Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pizza on The Grill

Another busy week here. The little granddaughters enjoyed Vacation Bible school and loved Pop. He is such a gentle little guy that the children will really enjoy him. He and Sundance have become friends. So this week I am enjoying a surprise spur of the moment visit with my cousin who flew in from Las Vegas Sunday. We haven't seen each other in about 8 years. So once again my posting and visiting blog friends is scaled back.
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Another week has passed since I started this post. Cousin Carol returned home Friday. This post has been just sitting waiting for me to get back to it. I am blogging from the IPad, so if the post is a bit shakey, forgive me.

I wanted to share  a simple way to fix your favorite pizza using your garden fresh vegetables and your patio grill On those hot summer evenings when you are hungry for pizza but don't want to heat up the kitchen. 

Buy a pre-made, precooked crust such as Mamma Mary's. Some brands come with a small packet of sauce.


Or make your own sauce or use a canned sauce. I make a simple pizza sauce using tomato sauce, a sprinkle of anise seeds, Italian seasoning, garlic powder or fresh garlic, and black pepper.




I found a number of web sites that offered good instructrions on how to grill pizza. First, use only pre-made pizza crust. Raw dough--messy. Brush it with olive oil and then brown it on low heat, checking frequently for the desired browness. 

Decide on your toppings. With all of the garden fresh veggies, you will have plenty to choose from. Pre- cook your veggies. I like to grill mine as I grill the crust, but some denser vegetables may take longer,so start them a bit sooner. I like to marinate my fresh vegetable in Zeaty Italian drerssing. 




Add your toppings. I had left over cooked hamburger that I added to the pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and black olives, along with the pre-grilled zucchini that I brought home from Texas.

Cook until the cheese has melted.



The crust will be crunchy, the flavors rich, and the house will stay cool, too.



This will be a quiet week. The head gardener has started delivering sweet corn for his farmer friend. He has a dozen stores, mostly in Denver, so he is gone two days a week. There is some clean- up to do in the garden after the hail Saturday. The tomatoes and potatoes got pretty beat up, but they should recover. 

I am enjoying your summer flowers and your vacation adventures. Around here there are soft mummers that Fall may be making an early appearance. Our late summer days have been cool with more rain than we expect. Mind you, I am not complaining, althought the abundant rain has brought weeds in places where weeds never thought to grow. 

Well, friends, I have a lot of blog catching up to do with several posts waiting in the wings and dozens of photos to share. Will you keep up with me? 

 Have a great week.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Success!

Hello. Just dropping in for a second to show off my asparagus spears, proving that the home gardener can indeed grow asparagus. I don't know why I doubted myself since it grows wild along ditch banks and road sides. This is year two, so by next year I should be roasting a few on the grill. I have the little girls week. They are going to Vacation Bible school in the morning. Yesterday we played with Pop, today we sill see a movie, tomorrow perhaps we will get grandpa to take us to the butterfly pavilion or the aquarium in Denver. I'll be popping in and out all week.



I would have had a decent harvest had I been paying more attention. The sunflowers have sorta over taken my two little asparagus plants.




First cucumbers of the season chillin' in cider vinegar,water, fresh dill, garlic, red pepper seeds. Refrigerator pickles are the easiest. They will be yum.

Garden Challenge: What are your garden challenges? Plant something new that you never thought you could grow. (Still can't seem to master hydrangeas! They don't over winter the best and I know people grown them in Colorado.)





Saturday, July 20, 2013

Shhh, It's a Secret


Good Morning, friends. I hope I have caught up all of my commenting for the moment. I have been away for couple of days. I would like to welcome 2 new followers: Simple Love Gardening.Com  in Charlotte, North Carolina with so much good information. I have just started a herb garden in pots so I will have to read their article on basil, And welcome to  Lavender Dreams who comes to us from Florida. She has a huge following and I am honored that she has joined the Garden Spot.

We have had rain. Sweet rain along with lots of loud thunder and lightening nearly every evening. Very nice. The garden and lawn love rain.

I have so much to share. I have several blog ideas that I need to develop, but let me start with the Big Secret that the Garden Spot is keeping.

Upon my return from grocery shopping last Saturday, the Head Gardener greeted me by telling me about a phone call he had received. A former neighbor's friend had a free pony. (Remember that nothing is ever really free, especially when it has to eat). I got really excited and said, "We must go see this pony."


A friend once asked me if I could have any animal, which one would I choose. Well, I am a not dog person, really, although we have had dogs all of our married life and have enjoyed their company, but the dogs have always been hubby's buddies. Dad would never allow us to have a dog. He didn't like cats either, but a neighbor gave me a kitten when I was about 10, Sir Christopher Kitty Kat. But that is another story. I have had cats ever since. 

The same old man gave me my first parakeet when I was very young, so I have always had birds, but my cockatiel died last year and I haven't replaced him. I could tell bird stories, too.

My choice of animal would be a horse. My friend scoffed. She is a cat person.

