Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Hint of Spring At The Grocery Store!

Primroses remind me of England and spring.  I couldn't help myself at the grocery store.  I resisted for several days, but this snow has just gotten to me.  We are really lucky that we don't have to battle it every day!  Here is an updated picture of our front garden.  Not as much as the first snow storm, but we have had almost 75 inches of snow this season!  Enough, but we are supposed to have more on Wednesday!  Keep praying!  Spring is a little more than three weeks away!  Hurry! Hurry!  Talk to you later!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Just Had to Remind Myself!

I used this picture in my January 23, 2010 post!  Sorry, but I'm trying to remember happier times when I could actually get out and see my herb garden and fantasize about what it will look like this summer.  Still snowing!  Although we are having a break at the moment.  More to come!  I know I will get to see it sooner rather later, but the weather is wearing me down!  Hopefully you are warm and cozy wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Herbal Bucket List!

I still love to get paper catalogs in the mail.  This is one of my very favorites.   I use it as a reference tool.  It has a lot of good information and it is free for the asking.  Can't get better than that.  I am hoping to get to their greenhouses some day soon!  Richters is just outside of Toronto, Canada.  About 4 hours to drive for us.  If you come through the Peace Bridge entrance for U.S. citizens, you can bring plants into the U.S.  Just be sure to ask for a special invoice to get the plants safely back.  One of the things on my herbal bucket list!  Hope you are safe and warm wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Calm Before the Next Storm!

We did a little work on the arbor in the front before the next storm comes along!  We will probably have to buy a new arbor or have one built for this season.  At the moment though it is upright and hope that it will hold up for a little while longer.  The snow around the shrubs is like concrete!  I tried to shovel my way in to help The Herbal Husband and couldn't do it!  A whole lot of work is still to be done, but hopefully we are on the way to getting plants back to an upright position!  Hope things are going smoothly wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

May See The Front Gate Before Spring!

This was the other day when the sun was out.  We cherish those days here in the 'Burgh!  The snow has melted even more.  I'll get outside and take some photos of my shrubbery in the front garden.  It was really flattened.  Hope it will come back eventually.  Going to be cold and snow again on Thursday!  Praying for an end to February!  It can't come soon enough.  Here we are just minutes ago!  Yikes, this arbor is leaning as well!  It doesn't have the age or span that our back arbor does, but it needs to be upright to welcome people, and not scare them even further!  It's always something!  Talk to you later.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Small but Flavorful Pizza!

Not a great photo, but this was Saturday dinner, small but flavorful pizzas.  The Herbal Husband topped two small Bobolis with chicken, sauteed mushrooms and onions, tomatoes, broccoli and lots of cheese.  Very yummy!  Always enjoy The Herbal Husband's cooking.  He enjoys cooking so much more than I do.  He does enjoy when I cook though and he can relax.   It has really gotten warm (40's close to 50), but we aren't going to stay warm.  It still is February and March is never a picnic either.  So hope you are warm wherever you are.  Talk to you later.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

He's Baaack!

There he is popping up out of the snow!  It's St. Fiacre or what we sometimes call him, St. Fiasco!  When we are having a bad gardening season, we tend to take it out on poor St. Fiacre!  St. Fiacre is the patron saint of gardeners and Paris cab drivers.  He was originally Irish and sailed the seas to France.  He settled in the region of Brie and had a garden where he healed many.  Cab drivers were called fiacres in the 17th century after the Hotel Saint-Fiacre in Paris.  So spring is just 27 days away!  Think spring!  We just have to get through February.  We haven't had a February like this one for quite awhile!  Hope you are warm and safe wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Leaning A Little Less!

The Herbal Husband was inspired by the sun and warmer (It is finally above freezing!) temperatures and got the arbor in a more upright position.  So if and when it collapses, it will just go straight down rather than leaning into my rock wall!  The icicles have been crashing off the back of the house, three stories high!  It makes quite the noise!  It really makes you jump for joy!  Hope you are enjoying the weekend wherever you may be!  Talk to you later!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Polar Birdie Bath!

They are a little hard to see them, but the sparrows were having a great time in the birdbath today!  Click on the photo to enlarge it.  The sun was shining for most of the day and we are finally melting the snow pack.  It is still about 17" or so, but the icicles are mostly off the back of the house.  Of course on the sunniest of days, we went to the movies!  The Herbal Husband was feeling deprived!  He saw Shutter Island and loved it.  I saw Sherlock Holmes for the second time and saw things I missed the first time!  It is really good.  Then we had dinner at Red Robin.  Delicious fish!  We have another big storm coming Sunday night into Monday and Tuesday.  Will winter ever end?  I'm really looking forward to it ending this season!  Can't Phil be wrong one year?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

Well, we are at 40" of snow for the month of February alone!  We usually get that amount for an entire winter season!  The icicles have started melting off the top of the house.  You have to be sure they aren't coming down when you open the back door!  Where is my helmet?  I really don't have one, but maybe I need one for the next few days.  My post for The Herb Companion is about looking forward to planting a spring herb garden, but getting through this winter weather with a few pots of herbs in the house, basement and garage!  Hope you are staying safe and warm wherever you may be.  Talk to you later.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Adventures of Lemon Verbena Lady and The Herbal Husband!

