Poor, sad, neglected blog.

I have hoped to write for days now.  With the long weekend I was sure to find time and energy,…

but I did not.

Tonight I am very, very tired, so I’m not going to try and write or explain much except to say that I have been entirely overwhelmed and busy with a sudden fashion design gig in the city.  It took me by such surprise that I never even had a chance to grocery shop the workweek that it began, and I’ve been slowly adapting to the new schedule.  I do intend to begin writing regularly again (if less frequently than I might prefer simply due to a lack of energy and time to actually complete let alone write about projects.)  Don’t even ask about what I’ve been not cooking and not eating!  (Not blogging material that is for sure!)  ;D  Okay, I do have a food post or two coming up, and I have made some progress on certain projects, but I must ask for your patience.  As for tonight, here are some snapshots from my commute this evening, because what post isn’t more fun with photos?  Hey, I’m trying!  😉

Tappan Zee and replacement approaching Tappan Zee Tappan Zee commute along Hudson line Metro North hudson line view

Yard and Garden

maple leaves

Yesterday was another gorgeous day, and I noticed more details in our yard.  I was mowing and found big patches of wild strawberries all over, for example.  There were some mystery plants that I wondered about for a couple of weeks and had begun to guess were lilies of the valley.  Well, I spotted a cluster of buds confirming that guess, and I am pretty excited about it since I’d almost bought some to plant but hadn’t.  There are all sorts of little surprises to enjoy and appreciate out there.  🙂  I always dreamt of having Japanese maples, and we have a few red ones.  In front it turns out that there is a beautiful pink dogwood all but covered in ivy.  I’ll have to tackle that with pruning shears.  There is a lovely deep pink cherry too and a purple lilac.  I feel very fortunate.

cherry

I gathered some dandelion blossoms to try making wine with.  Yesterday I picked a second batch, but the biggest haul was the day before.  My husband and I enjoy the cheerful blooms, weeds as they may be, and I was a little sad to eliminate them from the yard Wednesday.  Yesterday morning I was happily greeted by an entirely new crop of sunny yellow flowers though!  I’ll write about the recipe and process some time in the future, but picking the flowers led me to notice the beauty of our lawn.  There is not much proper grass but it is colourful with sprouts of our red Japanese maple all over the place, the dandelions, purple violets and white ones that have little purple sunbursts in the middle, some sort of mint-family plant up in the shady area, the lilies of the valley, tiny white flowers that I never saw before, purple things that I presume are from bulbs, garlic mustard, clover, and tiny blue flowers that I fondly recall from spring recess in elementary school.  I’m glad it isn’t just grass.  By the way, I was told that in Romanian dandelions have two names.  When they are in bloom they have a horrible name translating to “pig’s farts” but when seeded out are more kindly termed “puffballs.”  Interesting.  😀

around tree white violet japanese maple sprouts  violet

My garden is doing well.  Some of it is at least.  Unfortunately I managed to kill most of my sprouts off, somehow, and maintain my position as a serial killer of plants.  I started a couple of new trays and am trying to rescue the remainder of the first set.  Some of the original sprouts do look like they may survive, but they have not actually grown any bigger than having a pair of real leaves at best.  I gave them some fertiliser a couple of days ago, and they regained greenness, so there is that.

In the old garden bed the alliums have done beautifully.  The three types of onion are close to a foot tall, and there are between 40 and 60 of each.  The garlic is shorter but looks great, and there are a similar number.  I don’t think I expected cloves from the store to do well in this random climate, but it may go pretty well after all.  This morning I spotted three sprouts of corn, finally.  I also found six sunflowers in the old bed to join the six bigger ones around the yard.  I found a few chives but no scallions yet nor melons, but the radishes are growing fast.  They came up at least a week ago and I already thinned them.  The purple carrots showed up a couple of days ago.  Oh, the mystery plant from the old garden bed turned out to be bleeding hearts rather than peonies.

bleeding hearts

radishes corn chives sunflower

My herbs are happy as long as I water them a few times in the day.  It has been so hot in mid-afternoon!  Yesterday the dill drooped but once watered I actually saw it spring back up.  I’ll admit that I ended up buying pots of them after losing every last basil sprout etc, but some seeds that I scattered directly in the tub have begun to grow.  I’m pretty sure it is cilantro, but I hope some lovage will too.  Buying them let me add some pretty purple basil and some awesomely spicy oregano which is nice.  I’ve a white and a mini aubergine too which I hope will be ornamental besides tasty.

herbs

The new seed trays are faring alright.  The best at sprouting so far are the “Mitoyo aubergines,” but a couple of tomatillo verdes are looking nice too.  I hope several of each actually grow this time, but if not I’ll have a smaller garden and will purchase some more plants at the farmers market or something.

