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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
From
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
Directions:
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.

Resources
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

65 comments:

  1. These shots are amazing Louise, I love the garden and all look beauty! And the butterfly amazing!
    Love bagels recipe too:)xx

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    1. Thanks Gloria. So glad you enjoyed it:)

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  2. Your added decoration on the fountain are so beautiful. The story of your Robin family is so interesting. The picture of the brand new hatchling is so precious!! What a fun post! Thanks!!

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    1. I enjoyed sharing it Tiffanee. I knew those shells would come in handy one day, lol...Delighted you liked it!

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  3. A dreamlike place! Beautiful eggs and cute baby bird.

    This spread sounds really good! I love anything that is garlicky.

    have a great week!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Another baby hatched today Rosa. Oh how I wish I had the photography expertise you exhibit. Thank you...

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  4. Hello Louise, what a beautiful garden you have. I am so totally envious!

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    1. You are welcome to come and share whenever you like Mich:)

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  5. Amazing garden photos, Louise! I wish I had a greener thumb. The only thing I seem to be able to grow is shrubs! Love the robin photos - the eggs are such a brilliant blue! Great Olympic "bites!"

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    1. Thank you T.W. I have to disagree with you when it comes to your Green Thumb. I remember those onions you wrote about at Restoration Farm!

      I was amazed at the color of those eggs too. I guess that color blue is called Robin Egg Blue for a reason:)

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  6. Your garden is beautiful. I love the added decoration on the fountain! I'd love it if you linked up to GardenTuesday on my blog, tomorrow.

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    1. Why thank you Pam. I'm so glad you enjoyed the peeks. I'm not sure how to do the link up but I'd be honored to try:)

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  7. Your photography is really good. I love the little bird in the nest and the flowers are gorgeous!

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    1. The little birds are getting ready to fly the coup, Alida. I do hope they decide to do it when I have the camera handy:)

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  8. Beautiful photos!! My butterfly bush is taking over. I know it isn't the right time to prune, but I may have to clip a few limbs so I can get in the passenger's side of my car without being attacked by the ever-growing bush.

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    1. Thanks Channon! Your Butterfly Bush should be fine if you prune it. I prune mine all the time when I'm dead heading and it doesn't seem to bother any of them. Good Luck!

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  9. Wow Louise....! I just loved mr. and mrs robin IN YOUR GARDEN. ITS so fascinating. I had never seen blue eggs in my life, loved it and the graden is looking so preety with fountain and preety flowers, perfect for evening strawls :)
    Liked that garden spread too, shall try it soon. thanks !

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post Sonia. I wasn't going to share yet more Robin pictures thinking most people have probably seen them before so I am delighted to know you found them "fascinating." As you say, the blue hue is really quite special.

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  10. What a good picture of the robin's nest! That little one should develop quickly!

    I enjoyed the Olympic-related ideas.

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    1. Thanks Nellie. I'm going to try to get a few more pictures before they take flight. Wish me luck!

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  11. Those robin's eggs look so pretty!

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    1. They aren't eggs any more, Yummy. They are getting ready to fly!!! They were pretty though:)

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  12. How sweet that you have more baby robins! And that turtle looks so realistic! The butterflies are beautiful too. Your yard is beautiful - like a sanctuary.

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    1. I suppose it is my little sanctuary Reeni. I never really thought of it that way. Thanks!

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  13. I love garden shots! Keep them coming. That fledgling is so cute! Thanks for all the Olympics history, recipes. Who can resist that pole vault pepper steak? ;-) Very fun post - thank you.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed your visit, Kitchen. It seems those fledglings are getting ready to fly the nest soon. I'm going to try like heck to get an in-flight pic. We'll see...

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  14. Oh Louise...I sure remember Mr. Robin :) Your garden is awesome...love the pictures!
    The spread sounds really tasty.
    Thanks for sharing all these pictures and hope you are enjoying your week :_

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    1. You are more than welcome, Juliana. I'm so glad you enjoyed it:)

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  15. Your garden shots are stunning my friends, birds are gorgeous :D
    This was a beautiful post!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Thanks Uru. That's so sweet of you. I must tell you, I sure am craving that Butterscotch Chunky Monkey Ice Cream of yours, oh goodness, yum!

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  16. Oh, how precious the nest and eggs are, and that fledging, wow, what a photo!

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    1. They are still in the nest Pattie but I can tell they are getting ready...I hope I catch it!

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  17. I am in awe of your photos, Louise. I'd forgotten how blue those eggs were. What smashing photos! You don't see many of a baby bird nestled with blue eggs. So cute.
    And I love what you've done to your fountain. What a clever idea. I'm shell mad anyway, have them everywhere, which I guess is to be expected since I live in Florida. :)

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    1. Thanks Barbara. The fountain is far from done but I am happy with the shells too. I'm actually thinking of changing the other two pedestals and shelling them too. A bit of an ambitious job this time of the season but maybe next year:)

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  18. I love every single photo. The blue of the robins' eggs is amazing. I want the fountain although, I have no place to put anything like that. It is beautiful.

    Even the bagel sounds good. I am from New York where Lenders can't compete with the "real" bagels, which are twice the size.

