A single sunflower stands alone on our courtyard patio, deserted by the height of summer temperatures. We seem to have retreated indoors to delve into good books and be transported by old movies (I am always way behind everyone else).
The Thai Basil and Rosemary seem to be enjoying the warmth and solitude, as do the mints. No little hands have been present to experience their fragrances or flavors. The catnip has not returned. Too much presence by hefty felines have once again proven the need to have catnip grown in a top secret location, only to be witnessed by the fine felines in fresh snippets provided to them. As opposed to rolling, smashing and gnawing freely.
As we support local farming, our CSA share of fruit has filled the Hearth Room with delightful aromas of apples and cinnamon. Almost makes me long for fall. When the rich colors and warm, spicy scents of the fruits and flavors are bubbling, waiting for family gatherings. And the temperatures invite us back outdoors to play in crisper air and crunchier leaves.
But it is definitely not time for that. Not yet! The garden is producing plenty of beautiful vegetables to share and prepare for winter meals.
I offer squash and cukes to all who visit the Hearth Room. Soon I will be pushing tomatoes and onions, too. Although, right now Hubby is still marveling at how well the onions have done, allowing them to continue to swell. Well, except for a few....
Add to the mix these wonderful Romano Beans we were gifted by a fellow gardener. I am learning to cook new things, as well as old favorites in different ways. These meaty beans were prepared with a coating of EV olive oil and chopped garlic. Dashed with sea salt and pepper and roasted on a baking sheet. Summery goodness at it's finest!
Somehow we managed to skip planting zucchini here, but it seems to always be one of the first things folks share. This year has been no exception!
As soon as a zucchini comes through the door, it ends up here in a rich, sweet batter.
My young apprentice has found cooking to be a wonderful world of exploration lately. From how sticky your hands and face can get to how exceptionally good things taste.
Oh, my little zucchini breads... You didn't last long enough. I do hope another large squash makes it through our door soon.
And absolutely worthy of mentioning is the very delicious and necessary corn fritters that are a tribute to everything good Granny taught me. Every summer for as long as I live there will be corn, fresh from the cob, mixed with milk, flour, eggs, salt and pepper, with a little dash of sugar. I wrote of them last year and I probably will again. That Granny, she's a good one.
Fresh, hot, corn fritters, cukes and red onions (don't tell Hubby), and beet greens from the garden.
I'm not sure I ever shared with you my unconventional corn and potato patch. Yet another space in need of landscaping, that once the potato bags called it home I found the need to fill in around them with corn and sunflowers. Just another moment of whimsey.
Speaking of whimsy along with the joys of summer, I have to show you one of my most favorite-ist things ever. In this very unexpected place, a little couple of bluebirds have decided to make a home. This birdhouse was made by Young Man a few years ago and as you can see, it hangs and is not stationary. No matter to the little bluebirds in love that desperately sought out this place as their home. The place to raise their little family.
One tiny orange mouth, ready to be fed, competing with two others. I can see this box just outside the Hearth Room door. I have had the most heart squeezing fun seeing these 3 blue eggs hatch into the tiny balls of fluff they are now. Mama and Daddy are the best birdie parents, watching over them constantly and taking turns feeding those hungry mouths. I'm waiting for the chance to get a really good picture of them, but Daddy Blue has been on to me lately... I thought I'd give him a rest from worry for a bit.
As our retreat indoors continues, I am constantly reminded of my need to visit the great outdoors by happy, energetic children, immense plants climbing out of the garden, and by little feathered friends who are holding me to my promise of filling the feeders that I so lovingly hung for their benefit. Yep, they just lie down and wait right in the dish until I come and provide. We all seem to get a little stuck in our ways here at the Hearth Room. Even the outdoors is spoiled .