July 2020 Kitties

Here are few updates on what the kitties have been up to.  It has been very hot here, so kitties have been draping themselves in the best, coolest spots they can find.


Cara loves this ball –she has it tucked in next to her tummy here, presumably to have it at the ready in case she needs to have a quick game of carrying it around. wp-1595092053213.jpgwp-1595091869810.jpg

This doorway in the house (between the living room and the front hall) is a favorite spot; there must be a bit of a draft there. wp-1595092086115.jpgwp-1595092003476.jpgwp-1595091978973.jpgwp-1595091781363.jpgwp-1595091823932.jpg


July 2020 Garden & Food; Basil & Pesto

I have an experiment going with the basil this year to see what works best. A couple of years ago I ran out of pesto too early in the spring, so I’ve increased the amount of basil I’m trying to grow. But this year I decided to try a variety of methods and garden placement. I started seed inside in late February and I planted those out in two different places in the garden.

This spot suffers basic benign neglect and is fairly shaded.


The other batch of seedlings that I started myself, I planted in this prime spot. The little sticks were there to keep the cats from sprawling all over them. The seedlings were only about an inch tall when I put them outside. I know one is supposed to harden them off by gradually putting them out and everything, but I took these straight out of the house and stuck them in the ground. It doesn’t seem to have hurt them. This spot gets morning sun and is otherwise shaded.


These next plants I bought (in a little four pack) from a local greenhouse; they are shoved in between celery and brussels sprouts. They get a lot of light but very little direct sun; what they do get is filtered through a black walnut tree. They were substantially ahead of my seedlings when I put them in the ground, but I think my seedlings have caught them up.


And here are some cats. Taking care of their own duties.


Finally, the fourth basil spot in the garden, is directly sown seed. I planted these in a long row (12ft) next to the swiss chard. Problematically, I planted them too close to the swiss chard so they are almost entirely blocked from sun. They’ve been protected from some of the strong South Dakota winds, but they are not really coming along very quickly. The chard was sown directly at the same time, but of course chard germinates and grows more quickly. I’ve not had much luck with directly sown basil in the past, but this shows that they will germinate –and they would probably grow well if in a better spot.



My goal is to have the pesto made (for the freezer) before any of the basil starts going to seed. Most things I preserve in jars, but I can’t figure out how to do that with pesto without it becoming inedible, so I freeze it in jars.


I put most of it in the freezer, except for some to eat right now. Unfortunately pesto seems to go best with starchy foods (bread, pasta). Tasty, but I probably don’t need more of that right now.


July 2020 Garden & Food (& a cat)

It has been ages since I’ve put up any food pictures; partly I think I was in a food slump, partly I had been having some camera issues. BUT, here goes with some food… which at this time of year involves the garden.


I made these June greens into a delicious salad; the beets below are canned beets from last year. Now, in July, I have beets coming out of the garden, but before that the canned beets were crucial. wp-1594403276192.jpg

The cucumbers are finally ready…wp-1594322214849.jpg

and just in time for a cucumber, dill, cream cheese sandwich.wp-1594322741751.jpg

The raspberries speak for themselves.


The “Bright Lights” swiss chard is doing well this year.


I planted two kinds of beets; the Bull’s Blood aren’t ready yet. But these are Early Wonder. The turnips are purple top white globe. I planted only one kind of turnip.


I boiled the beets briefly, took off the skins, quartered them, and tossed them with a dressing with parsley and mint. The chard is sauteed lightly. Too lightly; the stalks were a bit underdone.


The turnips I boiled hard for ten minutes, browned them, and tossed a bunch of dill with them. This was inspired by Nigel Slater’s descriptions in Tender. The turnips were very tasty although possibly over-browned. I stepped out of the kitchen while they were in the pan. Cookbooks never seem to mention these issues.


This over-medium egg was delicious. I had nothing to do with producing it. The sourdough bread is from the local baker.


I’ve also harvested a full basket of mint; this is the second round of mint. I’ve made it into a mint drink syrup.


I haven’t had a tomato from my garden yet; my neighbor shared a slightly under-ripe yellow cherry tomato that was delicious. These are coming along. They might be Better Boys. The tags on my seedling tomatoes got a bit mixed up.


This spinach has a flat broad leaves; one patch in the back garden has already bolted but these more shaded plants are still doing fine.


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I sauteed this spinach to have with pasta –and a cream sauce.


And here, finally, is a picture of a kitty!