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    1. Hear, hear, Chaya. There's nothing like a New York Bagel!!! (I'm from New York too:)

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  19. Thank you so much for stopping by Sugarly Ever After! Your comment made my day! I love that your blog combines recipes and lovely pictures! I just subscribed. Yay for new blog friends!

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    1. Yay for new blog friends indeed and Pinterest friends too!!! Welcome, Sabrina...

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  20. P.S - My Pinterest link is: http://pinterest.com/SabrinaPoehl/

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  21. Hope you're having a good Thursday!

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    1. I did and I will tomorrow too, duckie!

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  22. What excellent & lovely pictures from your garden & the wildlife, flowers & everything in it!
    Such beauty that makes me smile! :) Thank you, Louise for sharing it with us all! :) xxx

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    1. I'm so glad the picture brought a smile to your face, Sophie. Thanks for visiting...

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  23. I want a fountain. We just have to find one, and then get Dan to install it. We need a really big one! I'm glad your robins are enjoying it.

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    1. I want a weather vane in the shape of a whale, Marjie. Wanna swap, lol...

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  24. I love your photos! I felt like a member of the family. :)

    That minty garlic spread is mine! :)

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    1. I'm delighted you felt at home Maureen. That makes my day/night!

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  25. Your yard is beautiful, Louise, and that picture of the fledgling bird is amazing!! What serendipity that you got there in time to see it and capture it on film. That one might win in a photography contest! Love your Olympic tidbits, too.

    That bread dip looks mighty good, and we just so happen to have garlic and mint in abundance right now. I will print it out and hope to get the chance to make it :)

    And now I am curious about beach plums, which you mentioned in a comment on my blog. Can you tell me more about them? Where did you eat them, and why are they so special to you? The ones I was using were not beach plums -- I had to look that up in wikipedia ;0

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    1. You are aways so generous with your kind remarks, Lynn, thank you:) Do let us know if you make the bread dip. I'm quite curious...

      You should be getting an email about the beach plums. They bring back fond memories...

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  26. Louise, Your photo of the fledgling bird is incredible!!! I remember only once, years ago, seeing a baby just out of his shell…how cool!! And your fountain looks gorgeous…it has turned out so lovely….your added shells just make it look so pretty! Gorgeous yard! I have red bee balm, butterfly bushes and hydrangeas…all of which the butterflies and humming birds love!!

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    1. It sure sounds like you have a beautiful backyard sanctuary too, Kathy!

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  27. Love your garden photos and it's great to see the robins back. We have had a lot of butterflies this year too and I read somewhere that it might be related to the weather.

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    1. Actually, Inger that makes sense that perhaps there are so many butterflies this year because of the weather. I hadn't thought of that. Thanks:)

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  28. Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures with us. I loved the robin's nest, the eggs are such a beautiful hue of blue :)
    I loved your minted garlic spread, with all the flavors in there it must be amazing

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    1. Thank YOU for visiting, Sawsan. You have a lovely blog and that Peppermint Chocolate Almond Butter of yours looks amazing!!!

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  29. Wow, Louise, I can see your garden is a place of incessant activity and enormous enjoyment! I love your fountain and the sea shells decorating it. I agree it's wonderful watching robins nesting and then keeping tabs on the babies. And, I'm pretty excited for the Olympics to start . . . and that Kraft Olympic cookbook looks kind of familiar to me . . . sort of a deja vu cookbook moment, I think.

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    1. Thanks Jane. Yes, that Kraft book has been around for quite sometime. I see it all the time at yard sales. As a matter of fact, I have two editions, lol...

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  30. i know this is not the first time seeing your garden but today in this photo, i can see that you have a huge garden...what a wonderful place to relax and the robins' eggs , its colours are so striking blue. Did you add the shells to the fountain by yourself? fascinating to read about the cheese diet for athletes and the imprints on the coins!!!

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    1. I love that it looks big, Lena but I don't think it really is. It takes a bit of energy keeping it up but I do love doing it. And yes, I did do the shells myself. First I mixed up the cement and set it in the mold and then I stuck the shells on and reinforced them with more cement watered down. We won't even talk about the mess I made but I sure did have FUN!!!

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  31. Wow I LOVE this post!! All your pictures are stunning - especially the blue robin eggs - such a pretty colour. Love the fountain too and what you've done with it. It's countdown time to the Olympics here in London :)

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    1. So glad you liked this post, Ros!!! Enjoy the Olympics, you lucky girl!!!

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  32. Amazing post & great new is Mrs. Robin is back! Beautiful pictures of your lovely garden & your new fountain. Those butterfly bushes really attract a lot of amazing butterflies doesn't they! I love observing those butterflies & tried my best to captured few pictures too. It was not an easy task! LOL

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    1. The butterfly bushes are magnets for the butterflies and yes, Kit, the bees too!!! I LOVE them!!!

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  33. Oh how sweet! I did wonder what happened to the eggs in the nest. Now I know. Thanks for the update and I guess Mr & Mrs Robin are happy with their new family! You'll be getting more eggs after this.

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  34. The babies have since flown away, Jen but it sure was nice having them around. I don't see any new nests being built but that doesn't mean there won't be more this season!!!

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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