Friday, August 5, 2011

Dog Days

Well, we're into the dog days now. I laugh when I hear that phrase because when it's hot, Lucy expends the least energy possible. She doesn't move unless she has to. I laugh when she sleeps on her back too. She bends her front legs and it really looks silly.

After a storm, I notice some plants have a growth spurt. Then as it shifts back to hot and dry, the plants go into a holding pattern. If you're watering herbs, concentrate on those like basil, dill and mint that want more moisture. Lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary (outside) and gray-leaved plants are very drought tolerant once they're established and will survive quite well without supplemental water. Herbs in containers dry out quickly and need regular watering and fertilizing.

I finally saw a swallowtail caterpillar - on curly parsley. Still haven't seen any monarch caterpillars although I've seen monarchs several times. John saw the heron almost land in the neighbor's pool. It veered off because they were out in the yard. Lucy saw it fly over and she was very interested. Big birds seem to intrigue her. Big enough to chase but they just fly away.

I've been drying a lot of flowers. Many kinds that are good for drying have that papery texture and feel. They're usually quite drought tolerant too. Annual statice comes in several colors and they bloom in succession. Gomphrena, or globe amaranth come in red or purple, pink and white. Cutting them regularly produces lots of reblooms.
Kent beauty oregano is grown for its flowers, not for culinary use. Its papery flower starts out green and changes to a pinky-purple. The stems are rather arching. I cut the stems, stand them in a vase and let them dry that way.

I've been enjoying
Cold Melon Soup
Puree 1 medium cantaloupe, seeded and cubed along with 1/2 cup orange juice and 1 cup plain yogurt. You an add a dash of freshly grated nutmeg. Refrigerate any you don't eat right away.

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