Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another Mostly Outside Day in Pictures...

Or parts of another day, at least, and pictures, too, of the few things that are growing around the house. This is for Mike and Aimee and Aaron and all of the friends and family who say they want me to put up more pictures of home. And for anyone else, too!

Recently, we've had very pleasant, sunny days. Wildflowers are growing all along the road. Coyotes have been howling close by every night (we love that sound). Owls hoot constantly. And did you see that big, gorgeous solstice full moon low in the sky a few nights ago? It was breathtaking.

Michelle and the boys came over yesterday, towing a riding lawn mower in a trailer behind their Four Runner. (Our lawn mower is having problems, and Michelle's mother-in-law very nicely offered the use of hers.) Michelle drove around, mowing the lawn, while Melissa and I played with the boys. And I did more work in that mess of an herb garden. But now the fenced garden area is mostly cleaned up, with just one more small, jungle-like section to attack. Melissa went to work in the morning and spent the afternoon at home.
Michelle having fun on the mower.

Wild Things Around the House...

We have a little barn swallow colony being built on the side of the house, with four or five mud nests attached artfully together. Whenever I go past that part of the house, birds start flying all around, just above me, chitting at me and making threats.
(Added later: Laura called the bird a cliff swallow in a note to me, and since she is much more a birder than I am, I will henceforth call this bird a cliff swallow.)
Mexican Gold Poppies grow wild all along our mile-long dirt road. This plant is right beside our driveway. The flowers open only in bright sunlight, closing right back up if it gets cloudy or shadowy.

The first thing that has bloomed in our actual (admittedly empty) garden areas this year-- a blanket flower that reseeded itself in one of the herb boxes. I've decided to further revamp how I do the non-edible portions of the gardens, so, because I'm still reading and thinking, nothing new has been planted this year. Hence, there will be an unusual amount of blank space where there are usually flowers.

Roman and Rosie in the herb garden.

Also in the Herb Garden...

I have not planted one new thing this year, and I really wondered if I'd ever get this garden cleaned up. Finally, I'm making progress, and a few herbs have survived and even thrived.


Marjoram

Tarragon

Oregano. Beside Roman.

One really dumb thing I did last year was to plant lemon balm in the regular planter boxes. Then it went to seed, and it planted itself over all of the pathways of the herb garden, so I've spent a lot of time pulling that up. It's so fragrant, though! I handed a sprig to Roman, gave it a rub, and asked him to tell me what it smelled like. I thought he would say, "lemon," but instead, he paused, thought for a moment, and said animatedly, "Oh! It smells like a little bit of garden!"

In the House (not many photos this time)...

Jayden, who thought it was really funny to look at Rosie from this point of view.

Melissa, in a glow of light, because she is an angel. Don't you like those sandals?

Melissa's dinner, partially eaten. Salmon and roasted
asparagus with lemon-garlic vinaigrette and toasted pine nuts.

I'm swallowing my culinary pride to show this photo. (I'm kidding.) See that white beady stuff on the salmon? That can mean a couple of things. First, that the salmon was overcooked. Well, when I roast my salmon in the oven, I do it on high heat for about ten minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon. This fillet happened to be thin, and I didn't check on its progress til the ten minutes were up. White beads! But the salmon was nice and moist and delicious, so we'll blame the whiteness on the other possible reason for it (or so I hear)-- if the salmon is especially cold when it's cooked, the white beads will form easily. I think that's got to be it!

Our dinner was truly delicious. My meat market had just gotten in some fresh wild salmon, so I picked up some for dinner. We chose to make this recipe from Diane Morgan's wonderful book, Salmon. Every single thing we make from that book is mouth-wateringly good. If you eat a lot of salmon, like we do, I very highly recommend getting it.

After dinner clean-up, I talked on the phone with some of my favorite people in the world (my kids), did some before-bed tidying, went through the evening animal-care routine, and read for a while before going to sleep.