That’s Right… Raw Taters In My Salad

So first things first, we might be getting chickens in the next few weeks.  Maybe.  Or we might not.  Either way, we have a chicken coop in our back woods, and Scott made a door for it on Sunday.  I think it looks pretty great.  I also think it’s fun that we have random things in our woods like a mostly functional chicken coop and a one-stall goat shed.  Not things I thought I would ever want or need.

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Chickens aside, we tried a new recipe last night, and I liked it a lot.  The weird thing is that it’s mostly raw sweet potato.  The annoying thing is that you have to julienne all of the veggies, which takes more time if your julienne tool breaks after the first slice.  The reason it’s all worth it?  Well, the quantity of veggies you have to julienne isn’t that huge.  And the taste.  The taste is worth it.  This salad is really healthy and makes delicious leftovers.  It also goes well with buttermilk biscuits and country ham, which was the main part of our meal last night.  (Yeah, raw healthy healthy side dish means you can fully enjoy your buttermilk biscuits guilt-free.)

What is this magical recipe?  Sweet potato, celery, and apple salad, oh my!  You can find it here: Martha Stewart’s Sweet Potato, Celery, and Apple Salad.  Even if you have to chop up the veggies teeny tiny all by yourself, it’s worth it.  And the chopping only took about 15 minutes.  That’s not so bad.  The raw sweet potatoes?  Well, they  taste pretty mild and crunchy and nice.

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photo by Mark Weinberg, recipe from Martha Stewart via Food 52

And last but not least, I love spring flowers.

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Proof of Improvement

There are some things I’m truly terrible at doing.  One of those things is watering plants on our porch or anywhere that I don’t see the plants several times a day.  I probably need to see a plant wilting at least five times before I will remember to water it.  If I only see a plant once a week, that doesn’t add up well for the plant.

But I’ve been trying this season.  There was one near casualty, but I’m proud to show you how that near miss is now looking:

fall bloomsIt looks positively bursting with life, right?  That’s what I’m holding on to today.  I might still be bad at keeping potted plants alive outside of the house, but I’m getting slightly less terrible all the time.  Here’s to slightly less terrible.

Miscellaneous Thursday

These are happy tidbits, nothing more.

First, Scott recently became the friend of a friend of the head of an equestrian program.  Which  means that he acquired horse manure for our garden this morning.

manureThat is a lot of manure!  That is an entire truck bed of manure, to be exact.  And in the background, you have the top of our garden fence, complete with drink can deer deterrents.  I like to think of the hanging drink cans as yard ornaments, not trash.  Some people have gnomes, we have cans.

Second, I successfully convinced Scott that old taters should be used as tater-o-lanterns sometime in the next few weeks.  The idea didn’t originate with me.  It came from Apartment Therapy, who got it from Apartment Therapy contributors.  I still like it, even if it wasn’t my idea first.  Look at those awesome spuds:

photo from ApartmentTherapy.com

photo from ApartmentTherapy.com

And lastly, I have a recipe for your tasting pleasure: Real Simple’s Southwestern Chicken Soup.  The magic of this soup is in its simplicity.  It isn’t necessarily designed for your fanciest dinner parties, but it is tasty, homemade, and ready in 15 minutes.  Sometimes that is all I could ever dream of getting from a recipe.

professional 15-minute soup from realsimple.com

professional 15-minute soup from realsimple.com

my 15-minute soup

my 15-minute soup

It’s also kind of fun, because you can change the taste of the recipe dramatically by using a different type of salsa.  We used a hot variety, so we had a spicy soup.  You could go with mild or mango salsa or whatever you want to try.  The world is your oyster (or soup bowl).

Sunday Planting

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I have made very short to do lists for Sundays lately.  It’s been wonderful. Yesterday’s only project was to plant a windowbox, and I accomplished said goal right before sunset.

There was crisp air; there were sage plants and thyme plants and dirty fingernails.  It was a good cap on a day full of friends and perfect weather.

photoI think we have very photogenic sage.  Fingers crossed that I can keep it photogenic and growing as the months move on.  It is drought-resistant, so that’s a good start to our relationship.

Between Projects (a.k.a. Planning Time)

Scott is working on lots of things at the house right now, but his primary project is building window boxes for us from pallets we had sitting around.  I have to say, I was surprised when he suggested building window boxes.  That sounds more like a me suggestion than a Scott suggestion.  Obviously, I was on board with that plan.  (I am happily between large house projects, so I can just support choices.  It’s great.)

Now the boxes have been created, installed, and filled with dirt (at least one of the two, maybe both).  I decided to paint them black, since the shutters are black.  Another bright burst of color was too hard to commit to after the bright green door.  I didn’t want the house to start to look like a pre-school with various brightly colored spots here and there.  Right, so black window boxes, black shutters.  Like this:

from Pinterest (who says it's from ApartmentGuide.com)

from Pinterest (who says it’s from ApartmentGuide.com)

No, those aren’t our window boxes.  Ours are just filled with dirt, remember?  Now it’s time to pick what goes into our window boxes.  Hmm.  There are the fluffy, full, mostly wild looking options and the organized, very precise variety (see above).  Maybe I’ll just aim for the alive variety.

So here are the front runners in my mind right now…

1) Sage and thyme:

photo from dirtylaundrykitchen.com

photo from dirtylaundrykitchen.com

2) Wintery conifers:

photo from MarthaStewart.com

photo from MarthaStewart.com

I am leaning heavily towards the herbs, since they could supply us with tasty inexpensive food and be beautiful.  The conifers are tempting though.  It seems like they would be hard to kill.  That’s my favorite feature of a plant, especially if it’s hanging out of the front of my house in a spot I might forget.  Pictures to come when we’ve resolved the dilemma.

Late Summer Beauty

We had a rough time with our corn this year.  (And by we, I mean Scott.)  Birds kept finding the seeds, and Scott kept replanting until the birds finally gave up.  The struggle between man and bird means that our planting, which started out right on time, ended up being a little bit behind the neighbors.  Because we live in a place where almost everyone around us also has corn in their yard.  It’s fun.

cornBut look at it now!  Those tassels are starting to turn dark, which means it’s almost corn eating time.  There were actually a few harvestable ears this week.  It really is amazing how delicious food is when you know it came from your yard.  It would probably be even more wonderful if I had planted and/or tended it.  Oops.  At least I can claim the rosemary plants in the front.  (The rosemary plants don’t require any tending, for the record.  I claim the drought-resistant plant.)

There’s also some art on my mind, thanks to an artist friend, Pinterest, and Richard Shilling (who is not said artist friend). 

photo (and art) by Richard Shilling

photo and art by Richard Shilling

Isn’t it pretty?  It makes me want to think creatively and walk through some crispy fall leaves. 

Richard Schilling works in ephemeral art–a field that I’ve always enjoyed.  I love the idea of taking something natural and already beautiful, moving it around into a purposeful something or other that’s also beautiful, and leaving it to blend in again with the rest of its surroundings.  It’s like singing a song when you’re by yourself.  It doesn’t last, and it might not reach a lot of people, but that somehow adds to the beauty.  It’s a personal moment of pretty.  Or it can be, anyway.

Happy late summer, y’all!

Good Light

Honestly, Monday and Tuesday haven’t been the best Monday and Tuesday in the world.  Thank goodness, when I came home today, it was sunny and quiet, and we’ll call that good enough.

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And in case you don’t know what dill flowers look like, this is what dill flowers look like:

dill

You could see it as bad that our dill has flowered (since that means it thinks it’s time to die off for the season), but I’m going to choose to enjoy the flowers.