Friday, August 19, 2011

Birdhouses, bee skeps and Tomato Casserole!

I'm not sure why, but sometimes I get hooked on a particular thing and really enjoy it for a while. This happens mostly with smaller objects that I like to collect. It also happens as I buy things for the shop. One that has grabbed my attention for a while is small decorative birdhouses. Not the bigger outdoor ones for birds to actually occupy, but smaller ones in all kinds of shapes and colors so that you can find one to fit in any room. I don't know why they intrigue me so - I think it's the fact of being a little house and also a touch of the outdoors brought inside.

That also holds true for my longtime fascination with bee skeps, the rounded, woven, almost basket-like structure. Originally, they did house bees before they had the boxlike hives we see today. And the skeps became associated with herb gardens, probably since bees were attracted to many of the flowers in the herb garden. While shopping with Tina and Maryanne recently, I found a plaque and also skeps on a stick to be added to potted plants and containers. Those were great finds and I also have beeswax skeps for the Christmas tree - so cute!

Now that tomato season is in full swing, I hope you're enjoying them with mozzarella and basil and also as bruschetta. Here's another easy and delicious recipe I got from P. Allen Smith's TV show. Goes great as a side dish with almost any meal...

Baked Tomatoes
Chop and drain 10 to 12 Roma tomatoes in a colander. Stir occasionally to remove some of the juice. Combine the drained tomatoes with half a roasted red bell pepper, 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, minced garlic to taste, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake in a greased casserole dish for 30-35 minutes at 350.

The rabbits are getting smart. Word must have gotten around about Lucy. Most of them run as soon as they see her now. Even a small one took off immediately the other day and often the small ones will just sit. She did kick one out from under a shrub one day and now she goes back and checks it regularly!

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