02 July 2009


Pressing Need
My hubby loves perfectly shaped, uniformly sized beef patties and is able to make them with nothing more then his hands and some wax paper. Alas, his wife does not seem to be gifted in this area and requires assistance...enter the wonderful invention known as the hamburger press. Now I'm quite familiar with this kitchen tool, having grown up in a home where my mother had a beautiful wooden one and I know it works well, but still I
put off buying one until I was no longer able to get ready-made, USA grown beef patties locally. So now I am the 'proud' owner of a hamburger press (although mine is plastic) and I've been busy happily making patties for my hubby and I.
On the list of delectable items made (and to be made) with this new toy -- I mean tool -- are plain and stuffed beef patties (blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, fresh herbs, marinated dried tomatoes, etc), buffalo patties and maybe fish and veggie patties.
Herbs, herbs and more herbs

Recently I read about using fresh herbs to make herb sugar, honey or syrup and herb vinegar. I want to try this so I bought some cute little glass jars with lids and will use them to make such delectable sounding items as lavender sugar (I have some culinary lavender I brought home from a trip to a lavender farm) and lemon verbena or/and lemon balm sugar---just because I am such a lemon aficionado. I will be experimenting some with raw sugar as I do not like the granulated white sugar called for in the recipe.
For the herbal vinegar I will be trying the Mediterranean herbs: basil, Greek oregano, lemon thyme, etc. These too will be made in glass containers -- but I may look around a bit for just the right kind. I also am interested in freezing herbs (supposed to have a fresher taste then drying them). Right now my herb garden is going crazy so I will have lots to use--well all the herbs are doing well except two: the lemon basil which is alive but not thriving and the pineapple sage which broke. Sigh.
The last things I want to do with this year’s herb crop (other then use them in everyday cooking, salads and iced teas) is make a lavender wreath (I am SO into lavender this year as any visitor to my home can tell now)…and maybe a dried herbal wreath. We will see…I still need to finish the Garden for My Son (aka the Japanese-style garden; more about that in a minute)
We’ve enjoyed a couple days of the Red Fire lettuce (good with feta, onions, olives, tomatoes, etc). I also want to try a more fruity themed one with nuts, dried cranberries, etc). My Swiss chard still has not been harvested and is HUGE. Now I don’t say this with pride at all but rather as a sad confession that this should have been done a long, long time ago. The Bright Lights chard makes a beautiful ornamental but I hate to waste it; will try for today.

Of Goose and Blueberries
I am SO into my garden's berries and have been enjoying both of these for awhile (yes I love raw, non sweetened gooseberries--after all I sucked on fresh lemon slices during my childhood) but yesterday we picked almost all of the gooseberries and the ripe blueberries (blueberries will continue to ripen throughout this month). Plans for the berries: The gooseberries will be made into a tart (alnd I'll freeze some for later use); the blueberries never make it past my other son and my mouths. Have I said ---I LOVE berries!
Of Cherries
Harvested most of the sweet ones but waited too long before freezing them and they taste--well for lack of other terms--a bit fermented; I may discard them....sigh...meanwhile I am eating some remaining fresh ones. Our pie cherries should be ready now and those will be pitted and frozen promptly!
Of Being a REAL Pacific 'Northwesterner'
You know you’re a real 'Northwesterner'. or on your way to being one when you truly, deeply miss a good day’s rain. I SO love blue skies but I am super sensitive to heat, having had heat exhaustion before and the fields and forests are drying up earlier then usual which isn't a good thing because of the fire danger in the NW. Still I am nowhere near wanting autumn or winter-like weather yet but you can ask me again in August and you might get a different answer:)
The sunsets though with this period of sunshine have been amazing! Just about every evening I find myself drawn away from whatever is going on around me and transfixed by the color and awesome display in the western sky! Beautiful seems to inadequate a word to describe this world that God created!

Garden Update:
We now have a bridge (one my hubby made years ago for his mom) and
the upper pond has been drained and relined (after my sweet and loving hubby spent a LONG time transferring all the upper pond frogs to the lower pond and moving as many of the mosquito fish as possible to temporary quarters),

plants and trees have been pruned,
the raised beds weeded and some compost/potting soil added,
the rock wall has been rebuilt in the apple/blue bed,
bamboo bench repaired
and much, much more.
Due to Life Rule #399,000,000 (always expect the unexpected)
and my inability to work much in heat I, thankfully, had lots of help.
In Other News

Hubby on vacation--I so LOVE this time of the year :)

He has been spending his 'free time' building a new deck and repairing water damage at his mom's house and doing tons of stuff around here. I really can hardly wait till he retires--I miss him when he's at work. It is nice to see him more then just in the evenings! I really LOVE that man!
Recently I made a trip to one of the lavender farms in the NW (both the area around Sequim in WA and some areas in OR are known for their lavender). The views were amazing and so was the fragrance of the flowers blooming at that point! On the same trip we also picked some raspberries and tayberries and ate an amazing lunch at a cafe in that area. Photos will be forthcoming when I get a chance.
GOT TO GO---hubby is swimming in the pond and that means PHOTO OP:)
Wishing you all a safe and blessed July 4th!
Pray for our Armed Forces!
Blessings, Aimee
"The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." Psalms 29:11 KJV
A bunch of freshly picked lavender.
Earliblue & either Blueray or Bluecrop blueberries from our garden. Note: we have bad birds here! Bad but very entertaining:)
Two of four frogs rescued in the BIG pond relining project. I know, it's blurry--but I am working on getting over my perfectionism! It helps when I post the imperfect, ya know:)
Hubby on vacation!
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