Musing with Max

Musing with Max

May 29, 2012

Hot Diggity

We were so looking forward to the Memorial Day Weekend. Frank had it in his mind that he would mow the lawn on Saturday morning then hit the wine store and then we'd just relax, lounge around admiring the yard, watching the flowers bloom from the fruits of our hard labor, having some good food and wine, maybe an impromptu gathering with some friends, you know, summertime and the living is easy, etc, etc, etc. My idea was a tad different but not too far off. Friday night with some fun food, needed to hit Costco because we were dangerously low in the food department and would have trouble filling the food part of our long relaxing weekend, then the wine store and the rest would be a repeat of Frank's idea. So, Friday fun food:

Shrimp Gumbo, recipe here, except that I used a fat Spanish chorizo
because the store didn't have andouille --- very good idea
OK, so far so good

Saturday, off to Costco and piling up the truck, the wine store and piling up the truck, getting home, unpiling the truck, wrap and store all the meat except for one big giant skirt steak that will be landing on the grill tonight. Go outside, admire the peonies
crank up the mower....oops, what's that choking sound? Again, again, again? Hmmm, don't think we'll be admiring the lawn so much. Max doesn't care cause he can just sit in it

and that's one his favorite things to do

and we can always borrow the neighbor's mower, and invite them over while we're at it for that impromptu gathering since we can grill that big giant skirt steak which has been marinating in a garlic teriyaki steak sauce and lots of stuff to throw together a big salad and pull out some of that wine we piled into the truck earlier, along with the Spanish brandy and enjoy ourselves so much we have no pictures, which might be a good thing.

Sunday means we Frank picks up the lawn mower and mows the lawn, and maybe a little later than planned we'll lounge around and gaze at the yard and Max will enjoy the roses
or maybe go after some buzzing sound because he has a short memory
or maybe just lie down and rest

because it is excruciatingly hot...and it's only May. Ouch!
The best laid plans of dogs and men....

May 22, 2012

Greenish thumb

My aunt was an avid gardener.

She was one of those people who would be visiting someone or somewhere and see a plant or bush she liked and she would say, “oh, can I take a cutting?” while she was tearing a piece off and sticking it in her purse. She did this regardless of whether she was across the street, across town or across country; this was her passion. Her souvenirs were usually pieces of trees which a lot of times she had no clue what they were; all she knew was that she wanted it in the garden. She would then get home and proceed to stick this cutting in a glass with water, two days later she had roots, so that meant moving it to a pot, adding 20-20 fertilizer (always), watering it, watching it grow and then transplanting it into the ground where the majority of the time said cutting would flourish under her loving care. She was my Mother’s younger sister and since she never married she always lived with us, which meant that her garden was my Mother’s garden and my Mom, who enjoyed gardening herself, had no problem letting her sister be the master of that domain since she clearly had “the gift”. They had beautiful bougainvilleas in red, pink, white and a breathtaking orange, huge gardenia bushes that would make you swoon when in bloom, stephanotis, roses, lemon and lime trees, delicious purple avocados, all kinds of succulents, hanging baskets all over the terraces with every kind of ivy imaginable; the list is endless. Her biggest passion was orchids and bromeliads. She would take a bromeliad, split it, stick one in the ground and the other on a tree and off they went. The trees in their yard were all surrounded by bromeliads which were probably propagated from two, there were hundreds. She did the same with the orchids, split them and stick one in a tree branch and the rest would be hanging from the gazebo she had built just for that purpose or in the house, they all bloomed constantly. Her other passion was me. Since she always lived with us I wound up sharing a room with her for a good part of my young life and while there were some lovely times and some not so good; I was quite the obstinate teenager and unfortunately took it out on her.  She seems to have passed on that love of the garden if not her “gift”. Every time I plant anything I think of her. Tomorrow is (was) her birthday. Today my friend and I visited the NY Botanical exhibit of Monet’s Garden at Giverny France. My aunt would have gotten us thrown out and/or arrested as she took cuttings for her garden.

