<<FEATURED IMAGE: A few days ago, Linda was out front watering the flowers and she spotted this guy on a coneflower. I believe it is the same little fellow that I saw on the Welcome mat a couple weeks ago.>>
While I was out there with Linda I got this short video of some bees on a sunflower. There is one bee that comes on the flower right at the end that looks like a flying ant. Our sunflowers in front are so pretty and the bees are just flocking to them. I have also noticed a number of birds landing on them and going for the seeds on the dried heads.
They say the “Dog Days” of summer are those days in July and August where it is so hot and humid, the weather isn’t fit for even dogs. This past week has proven that true as we had triple-digit temperatures again. And out here in the west you know that along with those hot days comes an increased danger of fires. That was the case here in Yakima last Sunday when we had a pretty big fire along the Ahtanum Ridge. Those are the hills that run along the southern side of the Yakima Airport, and we can see them from our house.
EXCITEMENT IN YAKIMA
Sunday night about 9:00pm, when I opened the back sliding glass door to let Summer out for the night, I noticed a strong smell of burning wood. I went out the front door and could see that it was everywhere just hanging in the air, so I knew it had to be a large fire somewhere around Yakima. I checked on Facebook and saw that there was a fire that had started around 2:00pm. The fire was contained by 6:00pm, but had restarted and changed direction around 8:00pm when the wind picked up and shifted. Since the fire started it had travelled several miles along the ridge and was now raging. I followed the progress on Facebook until almost midnight, and I even went outside to see if I could see it. The numerous trees around the backside of our lot were blocking my view so I couldn’t get any pictures of it. By midnight the fire had progressed past the area behind our house, so I went on to bed.
The next morning, the fire was under control and the evacuation order for those homes along the foothills had been cancelled. Although our house was never in any immediate danger, you never know about a fire, especially when the winds kick up.
Yesterday I rode my bike over to an area across from the airport where there are no trees and I knew I could get a good view. Here is the video I took of the ridge showing the darkened areas where the fire had burned. This shows just a fraction of the area that the fire covered. Also, you can’t see the area along the foot of the hill because of the trees, and I believe that was where it was the worst. The large open area in the front is the airport.
Here is a link to our local newspaper’s article on the fire (Yakima Herald-Republic link here). It has some good pictures of the fire in case you want to check it out. We’ve had fires up on that ridge before, but none as big as this one. From the pictures you would think that Yakima was on fire. Scary stuff.
Despite having pulled up the rest of the lettuce this past week, the garden is still moving in slow motion. Things have picked up a tiny bit, though. The one tiny yellow squash that was out there ended up shriveling on the vine, but three more have popped up so I am still hopeful. The zucchini managed to put out a fruit every now and then despite a lot of them forming and then falling off before they got big enough for the flowers to open. I did get to pick three medium-sized tomatoes off my Early Girl bush, and they were the best tomatoes that I have had in my whole entire life (I always say that about the first tomatoes.) I’ve gotten a couple of handfuls of various kinds of peppers, and even a few lemon cucumbers. I’ve picked a total of three big pickling cucumbers, and I actually was able to pickle one. I made a pint of Bread and Butter pickles, and they taste just as good as the ones you buy in the store. Here is a link to the recipe I used (link here).
I finally got around to taking care of a yard work project that I have been meaning to do all summer. For my birthday this year, my honey gave me a new hedge trimmer which I have already used out in the garden to try and tame the Golden Currant and Pyracantha hedge out there. We have some bushes along our driveway that have been needing a trim for years, so the time had finally come. I took a “before” shot so we could compare the results.
This project took me a couple of sessions to finish because it was so big and sprawling. The telephone/cable company’s box (you can see it beside the trash can) was almost completely covered up, it’s a good thing they didn’t need to get into it anytime in the past several years. I filled up our yard waste container about three times with the trimmings. I think it looks way better now, but I still need to figure out how to get the top of the red barberry bush. I just could not reach it even though my hedge trimmer (Greenworks 22″) has a pretty long blade.
A VERY SOUTHERN THING
For the past few years in this blog, from time to time I’ve introduced recipes for traditional Southern delicacies. To name just two…the Tomato Sandwich, and the ever-popular Banana Sandwich. Today I have another one for you, Pepsi & Peanuts.
One of the best things on a hot summer’s day is a nice, ice-cold soft drink, and in the area of North Carolina where I lived, that soft drink of choice was usually Pepsi. I don’t know if many of you who aren’t from the South even knew about the Southern thing of putting peanuts in your bottle of Pepsi. Anyway, this was a typical snack when I was a kid. First, you got one of those small cokes in the glass bottle, and then you took one of those little cellophane bags of salted peanuts and dumped them in your bottle. That way you can drink your drink and eat your peanuts at the same time (we never called it a “soda” or “pop,” it was always just a “drink”). And that’s what we did…we poured our peanuts into our drink bottle (back then it had to be a glass bottle) and the rest is history. That, my friends, is Pepsi & Peanuts.
So last Thursday I did this very Southern thing. A twist on this Pepsi & Peanuts practice was offered up by Chef Vivian Howard in her cookbook Deep Run Roots. In that book she has a recipe for Peanut Ice Cream that you then put into a glass and pour Pepsi (or Coke) over…and then you add bourbon. Well, you know I had to try it. And let me tell you, it brought back so many memories of the Peanut/Pepsi thing from when I was a kid running around barefoot in the summer. And it was even better with that ice cream in there. Oh my, is it forevermore good. After my float was all gone, I poured some more Coke in my glass and added some peanuts. It wasn’t quite the same as I remembered because these peanuts were very lightly salted, and also because my Coke wasn’t in one of those bottles. The thing about the bottle is that when you had drunk all the drink, then you had to try and stick your tongue in the bottle to get those last two peanuts that were stuck in the bottleneck.
You will notice that the recipe calls for Pepsi, but since I have always liked Coke better, that’s what I went with. I didn’t do the bourbon either, but next time I will try that. Regardless of not sticking entirely to the recipe, it was still some of the best ice cream I have ever made. If you don’t have an ice cream maker I would recommend you get some vanilla ice cream and let it thaw out a bit, stir some peanuts into it, then let it refreeze and make your float with that. You will not be sorry.
We had a few days this past week that weren’t too awful hot, so I sat outside in my lounge chair with Summer Girl close by. She gets kind of testy if nobody comes outside to spend time with her. However, she does not need a lounge chair to relax in the shade.
Join me every Wednesday (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for more from the Southerner in the Northwest.