I have been waiting patiently for almost two years for these signs to appear again.  Nearly two years ago, I spotted AntiquiTea across the street from the local hardware store.  It was a quaint house and it had a big sign on the lawn stating their last day (the next day) was April 15th because they were moving!  Jump forward to last week, February 9th to be exact and AntiquiTea reopened in their new location.

I told The Herbal Husband he was taking me for a post Valentine's Day afternoon tea!  He was definitely on board.  He loves afternoon tea.
We had a cozy table for two.  The tearoom is very English in style.  Nicole and her mother, Patty have done a first class job in the decorating.  Well, I'm sure you want to know about the food and tea.  AntiquiTea has a long list of loose tea brewed in individual pots.  The Herbal Husband went with his favorite, Earl Gary and I had the French vanilla.  Delish!

Now for the food.  We started with Cream of Artichoke soup.  Beautifully presented in a tea cup and very tasty. 

Next came the tea sandwiches, tea breads, scone and pastries.  Here is our tea stand.

There were four different tea sandwiches, including Pimento Cheese, Cucumber Mint, Chicken Salad on croissant and a spinach cheese square or tart.  I was enjoying every bite and I forgot to take some closeups of the rest of our tea stand!  Oh well, next time!  We had a butter cream scone with clotted cream and lemon curd and a lemon poppy seed tea bread.  We finished with a fruit garnish and a pistachio cookie, orange mousse pastry and a chocolate truffle.  It was beautifully presented and very delicious!

We don't have Bernideen's or Sweet Remembrances, but we do have AntiquiTea and we are thrilled!  Both The Herbal Husband and I are looking forward to going back.  It should be noted that they do serve lunches and have a party room that accommodates 50 people.  They are having a Victorian fashion show tea this Sunday.  Please call if you are at all interested, maybe they still have room!  So they are having special events already.  They do have a website, however, it needs to be updated.  At the moment, you can reach them through this Tea Map link.  AntiquiTea is located in beautiful downtown West View and if you are in the Pittsburgh north hills vicinity, you need to give them a try.  It was a very delightful afternoon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Gem of Nature in the Snow!

A lot of our trees and shrubbery are taking a beating in this weather.  Our hemlock was in trouble before this snow, and now it's leaning more.  Not a good thing, but in the midst of all of that, here is this tiny precious hemlock cone.  We got more snow last night.  It has gotten to be a bad broken record.  We really aren't going to thaw until spring comes!  It can't come soon enough!  Going on an adventure this afternoon, will give you the scoop tomorrow. That's all I'm going to say!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Room With a View?

We are getting another snowstorm and we haven't recovered from the first one!  The forecasters are calling for 4 to 8 inches more!  Well, this is the view out our bedroom window!  Spring can't come soon enough for us!  Hope you are warm and dry wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Comfort Food on Valentine's Day!

We enjoy our comfort food when it is cold and snowy outside.  It is no different when it is Valentine's Day.  The Herbal Husband requested his favorite, corn flake crumb chicken, mashed potatoes and corn.  The chicken is a recipe I found on the box of the corn flake crumbs.  Sometimes there are the best recipes on the boxes!  Here is the original recipe:

Corn Crisped Chicken

1 cup Kellogg's Corn Flake Crumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3 pounds broiler chicken pieces, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup evaporated fat free milk
1 tablespoon margarine, melted

1.  Combine Kellogg's Corn Flake Crumbs and seasoned salt.  Dip chicken pieces in evaporated milk and coat with corn flake crumb mixture.  Place in single layer, skin side up, in shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with margarine.

2.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear.  Do not cover pan or turn chicken while baking.

Yield:  8 servings

Here are my corrections.  Instead of seasoned salt, I used 2 teaspoons of Roastmary available through The Rosemary House.  I also used boneless, skinless chicken breast without antibiotics.  The Herbal Husband thought it was the best chicken.  He loves it! 

I remember when we were dating,  I had just finished taking a microwave cooking class.  I made him rare roast beef in the microwave.  I thought it was very good.  I found out later he liked his meat well done!  Now 22 years later, I don't even eat my roast beef rare anymore!

Well, we had to finish our Valentine's Day meal with a little red jello with whipped topping.  There is always room for Jello!  Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Favorite Chapters!

