Monday, August 23, 2010

Cooking up Patty Pan Squash

I cooked up my first patty pan (or scallop or sunburst) squash today. I've never grown them before.  I posted a picture of a baby one on August 1; three weeks later, it was about 4" across.  I had no idea how big they were supposed to get before you pick them, so I finally googled today.  The one I picked was on the big side of the scale - apparently, you want them no more than 3-4" across, preferably smaller.  Who knew?

I've never cooked patty pan squash before either, so I also googled that while I was at it.  Apparently, the easiest way is simply to prick the skin and then steam them for 5-6 minutes.  We all know that "easy" has no appeal for me, so I went with a different recipe - chop up the squash, dot with butter, sprinkle with parmesan and whatever spices your heart desires, and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

The parmesan had a Mediterranean feel to it, so my heart decided to desire an Italian seasoning mix plus a dash of salt.

End result - it takes much longer than 15 minutes, though maybe my pieces were too big (methinks not, 15 minutes seemed terribly optimistic right from the get go).  Plan for 30-45minutes, depending on the size of your pieces.  The smell is heavenly, and the squash is pretty darn tasty.  Might try this again down the road, but for the time being, I will likely try other ways, just to see if there's something better.

Anyone have a recipe for me?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Flash Photography at Dusk

I had no idea. I don't think I've ever tried using the flash at that time of day before - not quite light, not quite dark. Made for some beautiful pictures though!

Off to the Fair

I'm having a fabulous weekend.  Yesterday I went to the fair.  Today is Archie's adoption anniversary, which I also designated as his birthday.  Needless to say, I didn't do a lot of yardwork this weekend, which is just fine with me.  It's nice to have a break now and then.

You can't go to the fair without going on the rides.  My friend Tracy and I hit all our old favourites.  One I didn't get a picture of was the Tilt-a-Whirl, which was the favourite ride of both Tracy's mom and mine.  I think we both though of our moms when we were on that one.

And, of course, the Spider has been around longer than I have.

I think this is The Inverter and you couldn't pay me enough money to get on it.  But it made for a cool picture.

This is the Vertigo and I think I could do this one.  But Tracy isn't fond of heights, so we skipped.

The Ferris Wheel!  Does anyone NOT have a ferris wheel story?  I did this one by myself, once it got dark.  They stuck me in a bucket with four prepubescent girls, one of whom thought it was great fun to reach out to the support bars and use those to push the bucket, making it rock.  I was hanging on to the centre post with one hand, and the edge of the bucket with the other - even without the rocking.  I let her get away with it on one go-round, but on the next I asked her stop.

The Wave Swing.  My mom never let me go on this when I was a kid.  I rode it for the first time just a few years ago.  I love it!

This one we did not ride.  Thank goodness!  Just too much spinning for my comfort.

The Ring of Fire.  Tracy tells me that when they stop the cars at the top, you can hear the change from everyone's pockets dropping on the ground below.

The Zipper.  When I was kid, the amusement companies would come through and set up a small number of rides at shopping malls.  One year, when I was about 10, I went to one of the shopping mall mini-fairs with my cousin, who was also about 10.  We went on the Zipper together.  The lap bar didn't lock properly, and it was pretty scary hanging on inside the bucket.  I will never ride the Zipper again.

I've never attempted this ride - they don't make strong enough Gravol for me to attempt it.  Nice picture, though.

And, the Wave Swing at night.

The Ferris Wheel at night.

Just as important as the rides, of course, is the food.  My favourite fair food is the candy apple.  You just can't get the same kind anywhere but the fair.  I'm also partial to cotton candy and sno cones.  The three food groups of sugar, sugar, and sugar do not a balanced meal make, so I balanced things out with souvlaki and nachoes, lol

 Everyone raves about elephant ears, but I've never had them at the fair.  My mom made them at home, so she thought they were a waste of money (for the same reason, she never ate spaghetti at a restaurant).  I guess because they don't have the nostalgia factor for me, I'm fine skipping them. 

 I did get a sno cone though!

 Told ya!  I don't think I've ever had any flavour but lime.

Of course, there are always other activities at the fair.  We stopped to watch Dock Dogs for awhile.  It's a contest that anyone can enter her dog in.  The dog chases the lure off the dock, and whichever dog flies the furthest wins.

 Tracy also wanted to see SuperDogs, which was fine by me.  I've never seen them.  Definitely worth seeing.

And, then, the Showcase of the Arts.  Some years I do this, some years not.  Tracy wanted to go, so we did.  We mostly concentrated on the sketches/paintings, but the quilts were lined up right at the front.  I used to quilt a lot.  I love piecing them together.  Not so much the actual quilting process :P 

Showcase of the Arts entry.

And, last but not least, you've got to play at least a few games.  Tracy was surprised when I called this "gambling."  It's what my family always called it - and basically, it is - you pay money and you take your chances.  There's no skill involved and everything's fixed.  Sounds like a gamble to me!  Still, I'm a sucker for Whac-a-Mole.

And sometimes I even win ;-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

I've hit Gold!

I harvested my first Gold Rush zucchini yesterday.  I've learned the hard way that you have to handpick the blossoms off the ends of these guys.  They don't drop off on their own; and once the blossoms go soft, the zucchini starts to go bad too.  The colour is a lovely punch, and the fruit is firmer than the dark green zucchinis I usually grow.  Once zukes start producing, you have to check on them pretty much daily anyway.  One day, it's just a blossom; three days later you've got a zucchini as big as your arm.  If you don't mind pinching the blossoms off, give these a try.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1 ~ Flowers

Persian yellow rose, planted this May

Yarrow again  ... I already posted a picture of it about a week ago, but it's so pretty

Wave petunias and impatiens in a barrel - these could use some more fertilizing

More petunias

I don't know what these are.  They were a gift and for some reason I didn't stick the plastic tag in the pot, like I usually do.

And, yet, more petunias.  The colour is almost electric.

August 1 ~ Veggies

One of the coolest things about keeping a garden blog (or scrapbook, or notebook, or photojournal, whathaveyou) is being able to easily compare your garden from year to year.

Skimming through my 2009 posts, I see that my beans vines weren't even at the top of the trellis on July 31; there were very few blooms and no pickable beans. And here, in 2010, I am eating fresh beans on August 1 :-)  All my veggies are coming along.

Scallop squash, still tiny, but I've never planted them before so I have no idea how fast they grow from this point

Royal Burgandy beans, ready to pick and eat!

My tiny zucchini plant, still holding its own

Sweet millions cherry tomatoes

Teeny tiny jalepeno

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Neglected Garden

According to the Weather Network (which I don't believe at all), we have six (count 'em, 1-2-3-4-5-6) upcoming days that are supposed to be rain-free.

Good weather + indoor projects completed = time for outside work.

Despite my neglect up to this point, the garden is doing fairly well. I haven't fertilized anything yet because nothing has needed water. In fact, I watered my flowers for the very first time on July 13 - and then only some of them.

So, this is what's happening at the School of Yard Knocks:

Super Fantastic tomatoes

Kentucky Wonder pole beans reaching for the sky

Gold Rush Zucchini.  I have a few Dark Green Zucchini that are a little larger than this, but I wanted to show off the yellow one.

National Pickling cucumbers, not  understanding the point of the teepee trellis yet.  I think I'm going to string a line of twine from pole to pole, near the bottom, so that the plants have something to initially grab onto.

The first (early!) sunflower of the year



More yarrow

Himalayan impatiens going crazy.  I've never seen them this tall; they're easily over 5 feet.