Bzzzz July 31st, 2008

This week is all about cucumbers. How about this Armenian Yardlong Cucumber? Yes, it is supposed to be this light yellow, almost white color. And this one is well on its way to being a yard long.

Unfortunately, my first Armenian Yardlong Cucumber was bitter.

Here’s a great way to enjoy the flavor of your garden fresh cucumbers–Asian Cucumber Salad. My favorite!


3 medium cucumbers, peeled, de-seeded, sliced lengthwise and in thin slices 1 tablespoon kosher salt 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet until golden brown

Toss the cucumbers with the kosher salt and place in a colander in the sink. Place an ice-filled bag on the cucumbers to drain for 45 minutes to an hour. Whisk all the remaining ingredients, except the sesame seeds, until blended and the sugar is dissolved. Rinse the cucumbers and dry with paper towels. Toss the cucumbers and dressing. Top with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Posted In: Food and Recipes, Gardening

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Bzzzz July 25th, 2008

There was a bit of excitement here at Bumblebee a couple of nights ago. I thought we had finally attracted some purple martins.

I was outside with the little dogs and was watching the bluebirds who have moved into the purple martin gourds. They have been there all summer, having babies and using the long arms of the gourd system as a perch to look for juicy bugs. But some of the “bluebirds” were exhibiting some very un-bluebird like behavior. They perched and then flew off to grab bugs in mid-air and then returned to the perch to chow down.

Well, naturally I thought they were purple martins. I was so excited my hands were shaking as I changed my camera lens to the monster long-lens. I snapped shots and sent them off to a couple of friends, including Ruthie, announcing, “I have purple martins!!!”

Well, don’t you love the innernets? Within three or four minutes one friend had called and the other emailed to gently inform me that I didn’t have purple martins at all.

I have Great Crested Flycatchers.

Well, naturally I was disappointed. After having invested a wagonload of money in the gourd system, charmed a handyman into installing the pole in my Maryland hardpan clay and gotten up for many, many mornings before dawn to play them the CD of purple martin dawn song on my boom box, I still didn’t have purple martins.

But my friends assured me that a Great Crested Flycatcher is indeed a very special and interesting bird. But then, I already knew the interesting part. He surely captured my interest!

Now, I am watching as the bluebirds and flycatchers share their perch. They seem companionable enough and both are special birds that I’m happy to have in my yard. Even if they aren’t purple martins.

There is always next year.


Posted In: Nature and Wildlife

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