Friday, July 18, 2014

Just a little update on the Garden

Mainly pictorial......

It has been so hot, - I am only in the garden early in the morning and in the comparative coolness of the evening.  Except for the middle of the day when I must go out and water pots and move the hoses that drip on trees and shrubs - like the Rose of Sharon which lives close to the house and cannot be watered with a sprinkler.

It is glorious - here is this morning's picture of the fresh blooms.  I have the old faded blooms sitting in a huge glass jar on the porch, in the sun, making natural dye,  along with the jar that holds the remnants of the day lilies that line the front fence.

Now that the Lilies have faded and gone the garden is embracing the yellows that come with midsummer...

and the patio at the back is slowly being devoured by the great vines of the pumpkin and squash and cucumber.  Alas, that is pretty well all they are, - lovely vines whose fruit forms but then withers away.

The Abraham Darby is beginning it's second flush, and the new bee balm I planted this year is a lovely shade of wine in contrast to the scarlet plant that is roaming through the raised bed.

The nicotania that scents the evening so seductively...

and a dahlia my eldest granddaughter gave me on mother's day that has exceeded in height 
any dahlia I have ever seen before!!!!!

 The barn flowers in the far corner of the back garden, where the compost bins live.

and some apricots, not quite ripe but leaning across the neighbour's fence and making my mouth water!!!

Blogger is loath to put pictures where I place them, but there, - one must be content
with what technology one can master
and accept the rest philosophically.......

Today is cooler - tomorrow it might rain.  The garden will be happy, as will I!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A is for Apricots

ABC Wednesday
July 16th, 2014

The letter is A  for Apricots

The middle of July brings apricots to the Similkameen - probably my favourite fruit.  Love them with almonds, or ginger - well, just with almost everything.

For breakfast I have toast made from a lovely apricot / pepper bread that Sid and Sharon 
sell at the Farmer's market,
 and any chance I get I make apricot pie from the fruit stored in the freezer when the time is right!!

The hot weather we are currently enjoying/enduring reminds me of the days we picked apricots in the orchard when the weather was invariably over 100 degrees fahrenheit.

Whoever was out first claimed the Dinosaur - a mechanical picking machine with a bucket to stand in and soar through the branches and a large attached bag in which to place the fruit.
  The slow pokes all used ladders!!!

One day, when home alone, I was using this wonderful machine for picking apricots and hit a bump as I was moving it.  We tipped, in slow motion, the Dinosaur and I.  Not hurt, but it certainly put the wind up the first one home to come up the road and see the Dinosaur resting on its side in the orchard!!

Here is a nice recipe for Apricot Clafoti  from Canadian Living
a variation on the old fashioned apricot upside down cake I used to make......

The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of butter, four eggs, 1/3 cup of lavender honey (but I'm sure any other honey would be just fine) and a vanilla bean split in half 
(if you don't keep vanilla beans in the pantry try a tsp of the liquid kind).

Whisk the eggs and honey, add the vanilla and stir in 1 tablespoon of brandy and 1 cup of flour.  Whisk in the milk to form a smooth batter.

In a mixing bowl toss the apricots (halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick) with one half a cup of sugar.  Place them in an buttered oven-proof 13x9 dish (the recipe says it should be oval, but I am sure a rectangular dish will result in the same delicious results).

Pour the egg mixture over the apricots and place in the oven, baking for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees.  

Cool for five minutes before serving with a scoop of ice cream 
garnished with almonds and confectioner's sugar.

I have not tried this recipe, but how can you miss with APRICOTS.

For more As click here to visit Denise and Roger at ABC Wednesday
as we start another amazing round through the Alphabet.

Monday, July 14, 2014

News of the day....

I woke at a quarter to five, opened my eyes to the west window,
 and there were clouds in the sky!!

I didn't immediately spring from bed and find the camera to take a picture, 
but this is more or less what they looked like

 and I did give a small sigh of relief.

It has been so scorching HOT!!

I turned over and and closed my eyes and thought about cool, refreshing weather.
Maybe even a drop or two of rain....

The thought soon got me up and I retrieved the outside pillows on the blue bench.

By seven it had started to thunder, - quietly, in the distance.
Enough to disturb Callie, who looked around a little wild eyed......

By seven-thirty the thunder was quite ominous.
Callie had retreated to safety, under the blankets!
And then the rain started.
A wonderful downpour, clattering on the tin roof of the sunroom
and splashing up as it hit the patio in lovely little fountains.

That only lasted for ten minutes or so.  The thunder went away
but the rain continued, gently and with great generosity as it nourished the dry soil.

Callie came out, Dot and Frank came for coffee, somewhere in the distance
the siren from a fire engine sounded for a very short while.

Everybody went about their business, and Callie ventured outside after the rain had stopped.

Later in the morning a telephone call informed me that the reason for the
short time the siren sounded was that it only had to go from the firehall,
a block up the street to the Red Bridge Pub.

The Red Bridge Pub is/was located in an heritage building which has stood on this corner of 7th and Veterans for over one hundred years, having been moved from Upper Keremeos by Mr. George Kirby, the Postmaster and Innkeeper there ca 1906 in anticipation of the V.V and E. Railway passing through
close to the Similkameen River. It was then known as the Kirby Hotel.

The South Similkameen Museum  has a nice picture of the old hotel on its website, but I can't copy it without permission, - I can only tell you how elegant it looked, three stories with a small water tower on the south west corner, pristine and newly painted - up the road next to the Hardware store, is a wagon, a driver
two horses, and some ladies in long skirts chatting with the driver.

Later   -     I am now able to add a picture sent to me from the Chilcotin by our youngest son, Vince,
who has this picture of the original hotel in the background, behind the [stagecoach]?

and a drawing he did of a later boardwalk and verandah around the building.

Thank you Vince!

Although I understand the use of the building has degenerated somewhat in the last few years
when we first moved to Keremeos in 1951 it was a respectable two story hotel with a registry
desk and rooms on the second floor.

Of course it had a bar and pub, - a divided pub when we first frequented it,
with ladies on one side and gentlemen on the other.

It was a bustling establishment, - the town was booming and well settled with young veterans
who were wont to have their after-work pint on the way home to supper.
Charles informed me that it was 'the place to do business' and no doubt it was
as you were always sure of seeing whoever you needed to some time during the week.

It went through a period when the proprietor provided dinners and socials
for various organizations, and I remember fondly McGee's roast beef and white sauced onions.

I imagine our children and our grandchildren have different memories.  The hotel grew old
and despite repairs the second floor was condemned and eventually removed
 (as the third storey had been previously).
It had been used in later years mainly as a batchelor's residence.
The hotel continued to have guests in an annex on the first floor, but mainly it became just a pub,
 with restaurant and bar and liquor store attached, and a new name.

It is sad to see the historic buildings of the town disappear in such a conflagration, but
hopefully the memories will linger on.  This particular pub, along with many others, I am sure,
had a particular charm about time.  Somehow it elongated itself
as you walked in the door, until it gradually disappeared amidst good times
and conversation, and just another for the road.....

Many a wife at dinner time put her husband's plate over a simmering pot of water
and covered it with a bowl, and many a husband, when she finally phoned the pub,
quickly said 'tell her I just left!!!'

I see a little blue sky fringing the top of the mountain.  I fear the hot weather
is about to return, but alas, the sun will not shine on the Red Bridge Pub.