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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wingstem



I love flowers in my yard, and so do the deer.  I have a huge deer problem.  My options for landscaping are limited, so that is shy I allow wingstem to take over, in places.  It is a common native wildflower in Ohio.  They are a hardy perennial that grow taller than me.  If you don't want them that tall, you can just cut them down in the spring.  They will regrow, but a shorter.

They are in full bloom right now.  The deer don't like them, but the bees sure do.  When they are done blooming, I will chop them all down, so they don't go to seed. They spread readily.

As you can see, they are resistant to drought, too.  They are wilty in the garden I don't water, but they still bloom and thrive.  With a little rain, they will perk right up.

They are far from my favorite flower, but they work well.

Book Review: "Collision Bend" by Les Roberts

I found this one on the sales rack at the library for only 50 cents.  Who can resist that?  Les Roberts is Cleveland's own detective book author.  I've read a number of his books and enjoyed them all.  They are lovely junk food for the reader's soul.  Totally enjoyable, well-written mysteries that take place in Cleveland.

I loved the Cleveland references in the beginning, but by the end, I was so wrapped up in the story that I thought they slowed the pace down.  I don't need to know about the Lorain Carnegie bridge--I need to know who dun it.

This one was unpredictable and fun.  The ending had a particularly Cleveland flavor to it. The story was fast paced, unpredictable and creative.  Great book for those who like detective stories whether you live in Cleveland or not.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: "Burmese Days" by George Orwell - 1934

I found this one and Half Price Books, so I took a gamble.  It was a good gamble, too.  The story takes place in the British colony in Burma.  Our main character is British, but he likes the natives.  His friends disagree with him, and that sets the tone for the whole story.  It is about race relations, loneliness, desperation and what some people would call love.  I wouldn't.  They thought they were in love, but there were other factors driving their actions--like loneliness and desperation.

It is a very sad story with a sad, but appropriate ending.  I liked how Orwell aptly described the life in Burma at the time--both the culture and the political atmosphere.  (He had lived there for a while.)  He didn't get all caught up in the description, but wove it into the story in an artistic way.  He brought Burma to life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Garden Update

I really don't expect anyone to read these garden updates.  I really just do them for myself.  That being said, it has been a pretty good garden this year.

My tomatoes have blight, but I have still been picking plenty, and it looks like they will survive and give me at a small but steady supply until the frost.  I have made plenty of salsa, and I just love it.  Also, the cherry tomatoes make great sun dried tomatoes, and that is what I have been doing with them.  I just put them in the food dehydrator with...

My green beans. I used to freeze them, but I have a smaller freezer, now.  I prefer to freeze my salsa and freezer pickles.  Though most of my green bean plants were killed upon sprouting, I got a fair amount of very strong pole beans that have been furnishing me plenty.

My cukes and definitely slowing down, and some of the plants appear to be dead.  I had a great harvest of them, and the bulk ended up as the above mentioned freezer pickles.  I will be enjoying them for months to come.

My ground cherries are scrumptious and I have been getting about a handful a day.  Most of them I eat right in the garden.

I have had so many peppers!  Whatever I don't use right away in salsa and such go right to the food dehydrator.  They are another thing I used to freeze, but they are just as good dried.

I haven't harvested any tomatillos, yet, but they are loaded with blossoms and fruit.  I have a feeling I will have plenty of them, in spite of not having many plants.

I started harvesting my dry beans, and there are still lots on the plants that are still growing.

The zukes are mediocre, but since I have enough plants, that isn't a problem.

I will have some impressive winter squash, too.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Salsa Recipe

I decided that I would make salsa this year.  Actually, I decided it last year, but I didn't have enough tomatoes.  Though many of my tomatoes have blight, I do have enough for salsa.  This is the first year I have ever tried it.  Here is the recipe.  It is based on one I found online, but I made a lot of changes to it to suit my taste.

4 cups diced tomatoes (about 5 large)
2 diced green peppers
1 diced onion
Diced hot peppers to your taste
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Garlic (powder or fresh) to taste
Salt to taste

Mix everything in sauce pan.
Bring to boil.
Simmer 40 minutes
Freeze or eat fresh

Book Review: "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevskyn - 1866

When I saw my niece home from college for her summer break, I told her I was reading this book.  Would you believe, so was she?  Now, what kind of coincidence is that?  Maybe it is a case of great minds travelling parallel paths...

This is my first venture into Russian literature, and I guarantee, it won't be my last.  I loved this book for so many reasons.  The story is a complex psychological murder drama that kept me wanting to turn every single page.  Though I wanted to see how it ended, I didn't want it to end.  There are scenes that are so vivid and tense, that I swear I was holding my breath.

Our main character plans and executes a murder and robbery of an old woman who is a pawnbroker.  His reason for doing it was not due to his poverty, but to prove a theory he had.  He then suffers a physical and mental breakdown.  He is being investigated by a very wily detective-which puts so much pressure on him that he starts to fall to pieces, page by page.  It was fascinating to read.  Other characters in the book have their own problems that are intertwined with his.

There is love, action, suspense and more.  There is nothing formulatic about this book, at all.  If all Russian novels are like this, I am going to have some terrific reading in my future.

The author paints a vivid picture of the poverty and social circumstances of St. Petersburg at the time--without making it preachy.

The ending was very, very satisfying.  So often, an ending is a disappointment, but this one was terrific.

I had trouble with the names.  There are so many complicated names to be learned for each character.  I can't pronounce any of them, either.  That is my only complaint--but what can you expect from a Russian novel, English names?

A must read.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Turn Your Overabundance of Cherry Tomatoes into Sun-dried Tomatoes!

You won't believe how easy it is.  All you need is a food dehydrator.  I know a lot of people who have them and never thought of making this delicious treat.  I have been making them for years.

Today, I started my first batch of the year.  All you need to do is cut your cherry tomatoes in half and place them face up (so the skin is on the bottom) on the trays.  In a couple days, you will have a gormet treat that will keep for months.  If I get enough tomatoes, I will make them in the hundreds--and I never get tired of them.

You can use  bigger tomatoes, but if you don't place them with the skin on the bottom, they will stick to the tray.  Also, if you cut the pieces too big, sometimes they will get moldy before the dry--not good.

I like tossing them into canned cream corn for a quick and tasty soup.  Dad and I used to fry potatoes with peppers and sun-dried tomatoes.  They were so good that way, that this year, since I have a lot of peppers, I might do that, again.  They taste good in pasta dishes and are good plain, too.

If you have a dehydrator and some cherry tomatoes, you just have to try it.