Day 233: Shakshuka

We were going to make pizza today. We had it for dinner yesterday and I thought that we’d used up all the tomato sauce so made another batch (just San Marino canned tomatoes cooked a good long time). We had eggs that needed to be used so I looked up a recipe for shakshuka and made that instead. It was lovely and delicious and delightful, all except for the runny whites.

I made pita bread out of the leftover pizza dough.

Day 232: Bob’s Columbine

I was delighted to see my columbine blooming today. It was a mother’s day gift from Andrew and Dean via master gardener, former neighbor and friend, Bob. His front yard was full of beautiful native plants, including native columbine. One year I asked if I could dig some up and plant them in my yard. I think he was delighted, I know I was.

Also I noticed that we’ve got tiny figs on our fig tree already!

Day 231: Ginkgo Seedling

Andrew, always looking to add to his vast collection of houseplants, was hoping to find some ginkgo seedlings in our yard. Unfortunately for him (not us) our landscapers pulled them all up when they cleaned up our yard. This morning, however, I noticed a lone seedling in a flower box on the deck. He was delighted when I sent him a photo.

Day 230: Aviation Cocktails

Before I learned about The Last Word cocktails I didn’t know that Luxardo Maraschino existed and that I should have some in my liquor cabinet at all times. Searching for other recipes that called for Luxardo Maraschino I came across the Aviation cocktail, but then had to find Crème de violette as well. Once I did and tried the aviation cocktail, I knew we also needed to always have Crème de violette in our ever growing liquor cabinet as well. I am not sure which of the two is my favorite.

Because today is Friday, cocktail hour day, and because the first news I read this morning was about the death of Prince Philip I decided to make a cocktail in his honor. Apparently he liked beer but we had no Boddingtons (and beer is not a cocktail). I first thought we’d have simple gin and tonics, but then noticed the lonely bottle of Crème de violette and remembered the aviation cocktail. Since Prince Philip was once in the RAF, I decided that is what we’d drink and with what we’d toast to Prince Philip’s long life.

Day 229: Delightful House Plants

I’ve become delighted with house plants. For years and years I thought I was a plant killer — nothing would stay alive for me. My new interest in house plants started after my trip to Europe in 2018. I noticed that a plant that my sister-in-law, Diane, had on her lanai had “babies”, and I asked if I could take one. I did and planted it, only to have it die. I was ashamed and put it outside in the spring, planning on using the pot for something else. Imagine my surprise when the plant started putting out leaves. Today it is quite healthy and getting bigger each season.

The last trip I made to the grocery store before the pandemic restrictions were put in place was just before St. Patrick’s day 2020 and I bought a shamrock plant for the holiday. It continued blooming all year long, although the foliage and flowers became very thin. I call it my pandemic plant.

When I met up with my friend, Rosanne, I took a cutting of her Swedish ivy which is now a full-fledged plant.

I’ve written about my success with propagating a wintersweet plant — it’s still growing strong.

Armed with four successes I’ve asked Andrew to pass along cuttings from his vast collection of houseplants. He gave me a pothos a while back and more recently a “wandering Jew” (that he has renamed as a “wandering dude”, believing that the original name is slightly derogatory).

Today I repotted the shamrock, Swedish ivy, wintersweet and wandering dude.

As noted above, the shamrock’s leaves and flowers had thinned out considerably — likely because it was terribly root-bound. I replanted it in a much larger pot and saved part of it for Andrew. It’s likely to go dormant now since I disturbed it, but I have confidence that it will be back after a while.

The Swedish Ivy was fine, but I thought I might as well put it in a larger pot since it was growing so well.

The wintersweet was in a tiny (but lovely) pot, but I knew it would outgrow that quickly so I put it in a not-so lovely larger pot.

Finally, while the wandering dude’s pot was not too small, the soil was infested with fungus gnats. Against Andrew’s advice I removed all soil from the roots and repotted it into clean, gnat-free, soil.

Fingers crossed that all the plants survive.

Day 228: Inside, Outside

Inside

Delightfully Fast Computer

As mentioned in an earlier post I bought a refurbished desktop computer for my study. Today I upgraded the memory and can multi-task a lot easier than before. It is still an i5, but now it has 32GB of Random Access Memory instead of 4GB which means I can have more than one application open and the computer does not slow down. It might be overkill, but whatever. It does mean that I actually spent twice as much on the computer than I’d planned (it was only $150 from Woot but the memory cost about the same). Still, not bad for a new-to-me computer.

Outside

Peepers and more

Dean texted me a week ago or so to tell me he heard spring peepers on a bike ride with Andrew. I was surprised, thinking they only sang at dusk. Today he wanted to show me where they were to hear for myself. Sure enough, once we got close to the ephemeral pools in an area of Rock Creek Park I could hear them sing.

Possibly even more exciting were the many spring wildflowers. It reminded me of a fieldtrip to Trout Park with my college botany teacher (including Dean’s sister Debbie who was also in that class). I could just see Mr. Steinbock trembling with excitement as he pointed out trout lilies, trillium, May apples and skunk cabbage.