Saturday Cooking.

Cucumbers, and tomatoes, and okra and eggplants. If I am not growing them, the friends are, and they supply their produce to my doorstep. Of course there is reciprocity.
The oriental eggplants are just going to town in my garden. Lots of okra and tons of tomatoes. A friend had brought a bag full of cucumbers.

So today, I cooked.

Cucumber salad with pepper flakes, toasted coconut and crushed peanuts etc. was really really good. Home grown vegetables are so tasty.

I had a large bunch of Swiss Chard; I made a dish with red lentils, and onions with a serrano chili and different spices, cooked with coconut milk. It turned out really tasty.

Swiss chard with lentils.

The garden is producing a lot of eggplants. I cooked them with pickling spices(Indian), and it turned out great. I added a few okra to this also, and I loved it. This was the first time I cooked eggplants like this.

And finally I made pot roast. Same old recipe, nothing new. We had just that with some fried rice and the cucumber salad. A good meal for Saturday. The other dishes, we will use the rest of the week.

Hope your weekend is going good.

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Saadia has become a Master Gardener. These are the blooms on the hibiscus plants.

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Unwanted Mail

Unwanted Mail

How many of you get trash in the mail. Bekaar envelopes that fill the mail box. Many of them are asking for donations to this foundation of that charity event, Some are genuine and I usually send something to some people who are doing good with cancer research or the Shriner’s Hospital. But I do it just once a year.

I have noticed that if I send a check to one organization, they probably pass my address to every T D&H (that would be Tom, Dick & Harry for you).

I would pitch them in the trash bin, all of them, or burn them in the fireplace. But recently I have thought of something else. I am happy to tell you, that I take those envelopes from various places, and with a sharpie, write on the envelope, “Return to Sender”. The mail person takes them away, No question asked. The envelopes are not opened, and I will continue to do this.

Yesterday M got about ten such envelopes, from St. Judes, Shriners, various other joints, known and unknown, from the Scouts of America to Disabled Veterans. Ten thick envelopes. On each of them I wrote, Return to Sender in big bold letters and voila, they were gone.

It is not that we don’t donate. We do– to certain organizations, but the problem is that they keep sending the requests for more and more and more, over and over again. I wonder if they think we have a money tree. I love to help people who are in need of help. Honestly, I do, and would do anything to help children and people who are abused, or are in dire need of help due to various problems. But getting five to seven requests each day from the people whom we accommodate yearly, is a little too much for me.

I am wondering if I should do the same when I receive the monthly bills from different companies….. Naaah, I don’t think they will like that.

That’s all. That is my rant for the week!

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First sunflower of the Summer.

I didn’t plant sunflowers this year. This lone plant grew from the wanton seeds of last year, amidst the roses. It is huge and the plant is over seven feet tall. The sun was behind the clouds, and the day was cloudy. The flower faced the east regardless. 🙂

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I generally do not take pictures of the fireworks. This year, we were at the country club for the fourth of July event and after a good buffet, just stayed on for the boom booms. What impressed me was the tree line which was clear and cloudless that evening, filled up with haze and smoke as the fireworks continued. Here are some pictures of that evening.

You can just barely see the white haze at the bottom, creeping up.
That’s about it. Glad I was not sitting too close to that to smell and inhale that smoke. It was fun to watch it.
Have a great weekend.
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Paintings and Plumeria

While the cataract surgery sort of made me lazy to do much, I made up for the laziness by painting a few things.

A snow scape. This is from a book of watercolor paintings.
I saw this photo in a furniture shop and liked it. Took a photo of it and came home and painted it.
Beach fun. I like to paint sky and water and the reflections.
A flower in the grass. I used metallic paints here.
Crocuses in snow.
Wild flowers.
Blending colors. I had taken a workshop for just the blending of colors on faces and buildings. This one is a result of that.
This a Clematis that had fallen on the grass in the backyard. I brought it in and pressed it on the art paper while it was still sort of damp. The color came out well and I enhanced the lines. The Clematis was really that big. Loved it.
An old Pantry shelf.

And finally I want to talk about my Plumeria/Frangipani. We used to have these at home and would make leis of the blooms, or stick one single one in the bobby pin in our hair. I had confiscated a sapling from Hawaii in the nineties, and brought it over and planted it in the ground, without thinking about winter. The sapling lived for a couple of months, and had leaves, and then November came and it just died. It was so sad. Recently a friend sent me two large saplings of this plant from his garden in California. I gave one to Saadia and kept one for myself. It was in a planter on the deck. Three of four days back I noticed green buds at the end of the stem and yesterday, I saw the bloom. I was on cloud nine! First time for me in the US to grow this and smell its fragrance and see its beauty.

Love the rain drops on these blooms. What Joy! I am so blessed.

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Cabin Fever.

