Friday, August 11, 2017

Portland, Oregon Gardening

 I have had a wonderful spring and summer gardening. This year I put two feet forward and found that extra ummff to try to make the flower and vegetable gardens I have been dreaming about since childhood. Portland, Oregon is the place to do it, and if I am ever going to succeed, now is the time. So below are a splattering of corners and pockets that have made their mark thus far. Next year I hope these new perennials will be more established and the soil even better to work with:
 snap dragon
 nasturtium
 crocosmia
 shasta daisy
 gladiola
 spearmint

 French lavender
 strawberry
 shasta daisy
 sugar pumpkin
 Japanese eggplant
 cherry tomato

What did you plant this year?

    

                                                                    ~Marica

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Refrigerator Pickles... a recipe

 I absolutely LOVE when it is pickle making time of year. I am not—yet—the best preserver when it comes to "putting by for winter" though ever since I was a child it has been a dreamy idea to me. I always pep myself that this will be the year. THE YEAR where I start a pantry of all I grew and canned and dried and all the rest of the fanciful notions that seem attainable when the short days and cold weather make it just story book enough to feel possible. As a child I would often play house and would spend uncountable hours foraging for mazanita berries and wild cherries; storing up good food for when the blizzards hit. We lived in Southern California. 

Anyway, what follows is the pickle recipe that does get used in my kitchen. Maybe when my hair is white and I finally get to wear the muumuus I so intend to eventually wear, I will have more tried and true recipes for preserving summer's harvest.




Refrigerator Pickles 
In a very clean 1 gallon jar place a washed strand of fresh dill weed
If you don't have fresh use a tablespoon of dried.

Add roughly 4 lb. pickling cucumbers washed (they are all over at the farmers market right now)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup salt
1 + 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper corns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
a few cloves
6-8 cups water or until jar is full.
optional: pepper flakes or a couple fresh hot peppers,
fresh strand tarragon. 

Cover with wax paper and fasten with string or a rubber band.
Let sit out for two days, out of direct sunlight, then refrigerate for up to two months.

Recipe is re posted from this post. 


                                                      Cheers ~
                                                              Marica

Thursday, August 3, 2017

SUMMER HOT SUMMER!

 The last couple of days our air has been horrid! Truly smoggy due to some wild fires raging up in Canada. Portland is used to overcast, but this is not overcast, this is grimy smoke suspended over the city bringing a yellow/gold gloom to everything.
 It has been hot for days. They claimed it was going to reach 109, but we so far our luck has been to toil through 100 degree and many 90 degree days.






I am certainly holding my breath until this heat spell breaks.  The one silver lining to this unbearable warmth is that we've had to close our pie truck. And having our truck closed means lazy days. Lazy days have given me more time to finish the most wonderful book I've read in oh so long:

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert





                                                                     Cheers ~
                                                                                    Marica