Saturday, July 31, 2021

Dog Days of Summer, Gardening and Peach Cobbler


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are enjoying these long, languid days of late summer. 
It has been very hot and dry here in the Pacific Northwest and 
today marks the 46th day without any measurable rain. 

I have been spending all of my free time watering my little corner of  the universe, 
trying to keep everything alive. 

Our water comes from a private well, so I have to ration it carefully. 

The forecast calls for rain showers this weekend, 
so I have my fingers crossed! 

I have learned over the years, which plants are drought resistant

 and will survive our long, dry summer. 

They also have to tolerate our very wet winter and spring. 

Tansy, Sweet William and Bird's Foot Trefoil grow here, by the shed. 

Bird's Foot Trefoil. A funny little name. 

It grows on pea-like vines with pea-pod seed casings. 

Sweet William is a biennial and a reliable self-seeder. It
surprises me with different colors every year. 
These started with a seed packet many years ago. 

Foxglove grows wherever it pleases. 
It likes a cool, shady place in disturbed soil. 

These popped up by The Mister's work shop. 

They are biennial, forming a rosette of large leaves the first year. 

The white ones are especially nice. 

They really are magical, but deadly. 
They contain cardiac glycosides called digitoxin. 
It is the source of digitalis, a heart medication, 
but the administered dose is very close to a fatal dose, 
so strict medical supervision is required. 
These grow wild here, so I had to teach my children, 
and now my grandchildren, to beware. 

I have common Tansy growing wherever it is sunny and dry.
I gathered the seed-heads years ago along an old railroad track.  
The bright button flowers seem to be pollinated 
by these strange, thin insects. Tansy is also considered 
poisonous and should never be ingested and can be irritating 
to skin. It is also considered invasive, so it is important to 
beware of that. 
Its leaves are sharply aromatic and I harvest them every year
(with gloves) to use in moth sachets for clothing and the pantry.
We fill old pillow-cases to repel mice in the shed and workshop.
The flowers can be dried for arrangements or for dying yarn or cloth. 

Butterfly bush is hardy and drought resistant. The 
spicy scent fills the air. 
The hydrangea hedge by the house does require regular watering, 
but because they are in a semi-shady spot at the 
bottom of a slope, they are very happy, despite the hot temperatures. 

St. John's Wort growing along a path. 

I planted one plant years ago and they have spread in 
a semi-shady area under trees.  
They stay evergreen.  

Impatiens in pots under the living room window. 
This is in full shade. 
A bit of sun reaches the hydrangea and phlox
in the foreground. 

White phlox and blue hydrangea have formed a friendship. 

Pink Phlox. 

I have a patch of hedge-nettle growing along a deer path by the 
top of the driveway. They have spotted, tubular flowers, 
like tiny orchids.
It's always exciting to discover something new
on our little nature walks around the property. 

Kai sees something...
time to retreat! 
He has a history of getting himself in trouble. 
He got sprayed by a skunk once, 
and recently followed something into a thick 
blackberry patch. We heard him barking and growling
but couldn't get to him. He finally made his way out, right before it got dark. 
Ever since, he has been afraid 
to sleep alone. 
We are buying a brush cutter as soon as possible and in the meantime,
we keep him confined to the fenced-in back yard. 

The Monarda (Bee Balm) was a gift for Mother's Day. 
Little fireworks.

Blue Lobelia and ivy. 

We call this area our 'Summer House'. 
It stays nice and cool under the canopy on the shady side of the deck
and also stays dry in the rain. 

Temperatures have been in the 80's and 90's here. 

During our intense heat wave a few weeks ago (temperatures reached 108 degrees), 
I protected all of my plants on the deck with umbrellas, 
both patio and hand umbrellas for the pots I couldn't move.

I kept them well-watered and moved as many as I could into
the shade. 
They all survived, but WE were a little wilted! 

To be honest, I am tired of the heat! 

