Creative Climbing

These purple string beans are so cool!  At Town Mouse House, here is one of the vines climbing past my little trellis up to the porch light:


The beans turn green when cooked – but I’ve actually been chopping them up and putting them into salads a lot.  The color is so pretty.  The last salad I made contained cucumbers, beans, carrots, chives, parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  It was a real treat.  It was even better on the second day!

At the Country Mouse House Garden, I deliberately planted beans that had very pretty flowers this year.  One kind is the “Painted Lady” variety, which has a red and white flower.


Here is the flower of the purple, Trionfo Violetto, bean:

Purple bean flower

My friend once canned pickled string beans.  I may try that this year.  Anyone have bean recipes?

Have a yummy day!



As is the case with many-a-gardener this time of year, I am seeing more than my fair share of squash.  It is definitely a mixed blessing!



I happen to love squash, but other than my usual uses:

1- Slicing raw and tossing into a salad.

2- Stirring in skillet with a little olive oil and/or butter with salt, pepper, and garlic or onion.

3- Giving away to family and friends.

I am a little bit at a loss for creative ways to use this up.  I found a cool-looking recipe which I think I will try:

Summer Squash Bread

Probably similar to zucchini bread or carrot cake.  I hope it’s good!  If anyone has a new way to use Summer Squash, I am open to ideas!

Have a brilliant day!


WENZ – Day

Happy Wednesday!

My niece and nephew-in-law(is that an actual term?) paid us a visit a week-and-a-half ago.  They helped pick about 5 quarts of blueberries, as well as some blackberries and plenty of vegetables.  Here are some of the gourmet dishes they whipped up with all the goodies:

Dark rum mojitos (mint)

photo 1

Salmon with salad (lettuce, arugula, tomatoes)and garlic chive mashed potatoes (chive and potatoes)

photo 2

Mini berry tarts (blueberries and blackberries)

photo 3

Lots of deliciousness! 🙂

I have been inspired to put on my chef’s hat and apron and get to work!

Have a beautiful WEDNESDAY!




Visiting the folks!

A visit was long overdue – I hadn’t seen my side of the family for awhile, so I headed South.  It’s a lot hotter in the summer down there than in the Northeast.  I really appreciate the cool nights in my mountain home, as well as the AC in the homes of my extended family!

My mother lives in a very cute condo.  She has peppermint and hosta growing right outside her front door.


She also has a flowerpot with a hot-pink geranium and some basil in it.


For breakfast, she goes out to pick the basil and then whips it up into an omelette.  (She has more geraniums on a patio outside the back door.)

My Mom taught me to appreciate plants.  She had a huge table filled with houseplants when I was growing up, right in a large living room window.  She loved African Violets(I love them too, but so far have not managed to keep them alive).   She used to have me water them from the base of the flowerpot instead of the top.  I do the same thing with my houseplants now.

We had a simple flower garden in the back yard.  Along one side of the fence was a large, yellow “Peace Rose.”  It smelled so good!  Sometimes, my Mom would cut some of the flowers and bring them inside to enjoy in a vase of water.   The fragrance would travel throughout 2 or 3 rooms of the house.

We also had a Dogwood tree in the front yard.  That tree was so pretty!  Eventually, it got some sort of a blight and we replaced it with a Crepe Myrtle.  My mother loved that Crepe Myrtle.  She sometimes drives by the old house and said that, sadly, the new owners chopped it down.  Their loss, then.

If we were driving through a less-than-beautiful neighborhood, my mother would somehow zero in on the one little glorious flower amidst the rubble.  She wouldn’t say anything about the dismal-looking environment-at-large.  Instead, she would say, “Oh, Wendy!  Just look at that pretty flower!”

One of my brothers planted some new little boxwoods beside his house.   Here they are, complete with rocks for his desired “Zen”-like effect:



The rock on the right almost looks like a turtle!  Here is a close-up:


On a visit to one of my other brothers, I spied some herbs growing in the front of their house.  Among them were these two GIGANTIC ROSEMARY PLANTS, er, BUSHES!  My sister-in-law explained that a large rosemary plant symbolized a strong Matriarchal presence in the home, and that her own mother(in Ireland) had one the size of a tree!

Emer's RosemaryCIMG2455

My own rosemary gets no taller than a couple of feet, and behaves more like an annual than a perennial.  I’ve tried bringing it in the house for the winter, covering it up outside, but it dies anyway.  I’ve seen it called a “tender” perennial, so it is probably no match for the winters of the Northeast.  What I finally decided to do was to cut it at the end of summer, dry it, and use the dried rosemary until the following year when I can plant some more.   So much for the Matriarch idea in my house!  Although, the saying, “If Momma ain’t happy, then ain’t nobody happy!”  I think there is some truth to that whether rosemary is involved or not!  😉

Enjoy the day – rain or shine!


Lisa’s Garden

I have a friend, Lisa, who is also my Garden Mentor.  She once gave me the best gardening advice ever, “Just stick it in the ground!”

Here are some photos of Lisa’s garden…..squash and pumpkins:





Kale in background, artichoke and broccoli in the front:










Strawberries(these give her fruit all summer):


Flowers and herbs:



CIMG2343 CIMG2344



Lisa happens to be a fantastic cook, as well as an interior designer.  All these vegetables and herbs are put to good use in the beautiful kitchen and dining room in her lovely home.

Maybe I’ll have her back as a guest another time!

Have a beautiful day!



Yellow Flowers and Bees

I love my yellow blossoms – on my lilies and my Coreopsis:


Below, look in the upper right corner to see Mr. Finn trying to sneak out of the photo:)


BUT…. I also love my yellow blossoms on my squash and pumpkins!  Check out the little pollinator in the middle:


I’m so thankful when I see the bees.  I am concerned about the danger of the bees’ future, for if we lose the bees, we’re in serious trouble!

Does anyone have experience with bee-keeping?  I’m just scratching the surface, but I would love to do it.  Maybe Mason Bees to start….I’ve heard that Honey Bees can be a mixed blessing, especially if bears are anywhere nearby.  We have those gorgeous Black Bears in my hills, so I’m not really sure if that’s what we’ll do.  Although, we really love honey

Yummmmm!  All I can think of is “Pooh Bear, Winnie the Pooh Bear!”

Have a sweet day!


Blueberry Update

Oh my goodness!


When I was a little girl, my mother used to read this book to me.  It was one of my favorites:

It later became one of my children’s favorites as well.

I really enjoyed picking blueberries today, kind of like little Sal.  I think I ate just as many as I put in my bucket!  Here are some more pictures:


The berries were not mushy, they were just right and I only picked the very blue-est ones.  I then washed them and laid them to dry:


That settled it!  I just had to make blueberry pancakes!  Just use your favorite pancake recipe and add the blueberries once you spoon the batter onto the griddle:


If you don’t have a favorite recipe, here is mine:

1 C plain flour

1 C whole wheat flour, rolled oats, or cornmeal

1 2/3 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1-3 Tablespoons sugar (organic or maple preferred) depending on your taste

2 eggs, beaten

2 C milk (it could be almond milk or coconut milk if you have trouble with dairy)

1/3 C oil or melted butter

Whisk ingredients together.  Pour batter to the size pancake you like on a greased, hot griddle.  Add the blueberries.  Wait until bubbles form, flip the pancakes over until cooked through but not burned.  Enjoy with or without syrup.

If anyone has any tips or wisdom about blueberries, please share!

Have a wonderful day!