...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


fall leaf composting

My computer is on the fritz and it's frustrating and inconvenient.
The best I can do blog-wise right now is to share some links
while I wait for my computer to get fixed up.
As usual, I've got gardens on the brain. 
Thinking about what to do to put the gardens to bed for the cooler months,
and to do as much prep work for next year's growing season as possible.
Check out this Ted Talk video. 
I don't love everything about it, but it has a worthwhile message.

I love thinking about leaves as solar energy collectors,
 nutrient-dense with minerals from deep within the earth.

I'm going to start cruising around neighborhoods
where they do curbside yard "waste" pickup. 
More like curbside composting treasures! 
I actually got my first two bags today on the way home from work! 
Time to great shredding and spreading...


the bumblebee ballet

The video on my camera is simply not that great at macro shots.
So, please forgive the horrible video quality...

But at least I managed to quickly capture THREE bumblebees 
inside a single anemone blossom this morning.

I stood by our one patch of anemone
and just watched and listened.  

It sounded almost like a motor running,
there were so many bumblebees clamoring for pollen.

The whole scene
was like a bumblebee ballet.

An aerial ballet with with little chubby ballerinas
and an occasional boxing match
to determine who got the prime spot in the flower.

This year is the first year I've noticed the anemones get so heavy
that after branching up and out,
they fell over from their own weight,
turning into a veritable little jungle of stems and petals.

The branching pattern reminds me of something 
that could be growing underwater.

Check out the pollen saddlebags!

If they gather much more, they won't be able to fly home to their nest! 


mojitos... so easy!

I know, I know, I hardly did any blogs this August.

I was too busy living in "August time."
Which, as you know, is a very special time zone.

One of the things I was doing in August time 
was experimenting with making
the perfect mojito,
and getting familiar enough with it
so I could just whip one up any 'ole time.

I've discovered that I have some issues now, though.
New issues, I should say.

I used to just be able to love mint for being mint. 
A nice herbal addition to foods, or a refreshing / soothing tea.

Well, maybe.

Now, whenever I smell a really delicious mint, 
I can almost taste rum.
I can hear the selzer bubbling.
And I think mojito.
Mint = mojito.

Ut oh.

And after spending time at the beach
with my sister this summer,
now I have another problematic association.

Strawberries = daiquiri.
Actually any fruit = cocktail opportunity.

But I digress.

Let me tell you how to make mojito magic.
It's the easiest thing.
Do it once or twice, and you'll never forget.

 You can add fruit and/or herbs if you really want.
Strawberry  + basil...
 Basically any kind of fruit combo you want to create
if you're feeling funky or creative
or want to use some fruit up.

And the rum, well, it's up to you.
You can leave it out if you want,
which I do plenty of times,
and it's still the most delicious lime-mint drink ever!
Sometimes it tastes even better without the rum.
Anyway, I'm not going to tell you
how to make every kind of fruit mojito,
just the basic.
The original.
The purist, minimalist mojito.
Once you've got this down, you can experiment til the cows come home.
Or the chickens get in the coop!

So get ready to muddle things up.

You need:
 rum, seltzer, a lime, simple syrup (1:1 ratio), 10-15 mint leaves.
your favorite glass, a muddler, and some ice.

optional:  lemon-lime soda


As for the mint, any mint will do.
Particularly a spearmint.
But the original is supposedly a Cuban mint
called mentha villosa
which I will be planting for sure next year.
Do this:
Cut half a lime length-wise into 4 wedges.
Put one in the bottom of your glass 
with 2 T of simple syrup, 
and some mint leaves
and muddle it all up.
 I must say I really love my muddler.
It feels good in the hand and has some nice pokey things on the bottom
which help release the flavorful and fragrant oils
of the mint and lime....

Then add 2 more lime wedges and the rest of the mint and muddle those up.
Add a generous splash of rum.
(I like just enough to make my belly hum...
and in general, I think it's always better to start with less 
and make it stronger to your taste than have to dilute it later.)
Fill your glass with ice.
Then add seltzer, or lemon-lime soda or a little of both.
Stir it well.
(If you're only using seltzer, check the sweetness level
and add a little more simple syrup if you want.)
Rub and then garnish the rim of your glass with the last lime wedge.

That's it and that's all.
The mojito magic is all yours now.