My work friend Kitty gave me these six beautiful tomatoes from her garden!


So I was thinking this morning what I was going to make with them, and boing! The answers came into my brain! Salsa (garlicky, not peppery):


Hmmm, I made it a little runny (I like it chunkier) but hey, I haven’t made it in a year! It is still good!

And a huge bowl of Tabouleh!


Hmmm, this looks a little runny, but I followed the recipe to the letter!

And here they are together for my small supper since I wasn’t that hungry (it’s too hot to be hungry):


Believe it or not, I only ate half of everything here, because, let me tell you, Tabouleh and Salsa flavors do not mix well in my mouth. Lesson learned for next time! Salsa for lunch, Tabouleh with dinner!  I calmed my mouth down by having a frozen mango bar.

As a side note, when I was out picking my spearmint for the Tabouleh, it was kind of scary because there were all sorts of flying pollinators all over the mints in my mint garden. I finally found some stalks that weren’t occupied. Out of the corner of my eye I spied some bluish-black airplane wings on an interesting pollinator. Of course I went out without my camera, so I went to get it and then had to wait for it to come back out towards the front of the patch so I could capture it:


What is with that large butt? I’m too lazy to look it up right now.

Anyway, back to tomatoes. What do you make out of your fresh tomatoes?

Cornell Plantations, Ithaca

Yesterday Mom and I went to Ithaca to spend the day at the Robison-York Herb Garden at Cornell Plantations. Before we arrived, we stopped at GreenStar Cooperative Market for our picnic lunch (701 W. Buffalo St.).

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One of the things we bought for lunch was Tabouli. I’ve never had this before, and it was wonderful! I want to find this recipe so I can make it at home. I know, to non-vegetarian people, this probably looks icky, but to me, it looks like and was a bowl full of yummy energy:

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Does anyone have a favorite Tabouli recipe they want to share with me?

We also had coleslaw and a tofu salad sandwich. All very filling. Sorry no pics of those!

When we arrived at the Herb Garden first thing we noticed was scaffolding all around the building. The roof is being repaired, and they took out all of the plants around the building so they wouldn’t get damaged.

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With all of the plants gone from around the building, I noticed this sign on the building:

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The entrance to the gardens was as gorgeous as it ever is.

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Each entrance container had a pineapple growing in it! Pineapple is the symbol for “welcome,” so that was really cool!

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They have orchid lilies in containers – what a cool idea this is!

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I think I showed you this Big Leaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) with the cool seed head last year here (it had a bird’s nest in it):

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There were pollinators of many types all over everything there:

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Including huge bees:

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Speaking of bees, I found one hanging out on the hand I had my camera in, and it is a good thing I had the camera strap around my wrist, because it would have been flung into the next county! I flung that stinging thing off my hand so fast I’m sure it is still dizzy. Even my Mom noticed that all manner of insects like to land on me. I know they’re supposed to be minding their own business, but they make me part of their business. What am I releasing pheromones, or do I have pollen? Hmmmm. . .

This beautiful butterfly stayed open long enough for me to capture it – yay!

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And I spied an ant hauling a huge (for it) insect:

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The gardens were so gorgeous this year:

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The sundial on the millstone was two hours off, but that’s okay. It’s still very cool!

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I love this unfurling leaf:

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Which when totally unfurled will look like this:

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We visited the gift shop (of course) because they usually have at least one book that is new to me. And I wasn’t disappointed this year! I found ‘Ferns of the Vicinity of New York‘ by John Kunkel Small


Field Guide to the Grasses, Sedges and Rushes of the United States‘ by Edward Knobel and


Guide to the Plant Communities of the Central Finger Lakes Region‘ by Mohler, Marks & Gardescu


After we had our fill of the gardens, we went to Aladdin’s Natural Eatery for dinner (100 Dryden Rd.).

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We’ve been going to Aladdin’s for years in Rochester, and now they have a restaurant in both Ithaca and Syracuse. Yay!! We ate outside in the perfect weather.

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Mmmm, they have the best lentil soup and garden salad! They also have great hummus, but I wasn’t hungry enough for hummus after the big lunch we had.

Now this is what weekends are all about!

In Bloom and Other Things

There’s lots of pretty things in bloom this week.  Buddleia which really attracts the butterflies and hummingbird moths even though I didn’t see them on here while I was taking photos of it:


Hostas have the coolest buds and blossoms:


Phlox with a hummingbird moth, which was very hard to capture because it was moving so fast:


Here’s a closer blurry photo of it:


I was walking through the grass with a full watering can and this guy jumped out in front of me. I tried to grab a photo of his whole body, but he kept jumping away and finally he got cornered so I could capture a little bit of his cool juicy self. I tried to get closer yet and he hopped underneath the pile of rocks.


