Find the Butterfly on the Sunflower- Guest Blog

Hardy, Virginia.

I received this beautiful photo today from Marlene in Hardy, VA.  How about that butterfly in the sunflower blossom?   Although we are officially in Fall, it sure felt like a hot summer day today and that was in Pittsburgh,  Thanks Marlene for sharing your vibrant and colorful photo.  IMG_2362

My Brother’s Organic Garlic From Okanogan

I was excited to receive the annual organic garlic package my brother sends. Inspirational. I think my sister helped get it out to me this year as she’s visiting now.  Thanks David and Mary.  Can’t  wait to cook with it.

IMG_3077(The glass flag plate from my friend J in Florida. She always remembers my Fourth of July Birthday with a red,white and blue gift!)

Shared Summer Harvest

Come January we’ll be longing for these tomatoes. The taste of summer.

My friend R stopped by the other evening and shared these fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes.  Just picked!

Olive oil, chunky chopped onions and a couple of garlic cloves. Threw in the remaining cherry tomatoes (we’d been popping them in our mouths, unadorned)

Black beans and rice.  Mmmmmmmm.

Garden at Dusk

When my brother and sister visited, they worked hard in the garden, Really hard.

My friend J gave me perennials a couple of years ago.

With the thistles and weeds and volunteer trees eliminated, the plants are coming into their own.

Tonight I captured some of the blossoms.

IMG_1332if you want to see some gorgeous blooms, check out Cee’s blog

Butterflies at Franklin Park Conservatory

A couple of weeks ago in Columbus Ohio-

IMG_6911You have to check your clothing in the mirror between the double doors as you enter and exit  the butterfly garden. Sometimes a butterfly will land on you! Such delicate and beautiful creatures.

Fairy Gardens at Franklin Park Conservatory

IMG_6598IMG_6599IMG_6606IMG_6607IMG_6608IMG_6609IMG_6610IMG_6612IMG_6616IMG_6618Fairy Gardens at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus OH.

Miniature gardens on display when I visited with Laura and Charlie and the Columbus Baby Wearing mothers and their kids.

Maria Bakes Peach Cookies

Maybe you’ve been to a celebration and seen the fancy cookies that look exactly like a peach?

Meet Maria Costa.  If you live in Pittsburgh and need alterations on just about any fabric or piece clothing,upholstery or some throw pillows to match your couch, Maria is a seamstress.

But on Thursday she was baking peach cookies for her grandson’s First Holy Communion.

The first step.  Another day she’ll be cooking a vanilla pudding and filling the two halves of a ” peach”,  “gluing” them together with a finger of the filling spread on the bottoms and rolling the joined cookies in Peach Schnapps and then granulated sugar. She might add a leaf or two but no pretend stem as someone once choked on one. (Survived)

I was picking up my friend Barb to go to the art store and she asked if I could pick her up at Maria’s home instead of her house. I thought I was just picking her up.  Turns out Barb and Maria been baking all morning and Barb was taking good notes.  I was thrilled to smell the tempting baking aroma and see part of the process of the baking of the peach cookies.

They’d spent the morning baking. The dough used fifteen eggs as she thought they were on the small side but the recipe calls for a dozen!

I saw the giant wooden spoon she used to make the stiff dough. Mixers have been broken previously.

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Another day Maria will cook the filling and put the two hard halves of the peach together.  Roll them in Peach Schnappes( a hint of rosy food coloring added) and then confectioner’s sugar.  Each “peach” will rest in a pretty pleated cupcake paper on a platter.

Maria showed us the seedlings starting in her backyard garden.  Her fig tree.

Maria pointed out the province where she’s from- Calabria- Vibo Valentia   Italy

I hope I get invited with my friend to see the rest of the process in making the fancy peach cookies.  It was really nice to be welcomed into her kitchen.  The heart of her home.