Backyard

Ice Meets Heat

Well we had a day of snow and ice here in Northeast U.S.A.  My driveway was packed with the white stuff layered with 2 inches of ice.

It’s 11:00 am, Sunday, so do I start to shovel the driveway or do I attempt to bake bread outside in my pizza oven?

Well, most people would probably stay inside and concentrate on some chores that need attention.

One of my friends just texted me and indicated he was shoveling his driveway.  However, looking out my window,

I can not even see outside.  So  I decided to avoid the driveway for the moment.  Maybe the sun will come out and take care of this mess.

So I was thinking let’s have ice meet heat and create bread instead of shoveling.  I can always shovel later. Plus bread making is fun.

I had prepared the dough the night before and placed it in the refrigerator.  I removed the dough from the refrigerator.  Got my hands oily and divided the dough  in 2 loaves.

I let the dough proof on the counter for about an hour.  I tried to score the dough; however, my knife was not sharp enough.

I was anxious to see if the pizza oven would get hot enough (550 degrees) in this cold weather.

I baked each loaf 15 minutes, rotated the dish and baked another 10 minutes until golden brown.  Then I cooled on racks.

The ice melted very fast around the oven.  So I was wishing that the ice would melt that fast in the driveway. However, at 8 degrees nothing is melting.

I made 2 crispy loaves.  Plus, it was fun going outside in a storm and having some fun.

I think storing the bread in a paper sack is the way to go.  So I brought some from Amazon.  If there is a better way to store the bread, please let me know.  I have so much to learn and I would love to hear your advice.

So I hear my phone ding (the fairy sound) which indicates a text message from my BFF. She asked if I needed help with snow?  I’ve learned that it’s ok to ask —once in a while.

She came over with her Bad Boy Truck and plowed my driveway.  I am so grateful!

Grateful that my BFF can melt the ice by plowing though it.

Grateful that my BFF husband cleared all the snow around my garage.

Grateful that I was able to bake 2 great loaves of bread on this chilly day.

Grateful that we are safe at home.

Grateful that I can share this ice meets heat experience.

Cheers!

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My Zen Garden

This is a post that was a draft for over 2 years old. hello everyone.  This past spring, I was thinking about developing plans to build a zen veggie garden.  I plan to use an area that I didnot want my dogs to evade for their own safety and a place I could call my own.

So I drafted the zen garden layout on paper.  Slowly began working with the soil and concentrated on adding loose stone path.

Late May

then I realized the space was too small to grow my veggies plus introduce some unique landscaping features.  So I expanded the area.  I’m using 4ft vinyl fencing for the front border for now. So it’s not difficult in moving around.  In the future, would like to invest in a black iron fencing.

the area is bigger and I added the veggies and a few low to the ground bushes. Everything is growing well.

Late June

However, the area is still not big enough so going to expand it a bit more.  done.  Now the area houses a outside free standing fireplace. A few benches, slate tick coffee table and a few pagodas (made from what I had to use).

Mid July

Now the zen garden size appears perfect. However, come fall I will continue to design the last part I added.  Need a stone path and I want to add more fruit trees.

Here are some pics.  The garden is evolving just like I am.  My vision became has a low-budget.  I have more fun using and reusing what ever I can find and building upon that. Love my zen and veggie garden.image

The entrance gate to my Zen garden.  To the  left is a small hill bordered by old stockade fence.  The area has with newly planted trees and flowering shrubs.  I

 

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The Flight

I originally posted this on my other blog which is retiring. My hope, is for you to enjoy these pics.

The Summer of 2017 – I took moments to capture the beauty of butterflies in Cosmos’ backyard.  I became so excited every time a butterfly was spotted.

I am not sure what captures my attention with these delicate species.  Maybe their impressive colors, their wing patterns and variations, discovery or simply their flight pattern.  When I see a butterfly, a sense of peace settles upon me and my inner child comes alive.  Even Cosmo, my backyard Gate Keeper, spots butterflies.

Cosmo, checking out a Yellow Swallow Tail Butterfly which landed on a hosta plant blossom.

Cosmo discovering a butterfly

Cosmos’ backyard 

As with any backyard, it takes time and imagination to create and keep up.  When you traverse through Cosmos’ backyard, you will come upon vibrant colors and lots of discoveries.

