Monday, June 10, 2013


 I woke up at 6:00 AM on Sunday. I got into my robe and got a cup of coffee. I filled in the Blog entry and processed the photos.

Next, I made my Mother’s cucumber and onion salad for later in the day. Note: The longer it sits, the better it tastes. Ideally, you make this the day before, but I was busy. I used the mandolin to cut the English cucumber into 1/8-inch slices and thinly sliced my other half of a Vidalia onion (I would have preferred a red onion, but that was all I had).

I mixed together 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of water until the sugar dissolved. I poured that over the onions and cucumbers, seasoned it with salt and black pepper and then covered the bowl with cling wrap. I stuck that into the fridge to get happy.

I cleaned up the mess and made some scrambled eggs with chives and sharp cheddar cheese for breakfast. I cleaned that mess up and started the Sunday morning chores. Then I shaved, showered and got dressed for the day.

First, I had to run errands. I went to Kroger’s for some pantry supplies and a few items for today. On the way back home, I stopped at that gas station that still had the $4.09 for regular gas and bought $20.00 ($20.00!) worth of gas for the lawn mowers. (Sigh…)

Back home, I had to leave the car outside again. I unloaded the groceries (after treating the cats) and then the two gas cans. I left the trunk open to try and get rid of the gasoline smell. I put away the groceries and changed into my work clothes.

It was supposed to rain sometime after 4:00 PM, and it was already 11:30 AM, so today’s ToDo list involved working outside, not on the shed. First item on the list: plant the flowers I bought.

So, I made up another wheelbarrow of my magic planting mix and got the first of many buckets of water. I planted the two Shasta daisies about 1/3 down from the peony and rose, using my normal process. I moved the mulch by hand down to the landscape fabric. I cut the fabric with a razor knife and dug out the dead sod. The sod and any extra dirt went onto a plastic sheet for disposal.

Then I filled in most of the hole with my planting mix and dumped a bucket of water in the hole. I put in the two daisies (belatedly, I realized if I had bought three I could have made more of a “curved” effect). Then I filled in the rest of the hole with my mix, dumped another bucket of water on it and put the mulch back.

I threw the sod/dirt into the field next door. Then I planted the brown-eyed susans in the other garden, using the same process. Since I was trucking water buckets back and forth, I dumped a bucket each on the recently planted peony and the transplanted spirea. I don’t trust weather forecasters all that much.

I took a break and went inside for a moment. The first thing I noticed was that the TV, which had been on when I went outside, was off. Huh? I checked and there was no signal! There also was no phone or internet. Disgusted, I tried calling Brighthouse. I didn’t even get a busy signal, just a recorded message that “all circuits were busy.” So, I tried the internet support number and got the same message. Obviously, whatever the hell happened didn’t just happen to me. So I gave up worrying about it.

Back outside, it was getting hotter and muggy. I went out in the back and dug out most of a big day lily from the garden by the back wall. I took that up (in the wheelbarrow) to the front. Half of it I planted in the middle of the north side garden. The other half went into the west side garden, both of which were planted in the usual way.

I wanted to transplant those three roses out back, but I had run out of planting dirt. I thought seriously about going to Home Depot for more (so I could just finish this damn project) but I decided I could just as easily do that at lunch next week. So, I put everything away and moved onto the next project.

I gassed up the push mower and went out back. I cut around all the edges of the yard where the tractor can’t get. I pulled my trailer forward and cut under where it was. I was especially careful to cut around the shed and the raised bed vegetable garden.

Next, I got out the trimmer and went around the shed (so Rick’s guy wouldn’t get grass in my paint) and around the raised bed vegetable garden.

Then I measured the area behind the raised bed (sandbox) vegetable garden and cut a length of landscape fabric to fit it. I used the 4x4’s that we took out of the front garden when we mulched to hold it down (I need to use another one at the one end, as that one was rotten). This should allow my summer squash to spill over the box without losing the squash in the grass. Hey, it’s a concept. We’ll see.

I went inside to take a break. It was after 4:00 PM and the TV/phone/internet was still out. So, I took a well-deserved nap. I woke up just after 6:00 PM.

I had one more project left to do today (well, I had several on my list, but one I wanted to finish). The shed construction had left a lot of T1-11 pieces and one four foot by six foot piece of 1/2 inch OSB board from the roof. I have no idea what to do with the T1-11 boards, but I ripped the OSB board down into six 8-inch boards. I think a 1/2 board is a little too thin for a shelf, but a one-inch one might work. So, I used Liquid Nails and then my brad nailer to sandwich the boards. The brads were only 5/8 inch long, so they were not meant to nail them together, just to hold them while they dry.

I quit for the night then and started some charcoal in my state park grille. I also preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. I tossed six cloves of unpeeled garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil and salt. I wrapped them in aluminum foil and put the pouch on a tray. I put the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, I dumped the coals from the starter can, spread them around and put down the grate. I cleaned and oiled it and started grilling some hot dogs and one of the onion sausages I brought home from South Carolina. (Thanks Jake and Carla!)

Inside, I tossed four big Portobello mushrooms in olive oil and then seasoned them with salt. After I pulled off the hot dogs and onion sausage, I put the mushroom caps on, stem side up. I let them go for about four minutes, and then I flipped them and let them go for another four minutes.

I transferred the mushrooms to the tray in the oven and took off the garlic. You want the mushrooms tender when pierced with a knife, which in my case took about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I put 3/4 cup of olive oil, 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and one tablespoon of Dijon mustard in a bowl. I squeezed the garlic pulp out of the peel and whisked it all together. You have to do this vigorously to incorporate the garlic into the dressing, BTW.

I took out the mushrooms and put two on a plate. I topped them with the dressing and added my cucumber and vinegar salad. Both were excellent. I don’t know that I ever had grilled Portobello mushrooms before. They were nice and meaty and the dressing put them over the top!

You may be wondering why there are no pictures of this dinner. The dish was fantastic, but try as I might, I could not make food porn out of two dark, grilled mushrooms covered with black dressing!

I watched TV (everything came back on while I was grilling) until 11:30 PM and then went to bed.

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