Signs of spring and renewal

forsythiaSpring! In the form of forsythia forced to bloom indoors.

I’ve been away. I’m sorry for neglecting to tend this blog, my garden, my life.

Winter came and it was cold and damp and the sun didn’t shine for days. Some of you out there understand the condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which afflicts people during the dark of the year. I could never live in the Pacific northwest because of the weather, the leaden sky, the incessant rain. I know it can be beautiful there and I remember a particularly spectacular July when I visited Seattle for business when the sky was blue and the air was crisp while back home it was humid and 98 degrees at 10 o’clock in the morning.

And there have been changes at our little estate on Lydia Street.  A job I (Dianna) held for almost exactly 12 years abruptly ended. And Christe added a part-time position as the choir director for a Unitarian Universalist church that we both love. And our close friends decided to become foster parents to a new baby two months before they learned they were pregnant meaning that our weekly “family dinners” are plus one and aren’t every week any longer.

Soon I’ll post photos of our new/shared home office and music studio where I’m starting my freelance writing and communications consulting practice. I’ll also get back into the Friday Dog Photo routine and share my (almost perfected) scone recipe.

And if the weather WOULD EVER WARM UP I’ll write about how we’re composting and show you early spring garden clean-up photos and share our garden plans for the upcoming season.

Thanks for your patience.

~ Dianna

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Friday Dog Photo: Piper says “Merry Christmas”

Dog wearing Santa hat

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Friday Dog Photo: Adia makes her list and checks it twice

santa adia

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Friday Dog Photo: Adia waiting near the window

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Fall foliage makes us sad

As beautiful as fall colors are, there’s something about this season that makes us sad. The light changes, the leaves fall, the days grow short. Soon, it will be cold and gloomy and, in our part of the country, wet and damp for months.

So we huddle inside, making soup and bread for dinner, waiting for spring. Each year I vow to take up a new hobby or spend more time in the basement lifting weights. Maybe this year that will happen. Maybe.

Or we can hibernate. We can read books and seed catalogs. We can sleep more and download movies to watch. We’ll be slowing down some now. Back soon.

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Oh-So-Easy Crock Pot Tomato Sauce

Roma tomatoes Oh dear ones, have I shared my oh-so-easy recipe for tomato sauce in a crock pot with you?

I promise that this is the easiest tomato sauce you will ever make.

Crock Pot Tomato Sauce

Fill your crock pot with fresh ripe washed tomatoes. We grew Romas this year, but you can do it with any tomato you have, or an assortment. Remove any stems or leaves or bad places but don’t worry about slicing them or peeling them. Fill the pot. In fact, overfill the pot to the point where you can’t fit the lid on top.

Add the tiniest bit of water, just so the bottom tomatoes don’t scorch.

Turn on high. Walk away.

A few hours later, come back and stir. Some of the tomatoes will be breaking down. You can squish those as you stir. Put the lid on askew — no need to seal it.

Keep on high. Walk away. If you are going to be away from home for several hours or if you are going to sleep, stir the pot and then turn it to low.

If you’re going to be home and awake, turn it back to high. Stir occasionally. At about 30 hours from your beginning time, turn it off completely and let the sauce cool.

Using an immersion blender, whirr everything, peels and all, until you have a beautiful thick, somewhat smooth sauce. This takes 90 seconds or so. It is so hard. This is one of the reasons I own an immersion blender. (The other reason is smoothies (!) but that’s another post.)

Pack into bags or freezer-worthy containers and stick in the freezer.

Ta-Dah!

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Garden tours make me green with envy

Our local Master Gardeners group recently sponsored a garden tour at a house I’ve been curious about for years. This garden has is only 11 years old and takes up the same space we have. Oh, do we have a long way to go.

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Fall is in the air

Red mums blooming in the fall

Happy Autumn Equinox! Here at Lydia Street, it is starting to feel like fall. The temperatures have dropped in the evenings and the mums are starting to bloom.

For years and years, we would buy potted mums to sit on the steps. The bright colorful blossoms would be wonderful until winter actually started to set in, and then I would toss them into the trash.

Why didn’t anyone ever tell me to plant them? They make beautiful garden plants when they are all green and then, when you least expect it, they burst out in full bloom. That’s starting to happen here.

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Friday Dog Photo: Stinkeye

Occasionally we’ll get this look from Adia — the one that says “I’m disappointed in you.”

This week the look could mean any number of things, but I think it’s because we haven’t blogged enough.

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Rest and relaxation in the garden

“The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.” – Ruth Stout
Life has been busy these past weeks and I miss being able to sit outside and enjoy the garden. This week I promise myself time to stop, sit and enjoy.
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