Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gardening and Enjoying Nelson Bay

This year might be a good year for gardening, after all :). I checked the veggie garden after returning from an all-too-short vacation at Nelson Bay and everything is looking good.

We've got green tomatoes on most of the tomato plants and with luck, they will start to ripen in June and we can get our first fresh tomatoes of the season.

The squash and cucumbers are also doing very, very well and I picked our first zucchini today. We'll have it sauteed in olive oil and onions tonight and I can't wait. It looks like we're going to have quite a few varieties of squash and when the basil gets a little taller, I'll make one of my favorite dishes: Mac-and-Cheese and Squash.

It's really simple to make: Saute the squash (yellow or zucchini or a mixture of the two) with mushrooms. While they are cooking, make macaroni and cheese with your favorite box or homemade variety. When they are done to your taste (I like them a little underdone so they are not mushy), add a handful of fresh, chopped basil. Then mix the veggies in with the mac-and-cheese and serve!

My mom used to make this and it was one of the last things I ate at her house before she passed away, so every time I make it, I think of her. It's a memory and recipe I really treasure.

 One of the things that is really helping out in the garden this year is a tangled ball of Venetian blind cord. One of our neighbors got rid of some old Venetian blinds and salvaged the cord. He decided he didn't have any use for it and gave it to us.

I discovered that it is just about perfect for tying up tomato plants and giving your cucumbers something to twine their tendrils around. It seems fairly weather resistant and so far isn't causing abrasions on my plants.

As you can see, we are sort of pack rats here and try not to let anything go to waste. My garden is full of odds and ends of PVC pipes that work as tomato and veggie supports as well as the Venetian blind cords to hold them up.

 As they say--it's all good!

And I just have to add a few pictures from our mini-vacation on Nelson Bay. We had a wonderful time and took the dogs out in our boat. Daisy, the Jack Russell terrier, is still a puppy so it was the first time she'd ever been out in a boat and she seemed to love it. She pals around with our Chesapeake Bay retriever, Molly, and the two of them stayed busy swimming and chasing the small mullets that hugged the shore.

We saw hermit crabs, as well, and our martin house is fully occupied with nesting martins, which means 12 pairs of birds.

On our boat ride, we saw several Osprey nests on channel markers and they seemed to be doing well. We also saw a Spotted Sandpiper on Salter's Creek, as well as dozens of Red-Winged Blackbirds, Laughing Gulls, and pelicans. We even have a pair of Barn Swallows nesting under our pier!

The Killdeer have already hatched one brood and there are chicks running around in the large, grassy areas and they are cute as can be.

This is such a great time of year and I really hope everyone has a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather, their friends and most of all, time with their families.

On a last note, I hope everyone will consider donating to the Red Cross to assist in the relief efforts for the tornado victims in OK. I am donating all my proceeds from my historical mystery, The Vital Principle, for both May and June (I decided to extend it to June) to the Red Cross to assist in this effort. I may extend it again for July--I will see how it goes. The families are in desperate need there and even the smallest donations will help. I hope you will consider giving to this or to your favorite charity.

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