Sunday, July 15, 2012

Garden Peeks and Olympic Bites

As I was preparing today's post, I realized I haven't shared the latest goings on in the garden with you in a while.

Do you remember Mr. and Mrs. Robin? (Mr. Robin has been very difficult to snap this time:)

Well it seems Mrs. Robin has been at it again. That's right "kiddies" three more Robin Blue Eggs in the same spot as earlier in the season. When we discovered this new nest that was rebuilt from the ground up, I just had to research The Annual Cycle of the American Robin. Fascinating:)

It looks like there are only going to be three future "fledglings" (Fledglings are young birds that are almost grown but have yet to learn all they need to care for themselves) this time. When I ran outside to get a better nest picture for you yesterday, look what I found!

Marion reports that Mrs. Robin is quite happy to have the "new" water fountain within flying distance. The other day she said "I'm getting dizzy watching her fly back and forth hundreds of times a day." I tried to get a picture of her, Mrs. Robin that is, at the fountain but as Marion accurately noted, "she acts more like a hummingbird than a Robin while taking care of her babies."

I managed to mix up some cement before heading down to New York last week. While I was at it, I figured it was a good time to experiment with a few added decorations to the fountain base. That white pail just wasn't going to cut it! What do you think?

The fountain is only temporarily hooked up for the time being because it just isn't level enough to spray the water the way I would like. I haven't quite figured out how to remedy the situation but Katie's husband Sam said he will give me a hand as soon as he is finished tending to the hay crop. (that last sentence is not something I ever thought I would actually ever be writing but around these parts, we are very fortunate not to be under a drought alert and harvesting the hay for the cows on a dairy farm is of the upmost importance) Marion and I will gladly wait:)

There have been quite a few butterfly visitors this year. I'm sure it has much to do with many of the perennials I planted a few years ago finally leaping. Remember that line I learned about perennials; The first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap! There was a time I didn't even think the Raspberry Wine Bee Balm was going to make it.

I can certainly understand the butterflies enjoying it, just look how pretty it looks even in the dark!

This Black Butterfly sure did enjoy it before heading off to check out the Butterfly Bush.

When he did make it over to the Butterfly Bush, he met up with his ol' pal the Yellow Butterfly for a few sips:) Yes, they have more than a few varieties to choose from:)

I love this shot of the Pink Poppy. Poppies are a fairly new garden friend of mine and I plan on planting a whole bed of them in front of Marion's living room window next year. I had no idea there were so many varieties so I'll have to do a bit of research before planting the bed. I'll also have to find out whether they neighbor well with Zinnias. Marion is quite firm when it comes to her Zinnia bed remaining right where it is. I'll get you a shot when they grow a bit taller:)

Olympic Food Bites

It shouldn't come as a surprise to any of us that the people of ancient Greece and Rome were the first proponents of the Raw Food "Fad." Here's a recipe I found in an article from the NY Daily News published for the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

Minted Garlic Spread
Serves 10
The Philosopher's Kitchen by Francine Segan. In ancient Greece, mint was a symbol of hospitality, says Segan. Welcome your guests to an Olympics party with this tangy dip.
3 cups cubed crusty bread, crusts on

3 tablespoons fruit vinegar

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and fresh pepper, to taste

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves

Assorted raw vegetables for dipping
Place the bread cubes, vinegar and 1/2 cup of water in a food processor. Allow to stand until the bread has absorbed all the liquid, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, honey, coriander, cumin and cheese. Purée until smooth. Slowly add the oil and continue to purée until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add mint leaves and pulse a few times to incorporate. Serve in a bowl surrounded by raw vegetables.

(source wikipedia)
Food historian Francine Segan studied The Deipnosophists [translated as The Banquet of the Learned or Philosophers at Dinner or The Gastronomers.] while researching her cookbook, The Philosopher's Kitchen. She found documents of an ancient Olympic runner who won several competitions while following a meat-only diet, which started a meat-only craze. (National Geographic News; August 2004)

Here's a recipe for Pole Vault Pepper Steak from the Official U.S. Olympic Training Table Cookbook published under the direction of the Kraft Creative Kitchens for the 1992 Summer Olympics. (FYI: Pole vaulting, weight lifting, swimming, cycling, target shooting, tennis, and gymnastics were some of the events at the first modern era Olympics in Athens Greece in 1896.)

The Diets of Athletes at the Ancient Olympics were just as important then as they are now. Early records suggest a cheese and fruit based diet for the first Olympic athletes. Aristaeus, the son of the Greek God Apollo, was worshipped for his gift of cheese which was fed to Olympic athletics daily to increase their strength. According to Martin Elkort in his book The Secret Life of Food, citizens on the island of Delos, where many Olympic games were held, imprinted pictures of cheese on their Olympic coins.

I hope you've enjoyed these bites of Olympic tastes. This post is not as detailed as much as I wish it were but while I was researching foods related to Olympic history, it occured to me that I just may be biting off more than I could possibly chew in such a short time. However, if you should decided to "throw" and Olympic Party, be sure and let us know so we too can join in on the feasting! I have a ton of catching up to do this week so I've decided this week will be more about me visiting you "guys" than me doing much posting. We'll see how that goes, lol...Louise.

1. The Deipnosophists, or, Banquet of the Learned of Athenaeus (available online @ University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center)
2. A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics, by Neil Faulkner, Yale University Press.
3. Cheating During the Ancient Olympics