I got my first horse when I was in 5th grade. I belonged to the Lakewood Westernaires, a precision drill team, for while, a wonderful organization for kids with horses. They travel world wide showing their precision riding. In 9th grade I got the grandest horse, Sailor, a huge red steed--quarter horse-thoroughbred cross. We were the best team. I showed him in  the western pleasure class, western horsemanship, and we did a bit of barrel racing, but mostly we just rode the trails of Table Mountain west of Denver. 

I gave up Sailor when I became a mom and had babies to feed. We had been pardoners for over 20 years.


Long Story Short: Meet Pop, a POA, Pony of  the Americas. A champion show pony. POAs were developed in the 1950s in Iowa, a cross between the Arabian, the Appaloosa (the original Nez Perce Indian pony), and the Shetland pony. Known for their gentle nature, they make the perfect horse for children.

Pop has spent his life as a show pony. His girl has grown up and he needed a good home as his family's life circumstances changed. He has come to a good place where he will be babied and pampered and he will live out his days with 5 little kids feeding him his favorite snack, Gold Fish crackers, giving him baths, and hopefully learning how to ride. He was a world champion in his hunter jumper class, so he will teach the kids how to ride, he will teach them responsibility, and hopefully they, too, will become horse people.



Pop, a pro at trailer riding, jumped right in the trailer and made the 45 minute ride to his new home calmly.


Isn' the cute. For a pony is his early 20's, he has plenty of energy for little kids. The Head Gardener leads him to water, but you know how that ends.


Sun Dance put on quite a show when he discovered the new kid in town. He has over the last few days shown some dominance, so there has been some screaming by both, laying back the ears, fence charging, and yes, some jealousy on SD's part. 


Today Pop will be free to roam the corral, while Sun Dance grazes in the pasture. It will several more days before we turn them loose together. Sun Dance still seems a bit aggressive and wants to be boss. He is Head Horse, after all, and he has to make sure he lets Pop know.

We haven't told the kids yet. We are waiting for a time when they can all be here to introduce them. So he is a Big Secret.

Busy week here. Ellie and Lucy will be here for the week attending Vacation Bible School, so once again I will go MIA as they get up very early. Hope you all have a wonderful week end. The gardens are putting on their July show. Let us know what's blooming in your garden. I"ll try to at least read and comment. Have a great week end.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Best Dressed: Hat, Gloves, and Eau de Off



I love hats. Years ago my best friend Patricia Rose and I loved to take the bus to downtown Denver. During summer vacation, we’d drive to the county line bus stop at Sloan’s Lake in Lakewood, where we would board the city bus to ride to 16th Street, the shopping district of the mile high city. We’d get off the bus at Woolworth’s where we’d have lunch, a sandwich and a Coke—a real treat for two country girls. We’d walk 16th Street up down one side and up other, taking all day window shopping in all of high-end department stores that we could never afford to shop in: May D&F, The Denver Dry Goods, Joslins, and the most exclusive, Neusteters  I guess we got a bit carried away because the stodgy old sales clerk kicked us not only out of the hat department, but told us to leave the store. We went, our laughter echoing throughout the store. Our day would end at the candy store where we would buy a decadent piece of fudge to enjoy on our bus ride back to the car.

. Trying on hats was our favorite. We’d pose in the mirror, laugh, reach for another hat, laugh some more. (No cell phone cameras or Facebook posts in those days—just good old memories preserved for life). Patti started the laughing fit when she told me: “You’d look good with a bucket on your head.”


My mom and dad in their later years shopped every Saturday morning the Mile High Flea Market outside of Denver. Dad would buy tools; mom would buy fresh fruits and vegetables, trinkets for her granddaughters, and hats that she would wear to the flea market the next Saturday.



I display them on the wall in my guest room—a sweet reminder of  mom.




This one is my favorite, with the Neusteters label still intact. You can imagine the garden parties this hat must have attended as it made the rounds in Denver summer society.



The best dressed woman in the ‘50s and even into the ‘60s never left home with out her hat and her gloves. Remember Jackie O.? Women dressed elegantly and formally when they left home. While I didn’t wear a hat to church, I did wear gloves as a new teacher in small town where I thought that I had to appear properly.


I still try on hats, especially in the thrift stores. I like to wear a hat when I garden to keep the sweat out of my eyes and the sun off of my aging face. I found this one at a thrift store in Ft. Collins. It has character.

As a gardener now, I wear gloves not so much to protect the manicure, rather to guard against certain bacteria that live in the soil that might enter my hands through a hangnail or bit of open place in the skin. Really, I am not paranoid or a hypochondriac. The Head Gardener has a problem with two fingernails that have a fungus that he picked up pulling weeds. He has tried everything to cure the fungus. His dermatologist put him on a potent and potentially dangerous antibiotic that did nothing. He has tried everything from home remedies to products he has ordered online: oils and ointments, even Vick’s to get his nails to grow normally.  He did notice a slight improvement in the nails after spending time in the chlorinated swimming pool in Texas, so he may try another concoction. We buy cheap gardening gloves by the bag. He doesn’t always wear them though, and I have to remind him if is going be digging in the dirt to put on his gloves.