Well, Sharon will be happy to know that I finished her delightful new book last night!  I have been savoring each and every page.  If you have been thinking about a gift for a friend who may be a new grandparent or parent.  The subtitle is Grandma's Bag of Tricks, but I think it would be a great tool for a new mom and dad as well.  Here are my favorite chapters.  It turns out I like them all!

Under Preparing Camp Granny, I loved the Faerie Mailboxes, the Faerie Home Furnishings and Bubbles at the Ready.  All very simple and yet great ways to get your child outside in the fresh air, running around and enjoying the day with you.  I had flashbacks to when I was a kid in The Neighborhood Naturalist.  I really was an outdoor kid when I was little.  We spent days in the woods and learning about nature.  I guess that is why I like it so much now.  My mom was bed ridden with arthritis so she wasn't the main influence in my nature walks, but just the curiosity of a child is enough .  A Five-Senses Walkabout, Sensory Sack, Leaves, Leaves Everywhere, Bird Words, Underwater Viewer and Firefly Lanterns were my favorite sections of this chapter.  I made a leave book in one of my science classes that was a favorite project and the underwater viewer brought back days of searching for underwater creatures in the stream near my house and I always loved the fireflies when I was little.  I loved the entire chapter of Kids in the Kitchen.  I had sporadic kitchen training when I was young.  I was mostly outside playing!  Under Kitchen Garbage Garden, I enjoyed Spit and Save and Foolproof Herbs.  I wonder why?  Get those kiddos interested in herbs early.  Under Kids in the Garden, I loved A Mini Italian Herb Garden, Barrels, Buckets and Bales, Greens and Edible Flowers and Bale Planting.  That sounds like the entire chapter!  I think Sharon goes with simple and tested activities and they love doing new fun activities every time they are with her. I bet when her older grandchildren visit, they will still want to do activities with her.  Getting your children involved with you is what they want most.  The final chapter, Rainy Day Activities again brought my childhood back to me.  I remember doing skits for our parents when we had neighborhood cookouts in the summer.  It does have to be the most expensive toy.  I remember playing with the boxes and Sharon shows you how to make a house with the right box!  So Acting Out Off Broadway, Ephemeral Art, Worm Hotel, Make Your Own Floral Paper, Hollyhock Doll, Leaf and Flower Collages, The Memory Game, Mother Nature's Toy Chest and Letters from the Heart brought back my childhood for me. 

This book is a great gift for yourself or for a new parent or grandparent.  It just brought back so many great memories for me of my childhood.  Get going and enjoy your kids and grand kids!  Having said that, I really have been slacking this winter as far as items I wanted to accomplish.  I wanted to start reading the many, many herb books and talk about my favorite chapters like I did with Sharon's book.  I've been drinking too much tea and exercising to get my weight down!  (It's working!)  Hopefully, My Favorite Chapters will be a continuing post to give you some herbal or gardening inspiration.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Red is The Answer!

Thanks to those of you who voted in the current poll question and answered through a comment.  RED is the correct answer and that's what conclusion my buddy, Miss C came to also!  So her experiment worked!  Whew!  Red and blue are the best for plant growth and green is the worst.  Green light is least effective for plants as they reflect green light and absorb none.  It is this reflected light that makes them appear green to us.  Here are the results of her experiment.  The six plants grown under red light were 3.3" average in length.  The eight plants grew under clear or white light and were 2.6875" in length.  The five green plants grew 1.8" average in length.  Blue light is primarily responsible for vegetative growth or leaf growth.  Red light, when combined with blue light, encourages flowering.  Fluorescent, or cool white, light is high in the blue range.  Fluorescent lights are great for starting seedlings which we all will be doing soon!  So that's your botany lesson for today.  I'll think of a new poll question soon or if you have one you need an answer to, let me know! Talk to you later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Snowfall of Icicles and Other Winter Stories!

Our house is scary on a good day.  Now it is very wild and crazy.  The sparrows are still living in this as well!   Just pray that the thaw is a gentle one!  Oh, we were out cleaning off the car and who should come up the path but a squirrel being chased by Kitty/Ginger Snap!  Could have used a camera of any kind!  The squirrel dove under the car!  The cat made a U-turn and went the other way.  Never a dull moment!  By the way we have about 28 inches of snow not as much as central PA, Maryland or DC, but still a snowy mess!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Think I'm Repeating Myself!

It is getting scary outside.  We got four more inches or so.  We are getting close to the 30 inch mark!  Now we are in for high winds and blowing snow!  Haven't had those conditions for a while!  In the neighboring counties are blizzard warnings!  Winter 2010!  A whopper!

I think the arbor is leaning a little more to the right.  It may be down before spring comes!  Hope you are staying warm wherever you may be!  We are keeping our fingers crossed that we keep our power!  Talk to you later.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Super Bowl Pizza!

