Sunday, May 13, 2012

Meet the Snapdragons

"Things My Mother Taught Me"

My Mother taught me LOGIC..."If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can't go to the store with me."

My Mother taught me MEDICINE..."If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they're going to freeze that way."

My Mother taught me TO THINK AHEAD..."If you don't pass your spelling test, you'll never get a good job!"

My Mother taught me ESP..."Put your sweater on; don't you think that I know when you're cold?"

My Mother taught me TO MEET A CHALLENGE..."What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

My Mother taught me HUMOR..."When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT..."If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up.

My mother taught me ABOUT SEX..."How do you think you got here?"

My mother taught me about GENETICS..."You are just like your father!"

My mother taught me about my ROOTS..."Do you think you were born in a barn?"

My mother taught me about the WISDOM of AGE..."When you get to be my age, you will understand."

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION..."Just wait until your father gets home."

My mother taught me about RECEIVING..."You are going to get it when we get home."

And, my all-time favorite - JUSTICE..."One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like YOU -- then you'll see what it's like."



Happy Mother's Day to all you women who have made a child's life happy, safe and loved. Happy Mother's Day to those who have the four-legged children they love and protect. And Happy Mother's Day to those special women who make a difference in our lives. You are appreciated. Happy Mother's Day to those men who fill in for a mother. And for those who have gone before us, we miss you so.

It's the time of the lilies and they are fulfilling their expectations! So far in the Asiatic lilies we have had the sunshine yellow color and the beautiful pink and burgundy stargazer lilies, but more are on the way!

Made today's recipe with fresh thyme from my culinary garden. The lettuce and herbs all doing great and no squirrel probs! Freesias blooming steadily (ah! that scent!) and the sweet broom is all in blossom.

Had my breakfast while I was watering...fresh juicy strawberries right from the plant, warm from the sun and freshly watered...can it get any better? 

Gotta be one of our most favorite plants, the versatile and hardy snapdragon (Antirrhinum).
Some showy snaps from our garden!

When you live in extreme temperatures, where it snows in the Fall/Winter and gets to be 120F in the Summer, you learn what will grow and what won't. Snapdragons are showy and hardy, a really reliable plant for great shows of color.

Snapdragons or dragon flower derives it's name from the flowers' fancied resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed (thus the 'snap'). I have fond memories of being a child and having my Mother show me how the 'dragon' could 'bite' my finger!
These snaps really took advantage of the bananafofana we used on them!
Snapdragons are perennial plants often sold as cold-season annual plants and do best in full or partial sun. They are available in a range of heights: dwarf (6-8 inches), medium (15-30 inches) and tall (30-48 inches). Their large, blossom-laden flower heads are faintly fragrant and come in in a wide assortment of bright colors. The vertical flower spikes, opening gradually from the bottom to the top.  A variety that grows up to 5 feet has been developed, but it must be staked. A single snapdragon plant may produce seven or eight blossom spikes in the course of a summer. Plant them in a soil that drains well to prevent the roots from rotting. They love full sun, but can tolerate some shade and make a great companion or bedding plant.



As the hot weather creeps in, we look for reasons to have cold food! This is my own recipe, and very inexpensive to make. There are a few steps,  but they are easy and soon you will have a wonderful cold pasta salad! You could make this a whole meal by keeping it vegetarian or add chunks of ham or chicken and mix it up a bit.

You will need:
(1) pkg of dry spaghetti
(2) T olive or vegetable oil  
(1) cup of fresh baby spinach leaves
(1) carton of cherry tomatoes
(10) sprigs fresh thyme(dried thyme can be substituted) 
(1) lg bottle of Italian-type salad dressing
seasonings of your choice (I use thyme, lemon pepper, garlic)

Heat oven to 425F.Clean and wash cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered in foil (easy clean-up tip). Salt them, and tuck the sprigs of fresh thyme in between.Drizzle with oil.

Roast until the tomatoes are softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool at least ten minutes. This brings out the sweetness of these tomatoes.

In a large pan, bring water to a boil and toss in spaghetti. Boil for ten minutes, and leave pasta in the water for five minutes.

Then drain pasta and leave in colander to drain and cool a little for five more minutes. 

In a large bowl, shred large spinach leaves or use baby spinach leaves. Add pasta and tomatoes, with the oil that is leftover on the cookie sheet. Fold together gently. Pour 2/3 of the bottle of salad dressing over the mixture. Reserve remaining salad dressing for when you are ready to serve. The pasta will absorb most of the dressing so after it has chilled for several hours and you are ready to eat, use the rest of the salad dressing on top and mix thoroughly.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Enjoy! 

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