Sometimes I just need to step back, trim my sails, and make soup. Today is my day for peace and quiet. The phone is off, the computer messages are unread, and I am settling back after a hard, but joyful, trip to Oklahoma City to speak to the Oklahoma County Master Gardeners.
I owe a big thanks to Peggy "Powerhouse" Garrett for organizing the talk, picking us up late at night at the airport, taxiing us all over OKC, putting us into a comfy B and B, surprising me with a charming gift, selling lots and lots of my books, and finally, taxiing us back to the airport early, early in the morning. Also, a big thanks to all the people who made us feel so welcome (Debbie, you know that means you too!) and to Robin, who presented me with a bouquet of fabulous garden markers.
Peggy and James at the Thyme Table
Meeting the great people after my talk
Today is unusual for June because it is raining!! I don't remember rain in San Luis Obispo in June, but it is coming down steadily, and my garden is humming with contentment for the unexpected drink of fresh water.
Returning from a few days away usually means I'll have triple the amount of work to do in the garden, but the rain has given me (and my plants) a blessed respite. I am happy to stroll the pathways when the storm breaks and look closely at the plants glittering with raindrops. Glorious. I only wish that I could share some of this rain with the plants, animals, and people of Arizona and New Mexico who are suffering from the horrible fires.
The Eriogonum looks like jewelry
The Echeverias glisten
Every web looks like a faerie's cape
The redbud leaves are satiny
Cilantro trying to set seed
Enough garden roaming for the day. I am catching a cold, and the soup will be so satisfying and good for our dinner. I'd like to share the recipe with you, but I am not famous for following recipes. Riffing off on my own makes me happy and feels creative, but I have to warn you, it sometimes leads to disaster! Jeff can attest to that.
Get out the huge old skillet, find the Tiber Canyon olive oil, cut lots of onions and garlic...
... and fresh carrots from the garden.
After I sauté the veggies and add the beans and broth, I slip in my secret ingredient–the tasty skin of a hunk of parmesan cheese (after 3 hours of "smiling," I just tasted the soup, and the parmesan, which has a nutty flavor, zips this into success instead of disaster.
Then put the soup pot on a iron heat diffuser, set the gas on low, and tip the lid slightly off so that the soup thickens and the flavor deepens. My Nonie called this "tipping the cap." For the rest of the afternoon, the soup will "smile" on the stove, greeting Jeff with its welcoming aroma.
Tomorrow, if this cold lets me, I'll be back in the studio working on my bird book. This is truly a labor of love for me, and what keeps me going is knowing that someday this will touch the lives of children.
I slip each illustration into a "sheet protector" so that I don't accidentally spill tea on them
Time to curl up in bed with a thick book and lots of honey-laced tea. Sending love across the miles and CONGRATULATIONS to FlowerLady, the winner of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.
FlowerLady is a member of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club, and she will receive an extra gift packet along with her book. FlowerLady, we have your address and will send the package out on Monday. Hurrah!
P.S. Please visit my new posting "What's Your Point" (about focal points in the garden) on the Lowe's blog and leave a valued comment.
P.P. S. GIVE-AWAY DRAWING. Leave a comment on this blog posting for the next giveaway for a house number sign. These elegant, porcelain enamel signs are handmade in Denmark by Ramsign.
These are so unique, and such an exceptional value, that I am going to run this contest for two weeks. Comments must be dated on or before June 18, 2011, to qualify. Any blogger who posts a link to this page (June 4 posting) on their blog will have a double chance to win. Leave your comment and indicate that you've provided a link.
Tezz Hagelin, Marketing Assistant, told us, "We usually let the winner choose one of our house number signs (not name signs or address plaques) to make the award as personal as possible. There are signs available from 1 digit and up to 5 digits and with five different styles. We do ship worldwide, so everyone can participate in the contest."