If you had my eyes
you would see this river
going south, feeling the sky at its horizon
and holding the wind on its breast

If you had my eyes
you would see it hiding behind the little hills
you would see the flowers lower their gaze
along the bends of our dreamlands

If you had my ears
you would hear the hush of dawn
the turtle doves on the window sill
the cicadas buzzing and the sound of water
lapping on the river bank

If you had my heart
you would come to me
breathe my breath
and know the fragrance of jasmine in my hair

If you had my heart
you would not leave me alone here
but take me outside and sing our songs
and talk to me about our love

And if you had my heart
you would let your thoughts surrender
to the rush of the river, the road, a piece of sky
anything, just anything~
to get me out of here, my love! ©ZSA

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The Garden.

The razmatazz Daylilies. I have three or four enclosures of these beauties and have had them for almost fifteen years.

I have a corner full of these beauties in the back. another kind of asters, rather whimsy in appearance. This and the next plant are newbies to my garden.

I have no idea what these flowers are. They have some fragrance but not overwhelming. They are full and appear really lovely.
Daisies. simple, humble and so pretty.
I think these are a variety of asters. We used to have them at home in India, and that’s the name that comes to mind.
I love this color of the hydrangeas. There are several bushes in the back all flowering beautifully.
Hibiscus on the deck. Looks good , no?
I have received three boxes of mangoes from my sister and her daughter. They are from the trees in their garden. Incredibly smooth and luscious and sweet.
Kholrabi growing in my vegetable garden. I love the taste of this vegetable. I can cook this with tomatoes, and meat or just chop it up and saute, it with oil and some salt, pepper and fresh coconut.
Purslane greens, growing wild like mint. I cook it with ground meat and potatoes. A friend sent some to me last year and, told me to just put one stem in the ground. I did it and i had a bucket full of it . Winter came and I thought i wouldn’t see it again. But lo and behold, I guess the seeds just stayed in the ground cover and germinated. Voila!
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Todd and my Garden

Who is Todd, you ask? I found Todd in the classified ads of the local newspaper in the mid eighties , looking for a job to do lawn mowing etc. I hired him to help me with my garden and mowing the lawn. He was diligent and treated my garden as if it were his own. He cleaned the fish pond, trimmed all the bushes, planted all kinds of roses and flowering bushes wherever I wanted them. He kept the lawn immaculate. The neighbors were envious and wanted him to do their lawns.

Gradually he got a few more lawns to mow. He didn’t want to do too much. He already had a good job as a prison guard at the Penitentiary In Mount Sterling. So he was happy with just doing my yard.
All of you have seen my flowers and trees and have been gracious enough to comment at the beauty of the blooms. All credit goes to Todd.

Yesterday he came over to mow the lawns front and back. I told him I wanted one bush to be cut down in the front because it was getting too big, and reversing the car, was difficult (dangerous) because we couldn’t see the cars coming on the street, despite my car’s signal warning me. I had to run over to a friend’s home to pick up a couple of pictures; Todd was in the back, and I knew he was trimming the bushes there. I was gone for about twenty minutes, and when I returned, I saw even before I reached my home that Todd was sitting at the trailer behind his truck, his head slumped forward.
I rushed to him and asked, what was going on. I usually have a tall drink of watermelon juice or Rooh Afza sharbath for him on hot days. I thought I would get that for him when I returned. But here he was looking white and sweating profusely.
He looked at me, and said, “Doc, I don’t feel good. I felt light headed, and have started sweating.”

Todd is a big man, about 6.4 or taller and very strong and trim in physique. I touched his arm and he was clammy, cold and sweat pouring from his face and head. I got him in, gave him iced lemonade and put an ice cold wrap around his neck. Felt his pulse, and it was so thready and soft, for a man of his stature. I got my stethoscope out and listened to his heart.
The heart rate was all over and every where with Atrial Fibrillation. My poor dear Todd. He refused to lie down. I called his wife and asked her to come, and if she were busy, I was going to get him to the ER. He didn’t want me to call the EMT. Jennifer came within twenty minutes. I kept trying to keep him comfortable, giving him fluids and salt, and massaging the carotid (yeah sometimes that will do the trick… not often though).

He went to the hospital and had the battery of tests done. The diagnosis was Atiral Fibrillation. Which, in and if itself is not a dangerous thing to have, but can be quite alarming if you are young like Todd is, and wonder why it suddenly triggered like that. The EKG, besides the A-Fib, did not show evidence of an MI. Thank God. I had them do the Treponin levels which were okay., I am told.
He finally converted to a normal sinus rhythm late in the night, and has been feeling better. Jennifer has been in touch with me the whole time. He has been placed on blood thinners and is advised to rest and keep himself hydrated.

This post, my garden and my flowers, I dedicate to a wonderful young man who is like one of my own children. Thank you Todd, for all you have done for me in the three or more decades. Here’s to your good health always.

All these above photos I had taken on my cell phone, but couldn’t upload to WP. (GAH) So I took photos of these photos with my Cannon and have posted them here.

Have a good weekend. I have just heard that Todd was discharged from the hospital and he texted me to say he is home. His wife says that she is going to handcuff him to the chair for a while! I am so relieved.

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