In the flower tubs and beds nasturtiums are doing great as well as the chocolate vines and “black charm” lilies.  Two days in a row now I found that something pulled up a dahlia in the old whisky barrel.  I have no idea what creature to blame or why it is leaving the poor thing to dry out.  Strange.  I do, however, know to blame our local deer for coming into our yard to mow down a bunch of hostas.  They came right up to the corner of the house and bit them right down to the ground, and it happened in a narrow window between my watering them in the morning and finding the devastation before lunch.  I was around all that time and am pretty surprised at their brazenness.  😀  Little brats treating my plants as a salad bar!

bulb tub twobulb tub onechocolate vine and black charm lilyother chocolate vine and a nasturtium

Anyway, the decorative stuff is growing very well now.  I transplanted the two surviving castor plants a week or two ago, and they look happy.  Spike-y things have come up in the flowerbed by the house, around the stump, and the whisky barrel.  I think those are the gladiolus?  Almost every sweet pea that I planted sprung up around 10 days ago, and they are happy.  I even put one in the rotted wood of the stump, and it is growing like a champ.  They are around the fence and deck as well as in front near the retaining walls.  They’ll be pretty.  Nasturtium are just as easy and have begun well in all the beds, containers, and the hillside.  Some other things are sprouting too, but I haven’t figured out which of the seeds they are.  I scattered and prayed with several packets including wild thyme, love-in-a-mist, Atilla strawberries, and poppies.  😀

sweet peas

The goji berry isn’t super happy but should be okay.  I may have been overwatering it or perhaps it has been too hot.  It looked better when it was cooler out.  The tree wisteria began to leaf out this week, and I expect it to grow aggressively now.  I was worried about the Montmorcy cherry, but it finally began to show some green buds just recently.  Meanwhile I was worried about not seeing any growth where I had marked certain lilies in the tubs, but when a shipping notification arrived yesterday I realised that I hadn’t even planted them yet!  Apparently the black star callas and black cat pansies will arrive today.  Woot!

Grilled Salmon with Dill & Shallots

One of the meals that I made for supper recently was salmon on the grill.  I’d not tried that before, but it turned out tasty.

grilled salmon

I began by sprinkling it with garlic salt, hot paprika, and black pepper.  Then I thinly sliced a shallot and a lemon and topped the salmon with them and dill.  I squeezed the rest of the lemon over it and drizzled it with olive oil before grilling.  Yum!

spiced and seasoned salmon slicing shallot salmon ready for grill

The BEST Wallpaper in the World!

Today I reluctantly moved boxes, bolts of material, sewing machines, and tools out of the room designated for sewing and projects.  Why?  …Because wallpaper.

guest room and sewing room before IMG_8241

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It wasn’t the most hideous and a part of me could even find it cute, but I really didn’t want a busy pattern in the workroom to interfere with visualising things or clashing as a background in photos.  Once again I felt a little bit sad and guilty to make the change, but I had decided to go ahead and make it the space that I wanted instead of working with the paper.  Except, I was dreading the wallpaper removal.  Over the past couple of months I put off purchasing any supplies required or paint.  I asked my mother, my friends, and Home Depot employees if I could just please get away with painting over it against all my and their knowledge.  Nope.  It had to go if I wanted to paint, and I do always like to do a job correctly if I’m putting in the effort.  Finally I bought paint and removal tools.  Still, I dragged my feet.

Today turned out to be the day to begin for a few boring reasons.  (I will not have as much free time in the future and with any luck that will be soon.)  I’ve also been distracted with many sewing ideas in the past weeks, but every last implement is still boxed up.  Nothing can be made until everything is unpacked, organised, and set up.  😦  So, I put myself together and spent half of the morning moving the boxes and such into the guest room (making an unsettling mess in there.)  I’ll sure be motivated to finish this room quickly!

Then I opened up the scoring tool and scraper packages, found a spray bottle and a sponge, and read the stripper instructions.  Before saturating anything I tried prying up a corner of the paper, and OMG!!!!  The corner came up and I was able to peel the entire sheet off in one piece!  Not only that, but in under three minutes I’d peeled off half a wall!!!!  It only took half an hour or so to remove all of it.  I’ve rolled up the paper to re-use as drawer liners.

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I can hardly believe how lucky I was with this wallpaper, and I am thrilled that it did not take days.  I’ve already patched the many holes and few sections that pulled away.  I guess I’ll sand today as well before other chores since one is vacuuming and mopping.  Tomorrow I’m busy but perhaps I could begin painting Friday?  I believe I’ll need to start with the ceiling, much as I hate to bother, because it is a bit dirty and messed up.  😦  Also, I wish I hadn’t opened the scoring tool and could return it along with the stripper stuff, but I can’t really complain about this project too much.  I might manage to have the room done and organised next week, and that would be great!

Chimichurri, Grilled Skirt Steak, and Grilled Aubergines with Tahini and Yoghurt

Well, I didn’t get to post for a few days, which I expected.  My grandparents and mum left on Sunday, and yesterday I had a bunch of chores to complete, so here I am today.  I’m going to write about food again, because I want to ask permission to use some photos before writing about all of the fence repairs we did over the weekend.  😉

The weather has been completely gorgeous, so I’ve been grilling a lot.  I made chimichurri sauce last week and used the remainder last night.  It is a simple but tasty condiment, and it isn’t too difficult to make even if using a mortar and pestle as I had to.  One of these days I must get a food processor.  Chimichurri is just a bunch of parsley crushed with garlic, spicy oregano, black pepper, some red pepper flakes, salt, olive oil, and vinegar.  I didn’t have as much of the oregano as I’d have liked since my plant was still really small.  It is the most wonderful stuff with a real bite to it!

chimichurrin ingredients making chimichurri done smooshing chimichurri chimichurri

I also grilled some aubergines and served them topped with tahini and yoghurt.  It is ridiculously easy to make but very delicious.  Just quarter the aubergines lengthwise, score them, scatter salt, pepper, and hot paprika over them, drizzle with olive oil, and grill.

aubergines grilled aubergines chimichurri and aubergines grilling skirt steak aubergines and skirt steak skirt steak with chimichurri and salad

I’ll post another time about the grilled salmon Sunday night since this is already pretty full of photos.