summer garden

We are awfully proud of our summer garden this year. The veg garden is pretty much the same as previous summers. We know what we like to eat and know what grows best for us. The heirloom tomatoes are again taking center stage. Our favorite varieties remain the red and pink Brandywines, Black Krim, Big Rainbow, Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, German Pink and Paul Robeson and are just several of the two dozen we grow. Our favorite way of eating them up is picked warm, sliced and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We've also been making quarts of salsa to eat fresh, roasted tomato sauce for the freezer, and the ever-scrumptious roasted tomato appetizer. There's been plenty of fresh pesto too.  We've been harvesting baskets of green beans which we love blistered in a hot iron skillet over the stove.  The cucumbers that aren't eaten fresh are made into refrigerator dill pickles and eaten almost as fast as I can make them. The recipe is so easy and if you like icy cold, super crunchy pickles, this is the recipe. The summer squash is roasted in a hot oven or grated into a casserole. We were given a gift of beautiful backyard donut peaches and what we didn't eat fresh we made into a peach salsa that we slathered over grilled salmon, then took a spoon and gobbled up the rest.  That was so seriously good and all I did was make a traditional salsa with onions, jalepenos, cilantro, etc., but replaced the tomatoes with peaches. Our neighbor gave us 2 enormous bags of apricots that became two pies, 8 pints of apricot nectar, and 8 half-pints jam.  The roses are on their second bloom and look fantastic. The new type of zinnias that I planted in the back border are pretty, but I don't think I'll be planting them again. The border is far enough from our patio that when we sit and look at the garden we really do need to see more pops of color.  The color variations of the Queen Red Lime, while beautiful close up, are not easily seen from the patio. They are pretty in flower arrangements, and if I do plant them again, they will not be showcased front and center and instead will be mixed in with the brighter ones.

So it's easy to see that the garden is what is keeping us busy this summer. That and a lovely steam of houseguests (my brother is visiting now) and while we have a few little trips planned, during the summer we never stray far from home for very long.  We feel summer is at it's best when we stay put!

Oh, yes, and one very big (I mean very little) thing has captured our attention this summer. Last week our son and daughter-in-law welcomed Carter Shea Rettig into the world. We are all completely mad over this little guy and are grateful that we live close enough to be able to see him often.  What a blessing! He is absolutely beautiful and already has the most expressive face. When he has been fed and diapered and everything is okiedokie is his world, he is a pretty chill baby and very content to just look around and take in his new world.  My heart is bursting with love.  I just can't look at him enough.

12 hours old.

Five days old and already pondering what sweater he should wear next!
Pretty soon he is going to be my sweater model!
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xo Kristen