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. 




  1. your flowers and gardens are so pretty, i am so impressed that you know the names of all of the flowers!! i read that your butterfly bush is scented, i have never noticed that from mine!! it's been very hot here too, but we have been getting a lot of rain and storms!

    the peach cobbler looks so good, i will have to print that recipe out, i would like to make that!!

    i spent the 4th in the hospital, the hubs took his phone outside and facetimed me so i could see the fireworks!!

    the fairy gardens are awesome, what a great project for you and your grandson!!

  2. Hi Karen! I got a nice visit from you commenting on my favorite Santa Fe Cafe. Thank you! I thought I would pop over for a little visit with you and enjoyed catching up to the beauty of where you live. I have friends in Portland who have also talked about the heat and lack of rain. I know you have much less moisture than you are used to, but it seems lush still to me! I'm impressed with your garden knowledge and skill. The cobbler looks wonderful! And I appreciate your final thoughts. It is so much of what I am feeling these days and trying to focus on the good things, as you say, because there are so many good things to have gratitude for. Thanks for the lift! J.

  3. Wonderful flowers.Thank you for this adorable post.Hugs and blessings.

  4. I'm going to try your cobbler recipe. No peeling! I'm on the lookout for local peaches which should be arriving just any day. Love your pictures, especially the flowers.

  5. Lovely to hear all your news and see your beautiful photos. I, too, prefer the weather to be warm rather than hot, rain overnight is good too! More and more these days I find the wildflowers preferable in the garden to ornamental and I love to see what springs up of its own accord each year. We've had lots of sweet william this year too, they are so bright and cheerful. What a great couple of celebrations on the water with your family, such a great spot plus it's always great to see Mt Ranger's 'close up! Take care x

  6. Karen, what lovely Summer days you've had, even though they've been hot ones. I do hope you get some rain! It hasn't rained for a very long time here, but one night it drizzled, which I was thankful for. Your gardens are thriving nicely in this heat, and the hydrangeas are so pretty. Oh no, Kai got sprayed by a skunk, poor thing. I love the picture of the black-eyed susans next to the Angel, it really is a special photo. And the jasmine scent must smell wonderful in the Summer breezes. The Hybrid Rose is so lovely, and that's exactly what I want to plant in my front yard, but it's hard to find pink roses up here in the mountains. The landscaper is still looking. I always love to see Mt. Rainier in the distance when you share photos. Your grandson must have had so much fun riding on the carousel. Oh, that peach cobbler looks amazing, I would love a slice of it right now. And the fairy gardens you and your grandson made are so cute, and special time spent together for sure.

    I hope the August days bring you much goodness, Karen, and it's always a pleasure to visit whenever you do a new post. It always brings me a sense of peace and joy seeing all the creative and nice things that you do around your home. : )


  7. Dear Karen, this is such a great post, filled with beautiful pictures and words. Your flowers are always so pretty and the photos of Mt. Rainier are stunning. Our favorite vacations have taken us up through Oregon and into your beautiful state. There is like a dividing line between California and we could always tell it by the vibrant green of the trees along the highway. I hope you don't dry out to much. It is terrible here at home. You have got a lot to enjoy from your beautiful spot and I always enjoy reading about it..Happy Tuesday..xxoJudy

  8. Hello Dearest Karen! I loved this post. Your endless knowledge of flowers and wild things always impresses me. And I love seeing all of the flowers - they feed my soul. The fairy gardens made me especially smile. I pray that cooler weather finds you out there and soon and the blessed rain that is so needed! 🙏
    The July 4th celebrations looked wonderful. And I always love seeing your deck for every season. The peach cobbler looks and sounds delish! I love your sentiments at the end of this post. So true! We do need to keep the faith and live in gratitude daily. Blessings on the rest of your summer. xo

  9. So sad to hear about all the low amount of rain you all are having out west. Been praying that you all will get some soon. So glad you were able to save your plants, you have so many beautiful plants to keep alive.
    Good to hear you enjoyed a lovely 4th with your family, and at the zoo. How wonderful to make those cute fairy gardens with your grandson, I am sure you have made some great memories there. Hope you have a great rest of your summer and can enjoy some cooler temps soon!

  10. Everything about this post fills me with joy, Karen. The time with family, that wonderful water, the glorious mountain backdrop and your fabulous garden. I love how you know all about the different blooms you have, and how you care for them so well in this drought. The garden angel has done her thing in watching over you! The umbrellas are such a good idea! I saw my first motorize wakeboard on the lake this summer -- it reminded me of Back to the Future! That just looks like loads of fun. Despite the lack of rain, you have had a lovely summer and I'm so glad! (And by the way, Kai looks fabulous!)

  11. What a wonderful, wonderful post, Karen!
    I hope you have had some nice rain by now.
    In Finland, after nearly two months of drought, it was such a relief to hear the rain pouring down again.
    I was trying to improve my blog list with adding to your blog-URL the new ending "feeds/posts/default". I was certain it would make your blog updates visible... but no, still not working. Sigh.
    Hugs and blessings!

  12. I enjoyed both reading and looking at your post.
    You have included some lovely photographs, the flowers are beautiful and I do like the fairy garden.
    The time on the lake looks lovely, and always nice to spend time with family.
    I do hope you have had some rain now and the temperatures are cooling.
    Take care, my good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  13. Hello & Happy Sunday Karen! I have visions of everyone bringing you new umbrellas as gifts from now on! I'm pleased you got through the latest heatwave wilted but 'shaken not stirred!' Lovely to have a wander round your garden and to see all your family fun - I so yearn for that, I have no idea when I will see my family again 18 mths and counting.
    Wren x

  14. Your garden and summer house porch are just wonderful. I wondered where you were (either didn't know or had forgotten) until I saw Mt Ranier and then I knew for sure! I love that mountain and your whole area (except for the traffic). It really HAS been way too hot in the Pacific Northwest this summer and I hope this finds you well and a bit cooler. (I haven't talked to my family up that way for a week!) Take care, enjoy your family and your beautiful yard. I don't garden any longer but I love looking at other people's beautiful work and yours is prize-winning.

  15. P:S: also thanks for the peach cobbler -- I am amazed you don't have to peel them and I'm going to try that recipe next time we hit the Farmer's Market. (Already ate the corn and peaches from Saturday's trip ))

  16. Wow! What a lovely place! Great post and beautiful pictures...
    Best wishes for a great week now :)

  17. Wow....from the Mts to the water. Great place. Loving all the beautiful blooms also.

  18. for flower lovers like me this post is heavenly dear Karen :)

    thank you for keep watering your mesmerizing blooms and letting them grow to fulfill our senses with deep delight and peace :)

    i loved the stroll my amazing friend and each smile of Nature seemed to say a big thank you to you for keeping it alive and well so they can complete the cycle of their life and reach the end of this show :)
    each is BEAUTIFUL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i see how you make good use of your plants which is very wise .

    absence of rain is normal here for us but i did not know it takes such breaks there either as the greenery and lush i see there seems nurtured with showers of nature regularly !

    your daughter's lake house is serene and having water so near surly bring lots of healing to senses .
    i enjoyed the amusing story of k your dear pet ,he is super cute :)

    for preventing from mosquitoes we use lotion here .
    fairy gardens made by you and grandson are so lovely :)
    thank you for the wonderful recipe ,never had peach baked food before ,sounds worth trying .
    more love ,health ,peace and joy to you and loved ones!

  19. Love the quote! I'm so behind with my blog readying, Karen, finally made it to find this beautiful post and all your wonderful photos. I have a big bowl of end-of-summer peaches on the counter, a cobbler sounds perfect to me. A big hug.


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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