Fruit, Flowers, and Furry Friends

There was no sewing yesterday aside from slow stitching. It was such a pretty day, I couldn't bear to spend it in my basement sewing room. Instead, I was outside for most of the day. It seemed like a good day to take another walk around and see what's what.

The patio poppies are nearly bloomed out. You can see their seed pods in this picture. The petals fall away, and those little pods are what's left of the flower. I didn't notice the squirrel photo-bombing my picture until I took it off the camera. 

We managed to catch one in the larger trap yesterday. We're keeping the trap set in the greenhouse now so that any squirrels in the "demilitarized zone" can be dealt with quickly. We're trying not to catch the ones who are minding their own business and doing no harm.

The poppies near the greenhouse are just getting started. They are blooming for the first time this year, and they seem happy that we've moved them to a spot where they can get more sunshine.

I found these green strawberries kind of hidden in the shadow of a large rock. The squirrels eat the strawberries before they've even ripened. It's fine...we don't do much with these since Mike can't eat them. Mainly, they serve as a ground cover...and food for squirrels, of course.

The plums are about olive sized now and they are easier to find on the tree.

I'm absolutely amazed at the number of apples on the apple tree. It's a sad little tree, and I'll be surprised if it doesn't shed the majority of these.

In case you don't know the story of our "sad little tree," here's a picture taken a year or two ago. It's only slightly larger than it was back then, and it still leans to one side. 

We've tried staking it up, but we can't really straighten it. It's hard to see how it can support the weight of many apples without leaning over to ground level. Mike is going to prop it up with its own little "crutch" this year. We keep hoping it might put out a branch on the left side. So far, nothing. We were going to take it out, but it keeps trying so hard to be the apple tree it was meant to be that we just leave it. Each year, it surprises us more than the year before.

This is the Bing cherry tree. It was the first of the two trees to bloom. It has some cherries, and they are about marble sized now.

The Black Tartarian bloomed later when the weather was better, and it has the most cherries I've ever seen on it. Keeping our fingers crossed that we'll get a chance at some before the critters eat all of them.

One of the echinacea plants is putting on its first bud. Looks like the slugs have been after it. I'll need to spread some "candy" around for them.

The star lily is loaded with buds. They're getting larger and they have more color, and so I don't think we'll have to wait long for these to open.

It's neighbor, the calla lily, is starting to unfurl its leaves. We're adding a yellow lily and another calla lily to this part of the garden this year. Shovel Man will be seeing to that today.

Wherever I walked yesterday, my furry shadow was right behind. He wasn't so much following me as he simply appeared wherever I was. It's as if he can dematerialize and then materialize somewhere else. His dirty paws would indicate he's been digging for gophers. Gophers are one of his favorite snacks.

The cat grass on the catio is looking great. I worried they'd eat it down to nothing, but they are only nibbling at it.

Nevertheless, he prefers the wild stuff. He just likes keeping things wild, in general.

We're still waiting for the lavender to pop open. I'm telling you...Bees Knees cocktails are soon to follow.

The sage blossoms are beginning to open. One wonders if it is possible to make sage blossom vinegar...hm. Pardon me a moment while I check in with my friend The Google about this.

Okay, I'm back. Did you miss me? As it turns out YES!!! Someone has done it right here. I guess I know what I'm doing next. There weren't enough chive blossoms to make chive blossom vinegar this year, so I'm happy the sage blossoms are going to fill the void.

Mike's job yesterday was to plant the blueberries in the place where the butterfly bushes were living before. I just love a man with a shovel, don't you?

It took him about an hour, and those babies were in the ground. It will probably be a while...at least a year...before we get any blueberries from these plants.

Okay, but y'all really want to know about the peonies, don't you? We've been watching the Rosy Prospects peony with bated breath, but the Coral Sunset peony is going to be the first to open. When I looked at it yesterday morning, it looked like this.

The peonies have me so excited I've been checking them obsessively. When I checked it later in the afternoon...OMG! LOOK AT THAT!

By evening, it looked like this:

There are four buds on this plant, and they are all coming along. I checked them this morning, but they were no further along. I expect they're waiting for the warming sun before they open completely.

As for the Rosy Prospects peony...now, some of you are throwing it shade...saying it's deformed, and what-not. I'm still not giving up on it. When I checked it yesterday, the red "nodules" were elongated and appeared to be swelling. They're also moving away from one another and spreading out. I'm not counting it out just yet.

Okay, so by around 3:30, I'd given up any notions I had about sewing. It was getting close to dinner time. I was trying a new recipe from our diet for Spicy Flank Steak Tacos with Watermelon Salsa. I didn't take a picture of ours, but here's the image from the recipe.

There are a lot of taco recipes included on the Cooking Light Diet, and I've really grown to love the variety of things one can do with a few simple ingredients. These were very good and the watermelon salsa was outstanding. I used fresh mint from my culinary herb garden. I can recommend this recipe, with the following caveat: just never mind about the grilled green onions. We found them practically inedible. I think a better choice would be to slice them thin and then saute them in a pan sprayed with no-stick spray. When they're a little bit browned and softened, just mix them in with the meat. 

So, I made the salsa, but I only used about a quarter of my small watermelon. So, hm...what to do with the rest of the watermelon. Well, I pureed some of it and made up the mixture for some watermelon sorbet. I've blogged about how to make sorbets in the past, and you can read about it right here. The mixture is best left to chill in the fridge overnight, and that's what I did with mine. I'll freeze it this morning, and we'll have a yummy dessert for tonight. 

Still...I only used half of the watermelon, and so I needed some other way to use the rest. Thus, watermelon margaritas! Yum.

What a refreshing way to end a beautiful day! And those went down nicely with the tacos, let me tell you.

So I'll probably get back in the sewing room today. I still need to make a back for the Friendship's Garden quilt, and then I'll probably get to work free motion quilting one of my small quilts. But don't you worry, I'll be keeping an eagle eye on that peony. I expect it to open today.


Julierose said...

That peony garden will be so beautiful --I can't wait to see that
Rosy Prospects one opened...I just bet it will be stunning!!
Warm here today--mid-to high 80's and a bit on the humid side.
Just perfect for early morning coffee on the deck will embroidering my latest butterfly piece...love this early Summer weather...
Your Watermelon Margarita looks so refreshing...
Hugs from afar julierose

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Watching the peonies is like an ongoing soap opera (only a whole lot better!). I love those wonderful Oriental Poppies - one of my very favourites.

piecefulwendy said...

The squirrel photo bomb - haha! It only seems right, yes? Maybe you could plant strawberries all the way around the greenhouse to keep them busy outside, rather than in (just kidding). The peonies are exciting, the poppies are gorgeous. Mike wields that shovel pretty well, I'd say. And that little apple tree is just so sad and cute at the same time. Glad you enjoyed a fun day outdoors!