carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Tomato Update

It has been a good year for tomatoes. Unfortunately, I did not pick tasty varieties or varieties that appeal to my taste. My plants are producing though.

These are the plants on the front porch. Taken 7/10/19. The far left plant is the one I am growning for NC Tomato Man. Those are green beans behind the tomato plants. The green beans are on pots below the porch. The early and long heat wave effected the green beans. Pretty plants but no beans.

Close up of the ‘experimental plant’.

That is a teaspoon. The three yellow ones are from the trial plant. The big (Yes, BIG) one is Bendigo Drop. And the little ones which are smaller than blueberries are Mexican Midgets. They have the most flavor. The Bendigo Drop might have a good flavor but I can’t leave them on the vine to ripen because the city wildlife keeps sampling. At least I don’t have to deal with deer!

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How’s the yard looking?

Very well, that is so nice of you to ask… Except for a difficult 10 days of 90 degrees plus dry weather in MAY, it is been a fairly decent Spring. A good bit of rain. Sometimes too much. But more or less spread out.

The bee balm is being a little pushy, but the day lillies held their own. I’m real pleased with them and the blue salvias.

The butterfly bush has finally gotten settled in (only took two years!). It is doing well this year.

This is where the ramp from the deck ends, at the back of our condo. The hydragenas in the pots were $5 half dead ones from Lowes. They have perked up and are about to bloom again. My friend, Jim, gave me the vinca in the two pots in back.

Here’s the deck. Doesn’t it look great! It is so nice to sit out there. Guppy now sits beside me in the blue chair. I’m waiting until she starts expecting her own glass of wine….

I finally figured out something to do about the ugly telecommunications post.

I relocated some of the elephant ear forest and the flamingos… much nicer looking than the ugly box.

I am aware that we are fortunate to have this space, the time and the means to be able to indulge in something that is just pretty. It does provide me with a huge amount of enjoyment and the activity that I look forward to every year.

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I have tomatoes

This is an update to my tomato experiment. The expirmental plant that I am growing, a teensy yellow, has fruit. I think the fruit appeared on 5/20 but I could not see it for all the leaves. A few more have appeared since then.

I am a little concerned because this is supposed to be a drawf plant (I thought). So far it is the tallest plant of the group.

Twenty eight inches now (5/25) full of blooms.

The gardenia also burst forth this week. There are two in our courtyard.

This one gets much more sun and was just full of blooms. The summer like heat wave that we are having sort of did them in. They are fragile flowers.

Blooms are just now opening on the other side of the courtyard. Guppy stops each morning to give these a sniff.

My “imported from Oxford” vinca arrived this week. (Thanks Jim). Those were the last plants I needed. I am finished planting for the season. Unless of course a hydragena falls in my lap.

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Way too much time on my hands

This is the fence to the back courtyard of our condo.

Notice the attractive paint job. On the street side it is painted red. And on the right side (not pictured) it is also painted red. Either he ran out of paint or was interrupted and never came back to finish it. He being Ott. The man who lived to the right of us a number of years ago. He was Dutch. Loved to garden. Many of the plants and the good quality of our soil are thanks to him. This was most probably his paint job. The fence on the other side of the building is not painted.

This spring marks the second year of us living here. The second year of me having to look at this. I decided to do something about it. It took several weeks to complete the project. First the fence had to be washed since it had green something growing on it. I figured I would never match the red paint so I bought a nice charcoal grey. I only painted the back. And not the fence posts. (would have needed a ladder) Next year our building is scheduled to be power washed. I am thinking I will ask that the fence be power washed too and offer up the paint to have the whole thing painted. Until then this is how it turned out.

I added some shelves for plants. Because I never have enough plants.

It was time to replace the pansies. Red and white impatients were the choice.

The Amaryllis from winter 2018 (as an indoor plant) made its reappearance.

There were enough impatients to scatter a few in the Elephant Ear Forest and add some color there. In another week or so some of the hydrangeas will be blooming.

Overall, I think I have made the corner look better.

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Magnolias

They are in bloom here.

When Guppy and I turned the corner to walk into the courtyard where this tree is, I could smell it blooming. I think this is the preferred way to grow a magnolia. Never cutting the lower branches and allowing them to touch the ground.

At my parent’s home where I grew up there was a magnolia. And at my house in Wilmington there was one too. It is not my tree of choice since it is always dropping something.

After we finished our walk and Guppy was enjoying her deck time I just had to walk back to take a picture and sniff the flowers up close

Can you smell it? Now, that’s the South!

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Things that fall from the sky

We’ve been having a lot of rain. And reliably warm temps have arrived. It is so nice to be able to walk outside without having to bundle up. I would say that spring is safely here, in Raleigh. All the rain brings a clearing of the pollen from the air and things from the recent re-roofing that was done on our building.

Oak tree tails

They’re everywhere. Coming out of the downspout

Along with roofing nails

This is the haul after the last rain. Are there any nails left on the roof doing what they are supposed to be doing? Note the pollen too. Ahhh, Carolina in the spring.

