Those hot marshmallow days are upon us. Heat that makes you feel like each step you take is in a sticky melted marshmallow hole. Slow steps in thick air. The air feels the same way it does when you open a hot oven to put a cake in to bake.
It's brutal and delicious in its own way.
Especially if you have a huge tree and a hose to hide under...
It is in this very heat, that there has been a mad tea party every summer for the last few years.
I am so so so so excited that so many of you are looking forward to the Mad Tea Party this year. It is so inspiring to have people around you all hyped up for some fun, isn't it?
Makes things squeal worthy!
Also, thank you so much for the positive feedback on us now accepting sponsors. It was a HUGE decision that kept me up at night off and on for years. I finally plunged into the adventure, and it has been lovely. I am extra excited to get to share the first 4 sponsors in the right hand sidebar. Fun fun! If you are interested in sponsorship info, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.
I hope I gave folks enough time to find out about the Mady Tea Party? There is still oodles of time to sign up.
I originally started the summer Mad Tea Party because I found myself longing for that sort of flurry of activity that surrounds fall and winter. And, it sure filled the void, and more. I am so looking forward to it!
In other summer news around here, I felt we needed to have a proper harvest feast to share some of our edibles, which we have worked ever so hard to grow.
(Mister Lovee made this table in the 80's. He recently repaired it here and there, and it makes me so happy to use something with love, that he made.)
And so, we planned our summer harvest feast for Sunday evening.
I can't lie, the work load we have around here is slap me crazy.
But I have learned so much about how to better take on a huge vegetable garden, and what we can handle. Improvements for next year, for sure.
Now that the bounty is showing its face, and we get to enjoy what we have worked so ridiculously hard at, it all feels so worth it. Me almost dying included :) (maybe)
I am certain that the lack of rain and excessive heat has made it much harder than if we lived in a rain laden place. But, without the heat, would things grow so dinosaur size? I don't know?
So, we accept what it is, and learn so much about working with it.
Then, we indulge with loved ones...
But first we collect.
And collect some more, depending on the number of mouths we will feed.
Thin thin thin them out.
Then, with lots of water and sunshine, they will grow bigger and bigger.
I wash, and wash, and trim and wash.
And run out and harvest more red onions.
Oh and, mint collecting ensues as well...
I sit at one of the mint patches, snipping.
Then I bring my big bowl inside, listen to the radio, and pick the leaves off.
(you can take mint leaves off of stalks just like rosemary, in on fell swoop, top to bottom)
Half go into a big bag in the fridge, for mint jam or syrup in the near future.
And the rest (about 4 cups of leaves), go into a big pot of cold water for mint tea.
I turn up the heat, let it boil for 15 minutes, add 3/4 cups of sugar (stir), turn off heat, and let steep for 2 hours. Or, serve right away, your choice. Hot or iced.
(you don't have to let it steep the 2 extra hours, I just do it to let it steep more and cool a little, all at once)
Then, I pour the tea through a sieve into two big pitchers, and get a lot of ice ready.
We set the table.
Flowers cut from the garden sit in jars here and there.
We welcome friends.
Hug, chat, laugh.
I run around, multi tasking.
All my trays set to take everything outside.
Days of prep.
Organization ahead of time leads to a hostess getting to enjoy as well...
And I did!
It was great.
I sat and wilted, but enjoyed, I did.
I put the carrots in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and garlic salt before putting them on the grill. I read to cook them about 10 mins per side. You can do less time, depending on size, then transfer them to the top rack. Just taste test.
I then put the remainder of the balsamic mixture in a little gravy pitcher, and everyone loved it on their kebabs too.
There was french bread for...
I had made it the night before. The basil is growing like weeds.
For me, it's not summer without the scent of basil.
The tomatoes and avocados also had the same balsamic mixture, but with 1/4 cup of sugar mixed in.
We also had roasted corn.
The corn, carrots, onions, basil & mint all came from the garden.
I made the kebabs to have mushrooms, chicken, red bell peppers and onions.
I chop the chicken into chunks and put it in a bowl with garlic salt, lemon pepper and olive oil.
I do the same with the veggies in a different bowl.
Then I assemble them onto the metal skewers.
I make them quite often. We love them.
The grilled carrots were soooooo goood!
Oh, I also made some garlic rice with peas.
I love peas.
I love peas in my rice.
(I use frozen peas rather than canned, if I dont have fresh)
We ate and chatted, and sweated.
And drank lots of iced mint tea.
The ice would melt quicker than we could bring it out.
Ahhh, summer in Arizona.....
After the sun went down I assembled dessert.
Strawberries that sat in the fridge in raspberry jam for 5 hours.
Angel food cake, and some cool whip for good measure.
Loveliest of summer evenings.
If I could bottle it up, I would.
The boys played guitar, we smacked a couple of mosquitoes away and sang, and played with the pups.
And laughed some more.
The fear I had acquired of the garden, from the scare a few weeks ago, is almost totally gone.
Or maybe even totally.
My friend told me that I should test the tomato vines and parsley on my skin.
I had thought about it, but was leery.
This morning, I did it.
First I mashed up some parsley and put it on my right arm for 5 minutes, nothing happened.
Then I did a tomato leaf on my left arm. Mashed, waited, nothing.
Everyone is convinced that the extra soap on the sunflower leaves and me scrubbing them bare handed for hours is what did me in. The soap extracting the oils out of the leaves, and going into my skin may have done it. A sort of poison? (Jill, I think your hubby is right!)
Or, a bug bite.
I didn't get any hives or reaction from the parsley or the tomatoes today.
I will still be extra careful though.
That's the thing about fear.
If you can find a way to face it, you can free yourself.
I have always been like this.
If I fear something, I hem and haw about it for hours or days, and then I plunge head first.
Like the time it took me 2 weeks as a little girl, to get the courage to jump off the highest diving board at the public pool.
I finally got up there.
It was sooooooo high.
My legs wobbled, my knees shook.
My stomach had roller-coasters in it as I walked to the flimsy edge.
I wanted to cry and turn back.
Everyone was watching me.
I freaked out inside.
I will never forget that belly flop for as long as I live.
Smacked the fear right outta me.
ps: I then went on to dive perfectly and give swimming and diving lessons, but that's a whole other story ;)