Monday, September 1, 2008


We had such a great day yesterday; actually, the day before that too, and it is hard to believe that it is September 1. It seems as though it was June and now September?

Saturday we worked in the garden and began our cutting back process. The spent blossoms of the lavender must be trimmed now so that new growth begins to emerge in anticipation of next year's display. And boy do we have lavender. . . in nearly every bed, at the edge of paths, adorning the landscape. . . we do love it. Spiraea, ceanothus, hebe, daylilies, boxwood. . . all need trimming, and the giant impatiens have to be removed. These delightful 6 foot high annuals with flowers of white to medium and dark pink send their seeds spiraling following blossoming, so they require immediate containment.

Following our morning walk yesterday, we harvested vegetables and basil, and as we continued the process decided to make a spur-of-the-moment call to some friends who had not been to the garden yet this year. "Have dinner at your house?, we'd love to", they said.

August and the early part of September is generally a dry time of year, but amazingly it rained. Likely we had about an inch, and happily, by the time our guests arrived, the rain was gone and the sun was out.

Dinner would be simple: fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and a little extra virgin olive oil, served on a multi-grain crostini, yielded bruschetta that made our friend (a chef and restaurant owner) say, "Umm. . . I can make a meal just out of this!" A 2004 Artesa Sauvignon Blanc was its companion.

A 2003 Hanna Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve accompanied our walk in the cool evening garden of bright and delightful scents. Conversation about a particular plant, a mention of something significant (or insignificant) that might have occurred, astonishment at the compelling growth of the Ginkgo biloba and discussion of how it drops its leaves, the fragrance of lilies wafting through the fresh evening air. . . were all reasons to take occasional pause in the paths as we made our way around the garden.

One of our favorite pieces of meat is a tri-tip. I rub just a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a dry rub of spices (to include a lot of good freshly ground pepper), and my husband grills on high so that it sears the outside but is juicy and tender on the inside, and serve with some fresh crimini mushrooms, quickly cooked in just a little bit of butter and a touch of kosher salt at the very end. Grilled zucchini, again with a gentle rubbing of olive oil and a sprinkle of lemon pepper, is cooked ever so slightly on high, retaining that wonderful crispness of a fresh vegetable. The salad: an assortment of tomatoes, ones large enough will be sliced and layered alternately with the fresh, soft mozzarella around the plates perimeter, while the bite sized tomatoes remain whole and piled in the center; diced basil, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic, ground pepper and sprinkles of kosher salt have been added to the smaller tomatoes and tossed prior to serving. And all was accompanied by a wonderful Pride Merlot.

What a great statement when people come together and enjoy one another with such ease that five hours slips by without realizing the time. What a fine time we had! Oh, dessert? We had picked strawberries and blackberries in the morning; what a beautiful color combination it was and frankly all that was needed after the meal we had.

As I write I hear turkeys outside the window. . . likely down over the hillside. As we drove back up our hill following our walk this morning, there was a mess of those critters walking alongside the country road. I yelled out the window, "you guys better get goin'. . . there's a couple turkey buzzards atop a tree just down the road, and the way they were positioned, I think they're having discussions about you."

We hope your weekend was an enjoyable one. Tomorrow should bring us something interesting.