The dogwood was very pretty this year, Each rain storm more of its blooms drop.

We are still mourning the recent cutting down of our cherry tree. Right around the corner there are three planted close together. I imagine I am in Japan when Guppy and I walk through there.

So glad that spring is here. Have a lovely and safe holiday, whatever kind you celebrate at this time of year.

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Daffodils

It has been a very good Spring for Daffodils here in Raleigh. Not too cold or hot. Occasional rain but not heavy downpours or any hail. My daffodils have looked good for over a month.

I think this is the best they have ever looked. I think this is also the first time that the bloom time of all the different varieties has overlapped. Usually, heat has done in most of the first ones and some of the last ones get nipped as buds by frost. It’s a delicate game daffodils play here in North Carolina.

Around the property there are clumps of daffodils that appear but don’t bloom. Last Spring I looked at them and thought, next fall I’ll move those. Well, that didn’t happen. So this year I just moved them even though it is not the best time of year to do that. They just needed to be separated and moved to a sunnier spot. A little food wouldn’t hurt either. So we’ll see next year.

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Finally!

Okay, I know I am writing about a very first world problem. I’ll say that right up front. But it is what I know and what I can write about……………….

BUTTER

Yes, butter. We eat butter. We have eaten it for years, years. Like Julia Childs I try to use it in moderation. That said, I appreciate good butter. Butter in Italy was CRAP! The only way I can describe it, waxy. It just wasn’t good. No matter what brand. And that is because there is such good olive oil, that many folks produced them selves. So why bother with butter.

When Ben and I visited Ireland with his sister in 2004, we rented a house. First thing, I bought several different kinds of butter. So we could taste test. (And several different types of cider too) There were some good butters there. When we used to stay in France, again, all different types of butter. Then we landed in Italy. Butter, a small disappointment. Really not good.

When you live in Italy it is easy to vacation in France. We drove. Heh, six hours away to the south of France. It dawned on me that we could buy French butter and bring it back to Italy. So for a number of years I did that. I was happy with a commercially mass produced brand, President. President made basic salted and unsalted butter and they also made a ‘sea salt’ version. That is butter with sea salt crystals incorporated in it. Discrete, taste them on your tongue salt crystals. I like salt. I will choose something salty over something sweet any day. So this butter was just the best.

After two years back in the US, I had actually forgotten about my favorite butter. Then I was reading a French blog online and reminded of it all over again. I thought longingly of that butter. Looked on the President web site to see if it was sold anywhere nearby. Well, basic butter is the sea salt crystal, no. So it was pushed to the forgotten corners of my mind. Then….

I was in the Harris-Teeter looking for President butter. IT WAS GONE! DISAPPEARED off the shelf. Of course I had to discuss this with the dairy products guy. He seemed to think it was a warehouse issue, not a discontinued forever issue. (Good for him, because my reply will soon be ‘Well, you might well just drive me to Wegmans’ which will be open in the fall) Anyway, I found Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter. Heh, give it a try. It sat in the fridge for two days before it occurred to me to try it.

OH MY!!!!!!

BUTTER WITH SEA SALT CRYSTALS IN IT!

DISCRETE, SEA SALT CRYSTALS THAT DANCE ON YOUR TONGUE

I almost cried. Really, I am so happy I have found this butter. This is the butter to put on a warm croissant. To put in hot baked potato. To melt and pour over popcorn. And the best of all, a hot ear of corn on the cob.

So tonight, we watch the ACC final and eat baked potatoes, I’ll have mine with the Vermont Creamery Sea Salt Butter thank you.

 

 

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Early Spring

This was our first daffodil.

I found this in very early February. It suffered a bit from a nasty cold snap. Don’t know why it bloomed so early. Even now (2/23) all the others are still buds.

Flowering trees have started. The cold snap did not get them. The cherry tree that was cut down a few months ago would be in full bloom now. We all miss that tree.

Daffodils are doing well elsewhere on the property. So I am thinking that spring is just about here. Tommorrow, 2/24 we will be finishing 8 days straight of rain at least some if not all of the day. Not been a fun week to have a dog. On our walks, other than glancing over her shoulder to make sure I am close enough to receive the maximum benefit when she shakes the rain off, Guppy is unfazed by the rain. One morning this week she had to stop and smell every daffodil. While I am pleased to see her interest in flowers, REALLY! EVERY FLOWER IN THE RAIN!!!!!!

These pansies have done very well all winter.

They are planted in Miracle Gro with a slow release fertilizer. I think that is why they look so good. Anyway, spring is moving right along here.

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Hmmm, getting excited

Well excitment is building…..

Hiring has started for Wegmans. The excitment is building. Our Harris-Teeter is going to be remodeled. I guess they think they might have some serious competition. I’m telling you, Raleigh will soon be a great place to grocery shop. Now, if we could just get decent wine at a decent price….

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