I much prefer cooler temperatures and even a little rain. 
It's been too hot to sit outside at my tables except for early morning 
or evening, but the mosquitos drive us inside if we 
stay out too late. 

Black-eyed Susan vine.

My garden Angel has done a good job 
watching over the flowers this year. 

The star jasmine beside the cage has bloomed 
for weeks and filled the air with its 
incredible perfume. 

Not sure what the name of this rose is, but it should be 
called 'Heavenly', because that is how I describe the scent. 

Rugosa - Therese Bugnet

Climbing rose - Joseph's Coat

Hybrid Rugosa - Pink Grootendorst

Hybrid tea - First Prize

The roses have been sulky in the heat, 
but have given us a few beauties to enjoy. 

Scented petunias for the little ones. 

A very hot corner with Rosemary, Sedum, and a purple Petunia
that has actually wintered over for 3 years... 

 Marigolds, the only flowers that seem to love the heat!

We went to my daughter and son-in-law's lake house
to celebrate July 4th. 

The guys and grand-kids pile in the boat. 

A pretty view. 

My son on his motorized wake-board. 

All decked out for the occasion. 

We enjoyed the day with our family, but had to leave 
before nightfall so we could be home with the dog. 
He is afraid of fireworks, and we are afraid of fire. 
It's legal here to set off your own fireworks
and the hills all around us sound like a battlefield. 

Sorry about the dirty windshield!

On the way home - the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. 

Mt. Rainier overlooking farms as we get close to
our foothills home. 

We haven't gone too many places this summer. 
We've been very busy finishing up our library,
(which I hope to show you in my next post), 
painting the deck, and many other home improvement chores. 

But we did go to the zoo with my son, wife and little grandson
the other day. We had a nice lunch in a restaurant 
overlooking Puget Sound afterwards. 

Old pilings. 

A charming boat. 

My little grandson and Ramblin' Man whizz by 
on the carousel at the zoo.
(Second horse on the left) 

 I didn't take any other photos
because I was just enjoying the wonderful moments 
(and my daughter-in-law took photos of the day).
They gave us a digital photo frame and download 
all the wonderful photos for us to enjoy. 
All my kids download photos of the grand-kids to it. 
It's really wonderful. 

I had an abundance of peaches, so I decided to 
bake a peach cobbler. 

This recipe doesn't require peeling the peaches.

Peach Cobbler

Bake @ 375 degrees - 45 minutes
in 9"x13" baking pan

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided
1 TBSP baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peach slices
(about 6 medium)
1 TBSP lemon juice
ground cinnamon and nutmeg for sprinkling on top

Melt butter and pour into pan.
Combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add milk, stirring just until combined. 
Pour batter over butter (do not stir).

Bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar, peach slices 
and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. 
(The peaches will release their juice)

Pour over batter (do not stir). 
Sprinkle with a little cinnamon (1 tsp) and nutmeg (1/4 tsp) if desired. 

Bake until golden brown. 
Serve warm or cool 
with ice cream or whipped cream if desired. 


My little grandson and I made fairy gardens. 
We had so much fun putting them together. 

The setting sun casts golden light across the hills. 

And the Full Buck Moon rises in the East. 


It seems like we are standing at a crossroads of time, 
Dear Friends. 
Life sometimes feels overwhelming and full of 
collective grief. We must hold our grief and that of 
the world's with a commitment to 
create a better tomorrow by focusing on all that is good today. 

Despite all the overwhelming problems we face, 
there's still so much to be grateful for. 

Although there is a certain sad poignancy to gratitude, 
this gives us the realization of how fleeting life's moments 
truly are. It provides reverence for the 
transience of all things, including love, life and time
and increases our capacity for empathy and kindness. 

We must try to honor both our pain and our blessings
and use these to stay true to what matters most. 


A little humor...

"The longer I live, the more convinced am I that this 
planet is used by other planets as a lunatic asylum."

- George Bernard Shaw - 


Enjoy these fleeting days of summer, Dear Friends! 
Keep the faith. 



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