This caterpillar was booking across the driveway at a high rate of speed, breaking the speed limits for sure. How am I supposed to catch good photos of these guys!


Here’s a shiny green insect that was moving fast on the Cornus alba:


I love the red berries of the Cotoneaster:


This is a really tough summer for all of the plants here with little to no rain in our area all summer.

Here’s the underbelly of a cool insect on the sliding glass door:


And the cat is still making it hard for me to get a really good photo of her she’s so wiggly when I’m around. She says “Pet me, massage me, make me write bad checks. . . ” I had *just* combed a whole other cat’s worth of fur out of her and she’s still messy with loose fur!


She’s such a little sweetie anyway!

Corbett’s Glen Nature Park

Today I stopped on my way home from work at Corbett’s Glen Nature Park even though it was about 100 degrees out, with 99.99% humidity, okay, I exaggerate, 99.98%, and a high ozone warning. Ah, what’s a little heat, humidity and ozone anyways.

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I had to walk through this railroad tunnel, which for some reason didn’t thrill me (it’s the engineer in me, I always think about how things can break).

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Here’s the first falls which is about a six foot drop (ohhh, I know, whoop-te-do, but hey, it’s close by)!

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As I was walking through the tall weeds to the next falls, I saw this, one of Susan’s favorite plants, the milkweed:

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Oh my, now that I’m looking at this photo, I didn’t realize how *cool* milkweed flowers are before!!

And on a milkweed leaf was a bug carrying a dead bug:

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Now I have to admit, that is cool, too!

This is what the path looked like, for the most part. Believe me, I was checking every weed looking for poison ivy:

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I finally arrived at the second falls, which is a four foot drop:

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As I was walking in to the park, I saw some kids come out in swimsuits. What a great idea, to go wading here! Ah, nice and cool!

Here’s a damselfly I saw here. It’s not exactly a macro shot (it wouldn’t let me get close) but I love the shadow it cast.

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Here’s the last waterfalls, called Postcard Falls, with a drop of about six feet:

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Once I was done photographing the water and falls, I was able to go on the normal trail:

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Oh! I saw a Baltimore Oriel fly away from me – too quick for me to grab a photo, but enough for me to see its orange self.

Here’s another view of the first falls again, and the railroad tunnel on my way out.

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There were birdies above the piping in the tunnel. I heard them making lots of racket as I was walking through.

Here’s the creek on the other side of the tunnel. I *love* the ripples in the water.

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All in all, not a bad place to visit after work! I’ll be going back! And you haven’t heard the end of this place yet. There’s some history to it, too, that I’ll share another time!

A Cool Bug

I was out with my camera last night just before dark, and came across this really cool bug with super long legs and pretty wings on my peony:

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If you know what it is, please let me know! I haven’t had a chance to look it up yet!

Remember the very light violet iris bud I showed you the other day? Now it’s a big beautiful flower! This is a side view:

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This morning on the way to work I saw a fox crossing the road, and when it got to the other side, it turned and looked back at me. Ohhhh, where was my camera? Sitting at home, of course. I’ll be bringing it to work tomorrow, because there’s some new wildflowers I want to capture!

Making weeding fun

So this afternoon I started weeding my gardens, and noticed some piggy has eaten almost all of my Echinacea down (and I have a ton of it). Grrrr, the echinacea flowers are for the butterflies and the seed pods are for the birds, grrrrrrrrrrrr. I hope they recover and end up blossoming. Or else. I know just who the piggy is, too.

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As I was leaving for work early this morning I noticed all of the peony buds were unfurling. I hoped they would wait for me, but they didn’t. Here’s another one that was tightly wrapped just yesterday, almost in full bloom today:

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I pulled this next weed and then saw the caterpillar. Hope I didn’t screw up his food. There’s lots more plants.

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I thought this plant had croaked years ago, and I saw it under my peony plant today. It’s got such a pretty, delicate yellow flower (I need to find the name):

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Here’s another ladybug on my ginger:

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Since the peonies are in full bloom, I decided to get up close & personal with my irises. Here’s the inside of iris #1

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And a side view

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and another side view

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Here’s the inside of iris #2

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And a side view

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Iris #3 – you’re next. But for now I’m enjoying the way your very light purple color sparkles in the sunlight:

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The cherries are coming along good for the birds, if some other fat ass doesn’t eat them before they get a chance to ripen and eat them.

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Mmmm, spearmint is growing great in my mint bed:

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And now I’m making sun tea out of the spearmint and peppermint leaves.

