Thursday, February 26, 2015

Love . Mend .

My friend lost her mama yesterday in a sudden and unexpected manner.
They were good friends and she will be dearly missed. 

Life is delicate and temporal and we never know how much of it we,
or those we love, will be granted. 

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what
your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears
for a little while and then vanishes away. 
-James 4:13-14

Love your family.
Mend any broken relationships.
Time is fleeting and fragile.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

While the earth remains...

I know many of my friends are still in the deep of winter, but here in California, we don't consider winter very long. I wish we did! We could use another ten or so storms since the drought situation is not any better than it was last year. This means we will have a lot of dead things in the yard this year, but for now, I have an optimistic view of the backyard and I plant like things are normal. I will have to creatively water, but it can be done. Sometimes, a girl has to have some color.

Today was color day. I added a bit of it to my yard:

This is a just-beginning-to-open ranuncula. It promises to be a pretty spectacular flower and they are one of my favorites. I bought three different colors and this is the best and brightest one. Yellow makes me happy.

This is my gorgeous peach tree in full bloom at only half-way through February. It did a similar thing last year because our "winter" has been so warm. It was 75 yesterday! 

Last year, we had peaches months before anyone else did because the weather was so warm so early. It felt so good to clean out the area underneath the peach tree. The EarthBoxes there in the foreground are the only big thing I have left to do and our garden is ready to rock.

This is my #1 garden helper - she loves to plant, dig, harvest, and just generally be outside. I can't say I blame her! She is measuring the area we will be hanging a net to catch the morning glories I planted in the EarthBox at the bottom. I decided I wanted more color in the yard this year, especially when we were sitting outside and enjoying the pergola. Sacrificing one EB seemed worth it to me.

I also have high hopes (said in a mildly sarcastic way) for the hollyhocks, poppies, and sweet peas I planted from seed. I have a love/hate relationship with seeds. Sometimes they are the best - like last year's zinna box. They were amazing! Other times, the seeds seem to laugh at me and taunt me with their colorful covers.

I fell "in love" with flowers many moons ago as a floral designer, and even more deeply when I lived in England and their gardens were more spectacular (even in winter!) than I believed they could be. Then I moved to one of the hottest places in our state and chose a home where Bermuda grass rules the day. Patience is an ever-learning thing in my gardening endeavors! So, I try, every year, something new. I try, over and over, some of the same things in a different way, and hope they come out right this time. So this year I will try some flowers and water sparingly and carefully, and hope for the best. 

I can't complain though because some things are tried and true and they work every year. These are my salad tables and they produce herbs, lettuce, arugula, and green onions each year. My daughter and I have planted all five open areas with these plus radish, kale, green beans, and snow peas. They are done and now we impatiently wait.

And the one plant that does flower, every year, without fail and with very little love, attention, or water from me is this camellia. It has to be the most patient and giving plant in the world. It is as red as it looks - no filter here. We will enjoy it for as long as it blooms.

The seasons begin and then end. Drought and the abundance of rain come and go. There is a real peace found in working whatever land you have around you. The sun and the soil, the seeds, and the harvest. 

Joy. Peace. Gratefulness.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Lemon Raisin Scones

So I was in the mood the other day for lemon something. My mom gave me a bag of fresh lemons off of her tree and they were just staring at me asking me to do something with them. I also had raisins in the cupboard and just decided they needed to be included. It just isn't right to leave out the raisins when you are making scones.

I took a recipe I use and love and modified it to work for us. This is the end result. 

Lemon Raisin Scones

2.5 C flour (I used half soft wheat and half white)
3 T grated lemon rind (or the rind of a whole small lemon)
1/2 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/3 C real butter
3/4 C half and half (or milk)
juice of one lemon (juice the one you took the rind from)
1/2 C raisins

Preheat oven to 425F. Combine the dry ingredients and cut in the butter. Mix in the raisins once the butter is cut in. Add the lemon juice and half and half and mix just enough to wet thoroughly. 

Grease a baking sheet and scoop out into eight good sized scones. They will grow so give them some space on the sheet. Sprinkle with extra sugar for a sweeter scone or bake as-is. (We bake as-is.) Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. 

This is a great addition to any meal and is excellent with whipped cream and tea.