Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spring To Do List

We all have it - that Spring to do list.  This week it finally looks like the weather will be conducive for me to start tackling my list.

1. The Perennial Garden.
 All the old growth from last year needs to be cut down and composted.

 The leaves that cover the beds need to be removed or dug in so the new growth can get the sunlight.  These crocuses have pushed through those leaves.



 The stone walls of each bed need to be straightened.


 2. The Pond Garden
 The pond needs cleaning out of the leaves that accumulated there.  We never had the long frozen spell that would have let me walk on the ice to cut down the cattails.  I'll have to put my boots on and wade in there to cut them.  The Joe Pye and the butterfly bushes and all the irises around the pond will have to be trimmed.
 The grasses need to be cut and divided and divisions moved to other locations.
 3. The Vegetable Garden
 The garlic is growing.  I don't think it ever stopped this winter.
 The other beds need compost added and then peas, spinach, lettuce and other spring crops can be planted.
 One small patch of spinach that wintered over but it was disappointing.

4. The Front Garden
 The Russian sage will have to be cut back.
 As will the butterfly bushes and hydrangeas.
 The hibiscus will need a cut back of dead limbs.
 The sedum will soon put out new green growth so I need to help it along by cutting the old flower stalks.
 I left my pots out all year in the front and the Daisy Miller may come back but nothing else will.
These pots wintered over in the vestibule.  All the plants survived and soon will be putting out new growth.  I'll need to freshen them up and when temps allow move them to the back deck for another season of growth.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Agatha Christie Challenge continued

Finished another of the Miss Marple series "The Body in the Library" by Agatha Christie.  I had taken a break from reading these books in order to read my book club's selection "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton which six of us discussed here after dinner last night.  That's one I  recommend to readers out there.

"The Body in the Library" opens with just that except the owners of the library have no idea who the body is or how and when it got there.  It's actually quite a sad tale but Christie knows how to soften the blow in her telling of these mysteries.  To write any more about this story will just spoil it for you, so let me just say it's a quick read, as most of her mysteries are, and you'll be astonished at the skills of Miss Marple to cut to the basics in solving the mystery.

I cleaned off the shelves at the library of Miss Marple books so have here in my stack to read:  "The Tuesday Club Murders", "The Moving Finger", "4:50 from Paddington", and "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side".

Last Friday, the 17th we had a chance to go to a local theatre production of "The Hollow" by Agatha Christie.  It wasn't a story I was familiar with but of all of us I was the one who picked out who did it.  I guess I've read too many of these, but I must admit I don't usually figure it out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Harvest Monday


 I'm one day late with this Harvest Monday post sponsored by Daphne's Dandelions each week.  I was amazed to have a harvest last week: greens for a stir fry.  There was bok choy and tatsoi that we added to the beef, carrots, and green onions we stir fried.  It was all quite delicious.  Sorry, no photos of the final dish.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Winter Neighbors

We have neighbors who live very close by but only in the winter time.  They reside under our deck which is just a step off the ground.  Sometimes, like this afternoon, they can be quite noisy.  It started with squeals and then two raccoons came out from under the deck one chasing the other.  The first one made it up the oak tree on the edge of the glen and the other half-heartedly started to climb after the first but gave up and decided it was time to groom or lick some wounds.  I never got a photo of the chasee which climbed 30 feet up the tree.  The sun was behind it.  Here's the chaser:



Within a half an hour they both were gone.  Back to sleep under the deck?  It was a surprise to see them out and about mid-day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Agatha Christie

In January I came upon a new paperback of one of Agatha Christie's mysteries featuring Miss Marple.  I hadn't read one of these in years so checked it out.  As I began to read I realized it was a familiar story, but an interesting thing happened.  I was forming pictures in my mind of the characters and the setting but once I realized I had read it before I also remembered how I had pictured it before and it was entirely different.  I decided to stick with my present visualization of the story because I remembered that my first one was much darker and foreboding.  It was still fun rereading the story even though I did remember who did it.  The book by the way was "Sleeping Murder".

Once I finished the book I set a challenge to myself to read all of Agatha Christie's books.  I'm sure there is a challenge out there in the blogging world to do just that but I'm too lazy to go looking so it will be my own personal challenge.  I photocopied the front listing of all her books so as I read I can check them off.  Since I'll be reading other books as well this may be more than a one year challenge (especially once spring comes and the garden calls.)  But for now I have the time to read and enjoy it.

So far I've been sticking to the Miss Marple series and this week finished "At Bertram's Hotel" and "Caribbean Mystery".  The former I had never read but the latter was somewhat familiar.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mexican Pie

I started out this evening planning to make enchiladas from a recipe I came across on a blog, but then when I thought about the assembly I was reminded of the Mexican pie I used to make.  And though I didn't have the right sized tortillas I went ahead and made the pie instead of the enchiladas.

Here are the ingredients:
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
shredded cheese
 salsa ( I used one jar of Emily's salsa)
corn or flour tortillas
1 cooked chicken breast

I sauteed the onions and pepper in olive oil then added them to the beans, corn, chicken and spices.

Into a pie pan I poured some of the salsa.  Since my tortillas were small I layered 3 on top of that.  Then put on half the bean mixture and covered it with cheese.  I put on 3 more tortillas and the rest of the bean mixture and cheese then topped with three more tortillas and the rest of the salsa.  All of that was covered with cheese.

I baked this for 30 minutes in 350ยบ oven but remembered later that it can be cooked in the microwave.

 Before baking.
 After baking.
 Plated.
 You can see the layers.

See what other cooks have made this week at Robin's Garden of Eden.

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