OK, I'll stop (really I can't upload 86 pictures), one more though even if it had nothing to do with Monet but it sure had to do with my Aunt-bougainvillea!

 and Max for good measure

Because she would have loved that best. 

May 21, 2012

Down the garden Path

This weekend the weather was perfect; low 70's, no humidity, clear blue cloudless skies...hmmm. Which meant all of it spend in the garden. Most of the weeding has been accomplished, yeah right. All the vegetable and herbs have been planted, the climbing hydrangeas for the refurbished side flower bed are in their place and the hostas and astilbes that we decided to plant in front of them are also in the ground so are the bulbs for the anemones and ligularia; I look down every 5 minutes it seems to see if there's a breakthrough in the ground -- nothing yet. The peonies started to show flower buds, yay! The ferns are taking over, the transplanted daylilies are filling in very profusely, the bush that I, probably mistakenly, call a mock orange that grows under the crab apple in the back is huge and beautiful, the rosebush that Frank hates bloomed, the fairy rose is ready to explode, most of the pots are ready...and then we started to mulch, mulch, mulch. OK we didn't finish that because we needed a break and a walk down the garden path to check on the progress.
aah, time well spent, so we'll relax a little in the patio

or take a nap

and rest, cause there's still a lot of mulching to do.

May 15, 2012

A flower for Mom

I spent Mother's Day weekend working in the garden which is usually the case since it falls on the date that officially marks "no danger of frost" and we can plant without worries. So that means I weeded and weeded and weeded the beds for the herbs and for the tomatoes and peppers and then proceeded to weed and weed and weed everything else so we could plant and then put the mulch down
and luckily the weather really cooperated the entire weekend therefore I was able to get it all done. Unfortunately this wasn't as enjoyable as it usually is. This is the second Mother's Day since my Mom passed away so I can't share any of this with her because even though we lived in different states I would call her and give her the detailed blow by blow of how the garden was shaping up, just as she would call me and give me the details of every single flower and filler that was in the arrangement we had sent her. For some reason this year was harder than last year, I'm not sure why. Maybe the longer it is the more final it is. Who knows, this is a long hard road that I naively thought I would never travel. Wishful thinking I suppose. I wanted to pick this poppy
and put it next to this picture

or this picture

so she could have her flowers but Frank took the high road and said no since it belongs to my neighbor. I guess that's appropriate because she would have said the same thing. I'll have to wait until one of the ones that has sauntered over to my side blooms. She wouldn't of minded getting her flowers late. I was very disappointed when I looked yesterday morning and the new bloom was still not on my side. I looked over at the peonies and they're not ready yet either so I'll have to emulate her infinite calm and patience and let nature take it's course, not an easy task for me.

But lo and behold on this cool and rainy Tuesday morning
My Mother's favorite recipe

Cuban-Chinese Fried rice adapted from Cocina Criolla
8 servings

3 cups of rice
4 1/2 cups of water

3 tbsp of olive oil
3 garlic loves
1/4 tsp of ginger
1 lb. of smoked pork
6 eggs
3 or 4 tbsp of soy sauce
2 small bunches, green onions
1/2 lb. steamed shrimp (I used small canned, like my Mom did)
1/2 lb. ham

In a large saucepan bring the water to a boil, add the rice. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 18 minutes. Let the rice cool completely.

Slice the pork in thin strips, about 1/4 inch wide and 1 inch long. Slice the ham in the same manner. Cook the eggs into very thin omelets, almost like crepes, and slice the same way. Chop the green onions in small pieces, both white and green part.
In a large frying pan or wok heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves, cook until they are a golden brown. Remove the garlic cloves and add the cold rice. Cook it stirring constantly so that it doesn't stick until heated through. Add the pork, ham, shrimp, ginger and sliced omelet
stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and heated through. Add the soy sauce slowly and stirring until incorporated

Add green onions and serve.