Having always been active - hiking, biking, trekking, walking, running and working out at the gym, I would like to stay that way. My 60th birthday is in June, and last January I decided to complete 60 hikes before then. Well on my way to meeting this goal by now, I've been writing about each of those hikes in my "Sixty Before Sixty (Hikes Before Years)" blog.
Really, I have been having an absolute blast along the trails.
There is a lot of good information in this archive of blog entries here on Blogger, so don't worry, it will continue to be available; but keep in mind, any new posts from July 2011 on will be made over on the new site at - http://morefromreallyrose.wordpress.com/. See you there!
Looking over my entire garden, it appears a bit too unruley right now, so I'm taking on a more focused approach by searching for those little details that seem to stand out. The things that caught my eye today, strawberries ready to be picked.
And, much to my surprise (really, more like delight!), early raspberries ready to be plucked from the vine too.
The fragrant sweet peas, just beginning to bloom.
I do not know the name of this beauty, but adore the color changes of its leaves and the brilliant yellow seed forming in the middle of each little red blossom. My secret hope is that over the years this perennial might be able to grow to some sort of giant proportion in my garden, hiding all the weeds in the process.
The large pot of sage in my row of potted herbs in Garden Nbr. 01 is beginning to bloom too. To be savored during the upcoming winter months when spread on a grilled chicken breast (or simply crackers and cheese), once more sage blossoms are showing, I shall pick them (along with some of the leaves), steep them all together in boiling water, and cook up a batch of sage blossom jelly.
Even the leeks are about to bloom. Once this bud opens, the blossoms can be added to salads, soups, stir fries, or even steeped in boiling water and made into leek blossom jelly.
A handful of sweet sugar snap pea pods were ready to be picked, and once home, found their way onto my dinner tray.
What's to become of the strawberries and raspberries? They will fill jars labeled "Strawberry - Raspberry Jam" - tomorrow.
Distinct in flavor, I think the crystalized ginger that you make yourself is much tastier than what you can buy at the store. It's very easy to make yourself, and certainly doesn't require many ingredients. Here's what you need - 8 ounces of ginger (I use organic from Trader Joe's) and one cup of sugar.
Peel and slice the ginger. If you have a grapefruit spoon, that works better than a vegetable peeler when it comes to scraping the peeling off of the pieces of ginger, but a regular spoon will work just about as well if you don't happen to have a grapefruit spoon handy. I make my ginger slices somewhere between one eighth and one quarter of an inch thick, but it doesn't have to be precise.
Put the peeled and sliced ginger pieces in a pan, cover with two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium. Cook the pieces of ginger for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender.
Drain the cooked ginger pieces and reserve the liquid (tea) in which they were cooked.
Return the cooked ginger pieces to a pan. Add one half cup of the reserved ginger liquid and one cup of sugar. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook and stir for about twenty minutes, or until the liquid has cooked down to a syrup and the ginger pieces appear glossy (crystalized).
Drain again, reserving the liquid (syrup). Roll the ginger pieces in a little sugar and place on a rack to dry.
A wonderful benefit of making your own crystalized ginger is that not only do you get a much larger quantity of crystalized ginger for your money, but you also get a jar full of delicious ginger tea and yet another jar full of ginger syrup - all with no artificial flavorings or colors.
Store the ginger tea in a jar your refrigerator and add a few spoonfulls of it to your favorite tea for extra flavor. The ginger syrup is absolutely delicious! Use it to flavor plain yogurt, as a topping for ice cream, drizzle a little over fresh fruit, pour some into chilled soda water for a refreshing drink, or simply pour the syrup over your pancakes and waffles. It's all good and it never ceases to amaze me how much I can make from just eight ounces of fresh ginger root.
After it has dried, store the crystalized ginger pieces in a jar.
It's official, summer is here. Finally! Ushered out of their nest on this first day of summer, these yellow sac spider hatchlings on our back deck fled as quickly as the their little legs would allow in the warm afternoon sun.
Stopping by my Happy Valley gardens long enough to water, this fat robin was seen watching for worms working the raised bed where I've been burying our compost lately. The compost is breaking down so fast, most likely because of the many worms there so it's no wonder that the robin sits on the edge of that bed - patiently waiting.
Visiting with other gardeners while there, we loved the whisps of mare's tail clouds in the summer sky above the gardens.
Relaxed and comfortable and warm, the Village Green in Fairhaven was a pleasant stop.
I loved this potted rose I passed while walking down an alley in Fairhaven on my way to lunch.
Sitting outside, we enjoyed our lunch at Skylarks and made a note to come back soon to enjoy an evening of live jazz.