Mark Bittman talked on the radio today about his new book, and he mentioned chopped salad. I'd been wondering what to have for lunch, and though I realized I didn't have everything I needed at home or in the garden, a couple of additions would make a tasty treat for me.
I had to stop for cream cheese for the bagel-heads at home, so I got an organic red pepper, cucumber, and zucchini on the way.
Right beside the driveway, I pulled two Italian Yellow carrots out of the front, "neighbor" bed, since no one is taking carrots out of it, which drives me crazy, but is beside the point. Added to that were three leaves of ruby chard from the same bed, and two sprigs of mint, well-washed, from the curbside bed. A lime from the tree ended the front yard harvest.
Then I wandered out back, got a few sprigs of the parseley which is busy bolting, and some leaves from an old onion plant. Too late, I realized that chives would have worked, also, but I already had my onion component.
Some tricolor quinoa, well-rinsed, went into a pot with some water and I got busy chopping. I figure that no matter if I don't love a vegetable (zucchini squash, I'm looking at you), if it's a small enough piece, surrounded by lovely bits of Things I Enjoy Eating, the less-admired things will slip right on by. So I carefully chiffonaded the green things, trying to simultaneously dilute the chard and spread the mint around, chopped the harder veggies up into less than bite sized pieces -- the absoloute largest are about 1/2" -- and squeezed the lime over them.
Quinoa done, I added it to the bowl, and topped everything with some salt and a few grinds of pepper. The bulk of the salad will be improved for waiting, but it's lunchtime, so I served myself up a bowl. Full of flavor, and with enough crunchy things to signal to my mouth that I'm really eating, I'm going to try to remember this sort of approach all summer, and keep things like it in the fridge for the kids to grab as snacks.
After using dish soap as a homemade aphid spray, the population of aphids hasn't gone away. It has, however, diminished, and just in time for the natural upswing in ladybugs. I'd noticed some beetles and some eggs, but yesterday, everywhere I looked, I saw eggs, mating adults, adults rambling around, and many many larvae hoovering up aphids. Hooray!
This tree isn't out of the woods either insectally or fungally, but it's a bright moment at least. And fewer aphids fall on my arms when I walk past it, too.
Of course, I bought two Principe Borghese drying tomato plants online, my peppers and tomatoes finally sprouted. . . fortunately, our growing season is long enough that layers of planting should work out fine. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.
Have you seen this plant? They're sprouting all over one of my beds, and I've been ripping them out, but they smell. . . interesting, and I'm wondering if I am having some kind of self-seeding event. So, anybody?
Direct-seeding zucchini is such a thrill. They just pop right up like nobody's business. Hopefully the cucumbers and popcorn will follow suit. All bathwater has been slated for seed moistening.
Vigorous, regular spraying of soap on the Katy apricot has seemed to slightly discourage the aphids and whiteflies, but it's only the start of the battle. I think where the soap is directly hitting, we're getting some action, but as you can see in the center of those new leaves, spraying the underside of each leaf is a challenge.
And in one of those "What were they thinking?" moments:
Can't see it? Here:
When I asked Ellie to fix the fallen-down trellis, she used the pitchfork to do so. Unfortunately, she also created a different issue. We've had the "What do you do when there is another problem?" talk, and I foresee a bit of time on ladders upcoming for that child.
Michelle's post about her perennial beans prompted me to take a closer look at the weird sprouts popping up in last year's pole bean area.
Ignore the oxalis; the real stars are those beans. I can't say enough about how much I love these beans, so even a few vines of resprouts are cause for celebration. Plus, I don't have to decide what to put in that spot. I'm struggling enough with a bad case of the Garden Flakes.
And even though the sprouts might pass them, the newly seeded bed is going like a house afire, mostly.
They're climbing the twine and the bamboo, and it's a case of "If you can't be/climb on the one you love, then. . .
Love the one you're with!
And tree news. The neighbor's acacia still hasn't fallen, but the branch is going to die and eventually fall. I guess I have to decide if hiring someone to do it myself is worth it. I don't have a relationship with that neighbor.
The other tree news is that the Katy apricot is dealing with its yearly aphid infestation. Fortunately, I suppose, most of it clusters on the new growth, much of which I spend the summer hacking back so I can walk by the tree. I carefully remove the ladybugs, and if I find evidence of ladybug love, it's easy to relocate:
Those babies are going to feast when they hatch.
My town is hosting a meeting on newly proposed animal/farming ordinances. Looks like more regulation is in the works. I may or may not get to go to the meeting, but tonight I need to write my responses to the proposal. If you want to see how my town compares to others nearby, here's a way to check it out.
Got a call from my friendly local police department about a swarm, a big one, they said. I remained skeptical because the first call was for a swarm of wasps -- not bees, did I do them? No, I said, call a pest company.
Ring, ring. . . they are bees, it turns out. One flew into the caller's house. Sigh. I thought to myself, well, of course. Wasps don't swarm.
Drove out there after dinner, and hooray! Another beekeeper was already there. I offed to provide backup, and carried things, etc. The swarm was so high in a tree I wouldn't have been able to get it. He had the patented "five gallon bucket duct taped to an extension pole" toolkit.
The swarm was huge. Truly impressive. He did the bucket under, thwump, approach, and half the swarm fell into the bucket, half on the ground. So many many bees. Once things settled down, I left him to continue coaxing the grounded bees into the box.
The children had been patiently waiting near the car to go get some post-Frisbee ice cream, so I hopped in, started the car and wham! Got stung on the chin.
It seemed so. . . unfair.
No pictures, although it's impressively Dudley Do-Right in size.
I sure hope my buddy got all the bees. And no stings.