The backyard is home to hydrangeas bushes, butterfly bushes, hosta, lilies, honeysuckles,  annual and perennial flowers, hobbit size pond, bulb plants, a veggie garden, bird grape barber, hobbit greenhouse and so much more. 

Casa Blanca Hybrid Lily Bulb

 

Possibly a coenonymphine?
Swallowtail feeding off Butterfly Bush blossom

Monarch Butterfly

Trumpet Vine

 Hybrid Lily

Coneflowers Full Sun blooms late summer into Fall Hot Papaya in the front and mixed Hot Summer

 

I hope you enjoyed these pictures while enjoying the beauty of butterflies.  Cosmos’ backyard is in the Northeast Region of the U.S.A.

Cheers to new discoveries and the adventures it will bring!

1st Time

Hi everyone! Well I did it! Oh and it was truely fun plus scarey at the same time – bread making.

I actually did hear it sing !!!

I found a very simple recipe for Lean Bread from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, p 46. I used my stand up mixer with a dough hook.

Lean Bread

5 1/3 cups (24oz) unbleached bread flour – I used King Arthur Bread flour

2 teaspoons course kosher salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (95 degrees) yes I used a thermometer

Here are the results…I attempted to make several shapes and sizes.

Art of Bread Making

well it’s winter here in the northeast of U.S. and the winds are strong. Snow fall has been minimal with snow storms arriving this weekend. It’s time to start to rock a new project to get me though these winter days—-

I’ve been thinking “bread” and the possibilities of making several kinds.  I’m impressed with the varieties sold at the local bakery and even my grocery store.  However, I’m concerned with all the ingredients that I cannot even pronounced and the price is a bit high for my lifestyle.  So I’ve decided to invest a bit of $’s and explore the art of making bread.

my adventure begins with a pizza propane oven that is portable and is tall/wide enough for a bread to rise.

So here is the oven! It is perfect.  So far it has heated up to 600 degrees.

I’ve tested it out by baking pretzelS.

Pretzels were tasty, soft and a crunchy outer crust.

please join me as this new winter adventure unfolds. Let’s explore the possibilities together with your comments, suggestions and bread stories.

Lets’ rock 2019 with Bread making…

Sharing Our Salvation

Our backyard has become our place of rest and excitement at the same time.  We have several different seating areas so we can never be bored.

The views include the grapes vines and back field, the zen garden with the birds taking constant baths, the pond refuge for the birds, chipmunks, dragonflies and who ever else visits, several eating and cooking areas and a perennial garden along an existing stockade fence.

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Marigolds from seeds from my BFF place.  The prayer mantis is enjoying himself.

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The milkweed pods have blossum.  Created this original natural pond environment to help the bees and butterflies.  So far the milk weeds are growing and multiplying, bees are visiting and a few moths. No butterflies yet.  However, they will come.

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Absolutely gorgeous Daylily showing off her blossoms. imageimage

These trumphet vines are shouting out to the world…hello!!!  Absolutely a beautiful growing vine.  It took a few years to get to this growth.

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Another beautiful lily given to me several years ago by a very special friend who has passed.

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Received a piece of this plant (coreopsis) several years ago by a coworker.  They are absolutely beautiful and in full blossum during the month of July.

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Proud of my baby clematis.  Planted them in a shallow pots 2016 and hoping they will grow into strong plants.  My vision includes having a wall of clematis.

Thinking about transplanting them in deep pots.

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My rose that represents love and friendship of another friend who has passed – Gail.  image

This is one of my favorite plants -mandevilla. I finally brought one this spring 2016 and I’m loving it’s beauty.  I hope I can save it though our cold winter months.

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Ah the tiger lily.  These came from my childhood homestead.  They are stunning and live to be surrounded by each other.

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My prize lily.  Planted the bulb in a container and this is what it produced!  Absolutely beautiful.  Mid June blossum.

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These are lilies I had planted in my moms flower garden.  They multiple and bloom every June.  The same month my mom went to heaven to do to her angel work.

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My hobbit greenhouse.  It’s pretty empty at this time (mid July).  I have a few kale growing in pots and some spinach seeds bursting through. I ordered 2 6ft tables to set up in their for my fall crops.

Iris waking up in the morning - giving thanks

Iris waking up in the morning – giving thanks

Well that’s my walk about at the moment. Hope you enjoyed.

Cheers