I’m hoping to kick out all the laundry today so tomorrow I can really relax a bit. They’re calling for storms so at least that may keep me out of our yard for the day.

Our new dining room flooring gets put in this week – I’m super excited about that also. The hardwood we picked is beautiful and I’m getting anxious to get the room done. Unfortunately we still have windows to go, and then tile around the fireplace. But it’s getting there.

Stay cool this weekend and be safe.

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stormy sunday

I love a good thunderstorm on the weekends, sometimes.

We sit out in our parlor (our big screened-in porch) and watch the downpours while sipping coffee or enjoying a cold beer.

Today is one of those days.

Yesterday was a working day – the usual chores along with some additional projects. Jim worked in the yard and gardens most of the day and it all looks fantastic. It’s amazing how far our yard has come in the short time we’ve lived here.

Friday night we went out for sushi with my parents, my step-sister and her daughter. Aside from it being the worst experience at Shogun ever, we still had a great time. Stopped by Oscar’s afterwards for a cocktail and then Jim and I stopped in to my parents house on the way home. Sat with them and had some great laughs. I think I made it about 20 minutes after arriving home before falling asleep on the couch. I’m impressed I made it to midnight after the long, long day I had.

Getting excited to get our summer veggies in. Our asparagus is still going strong and our radishes are almost ready but I’m really craving homegrown peppers, tomatoes and beans. The peppers I started inside are getting huge, so hopefully it won’t be a long wait for them, once they’re in the ground.

Every year our flowers get more amazing too. And aside from the deer enjoying some of our tulips for lunch, everything is blooming like mad.

Looking forward to a little relaxing today – things have seemed so hectic and been so stressful the last few weeks that I really need some down-time.

The dining room remodel is at a standstill, due to our special order flooring not being in yet.  Once that goes in and the windows get replaced, we’ll be able to put the room back together. I’ve yet to pick out the glass tile I want for around the fireplace but the chandelier looks wonderful and we love the paint color we chose.

Well, happy Sunday to you and I hope you’re enjoying yours too.


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into the spring we march

I cannot believe I’ve not posted since Thanksgiving. The holidays were wonderful and, as always, filled with much great food and love.

Here in Northern Illinois we are enjoying a very warm spring and I’m loving every minute of it. Our tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are in varying degrees of bloom around our yard and they are a gorgeous site for these winter-sore eyes. Crocus have mostly come and gone already. As the first harbingers of spring, they were a delight to see.

Our magnolia tree is also in full bloom and smells divine. Rhubarb is peeking it’s little red and green faces out of the dirt. Asparagus has shot out of the mulch, seemingly overnight. Ornamental grasses are growing, lilacs and hibiscus are budding, irises are shooting up their greens, garlic and chives look beautiful and the grass has become a sea of green around us.

These are just a few of the photos I’ve taken around our yard this weekend. I hope that everyone is enjoying this great spring weather as much as I am!

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thanksgiving…it’s kind of a big deal around here

I haven’t posted much lately on my little blog here; I’ve been busy, busy, busy. But Thanksgiving is just around the corner and after much of my own craziness this weekend, I’m taking a much-needed break to put a few words to paper, so to speak.

I love Thanksgiving.

I’m not much of a holiday person in a lot of ways – I hate the hustle and bustle and commercialism of most of the season in general. I don’t like forced cheerfulness or insincere wishes from people who don’t have any time for me the rest of the year.

But I do like the natural warmth that happens when it’s cold outside and there’s food cooking, friends and family laughing, toasts being made and prayers being said, all while the wind whips up it’s fierceness around a cocoon of love and fellowship.

I try hard to be thankful every single day for my health, the health of my family, my friends and my friends’ families. I’m thankful on almost a daily basis – especially with our current economy – that Jim and I have good and steady jobs, a roof over our head, food on our table, dependable vehicles, good health, pets we’ve been blessed to have grace us with their presence, family that love and care about us and a plethora of friends who we’re blessed to know.

But this time of year makes me reflect a little more, focus a little harder. Do I get a little crazy over my Thanksgiving Day dinner? Yes. Does anyone who joins us on Thanksgiving really care that there’s a little dust on top of my refrigerator or a stray dust bunny under my sofa? Probably not. But I get a little crazy nonetheless.

Candles, cloth napkins, colorful glassware, water with fresh lemon slices, tablecloth, appetizers, plenty to drink…It’s the details that I stress over and yet, somehow, every year  I pull it off. And every year I ask myself: Is any of this really important? No. What’s important is the joining, the laughter, the love.

Shopping, cleaning, scrubbing, filling, prepping, cooking, washing, lighting…I do it all not just to make it special for me, but to make it special for everyone I love and care about.

Am I alone in this ritual? Not at all. All across America, I am part of the sister and brotherhood that take it upon themselves to bring the people we care about together and make this day extra special.

But really, what makes Thanksgiving Day special is the people we love.

Many blessings and much love to everyone this entire holiday season. If you are not here at my table, you are still in my thoughts and prayers.

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i just wanna sleeeeeeep

Am I the only one that is so powerfully effected by the shorter days of fall and winter? Ugh. All I want to do is sleep. And eat of course. I should be outside digging up our canna’s. Well, maybe not RIGHT now…it’s currently only 37 degrees, so it should probably warm up a bit.

Here’s my morning so far: made bed, coffee, internet news, email, Facebook, more coffee, dishes, Tilly’s medicine, editing and posting of flower photos that I took last month. Here’s a good one:

Squirrels and chipmunks are going crazy in our yard, gathering their nuts and whatever else they gather for the winter. I throw tortilla chips out for them sometimes and we’ve actually seen squirrels burying them. “I’m sorry Mr. Squirrel, but tortilla chips are not known for their long lasting winter storage. You may want to go ahead and just eat them now”

At least the sun is out…free heat day with our wall-o-windows.

Sunshine and heat makes me sleeeeeeeepy.

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