Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gardening - Agapanthus

Gardening for the last couple of weeks has been so enjoyable. I love the smell of the soil, seeing the green breaking through and the opening of the flowers as they reach for the sun. Gardening is soulful; when I am in the garden I think about life, I sing and I pray. The garden is a peaceful place.
I moved a plant I am very fond of last year and thought that it had died. It doesn't do very well when it is moved. Several weeks ago I witnessed the first site of green as the plant broke through the soil and I was ecstatic! The plant is an agapanthus, belonging to the lily family. I thought I would share a little info on this little beauty.

The agapanthus is a native of South Africa and belongs to the lily family. They are known as African Lilies and Lilies-of-the-Nile. Agapanthus reach about two feet in height and are topped with cluster of pretty white to dark blue flowers from late spring to early autumn. The agapanthus is hardy in zones 7 to 11 and like full sun to part shade unless you live in a hot climate where they should be set in partial shade.

Go forth, plant an agapanthus and enjoy it's beauty.

Check out our photography blog at to see my new garden apron from France that Rod bought as a surprise; it is soooooooo pretty and very special!

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gardening - New Projects

Spring is here and now it is time to do some gardening, another favorite hobby of mine (of which I have many). By the way, check out our photography blog at Autumn Song to see some photos of spring Rod took just in the backyard. They are so renewing, especially after the lull of winter!
I have been cleaning out the flower beds and getting ready to do some spring plantings. Beau, my golden retriever, has been hot on my heels; everywhere I go, he is there too! Beau, still just a puppy at 8 months old, enjoys pulling up plants and chewing on them. He has pulled up and eaten a three year old lilac bush, every pansy planted, a trumpet plant, the roses and five-leafed akebia on the arbor, chewed the bark on several trees, etc.... He does these things when I am not out to see what he is up to, darn him! Makes me wonder why we every decided to get another dog then I remember how much I enjoy the companionship of a dog.... most of the time.

What would Caesar have me do? I know he would tell me Beau needs more exercise but he gets plenty of exercise when we run and/or hike most every day of the week. And another thing, Beau has beheaded most all my tulips just before they opened, only to lay them down beside the stems. OK, enough about Beau..... but what is up with this dog!

He is a beautiful boy, don't you agree?
Ok, so I am thinking of, well another project; this one in the front yard. Just where the hill starts to peek I want to cut in to the hill (the hill is a little steeper than it looks) and dry stack some stone. Then I want to plant the upper part like a French cottage garden which goes with the style of our house (or at least I think it does). I have been studying this little plan for a couple of years now and am ready to proceed once I talk Rod in to the plan, after all, I will need his help too!

Managed to get a pic without Beau, thanks to the invisible fence.

I do believe I will keep him!

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Juliet

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways.......

Yes, I do love the Juliet, as fun to knit as it is to wear and I do wear mine often. Every time I wear it I get compliments and have been asked where I found such a unique cami. A friend even ask if it was a boutique purchase..... gloat, gloat, gloat.
I knitted my daughter one and it tickles me pink when she wears hers. Who knows, I may even knit sis one; she's been asking for one since last fall! (obviously she doesn't knit and doesn't even want to learn to knit)

If you are interested in the pattern, check out the Juliet on There are lots of posts from knitters who have knitted the Juliet. Here is a link if you would like to purchase the pattern.

"Good night, good night, parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Dinner for Two"

Cooking is one of the things I really enjoy! To find a recipe with a contrast of texture and flavor is so delightful and then the nuance of what herbs can bring to a dish is, ummmmm....... yummy! Rodney and I had a very busy and productive day with our photography business so I was really looking forward to preparing a nice meal for us to enjoy as we unwind. Rod is so good about trying different recipes and never, ever complains, but I do read him well enough to know when he really does like a dish or not. This happens to be one of our favorites, Tangy Cherry Chicken.
We finished off the meal with a "light" dark chocolate pudding topped with whip and walnuts; nice finish to a nice dinner. What an enjoyable end to a wonderful day....

Below is the recipe, wish I new where the original came from to give credit. Our daughter shared the recipe with me and I have shared it with many friends.... so easy and so tasty; enjoy!

Tangy Cherry Chicken
4-6 oz. boneless chicken breast halves
1 TBS fresh thyme
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 small red onion chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 dried cherries
3 TBS cold butter

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat with 2 tbs of EVOO. Season the chicken liberally with half of the thyme and salt and pepper; add to hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove the chicken and cover with foil to keep warm.

Return the skillet to the burner over medium high heat, add the remaining tbs of EVOO and add the onions, celery, red pepper, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes or until the celery and onions are tender. Add the white wine and cook until the pan is almost dry (1 minute). Add the chicken stock, dried cherries and remaining thyme. Continue to cook for about 4-5 minutes or until there is only about 1.4 cups of liquid left in the pan. Turn the heat off under the pan. Add the butter and whisk until it has completely melted.

Serve the chicken breasts whole or sliced with the cherry sauce poured over them.

This recipe is great with brown or jasmine rice, asparagus, green beans or broccoli, and of course, a nice glass of wine!

"One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating." ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story