Every year for Christmas I’d receive my favorite perfume, but I stopped wearing perfume because it just came so over powering. Now, especially in the evenings, I don’t leave the house without a good spritz of Eau de Deep Woods Off.  It’s disgusting stuff, but necessary. My mother-in-law swore by a Downy Dryer Sheet tucked in her pocket to ward off nasty mosquitoes. Others recommend Avon’s Skin So Soft with a scent so strong that it would ward off vampires. Nasty as it is, every best-dressed gardener will use some sort of bug repellent that contains “Deet” to protect from mosquito bites. Here in northern Colorado (and not just here), the nasty creatures carry West Nile (read about West Nile here: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html). We hear the horror stories about those who have contracted the virus suffering a variety of symptoms from mild flue-like symptoms to paralysis, blindness, even death. And once infected with virus, one has it always, so we suffer the Off.

Sunscreen has to be another must; my dermatologist and MD both insist on it; however, I have never used sunscreen much I guess because I tan easily. (Faulty logic, I know). I do insist that the fair-haired grandchildren are properly protected. Yes, I know. I should be wearing SPF 50 or higher, for as I age my skin is becoming less tolerant of the sun, thus the hat and the gloves at least.


The Head Gardener even has his own gardening 
hat that he pretty much wears most 
of the time when he is outside; it doubles as his fishing hat.
                                                                                                                                 



























Together the two hats garden.

So how do you dress when you go out to garden? Do you take any special precautions, or do just throw your cares to the wind and enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air, and the breeze in your hair, sweat in your face, and the bugs a buzzin'?

(To spruce up my photos, I used Picasa with textures from Kim Klassen Cafe. She offers free textures and has great tutorials).

Good gardening this week, dear friends.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

God's Garden

Come join me in the cool Colorado mountains in God's Garden where the moose run free and the eagles soar, where big fish tales can come true, where the texting halts, Pinterest is far away, the iPad left behind. Where the wild flowers flourish, the wild life sets the rules, and we are just momentary visitors.



Our first morning Ellie yells from inside the camper, "Look Daddy, there's a caribou." Actually a mother moose has brought her young calf to the lake shore for an early morning drink.



Probably not. She is pretty big and not so friendly. She had to give Fritz the schnauzer pup put a strong warning not to get so close and to stop his barking.


We are lucky enough to camp on private land at lake's edge away from the crowds at the camp ground on the far shore.  Lots of drift wood piles up on this shore e as the wind blows east across the lake. Really cool wood that has been tossed about and so perfectly placed. How can I do this at home?


The days are mild, the nights cool. A breeze stirs through the pine trees, rustles the aspen leaves. Late in the afternoon the clouds roll in with thunder and lightening and a bit of rain. We wonder if it might be raining at home.


God's Colorado garden is not a healthy garden as the pine beetle ravishes the pine forest. A harsh reality hits as we realize just how bad the beetle kill in the Colorado Rockies is. There are far more dead trees than live ones. We respect the No Camp Fire declaration.


The Continental Divide still has some snow where from the top of the mountain peak as the snow melts the water will flow downhill either to the east or to the west. This water shed fills the mountain lake. 


I missed the really good shot of the eagle flying low over the lake in search of fish. I had put the camera away. I did get another chance to photograph the eagle, but this one circled much higher. Still what a thrill to see the bald eagle soar free on the 4th of July. 



This little guy took to his underground home just in time as the eagle appeared in the sky, cruising the lake and shore  looking for lunch. 


Every garden must have butterflies. This one looks a bit weather warn and tired.


Pretty little clumps of flowers in God's garden that would look really pretty in my little rock garden.





Here's an innovative way to grown raspberries as they forge their way through a stack of drift wood looking natural and healthy.


Some underwater gardening, too, at lake's edge.


Piles and piles of dead trees strewn about the lake's shore along with  what appears to be yellow scum which is actually pollen from the pine trees blown in the wind.


The only little plant that I can put a name too: woolly thyme with its delicate pink flowers.

The grand kids went treasure hunting finding pretty rocks, odd bits of drift wood, old glass bottles,  but the real find was Elinore's horse shoe.

The lake was built in the 1920s as water supply for Greeley back in the day when draft horses were used to build the dam. Anyone who knows horses would recognize that this shoe came off of the hoof a very big horse. Ellie said that because it was so big, it must have a lot of luck in it. 



                               The Head Gardener relaxes in his belly boat casting his fly reel. 

No big fish tales to tell this time. Now back to the Garden Spot where the work never ends, where there is always something to do, where technology resumes, the pace quickens. There's work to be done.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday and that your week is busy and your garden flourishes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Heat is On



Happy Fourth of July America. We are headed to the mountains do some fishing and to escape the heat. It will be our first trip without Max Dog and Jacob who usually goes with us too. So no dog, no grandson, just the two of us, but we will meet up with Jen's family so we should have an exciting get away.

I will be back next week with two new posts that I have been working on. Here's a hint for one.



I hope that everyone has a safe and festive holiday.
 God bless our military men and women.
We send our prayers, too, to the  Arizona firefighters' families who lost the their brave young men.

God Bless America.