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I wish I could share this wonderful sun tea with you when it’s ready, mmmmm, along with some rhubarb dessert that I’m going to go make right now. Mmmmm, I love the weekends! And I love perfect June days!

Wow! What a Difference A Day Makes!

So I went outside last night to check the status of my peonies and other plants, and this is what I found:

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And as I was driving into work today I was thinking that I want to get a really close photo of this, kind of like looking into a private place we’re not supposed to look at. So when I got home today I went out to my peony and this same bud is now a full flower!

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I think it’s so pretty! And it smells heavenly, yummy!  Here’s this one up close and personal:

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So I’ll have to study the next bud that partly opens. For now I saw a really cool bug on one. Yes, I need to work on getting closer to bugs. This photo is kind of blurry cause it is windy out. Hey I have to blame something, right? It has *nothing* to do with the fact that bugs make me a little nervous (insert rolling eyes here).

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I captured this bee hanging out on the dame’s rocket (yes Susan, near the poison ivy that I just found in my backyard that I’ll ask *someone* else to get rid of for me)! Again, I’ll work on getting up my nerve to get closer.

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P.S. I haven’t heard from Jim yet today. I know what it’s like to have to hang out at a hospital – it’s hard to call. Plus he was feeling guilty last night for talking to me about it. No worries Jim, none at all.

Peony Bud

I have very little time to myself tonight, so I’d thought I’d share with you one of my peony buds with some kind of insect on it. It never ceases to amaze me that a beautiful flower comes out of this tight little bud.

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Last Week’s (and some of this week’s) Plants in Bloom

Remember last week I forgot my camera when I went to my Mom’s house, but I used her camera, and finally brought the photos home. Okay, so last week the Quince flowers were open:


And the rhododendrons were beautiful (the heat killed the blossoms way too fast this year):


And the azaleas (same deal with the blossoms and the heat):


And gaznia, which the woodchucks promptly ate (grrrr):


And Solomon’s Seal (I wanted a macro of these, but I didn’t use Mom’s camera right to get a good macro):


And this week, I started taking photos and then it started raining so I didn’t get to finish. Here’s some flowers from the Weigela shrub. The first one has a little bee inside:

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The beautiful German Iris we planted last fall are starting to blossom:

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I enjoy iris buds, too:

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A different view of some of the ferns:

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And then the storm hit (wind and rain):

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As I was planting seeds this damselfly was flitting about, making it really hard to get a good photo – this was the best I could do:

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What I Do When I Have a STUPID Day. . .

what else, instead of hiding under the covers and praying for a quick end to the day, but to go for a walk in the woods! And that’s just what I did. After a stupid day at work. Stupid stupid stupid. Stupid. Stupid. There, now on to my walk. I went to 1000 Acre Swamp. I’ll be searching out other woods, because swamp = mosquitoes, and how the heck am I supposed to get decent photos with them sucking my very life’s blood out of my body.

Anyway, I came home from stupid (yes I really do appreciate having a job) and ate an early, quick dinner, and headed out to the swamp/woods. I felt an instant serge of peace and energy flow through me as I walked down this path to the swamp / woods.

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I saw buttercups, and columbine. This one was being shy, but I love the purple.

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And fleabane, which looks white in this photo, but it’s actually a very light purple:

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As I started walking on the boardwalk,

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I heard the frogs rebel and hop into the water. Someone’s looking at you!

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I love these cinnamon ferns on this log in the middle of the swamp:

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and this little island with the reflection of the blue sky on the water, and the sunlight:

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Christmas Fern:

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I love this photo of the boardwalk. I set the camera darker than it really was. Don’t know why I did that, I just felt like it.

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There was a bird here, a lifer too, one beautiful bird. I sooo need a quicker camera.

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And a fern I didn’t id:

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Lots of fungus on a log:

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I saw a jack-in-the-pulpit. Sorry, I wasn’t in the mood to get down in the mud to photograph “Jack.”

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Another fern I didn’t id:

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It was at this point that I started seeing leaves of three all over the place. Nooooo, I won’t be taking any more walks in this swamp for now. I am not going to get poison ivy again this summer if I can help it.

And then I saw the partly fallen tree that goes over the path I had to walk on. I forgot about that, too. It makes me VERY uncomfortable to walk under it. All I need is to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak.

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Ohhh, rocks, but nothing like what I saw at ASP last Saturday.

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Okay, so I’ve been waiting very patiently to show you this. Remember the tree on Trillium Trail that looks like it’s running away from its issues?

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Leaves!! And it’s a maple.

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How awesome is that!

All in all, what a peaceful end to a, ummm, what kind of day was that again?

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