Elephant Ears

 

I think about 6 years ago I managed to get hold of 3 Elephant Ear bulbs.   

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I like Elephant Ears.  They are a bit of work but make such showy plants.  At the end of each summer I dig the bulbs, divide them, store them for the winter and then during the best week of the year  (What?  When is that you ask?  Why, it is ACC Basketball tournament week of course!)  I start them inside.  Pamper them for weeks.  Finally set them out. 

 

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I think in a previous post I possibly bad mouthed this group for not being showy enough.   Probably not completely their fault.  They really like hot weather.  And since it has arrived they have improved. 

 

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The real performers are this group (dead center).  I did not even find the bag of stored bulbs until mid-June.  So they have only been in pots for a month.  However, since it was so late in the planting season I could not find my usual low end bag of dirt and ended up with a very pricy bag of indoor potting soil.  So maybe that is why these are doing so well. 

But let’s not miss the point that from 3 bulbs, I have all of these. 

Another success this year is that I finally got coneflowers or Echinacea to grow.  Several springs I have bought packaged root slips of these at the Lidl with great hopes.  And until this year the slips have never made it.  But this year 3 of the 4 did.  And 2 have bloomed!

 

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Hopefully they will reseed.  But since I won’t be here next spring to protect the tender new seedlings from the weed eating of Costo they are probably doomed.  But gardeners always live with hope….

Fresh Crop Potatoes

 

I read a lot of food articles.  In all that reading I have only come across one that expounds the glory of freshly dug potatoes.  I am not talking about those little round potatoes known as ‘new potatoes’.  I am talking about potatoes that have recently been dug up from the ground.  Ones that are full size. 

My friend BK and I were talking about them the other day.  Her Momma used to grow potatoes and I was the happy recipient of them on a few occasions, including the time BK brought them in her luggage to us in Italy.  Those potatoes were so good. Because they had recently been dug.   Because they had not been stored in the cold. 

It is no surprise that I was influenced by clever marketing in the Esselunga when a 2 kilo (a little less than 5 pounds) box of fresh crop potatoes  caught my eye, from Sardinia.  Poor Ben has been forced to eat homemade French Fries.  While these are not as good as the ones that his daughter made for us last year while we were all in France together, they were pretty good.

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Having a quick soak in water before frying which was really not necessary since they were so fresh. 

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When properly fried, they are crispy outside and creamy in the middle.  Really outstanding!  Just like corn that has just been picked.  There is nothing like it. 

Spider Wars

 

I tolerate spiders because they do eat a lot of other bugs.  Of course our spider population has suffered since we started having help to clean the house.  Our cleaning lady does not like spiders or their webs.  So I was a little surprised the other day when I saw this happening in our bathroom.

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This ‘daddy long legs’ had stunned some other spider and was neatly ‘mummifying’ it in silk.

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This went on for a bit and then it carted the bounty back to its nest. 

 

Who knew our bathroom was such a hotbed of contested real estate.  At least in the bug world. 

What’s this?

 

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A yard sale?  

 

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No, we finally had a day that I could be sure would be sunny all day and when the wonderful woman who helps me clean was here.  So she and I emptied a closet.  Brought everything out to air.  I sorted through and made some bags to be given a way.  Small steps towards the big move in December. 

Sagra and Festa Posters

 

It has been kind of hot and we have not been out as much so I have fallen behind in keeping up with the posters.  But here they are now

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Right down the road from us

 

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This last shot is for Ben who just has to have the contact info so that he can put it on his blog too.

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FROG!

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One of our absolute favs

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And a religious one

Lobster Sagra

 

This is one of our favs of the summer.  One that I always make sure we go to and honor my mother when we do. 

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It usually happens the week of my mother’s birthday, but this year it started earlier.  We almost missed it and would have if our friend Bronwyn had not said something about it. 

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Here we are, the hungry group.  from the left, Bronwyn, Lorenzo, Robin, Keith, Tania and Ben.  It was little stuffy under the tent but we appreciated being away from the edge when it started raining.  This sagra is well organized.  Takes reservations!  And the food is good and different.

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Ben started with some mussels.

 

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Bronwyn had the shrimp.  They’re big’uns.

 

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Ben and I had the lobster.  This year it was warm with sauce on the side.  Keith and I agreed that we like it better cold with compounded butter which is the way it has been in the past.  That way is also a prettier presentation.  Well, neither here nor there.  It was good and a treat!

Glad we didn’t miss it.  And we all toasted my Mom and remembered her. 

The well tended garden

 

Our friends, Tania and Keith have a large yard, part of which is devoted to a vegetable garden.

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It is well laid out, with gravel paths, fenced off to keep inquiring dogs and other critters out.  The fence also acts as supports for the plants.

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See that patch of corn?

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No tomatoes yet.  I think he planted a little later than I did.  But I was the grateful recipient of….

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Yellow Squash!!!!! Oh my it was good.  This picture makes them look small but they were both bigger than my hand.  I had the smaller one the first night sautéed with onion and a bit of butter.  Ben got one tablespoon full.  I ate the rest.  I cooked the larger one the same way the next day and shared a bit more with Ben and the the day after that we had yellow squash quesadillas.  Those two squash are among the best things that I have eaten in a long time. 

Random Shots

 

 

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Ida found these bits of the cypress trees that fell several years ago that have not been used.  She arranged for Costo to move them over.  She sanded them and now they provide extra seating.  She is a clever chicken!

 

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I saw these lillie types almost choked by weeds but still blooming. 

 

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Chianina beef lunch at Menchetti.  Very tasty and tender.  Like stew beef on toast with the potatoes, onions and carrots on the side. 

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Laundry hanging out to dry in a brief sunny period. 

 

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Give Ben, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and bread… he’ll make his own bruschetta. 

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Fritto Misto from the seafood place in Sinalunga.  (fried calamari and shrimp)

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 Dead center, a Tuscan Swallowtail butterfly.  This is the first year I have seen them down here.  I used to see them all the time when we lived at a higher elevation.  Maybe it is because the butterfly bush is so big??

 

 

Beep, beep, beep

 

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Rolling pot hole repair. 

This was Nerone’s spot.  Every now and then he would feel the need to dig a hole or two.  Just deep enough to twist your ankle on.  I finally got around to filling the holes in.

And look at this

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Right there!  In his spot!  A CAT!!!!!!  He would not be happy about that!

 

Tuesday, July 19 is the anniversary of when he came to live with us, 5 years ago.  We do still miss him a lot.

Football

 

or soccer.  What ever you want to call it.  The last game that Italy played in was Saturday, July 2.

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ohhh, seating with a handy shelf for wine.

 

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Giorgio manned the grill.  Hamburgers and sausages this time.

 

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Standing for the national anthems.  We were a real United Nations group, French, Italian, Dutch, Belgian, Swiss, Canadian and American. 

Sorry, no pictures of food.  Italy lost that night.  The Ida and Martha Catering Company is closed now.  We will not miss catering meals for 15 to 20 people out of our little kitchens in the heat.  Ben and I will miss having the company and enjoying time outside.

And Ben and I enjoyed watching the games so we caught some of the others, including the finale on Sunday the  10th.       I think my friend Barry will approve. 

 

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