We were on the same wavelength with the Flowerlady's pizza the other night for Super Bowl.  Ours was a little less complicated:  Boboli pizza crust, mushrooms, onions, ham, fresh tomatoes and lots of different cheeses, mozzarella,  a little six Italian cheeses, a little four Mexican cheeses and a little Parmesan cheese.  It was cheesy goodness!  Well, we are getting more snow!  Just when we have the car uncovered, it is going to be buried again.  It is depressing and I'm going to go sulk for a while!  Talk to you later!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A New Kind of Shovel!

Some days I can't get my post to work correctly.  Some days you have to fool it!  Some days it messes with you!  Sorry if you don't want to hear a rant click on the next blog feature at the top of the page!  My previous post is about the snow that is just piling up around the house.  We are supposed to get up to 8 more inches starting tomorrow.  The branch is from our hemlock which has taken a beating, but it is helping remove snow from our shrubs and trees.  There is too much to do before the next storm!  It  is a mess and so is Blogger at the moment.  I just fooled it!  HA!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brighter Skies!

I think sun in the winter landscape is really beautiful!  This was late in the day yesterday.  It may be March before we can use the front door!  I wish I was kidding and more snow is on its way on Tuesday into Wednesday.  We have one little path from the front to the back and that may have to be it until spring!  Yikes!  Hope you are warm wherever you may be!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Twenty Inches and Counting! (UPDATED)

WOW!  We are buried here with the white stuff!  We are finally going to get a break here and the snow may be stopping in the next hour or so!  It has been intense.  The arbor is still standing.  That's a good thing!  The bushes all around the property are suffering and hanging low.  We need to get out and get the snow off at some point.  That's important so we don't lose branches.  Here is a front garden shot.
Pretty, but dangerous!  Well, I'm going to go out and help The Herbal Husband!  Talk to you later!  I'll update the photos as well! 
 Our car was turned into an SUV!

Feeding the birds is a simple process.  Hope you are save and warm wherever you may be!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Color vs. Clear--New Poll Question!

This is the magical device called The Propagator that my girlfriend grew her seeds in.  She covered the various parts with the different colors.  It's my new poll question to see if you can guess which part grew the best plants.  You have a week to think about it!  I will just say that the information in the books is correct about which color helps plants grow the best!  So put your thinking caps and boots on!  We are getting some snow shortly!  Talk to you later.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

OMG! This is One of the Proudest Days of My Entire Life!

Well, she did much better than just a participation certificate.  She got the highest score in the middle school science fair and her project will be competing in the regional competition at Heinz Field in March!  No, not on the football field, but I guess in the Great Hall surrounded by all of those Super Bowl trophies.  Maybe it will be additional inspiration!  WHOO HOO!  She did a very good job in her storyboard, but she also presented her project very, very well!  I am so proud of her!  Just like she was my own daughter!

She got a superior ribbon and a first place ribbon.  PRETTY AWESOME!  That is such an over used word, but in this circumstance, it's PERFECT!  Congratulations Miss C!  I love you and am looking forward to your advancing in the regional competition!  She planted some seeds and so did I!

Please Keep Your Fingers Crossed!

The big judging of my best friend's science project is this afternoon and we will know how she did tonight!  So please keep your fingers crossed for her!  She is very excited and so am I.  The least she will get is a participation ribbon, but we are hoping for a bit more!  She has worked very hard and I think it really taught her some things about the relationship between light and plants.  A very important component!  So look for some pictures here later on.  I promise!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Workhorse in the Winter Garden!

This is a wonderful plant in the summer garden and equally good in the winter garden. (The top photo is from our 50 degree day in late January.)  We got a little snow this morning and it looks very happy.  It is called a rosemary-leaf santolina (Santolina rosmarifolia).  It has the yellow button flowers and smell of the santolina, but the leaves of a rosemary.  I love the blue-green color in the winter garden.  Here it is just a little while ago.  I found this wonderful plant at Mulberry Creek Herb Farm in Ohio several years ago.  I think their mail order days are over, but they are located near Cedar Point in Huron, Ohio and I know they would love you to come and visit them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

Well, the biggest week in football is here, the Super Bowl.  This photo is back when The Herbal Husband and I celebrated our anniversary in November.  So I have shared our favorite restaurants and a couple of recipes to give you a tropical flare to your Super Bowl party.  If you are in the Miami area, hope you enjoy our choices of restaurants!  If you can't get to Miami, maybe you will enjoy the recipes.  Here is my post about South Beach Food for the Super Bowl in Miami.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wait There's More!

The Herbal Husband was looking out the window at the peanut caddy this morning and look what he found!  Our Christmas cacti are more like Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day cacti!  Hope something is in bloom wherever you may be.  Talk to you later!